Plumpton College - a hands on learning experience

An idyllic setting in which to learn real life skills is what Plumpton College offers.

Situated at the foot of the rolling South Downs, in the heart of the National Park, Plumpton provides a supportive and engaging atmosphere in which to learn and study.

The 900 hectare estate includes ancient semi-natural woodlands, chalk downland and a network of small streams – making it the perfect place to study land based subjects. Home to 340 Holstein cows, alpacas, a modern high welfare pig unit, 500 breeding ewes, a Sussex suckler herd and a wide range of arable crops – Plumpton provides a real hands on learning experience.

Beautiful grounds designed, landscaped and maintained by the students are home to a state-of-the-art learning environment that includes eight machinery workshops, 12 modern forges, an equine unit with two yards housing 60 horses, two indoor schools and an outdoor school, horse walker, mechanical horse and cross country course. The on-site dairy produces milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Established in 1926, Plumpton College offers a huge array of land based courses from special programmes for 14-16 year olds through to Diploma courses at level 2 (equivalent to GCSE) and 3 (equivalent to A level), Foundation Degree, BSc Degree and Post Graduate levels. There is also extensive apprenticeship provision. Studies can be full or part-time.

Agriculture, horticulture, garden design, motor vehicle technology, blacksmithing, creative metalworking and jewellery, animal care, floristry, dog grooming, equine, countryside management, environmental conservation, fabrication and welding, fishery management, horticulture, veterinary nursing and gamekeeping are just some of the subjects available.

Plumpton offers a wide range of Intermediate and Advanced Apprenticeships run by staff with knowledge and industry experience – the perfect opportunity to learn whilst you earn.

Work focused degrees at Plumpton are designed to prepare students for employment. Subjects available range from agriculture, animal science and arboriculture to veterinary nursing, viticulture and oenology and wine production, with a whole host of others in-between.

A unique feature at Plumpton is the Wine Centre, home to a full range of courses relating to wine production and the wine business. This beautiful purpose built facility designed to echo the rolling downland it is nestled in features a commercial and research winery, laboratories, lecture theatre and wine evaluation room. About 30,000 bottles of award winning wine are produced here every year using grapes grown on the college’s own ten hectare vineyard. These are sold in a range of leading stores including Waitrose and John Lewis as well as many restaurants including Hakkasan in London.

For those whose passion is the great outdoors Plumpton offers a range of courses from BTEC to an Honours degree in outdoor adventure activities. Students get to develop a wide range of practical outdoor skills qualifications using not only the Plumpton site but also the college’s Water Sports Academy in Newhaven and the Outdoor Centre in Snowdonia.

Plumpton also offers career focused vocational/technical courses for 14-16 year olds who would benefit from a more practical approach to learning. All the courses teach practical skills for work as well as develop social and personal skills, ensuring young people are equipped with the skills they need to progress to further education, apprenticeships and employment.

Plumpton College has around 3,000 students from day release to full time, making it big enough to have all the latest facilities but small enough to care.

There are residential facilities, graded outstanding by OFSTED, for more than 200 students. Students benefit from a full range of IT services and a library containing 10,000 books to back up their studies. Dining room, which uses produce from the college’s own farm, offers excellent food throughout the day while two snack bar style shops offer food, drinks and general items. Three student common rooms, along with three smaller communal areas for residential students, provide great spaces to relax, study and socialise.

Sports hall has facilities for five-a-side football, netball, badminton, cricket, basketball, volleyball, hockey and indoor tennis. The climbing wall is extremely popular. Outdoor facilities include a sports field, two tennis courts, football, rugby and cricket pitches. There is also an on-site gymnasium.

The college hosts an annual open day that offers something for all the family as well as a showcase for what the college can offer and includes courses and career advice, displays, demonstrations and children’s activities. Regular information mornings provide an opportunity for those looking into further education to discuss course options with staff.

Taster days, free to those in years 9 to 11, give youngsters the opportunity to experience a subject of their choice and all that Plumpton has to offer – making it easier for them to make an informed decision about their future study path and career.

So if you are considering a land-based course take a trip to Plumpton College to see what it can offer you.

