Eastbourne College

East Sussex

Image for Eastbourne College

  • Category: Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day & Boarding
  • Religious Affiliation: Church of England
  • Roll: 384 (Boys) 267 (Girls)
  • Day pupils: 352
  • Boarders: 299
  • Age Range: 13 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1867

General Information

We believe the key values of participation, the pursuit of excellence, integrity, courtesy and kindness form the bedrock upon which every child’s education should stand, providing young people with the wherewithal to flourish both at school and beyond.


Endless Horizons Endless Opportunities

Where else in Britain can you take a six‑minute stroll (or less) and find yourself on the doorstep of a national park, an international tennis venue, a county cricket ground, two challenging golf courses, award‑winning beaches, theatres, a modern art gallery, a brand new shopping centre with state‑of‑the‑art cinema and a mainline station to Gatwick (51 minutes), London (Clapham, 77 minutes) and Ashford International (66 minutes)? Founded over 150 years ago, today Eastbourne College reaches out like never before, connecting its boarding and day pupils with the raft of opportunities that abound within a few hundred metres of the school; and beyond. The College’s learning environment is second to none thanks to its £33 million Project 150 development, an outstanding, supportive house system, and a timetable which optimises educational contact time during the week, provides optional guided enrichment sessions on Saturday mornings, and promotes a busy calendar of competitive sport and time for socialising. ‘Healthy learning for the long term’ is the prevailing ethos that places Eastbourne College in the top four per cent of all schools nationally for academic value added, year after year.

A tradition of turning out good people

The College has got into a tradition of stimulating academic success while developing people of good character; good people that others want to be with.

In 2019, almost 40 per cent of A-level grades were awarded at A* or A. Results in maths, the sciences, modern languages and the creative arts continue to be beacons of excellence, with 100 per cent A* to B grades in key facilitating subjects. Pupils leaving the College achieve A-level grades that enable them to access top courses at the leading universities at home or abroad while also enjoying a diverse and successful wider school life.

Time for family and friends

In September 2019, the College changed the structure of the school week, boosting academic contact time and opening the door to families who want to spend more time together. Pupils, boarding and day, now enjoy the freedom of choice over how they spend their weekends. In addition to exeat weekends (weekends where boarders are allowed home), all pupils can now choose to remain at school or return home for all or part of the weekend. For those who choose to stay, a broad programme of guided activities are on offer on Saturday mornings covering all areas of school life (academic, creative arts, physical activity), as well as a boarders activity programme. A busy schedule of competitive sport is on offer every Saturday afternoon (and during the week) offering pupils the opportunity to pit themselves against the best.

Competitive Sport

Pupils at Eastbourne College have access to a phenomenal range of sports in world-class facilities and an expert coaching framework. Every boy and girl has the opportunity to represent the College in over 900 fixtures in some 20 sports involving over 80 staff every year. While catering to all abilities, the College has an outstanding track record when it comes to developing sportsmen and women who pursue an elite pathway.

Entrance Requirements

Scholarship, Common Entrance or own exam, plus visit at 13+; reports and visit at 16+


Entry to Year 9: Art, Academic, Drama , Music and Sports. Entry to Year 12: Academic (inc. Science), Music, Sport, Drama, Art and Design and Technology. Please contact the College for details. Means tested bursaries also available

Open Days

2020. Years 9 to 12 Open Mornings: Sat. 29th February and Sat. 6th June, both 9am - 1pm


2019/2020. Boarding fees per term: £12,140 to £12,325. Day fees per term: £7,965 to £8,125


ISI Boarding Inspection 2012
ISI Inspection 2014
Exam Results

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mr Tom Lawson MA (Oxon)

Contact for enquiries: Ms Eloise Cheary, Director of Admissions

Eastbourne College
Old Wish Road
East Sussex
BN21 4JX

[t]: 01323 452323
[f]: 01323 452307
[w]: www.eastbourne-college.co.uk

Location Description

The College is situated on the edge of Eastbourne’s town centre, minutes from the sea and the glorious South Downs and a five minute walk to the station, with its main-line trains to London Victoria.

