What it's like
Founded as an all-boys school in Seaford, West Sussex, in 1884, it moved to Lavington Park, near Petworth, in 1946, where it now has a fine site in some 400 acres of splendid wooded parkland below the Downs. Many staff live on the park to produce a community atmosphere. There is now a prep school, Wilberforce, on the same campus. The school has been co-educational since the late 90s. It has excellent modern facilities including state-of-the art maths and science rooms, a music suite and a sports and leisure centre (incorporating an indoor swimming pool). A generous staff:pupil ratio of about 1:9 enables a good general education to be provided. Specialist tuition for dyslexia (on a one-to-one basis) and for EFL is provided. Religious worship and practice takes place in the school chapel which dates to pre-Norman times. The school aims to take a broad range of students and achieve the best possible outcome for each child, both academically and in extra-curricular fields. It excels in art, technology and music and its choir has an international reputation. It offer a wide range of sport, games and extra-curricular activities, including a thriving CCF and a new golf academy.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 7-18; 620 pupils, 484 day (334 boys, 150 girls), 136 boarding (101 boys, 35 girls). Prep department 1–13, 173 pupils (118 boys, 55 girls). Senior department 13-18, 447 pupils (317 boys, 130 girls). Entrance: Main entry ages 7, 10, 11, 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam used. For sixth-form entry, 45 points at GCSE (grade C in sixth-form subjects). Senior pupils come from a wide range of local prep schools.
Scholarships & bursaries
Scholarships (academic, music, choral, sport), available to new and current pupils, value £500; also significant fee assistance for pupils from state schools on sports scholarships. Limited means-tested bursaries available, usually for current parents who fall on hard times; college can also help obtain funds from eg charitable trusts.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Toby J Mullins, in post since 1997. Educated at Cranbrook School and Leeds University (economics). Previously Deputy Headmaster at Churchers, House Master and Head of Economics at Framlingham, and developed A-level economics at Kings School, Bruton. Also international hockey coach; Committee Member BSA Housemasters' Conference, Chair of SofH. Teaching staff: 100 full time, 15 part time.
GCSE: 99 pupils in Year 11, 87% gaining at least a C grade in 5 subjects. A-level: 63 in upper sixth, passing an average number of 2.8 subjects, with an average final point score of 272.
98% of sixth-form leavers go on to a degree course (3% after a gap year). 10% take courses in science and engineering, 34% in humanities and social sciences, 32% in art and design, 24% in vocational subjects. Others typically go on to art college.
GCSE, AS and A-levels. 25 GCSE subjects, 26 at AS/A-level (BTEC and Pre-U in some subjects). Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level; in addition, all take AS-level general studies (no A-level). Key skills integrated into sixth-form curriculum. Special provision: Specialist teaching for both dyslexia (one-to-one basis) and for EFL. Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level. Visits arranged to France, Germany and Spain. ICT: Wireless network provides access, including for laptops, from all academic and residential areas.
Music: 25% learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams may be taken (as well as GCSE and A-level). Several musical groups including orchestra and chapel choir. Several choristers have gone on to National Youth Choir. Drama and dance: Annual dramatic production. Art and design: On average, 40 take GCSE, 20 A-level. Design, pottery, photography, silkscreen printing also offered. All pupils who apply for foundation courses each year have been accepted.
Sports & activities
15+ sports available including rugby, netball, cross-country, swimming, shooting, archery, canoeing. GCSE and A-level may be taken. International rugby representative U16; national awards for schools at clay-pigeon shooting and athletics. Also CCF (compulsory for 5 terms); bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award; instructors lifesaving courses available. Range of clubs, eg debating, electronics, natural history, military history, CDT/art workshop, chess, fly fishing, land yachting, photography, stock market, creative writing.
Uniform: School uniform worn, modified in sixth form. Houses and prefects: Competitive houses. School prefects and head pupil appointed by Headmaster; head of house and house prefects by housemaster. Religion: Attendance at religious worship (Church of England) compulsory. Social: Tennis and social visits to sixth-form club joint with other schools. Organised trips abroad. Pupils allowed to bring own bike to school (cars if they have passed their test). Meals self-service and in-house catering. School tuck shop.
Pupils failing to produce homework receive detention. Those caught smoking could expect a fine and parents would be informed; repeated abuse of this rule will result in expulsion. Both bullying and drug-taking mean immediate expulsion.
All sixth form have own study bedroom; Years 10 and 11 in single or double study bedrooms. Some basic cooking facilities in boarding houses. Half-term exeats termly. Visits to Chichester allowed. Many parents watch matches.
Association of former pupils
Society of Old Seafordians, www.oldseafordians.org
Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC (judge), Anthony Buckeridge (children's author), Ahmed Chalabi (Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister), Toby Stephens (actor); Roger and Peter de Haan (former Directors of Saga); Matthew Rose (opera singer).