Note from the Head

Plumpton College is located at the foot of the picturesque South Downs in the centre of the South Downs National Park. This location offers students a perfect environment in which to study their chosen subject.

The College is six miles from Lewes, the County Town and nine miles from Brighton. Major transport routes are within easy reach and London is only an hour away. The College is close to the village of Plumpton Green where there is a local shop, post office and bus and train services.

The main College was established in 1926 and now offers a very wide range of landbased courses covering Agriculture, Horticulture, Garden Design, Agricultural Machinery, Motor Vehicle Technology, Blacksmithing, Metalsmithing, Creative Metalworking & Jewellery, Animal Care and Management, Veterinary Nursing, Forestry and Arboriculture, Equine, Countryside Management, Fishery Management and Gamekeeping, Viticulture and Wine Production, Sport (Outdoor Education) and Business Studies. Additional centres in Sussex at Stanmer Park, Flimwell and Netherfield provide full and part time courses and a range of employer focused courses.
The College’s centre in Wales in the Snowdonia National Park provides excellent additional training and experience opportunities for many groups of students.
Courses are offered from school 14-16 year old programmes through post school entry and introductory levels, Diploma courses at level 2 and level 3 to Foundation Degree, BSc Degree level and Post Graduate levels. There is an extensive apprenticeship provision.

The main College is situated in the centre of the College’s 900 hectare estate. The estate provides excellent practical and demonstration facilities for students for their chosen area of study.
The College offers a wide range of courses which are listed in this Prospectus. I am sure that within this range there will be a course for you!
Do contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

Jeremy Kerswell


"I have always had a strong interest in wine and my holiday destinations were often chosen from a map of the major wine regions of the world. In 2012, whilst working as an IT project manager in London, I decided to change my interest into a full time career. I realised that for a successful career I would need to not only learn more about wine, but gain an understanding of the various business and cultural aspects of the wine trade. This is what led me to Plumpton. My first year has been both rewarding and challenging, and I find that I have learned a great amount in just one year that the idea of a career in wine is not as daunting. My fellow students are from all backgrounds that it has been a real pleasure sharing this experience with them. I am so glad to have made the transition with guidance from Plumpton"
Ciara Wong, current FdA Wine Business student

"I had tried several different jobs without finding something I really enjoyed before I came to Plumpton College to study outdoor adventurous activities. I was so pleased to find that the other guys on the course were all like-minded individuals and we quickly formed a tight-knit friendship group. The teaching on my course has been absolutely first class. The lecturers are without fail approachable and personable and they inject just the right amount of humour into sessions to provide a fun learning environment. Not only are they all qualified outdoors instructors, they are also adept at teaching the academic side of the course. When I started, I had been out of education for four years and it showed in my essays. The lecturers are more than happy to offer one on one support and through this my written work has improved no end. So I came to Plumpton hoping to find a career path that I would enjoy. But through the learning and the laughter I found something perhaps more important-myself!"
Peter Hayward, recent FdSc Outdoor Adventurous Activities graduate.

"The volume of knowledge that can be obtained from this course continues to surprise me. With extensive equine facilities and access to the vast college grounds and South Downs National Park, the course caters to those who wish to pursue a career in the equine industry. The broad range of modules offers knowledge in a wide variety of equine based theory in addition to the practical side of working with horses. Lecturers are always available and happy to help and there are additional extracurricular opportunities to further advance your knowledge, ensuring that Plumpton College is the perfect location to enable you to make a smooth transition towards your future career. "
Richard Morrell, recent FdSc Equine Studies graduate.