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School News

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

One hundred and eighteen Year 11 pupils at Eastbourne College received their GCSE results today with nearly 60 per cent of grades awarded 9, 8

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or 7 (equivalent to the former A* or A) and 35 per cent of grades 9 or 8.

Seventy pupils achieved five or more 9 to 7 grades, the equivalent of at least half of their grades being awarded A* or A under the old system.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects shone once again. In the sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), over 80 per cent of grades were awarded 9 to 7. In Maths, almost 60 per cent of the grades were awarded 9 to 7.

Twenty four Year 10 pupils took their maths GCSE a year early, with 21 achieving grades 9 or 8.

Art, Greek, History, Latin, Modern Foreign Languages (French, German, Spanish), Music and Physical Education all performed strongly, the most common grade in these subjects being a 9, 8 or 7.

Seventeen pupils achieved eight or more 9, 8 or A* grades, with leading performers: Tianlu Wang gaining eleven 9, one 8 and an A* in Chinese, Tom Meek gaining nine 9 and two 8, Rebekah Agunede awarded eight 9 and two 8, and Oliver van Noort achieving seven 9 and four 8.

Other outstanding performances came from Louis Loubser, Arnold Shum and Natasha Symes who all achieved seven or more GCSEs at grade 9, and Ben Scanlan who was awarded ten 9 to 8 grades and two 7.

The College also saw a rise in elite performers this year with 35 pupils (roughly 30 per cent of the year group) achieving eight or more 9 to 7 grades.

Headmaster Tom Lawson was delighted with the upturn in results after a solid set of results in previous years,

‘I am delighted by the performance of our pupils at GCSE this year, with our best ever results in the reformed exams. The large number of outstanding grades, as well as strong value added for pupils across the ability range, is a testament to the hard work of teachers and pupils.’

A* for academic at Eastbourne College (A-level results)

Yet another set of healthy A-level results and some very happy Year 13 (Upper Sixth) pupils today as Eastbourne College continues its quest to combine

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academic success with character building.

Building upon its recent ranking among the top 4 per cent of schools nationally for value added (pupils achieving above expectation) the overall pass rate was 99.7 per cent, with almost 40 per cent of grades awarded A* or A.

Over one in five pupils achieved a clean sweep of A* and A grades, or the Cambridge Pre-U equivalent; another gold-standard qualification offered by the most academically ambitious schools.

Other headline results include:

• Close to three quarters of all grades were A*, A or B

• Close to 90 per cent of all grades were A*-C

Results in maths, the sciences, modern languages and the creative arts continue to be beacons of excellence, with 100 per cent A* to B grades in key facilitating subjects. Once again, the majority of pupils achieved A-level grades that enabled them to access top courses at the leading universities at home or abroad.

Sixth formers gave their heart and soul once again and there were outstanding individual performances from Abigail Thompson, Bill Cao, Eleanor Long, Ian Chee and Remus Gong who each gained three A*s among their A-level grades.

‘Improved results this year demonstrate the College going from strength to strength. Our inclusive approach leads to pupils fulfilling their potential in exams while having enjoyed a diverse and successful wider school life’, delighted headmaster Tom Lawson enthused.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

Dame Katherine Grainger took time out of her busy schedule as chair of UK Sport to tour Eastbourne College’s newest facilities, talk with pupils and

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converse with representatives involved in realising the College’s bold Project 150 vision.

With five Olympic medals, Dame Katherine is Great Britain’s most decorated female Olympian. She is a 2012 Summer Olympics gold medallist, four-time Olympic silver medallist and six-time World Champion. Dame Katherine Grainger captured the hearts of the British public during the London 2012 Olympics when she won a convincing gold in the double, partnered by Anna Watkins. The pairing had previously broken the Olympic record during the semi-final heats with a time of 06:44.330, one that has stood ever since. She is currently backing the Telegraph’s ‘Girls, Inspired’ campaign, is working on the possibility of another London Olympics in 2036 and aims to create a legacy that will see sport enshrined in British culture forever.

