Guide to Independent Schools

School details

Eastbourne College

Eastbourne College, Old Wish Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 4JX

Enquiries & application

the Registrar

T:  01323 452323

Co-ed, 13-18, Day and Boarding
Pupils: 621, Upper sixth 137
Fees: £6250−£6340 (Day), £9535−£9625 (Boarding) per term
Affiliation: HMC


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School details

Eastbourne College

What it's like

Founded in 1867 by the 7th Duke of Devonshire as a boys' school, it became fully co-educational in 1996, after more than 25 years' experience of girls in the sixth form. It has an excellent site in the residential area of Eastbourne. Elegant buildings with fine grounds and gardens are close to the sea front and within easy reach of the South Downs. Recent developments include a new performing arts centre including an auditorium and professional recording studio. It is a Christian school (although those of other faiths are welcomed) and all pupils have religious instruction and attend chapel services. It has a popular full-boarding ethos and both day and boarding pupils are fully involved until 8pm. The academic standards are high and examination results are very good. The music, drama, design and art departments are all strong and work closely together, forming an integral part of the academic and cultural life of the school. There is a variety of quality drama in the purpose-built theatres, including visits by theatre groups, and the College has its own professional music series (there is a strong liaison with the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra). It has a reputation for excellence in team games and there is a variety of individual pursuits including golf, wind-surfing and sailing. Many pupils have played at county, regional and national levels but there are also opportunities for those of more modest sporting ability. Other activities include the CCF and Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme and expeditions to third world countries. There are numerous clubs and societies and considerable involvement in the local community.

Pupils & entrance

Pupils: Age range 13−18, 621 pupils, 319 day (180 boys, 139 girls), 302 boarders (175 boys, 127 girls). Entrance: Main entry ages 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam used. For sixth form entry, interview, school report and 6 good GCSEs. Skills in sport, music and drama an asset; no religious requirements. Pupils from a variety of prep schools across Sussex and Kent.

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships awarded at age 13 and 16, value up to 50% of fees: academic (including a sixth-form science scholarship), art, drama, music, sports. Means-tested bursaries also available.

Head & staff

Headmaster: Simon Davies, in post from 2005. Educated at Oxford University (experimental psychology). Previously Vice Master and Usher at Bedford and Head of Biology and Senior Housemaster at Abingdon. Also RFU coach and referee. Teaching staff: 81 full time, 19 part time.

Exam results

GCSE: 119 pupils in Year 11, all gaining at least grade C in 8+ subjects (including English, maths, a science, a humanity and a modern language). A-levels: 130 in upper sixth, all pass in 3+ subjects, with an average final point score of 340.

Pupils' destinations

98% of sixth form leavers go on to a degree course (30% after a gap year), 10% to Oxbridge. 10% take courses in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science, 35% in science and engineering, 40% in humanities, business and social sciences, 5% in art and design, 10% in other subjects eg drama, music or go straight into careers.


GCSE, AS and A-levels. 21 subjects at GCSE, 25 at AS/A-level. Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; general studies taught but not examined. Key skills are integrated into lessons but monitored separately. Special provision: Departments for learning support and EAL. Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level. Regular visits to France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject to AS-level and A-level and fully integrated across the curriculum. Computers for pupil use, all networked and with email and internet access. Campus-wide plug in/radio network supports staff/pupil laptops.

The arts

Biennial arts festival in college. Music: Over 30% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams can be taken. Many musical groups including orchestras, choirs, swing, military bands, chamber music groups, pop groups. Regular organ and choral scholarships to Oxbridge. Drama: GCSE and AS-level drama offered. All Year 9 pupils act in a play. Many pupils are involved in school productions and majority in house/other productions. Strong tradition of old Eastbournians making careers in performing arts. Art and design: On average, 40 take GCSE, 20 A-level. Regular entrants to art school.

Sports & activities

Some 20 sports including rugby, rounders, badminton, water polo, judo, fencing, sailing. GCSE and AS-level PE may be taken. 4 international and 85 county representatives at various sports. Also bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award; CCF; community service (eg helping in local schools and community projects). Up to 30 clubs, including Casson Society, Lectern Society (6th form dining group), charity, history, classics, debating and over 70 different activities.

School life

Uniform: School uniform worn throughout. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses (3 each for day boys and boarding boys, 2 each for day and boarding girls). Prefects, head boy and head girl, head of house and house prefects, appointed by the Headmaster. Religion: Church of England. Compulsory chapel. Social: Extensive range including house dinners, house concerts, debates with other local schools and organised trips abroad. Day pupils may bring own car to school. Meals self-service. School shop.


Based on the houses, with resident housemaster or housemistress responsible for the academic and pastoral care of pupils. The school has a code of behaviour that includes rules covering bullying, anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs. Discipline aims to be fair and tight.


Most pupils age 15+ have own study bedroom, others in rooms of 2-4. Single-sex houses of approx 60. Cooking areas for students in houses. 2 weekend leave-outs a term.

Association of former pupils

is run by John Thornley, c/o the school.

Former pupils

General Sir David Richards (Chief of the General Staff), Sir Hugh Casson (architect), Torin Douglas (BBC media correspondent), Michael Fish (weather forecaster), Will Green, Hugo Southwell (rugby players), David Howell (chess grandmaster), Mark Freeland (BBC head of comedy), Eddie Izzard (comedian), Jules Knight (classical pop quartet ‘Blake'), Sam Kiley (journalist and broadcaster), Paul Mayhew Archer (comedy writer and producer), Ian Mortimer (historian), Adam Mynott (BBC journalist), Michael Praed (actor), John Ryley (head of Sky News).