School news

3rd Jun 2019
This May, Plumpton College Garden Design students were delighted to be part of the world’s most famous flower show. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show features the very best that the gardening world has to offer, and the College’s Garden Design students did not disappoint! The students took part in ... more
3rd Jun 2019
Plumpton College opened its doors on Saturday 11th May for its annual Open Day and Spring Fair. Despite the occasional downpour, the sun predominately shone on the 12,000 people who were welcomed to Plumpton College from across the county to experience the variety of demonstrations, shows ... more
15th May 2019
Plumpton College’s Forestry Level 3 students went to compete in the annual 3ATC Southern College Climbing competition at Capel Manor College on Tuesday 26th March, run by the Arb Association. The Plumpton College students climbed their way to victory, with second-year students claiming ... more
25th Apr 2019
The entire student and staff body joined together on the sports field to kick-off the day all aimed at raising money for two fantastic local charities. The first main event was our “Big Hill Run” which saw over 50 staff and students take part in an arduous race up the South Downs. ... more
25th Apr 2019
Under an innovative new scheme initiated by the Royal Forestry Society (RFS), the Forestry Commission and delivered by Plumpton College, those leaving the Forces will be offered the opportunity to retrain in forestry, helping address the much recognised skills gap that currently exists across ... more
2nd Apr 2019
The theme for the 12th annual National Apprenticeship Week is: “Blaze a Trail” and the students at Plumpton College are doing just that. Through their expert teaching provision and expanding partnership network, Plumpton apprentices bring new energy and passion into organisations. The ... more
21st Mar 2019
The recent weather might be sunny one day, stormy the next, but that hasn’t stopped the Plumpton College Spring Lambs. Lambing season is officially in full swing, this critical time in the farming calendar sees approximately 1,000 lambs born at Plumpton College with hundreds of School ... more
2nd Nov 2018
Plumpton College is delighted to have retained its ‘Outstanding’ rating for its duty of care for all students and the quality and impact of its residential provision for the third time. The inspection, which took place from the 18th – 20th September, assessed the residential provision at ... more
6th Apr 2018
Plumpton College and the Royal Agricultural University have announced a new partnership that will enhance university education, research and consultancy for the land-based sector in the South East. Building on the strong reputation the institutions have in land management, agri-business and ... more
28th Feb 2018
Where does your breakfast come from? Year 8 students from Ringmer based school Kings Academy visited Plumpton College on Wednesday February 21, to find out and take part in the country’s biggest celebration of Breakfast – Shake up your wake up. Staff and students started their visit with ... more
6th Jul 2017
We are proud to announce that Plumpton College’s The Dean Blush has won a Gold medal in the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships 2017. This competition is judged by the renowned trio, Tom Stevenson, Essi Avellan MW and Dr Tony Jordan, who must agree on all the medals ... more
27th Jun 2017
I started at showing livestock when I joined Plumpton College in September 2014, whilst studying a 14-16 schools programme in agriculture. Preparation towards showing cattle starts as early as four months before the show season each year to ensure the animals are ready. It takes quite a lot ... more
5th Apr 2017
Plumpton College student Beth Keyzer has been selected as one of 8 young people to take part in the Morvargh Round Britain Challenge sailing over 1735 nautical miles, visiting 16 ports and 2 countries. The crew departed from Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour yesterday and sail in a Westabout ... more
8th Mar 2017
It was a successful night for the Plumpton College Butchery School at the Institute of Meat (IoM) and Worshipful Company of Butchers Annual Prize-Giving, held at Tallow Chandlers Hall in London, on 21st February.  Matt Smith and Sam Deighton, butchery apprentices at Plumpton College Butchery ... more
19th Jan 2017
Plumpton College, the UK’s centre of excellence in wine education, is launching its WineSkills extension programme to support the rapidly growing English and Welsh wine industry. The hallmarks of a successful wine industry are well-located vineyards, managed by skilled viticulturists, whose ... more
10th Jan 2017
Plumpton College is delighted to announce it has been recognised as providing the highest standard of quality and safety as a local supplier of wine. SALSA, which stands for Safe and Local Supplier Approval, is a well-recognised food safety certification scheme for small suppliers who wish to ... more
10th Jan 2017
Celebrations begin in Brighton & Hove after news broke that the city council’s bid for £3.8 million Lottery funding to restore Stanmer Park has been successful.  Brighton & Hove City Council has received a confirmed grant* of £3.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG ... more