The inception of the Project 150 dream sprang from the idea that the College needed to build for the future. By combining 20 years’ worth of development into four years, the College could help secure its position as a sector-leading education provider for many years to come. Over 1000 generous and kind-hearted donors helped to raise the necessary funds for the redevelopment which is proving to be a winner with the parents, pupils and staff.

Lending her oar of approval to the project’s bold architecture (courtesy of Miller Bourne architects), Dame Katherine began her visit with a tour of the school’s new Winn and Nugee buildings. Led by Aimee Helyar and Joe Pocklington, the current head girl and head boy, the tour gave Dame Katherine a taste of how the redesigned campus has transformed the learning environment for the whole school community.

The first stop on the tour was the new dance studio where she met artist Jessica Lambinet, the French designer behind the College’s most recent installation, two award-winning stained glass windows, produced in Paris and inspired by Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man.

Next up was a visit to the College’s new sports facilities which Dame Katherine was very keen to see. She was clearly impressed that all pupils can use the new facilities, not just the top teams and rapt over the College’s expansive and inclusive physical activity programme.

Viewing the top-spec fitness centre overlooking the new Olympic-grade 25 metre swimming pool, Dame Katherine must have been reminded of the many sacrifices she made on her road to Olympic glory, and the many hours spent on rowing ergos.

The large multi-sport sports hall, built to Sport England standards, also tied-in with Dame Katherine’s vision, as it provides adaptable space opening up myriad opportunities for pupils to sample different sports and physical activity.

Moving on to the Nugee building, which has brought 32 new classrooms and bright exhibition spaces to the College, Dame Katherine visited pupils working diligently on their mathematical problems before moving on to the new pavilion building where a Model United Nations class was in session.

Just before lunch, Dame Katherine took the opportunity to address pupils of the College and St Andrew’s Prep. The pupils were captivated from the outset as she spoke about her sister having to deal with unkindness when they were growing up which was her inspiration to make a positive change to the world. Dame Katherine studied Law at Edinburgh University where she had to be persuaded three times to try rowing. She described her disappointment when she didn’t make the top 16 squad out of 52 women and how, although upsetting, it only drove her to pursue her passion further.

The Olympian said that the path to success is often paved with difficulty and set-backs and recounted the time she was beaten to silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, despite being tipped to win.

Dame Katherine then turned to the awe-inspiring nature of the Olympic Games, painting a wonderful picture with her words about the 2000 Sydney Olympics and the emotional impact of Cathy Freeman lighting the Olympic flame that was to unite the Australian nation, and later her gold medal 400m run in front of over 110,000 spectators at Stadium Australia.

Concluding her address, she urged the pupils to be open to new ideas and said that it was important for them to take every opportunity they get and nurture it.

After the talk, Dame Katherine unveiled a plaque outside the Winn building to officially open Eastbourne College’s spectacular Project 150. Joining Dame Katherine at the final unveiling were the team behind Project 150, including headmaster Tom Lawson, chair of governors Philip Broadley, key donors such as David Winn OBE, MP Steven Lloyd, the Mayor, Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex and the CEO of Eastbourne Borough Council.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

The first round of the Independent Schools Golf Association national finals took place at Princes Golf Club, Kent, under variable conditions. George, Toby and Will

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represented the College among the best golfing schools and academies in the country.

They received their trophy for winning the area round, reached the finals and enjoyed two rounds in very contrasting conditions. On the Sunday they played at Princes Golf Club in a stiff wind and wet conditions, followed by round two at The Open 2020 and world famous Royal St George’s in the best conditions possible, much to the relief of the team.

After day one and with two of three scores counting, George and Will’s scores put them just under mid table. Day two provided ideal scoring conditions and George almost shot a level par round with the final putt, but finished with an impressive one over par round. Equally impressive, Toby came in with a great round +2, having been +4 early on, to give the team a combined +3 score and edge their way towards 11th overall, with just 5 shots separating 6th and 12th positions. A great achievement on the College’s first outing in a golf national final. With such a young team, there is a promising future ahead and with this valuable experience and some fortune hopefully they can reach the finals again next year.