11th Nov 2016
The last few years have seen a world-wide resurgence in the historic method of fermenting white grapes in contact with their skins to enhance aroma, flavour and character.   At Plumpton College, we ensure that our winemaking students are introduced to a full range of current winemaking ... more
11th Nov 2016
Plumpton College is delighted to announce that their wine teaching team will soon be enhanced by the arrival of Dr Helen Waite, from Charles Sturt University, Australia. Helen enjoys a national and international reputation for her research and expertise in grapevine propagation and nursery ... more
14th Sep 2016
Plumpton College had a very successful evening at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships awards on Thursday September 1, with the Dean Brut and Dean Blush not only receiving gold medals, but going on to claim top spots as Best in Class English NV Brut and Best in Class NV Brut ... more
22nd Aug 2016
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has confirmed the quality and standards of provision at Plumpton College (the College) following its review in May. A team of QAA reviewers visited the College and judged that its academic standards, the quality and enhancement of ... more
28th Jul 2016
Staff from Plumpton College are hosting an information event at the Burgess Hill branch of Waitrose on Wednesday 3rd August, from 12 to 2pm.  Customers and store visitors will be offered free personal advice on the wide range of land based college courses, apprenticeships and employer ... more
13th Jul 2016
Sparkling wines from Plumpton Estate were judged winners at the Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships, (CSWWC). Plumpton Estate NV, The Dean Blush and Plumpton Estate NV, The Dean Brut were awarded gold medals handed out to producers competing from 26 countries, including first ... more
23rd Jun 2016
Plumpton College hosted another successful annual student awards ceremony recently, with nearly 2,000 students, parents and guests in attendance. Dr R Stanier, Chair of College Governors, welcomed the Guest of Honour, Carola Godman Irvine, DL and graduating students, staff and invited ... more
2nd Jun 2016
Plumpton College student Elizabeth, (Lizzie) Tree was recently judged the winner of the City & Guilds Sussex Learner of the Year award at The FE Sussex Spring awards. The annual awards provide winners and runners-up who have achieved the highest standards in their chosen study and ... more
17th May 2016
A record crowd of over 15,000 visitors attended the Open Day at Plumpton College last Saturday. The open day was considered a great success, with many visitors complimenting staff and students on the range of course displays, student ambassadors, careers information and good value ... more
4th May 2016
The month of May is turning out to be an exciting month for the Plumpton College wine team. First is the annual London Wine Fair (May 3-5th), the biggest wine trade event in the UK.  With over eighteen thousand wine trade professionals expected to attend this three-day event, the Plumpton ... more
24th Mar 2016
Students from Plumpton College are celebrating another success.  The students, studying on the rural pathways programme, entered the Jim Green Memorial Competition at South of England Agricultural Society (SEAS) and were judged overall winners in many categories. The team won four out of the ... more
9th Mar 2016
Plumpton College students have been involved in a series of industry-linked theory lectures and practical workshops. Guest speakers were invited from sheep and allied industries to deliver topical subjects, over four weeks, to students studying sheep production on the Agriculture ... more
18th Feb 2016
Plumpton College is hosting a course Information Morning, Saturday, 5th March.  Prospective students can find out more about what the College offers at this event, including the wide range of successful land based courses, made to measure courses, training opportunities and ... more
2nd Feb 2016
Plumpton College now proudly boasts of a Master Blacksmith among its well qualified staff.  Ricky Delaney, the programme leader and lecturer in Level 3 Blacksmithing and Metalwork courses, has been awarded a Bronze medal from the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths.  Ricky was made a Fellow of ... more
20th Jan 2016
The Red Tractor came to Plumpton College recently.  Laurence Matthews, Sector Director of this assured food standards scheme visited the College to provide an interesting lecture and slide show presentation.  A packed audience of staff and students on both the Level 2 and Level 3 first year ... more
13th Jan 2016
Plumpton College students studying on the agriculture programmes had another outstanding lecture recently.  A packed audience of first and second year students met with two of the world’s sixteen Master Butchers for a fascinating lecture and practical demonstration in butchery and an update on ... more

School details

Address: Ditchling Road, Plumpton, East Sussex BN7 3AE
Phone: 01273 890 454
Head: Jeremy Kerswell
Founded: 1926
Pupils: 3,000 students; full time/part time/apprenticeships
Ages: 14+
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus


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