Despite being in Year 10 and 11, all three pupils are part of their respective U18 county squads, having been spotted during junior qualifying events in the past few years.

Toby, who plays off a 4.5 handicap and hopes for a gold scholarship to a division one golf college in America one day, praises the county set-up, ‘Kent squad members get quality coaching and course management lessons.’ He is not a stranger to Royal St George’s either, ‘my best round last year was -1 at Lewes and a level-par at Royal St Georges Golf Club. I came down a total of 6 (handicap) shots since the start of 2017.’

George, whose family nurtured his early interest in the game out on the manicured courses of the Algarve, Portugal, praises Russel Evans and Rick Simpson for their coaching and management, ‘we get individual and squad training sessions as well as collaboration between our personal coaches and the club coaches, so we get the best of both worlds. We also get access to golf data-lab to track our scores and discover our weaknesses.’

Will, the youngest of the team, is keen to show his older counterparts he can keep up, ‘I play twice a week at weekends but I will practice all day when I can and fit in games whenever I do not have school.’

Training for up to six hours a week around a busy schedule of schoolwork is tricky but mostly handled at the weekend in their own time. Congratulations to the College’s golf team and good luck for the rest of the season.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

Just a few weeks ago, we were congratulating him about his selection for the Welsh U18 training squad, and now Theo Bevacqua comes on as

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loose-head prop to secure his first international cap for Wales U18s and victory over France.

The U18 international match, a warm up for their upcoming Six Nations tournament, was an emotive occasion, made more so by the fact that the venue was Cardiff Arms Park. The day before, crowds of around 50,000 (and millions around the world televised) bore witness to a thundering Welsh performance that won them the Grand Slam, after thrashing Ireland 25 – 7 in their finale of the Six Nations. Warren Gatland, in his 50th and final Six Nations, became the first coach in the history of the tournament to win three Slams.

The Welsh Women’s side also added to the Cardiff Arms Park home achievements, as they notched up a great victory over Ireland the next day; with back-to-back Welsh victories, it was up to the Welsh U18s to make it a hat-trick on Sunday.

The U18s got off to a shaky start and France were strong and decisive, capitalising on a Welsh sin-bin incident and some poor lineout organization. At half time Chris Horsman’s Welsh side found themselves 0 – 15 down. The second half told a different story as Wales began their comeback with tries from the off. As Wales drew level, Horsman took the decision to roll out his replacements, including Theo, who instantly made an impact coming on as loose-head prop. Demonstrating great character, levelheadedness and maturity, Theo helped the Welsh side fight back against a clinical French pack and the free-flowing flare of the three quarters and back line. Then the tables turned for good. Following another converted try, Les Blues were reduced to 14 men after one of their players was yellow-carded. Wales took the advantage, creating three more tries in the dying minutes of the game, taking the win and a momentous hat-trick for the Celtic nation; final score Wales 31 – 22 France.

Huge congratulations to Theo for his first international cap and the win. We wish him and the Welsh team the best of luck in the upcoming U18 Six Nations tournament.

Photo: Theo with his first international cap for Wales

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

On Sunday 24 March, the girls of School House took on their biggest charity challenge yet, and embarked on a 26-mile walk along the beautiful

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Sussex coast, from Eastbourne Pier to Brighton Pier.

All School House girls and members of staff walked from Eastbourne Pier to Brighton Pier in a huge charity walk to raise money for Plan International, who promote girls’ education worldwide, Bone Cancer Research Trust and Eastbourne Networx, a local charity that supports refugees. The girls also used the ‘Pier-to-Pier’ concept to raise awareness of the dangers of peer-on-peer abuse which harms the lives of many young people.

Such was the length of the walk, many of the fitness trackers that staff and pupils wore simply ran out of battery but one or two did survive, notching up some impressive statistics.

557 minutes spent walking (the last to finish did so in a little under 12 hours)


4,127 calories burned

67, 263 steps and 267 floors climbed

The group set off early to glorious weather, starting with the highest hill towards Beachy Head and over to the magnificent Seven Sisters and along the coast to Brighton. At Cuckmere, they encountered an unavoidable path which was flooded up to knee height in places but they pressed on despite wet feet.

Thirty-three girls made it to the end, and all girls surpassed all expectations, taking themselves way beyond what they thought they were capable of. They were full of high spirits despite the aches, pains and many blisters that developed along the way. It was a fantastic community effort.

Many thanks to the parents that came to support the girls, the minibus drivers that provided food and dry socks along the way, and the staff who led the route.

The girls set up a fundraising page and have raised over £4500 for their chosen charities. Well done to all who took part and thank you to all of those who have donated.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

On Sunday, competitors at the United Kingdom Windsurfing Association (UKWA) Cup Championships needed all of their wits about them as light winds made for tricky

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sailing conditions; Eastbourne College’s Sam Williams sailed through equipment issues.

Sam Williams was in action this weekend at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Portland Harbour near Chesil Beach, Dorset. Eastbourne born and bred, Sam attends Eastbourne College sixth form where he fits his elite windsurfing commitments around a busy and varied academic schedule.

The competition was the UKWA Cup Championships round one event for 2019, and light winds made it quite a physical battle for the windsurfers. Sam sailed very well, gaining several second and third places in each race. However, he also had some unfortunate equipment issues which dropped him to fourth in the final rankings.

The racers were treated to the harbour dolphin making a guest appearance jumping between many of the competitors.

This competition was the secondary indicator for the RYA Youth GBR squad to go to the World Championships in Russia later this year. The primary indicator for the World championships is next month in Palma, Majorca for the week-long European Championships, which Sam has qualified for as part of the British Youth Squad.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

The Oxford Union represents what former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan hailed as the ‘last bastion of free speech in the Western World.’

With a tradition of

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hosting debates and speakers as far back as 1823, a strong Eastbourne College debating Society grasped the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of some of the most eminent speakers and shapers of the world narrative (Prof John Lennox, John Kerry, Morgan Freeman, Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, Sir Malcolm Rifkind), with two pupils progressing to the national finals.

Four College teams travelled to the Oxford Schools Regional Debate Competition on Thursday 7 February, accompanied by the College’s Debater in Residence. The team was formed by Abby, Harry, Johnson, Max, Oliver, Olivia, Raul and Yeouw. Congratulations to Abby and Harry who have advanced to the Oxford Finals.

Run by the Oxford Union, this is the biggest debating competition in the UK. Aimed at students aged 14 to 18, the competition offers young people an excellent chance to develop their skills and confidence in public speaking, thoughtful argumentation and analytical problem solving. Set up over 20 years ago as a British Parliamentary school-level debating competition, it aims to make debating accessible to pupils. Every year, over a thousand pupils and around 350 teams are invited to participate.

The College’s Debating Society is a lively part of the school with many events planned throughout the year. Prior to the Oxford Schools competition, six teams had traveled to King’s College London to take part in a well-attended (63 teams) blind-topic event in British Parliamentary Debate style and only 15 minutes to prepare for each topic; no help from the internet allowed. Topics ranged from women in STEM, worker benefits, banning political parties and the US 2020 Presidential primary election.

We are very proud of our debating teams and of Abby and Harry who have made it to the finals day, to be held in March at the historic Oxford Union.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

One to watch, Eastbourne College’s Ben Fox continues to impress as part of the England Hockey’s U18 squad. One of the youngest competitors and having

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only recently recovered from a broken leg, he scores in semi-finals of Super Sixes at Olympic Park.

England Hockey hosted the Jaffa Super-Sixes Men’s indoor hockey finals at the Olympic Park and one of the youngest players in the tournament, Eastbourne College pupil Ben Fox (just 17 years old), played for Sevenoaks. The top eight teams had been playing off over the Christmas period to earn a place in the finals. Ben played superbly scoring one of the four goals against Surbiton in the semi-finals but alas it wasn’t quite enough to see them into the final.

Ben continues to feature prominently on the hockey scene, playing for his school’s 1st XI under the watchful and experienced eye of his coach, Director of Hockey and ex-Olympian Rob Hill. He also plays for Sevenoaks 1st XI in the highest division of domestic hockey (Premier National League) and often finds himself marking a GB player.

Rob Hill, who has 40 caps for Great Britain and helped the GB team place sixth at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, says that, ‘Ben has a great balance of positional awareness, skill, sportsmanship and teamwork. The College’s consistent record of hockey achievement is down to players like Ben and a strong, supportive coaching and pastoral framework.’

In Year 10, Ben was selected to the U16 England training squad and earned six caps at that level playing against Germany and Belgium. He continued to represent his country and now, after a year recovering from a broken leg, has retained his place again, making it into the final U18 England squad of just 25 players. He will be travelling to Lilleshall, the national sports centre over half term to play in a series against Ireland.

Selection for Sevenoaks at the Men’s Super-Sixes indoor hockey finals (and scoring under pressure) is one more step in the right direction for Ben as he balances school with elite sport commitments. We wish him all the best and give him and his family our full support.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

Eastbourne College had the pleasure of hosting Paralympian Joe Townsend and coach Dr Gary Brickley for a training session in their new pool.

The 25 metre

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pool, built to exacting Sport England standards and benefitting from Swiss touch-pad timing systems, was the ideal training venue for this home-grown hero.

Born in Eastbourne, Townsend is a Commonwealth Champion, former Royal Marine Commando, Ironman UK triathlete, Ironman World Champion and winner of four gold medals at the Invictus Games 2014. At London 2012, Joe carried the Paralympic Flame into the stadium starting from the Orbit Tower and falling from 350 feet in a controlled descent via a zip-wire. At Rio in 2016, he made his Paralympic debut in triathlon, securing a sixth place PT1 finish and is widely regarded as one of the best para-triathletes in the world.

Dr Gary Brickley, an expert swimmer, having swum across the English Channel in under 12 hours back in 2016, is a GBR Paralympic coach and senior lecturer at Brighton University. He has helped the likes of Sarah Storey, the most decorated female Paralympian of all time (14 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals) and makes important contributions to academia and sport through scholarly journals such as the International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching.

It was an inspiration and an honour to have Joe and Dr Brickley training alongside our own pupils, and we hope to build even stronger links in the years to come.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

Wg Cdr Donald Perrens DSO OBE DFC was 100 on 1 January, and yesterday he enjoyed a special celebratory lunch at the College as the

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guest of Headmaster Tom Lawson and his wife Jess.

He is pictured here, with the help of his daughter Pip Kirtley, blowing out the ten candles (one for each decade) on his birthday cake.

The Eastbournian Society (ES – Eastbourne College’s extended family of ex-pupils, staff and parents) were delighted to pass on a large number of cards and congratulatory emails that had been received in the ES office from Old Eastbournians and former staff worldwide.

Donald was appointed to the College staff by Headmaster John Nugee in 1939 but the Second World War intervened before he could finally take up his post in 1946. He was on the staff until 1981, during which time he ran the RAF section of the CCF before becoming commanding officer in 1954. He was also at various times head of science, housemaster of Blackwater, acting headmaster and second master in the early 1970s, as well as a coach for tennis and hockey.

In the war Donald was initially commissioned into the Suffolk Regiment in 1940 and posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force, but managed to escape on one of the last allied boats to leave Cherbourg. By November 1941 he had transferred to the Royal Air Force and, after basic flying training, went with 225 Squadron to North Africa, where he provided reconnaissance support during the Tunisian campaign.

Later the squadron moved to Sicily, then by the winter of 1944-45 he was flying Spitfires with 208 Squadron, based near Florence. During a reconnaissance mission near Bologna Donald’s plane was hit by enemy fire and he managed to crash-land in the allies’ forward defence lines, where he was dragged from the wreckage with a fractured spine and skull. After hospital treatment he returned to operational duty in March 1945, shortly before the end of the war.

Donald has been a regular visitor to the College in recent years and has been particularly interested in the Project 150 development, the culmination of many changes he has witnessed in his 80-year association with the school.

Present at the lunch and pictured here, left to right, with Donald at the front, are Col Anthony Lamb MBE DL VR, Contingent Commander of the CCF; David Stewart, Director of the Eastbournian Society; David Winn OBE (School 1954-59), President of the Eastbournian Society; Jess Lawson; Headmaster Tom Lawson; Pip Kirtley; and Forbes Wastie MBE, College staff 1961-98 and Contingent Commander of the CCF 1968-73.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

‘You can do whatever you put your mind to’ was the prevailing message this week, as England and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold winning netballer, Natalie

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Hawthornthwaite, headed to Eastbourne to inspire the next generation.

Natalie spent the day with St Andrew’s Prep and Eastbourne College pupils speaking about the dedication and hard work required to be part of a successful team, before answering questions from the girls, and then putting them through their paces in a series of masterclasses. The visit, organised by Eastbourne College’s Director of Netball, ex-England international and super league coach, Lisa Price, marked a fitting end to the College’s ‘Year of the Girl’activities with a hopeful message attached; that, with the right support, UK women’s sport can be world-beating.

To achieve gold at the Commonwealth Games is tantamount to winning an Olympic gold medal and is the highest accolade the sport currently offers. Natalie, playing in the position of wing attack, was on court when the ‘England Roses’team defeated tournament favourites Australia in the dying seconds of the final to claim gold. The iconic photograph of the elated England team, and the message it conveyed, echoed around the globe, placing UK Netball on the proverbial sporting map, just two years after the team had managed to secure £3 million worth of elite Sport England funding.

Recently named Team of the Year at the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards 2018, the Sunday Times Sports Women of the Year Awardsand the BT Sport Action Woman Awards, the BBC TV Sports Personality of the Year 2018 announced that the ‘Vitality Roses’ (their new name, having secured a three year sponsorship deal from Vitality insurance) has been shortlisted for the prestigious Team of the Year 2018 award and the Greatest Sporting Moment of 2018 award.

Headmaster of Eastbourne College, Tom Lawson, thanked Natalie for her time and insight into the world of elite UK netball, noting that,

‘So many girls have been inspired today by her presence and the message of empowerment that she brings.’

Impressed by Natalie’s positive effect on the pupils, he implored,

‘I do hope the positive vibes emanating from Team England, England Netball and the Vitality Roses, can be matched by similar vibes from Sport England, to continue funding the success story beyond 2019.’

Gareth Jones, St Andrew’s Prep Headmaster concurred and added,

‘Opportunities to hear about the benefits of team sport first-hand from a sportswoman at the very pinnacle of her game don’t come along very often. Most of us are aware of the psychological and social benefits but St Andrew’s Prep also believes the life skills gained including respect, resilience, discipline, problem-solving and humility are equally as important, as well as the sheer fun and enjoyment that sport offers.’

Photo: Eastbourne College Under 17 and Under 18 Girls

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

With a reputation for helping to develop world-famous performers such as the likes of Eddie Izzard, Ed Speelers (Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones) and

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Hugh Skinner (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), Eastbourne College Drama is a force majeure.

Eastbourne College’s School of Rock performances erupted in a blast of colour and sound as the brazen Dewey Finn took on the challenge of galvanising A-star academics into A-star rock legends!

Based on the hit movie, and faithful to the contemporary humour and vivacious musical score in the current West End production, the College’s School of Rock production followed Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who poses as a substitute teacher to earn some extra cash.

Buzzing with energy the tunes kept on coming, from the slow and lyrical to the full-on rock riffs. Fusing the talents of all the year groups, the cast were a delight to watch as they dared to defy the system and try to win the ‘Battle of the Bands’. Backed by a full rock band and looking the part, the pupils were extraordinarily dynamic and skilful in the most technical performance the College has ever attempted.

‘Two hours of absolute bliss!’ stated one audience member, while others marvelled at the level of musical ability the pupils demonstrated as they punched out live music and vocals, using lead and bass guitars, keyboards and drums to electrify the atmosphere.

The Friday and Saturday shows were performed in front of a packed-out College Theatre, which holds in excess of 250 seated, and tickets sold out to the public.

Henry Turnbull, who played the lead role of supply teacher Dewey Finn, had an amazing experience. Initially nervous about taking on such an audacious character, he portrayed Dewey with great attention to detail, projecting the extroverted American accent with panache. Henry built a great rapport with the supporting cast and pushed himself to the limits, combining a busy schedule of schoolwork, sport and rehearsals.

‘This has been the most amazing experience, one I’ll never forget’, an elated Henry commented as he walked off stage after the final performance.

Claudine Sinnett, Director of Drama at Eastbourne College and professional actor with experience in the West End and Broadway, was thrilled with the outcome and praised the cast for their hard work,

‘Directing this group has been a wonderful experience for me personally. They are some of the most talented pupils I’ve ever worked with and I’m glad that I could help them achieve such a great performance.’

She also commended the College’s Music, Dance and administrativerepresentatives (staff and pupils) who worked tirelessly,

‘adding a great deal to our ensemble with their professionalism and talent’, adding that ‘ thrives on the idea that theatre can transport us to different worlds. Worlds where everyone is allowed to express themselves creatively.’

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

Eastbourne College sixth former Oliver Williams secured a prestigious work experience placement at Williams Formula One (F1) team headquarters thanks to the endorsement of former

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College pupil, now Williams’ Senior Aerodynamicist, James Crook.

Mr Crook’s Eastbourne College journey prepared him well for work at one of the world’s leading automotive engineering firms. A music and academic scholar, Mr Crook threw himself into all manner of opportunities on offer at the College, including two prizes for Design and Technology (innovation), a McLaren F1 racing team placement, and building a ‘Locost’ sports car.

Formula One racing is often perceived as elitist and inaccessible and Oliver Williams was part of a new programme driven by Williams to reverse these perceptions. The company also offers financial bursaries and promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in schools.

Oliver’s placement was in the Formula 1 Model Shop and his week was peppered with eye-opening opportunities, including a tour of the sitea meeting with founder and Team Principle Sir Frank Williams, and a personal tour of Frank’s private collection of F1 cars.

Eastbourne College independent day and boarding school East Sussex

The annual Remembrance Day march past the Cenotaph is one of the cornerstones of British society. Watched by millions across the world, the occasion gives

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opportunity for reflection, mourning, commemoration and a moment to unite.

With one of the largest school cadet forces in the country, EastbourneCollege was honoured to be the only school selected to provide twenty cadets to participate in the Remembrance Day march past the Cenotaph on Sunday.

Tom Lawson, the school’s headmaster stated, ‘to pay our respects at the Cenotaph was a huge honour and we are proud that our pupils were given the responsibility, especially in this centenary year.’

The cadets performed admirably on the day, marching down Whitehall, laying a wreath at the Cenotaph and saluting HRH Princess Anne at Horse Guards Parade.

Back in Eastbourne, the school held their own Remembrance service and Combined Cadet Force Parade, which took place in front of the iconic Memorial Building. An address, delivered by Colonel Anthony Lamb MBE DL, focused on the less tangible effects of the colossal human sacrifice. Attention was brought to the loss felt by the families of those that did not return home, the local communities, and the ripple effect on British society as each community, and the country, began to rebuild.

The College then welcomed former Chairman of Governors, Admiral Sir Ian Forbes and Captain (retired) Andrew Jelinek, both ex-pupils and ex-servicemen, who laid wreaths which will be placed beneath stone tablets that bear the names of the 174 boys and one teacher that gave their lives in the Great War. After the service, 174 cadets each placed a small wooden cross in front of the Memorial Arch around a ‘Tommy’ silhouette (pictured).

Following the Act of Remembrance, the College unveiled a memorial to Old Eastbournian Lionel Rees VC (Victoria Cross), who earned his VC as a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps in WW1 and after whom the new dining hall has been named; a fitting end to the day’s remembrance events.

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