What it’s like
Founded in 1848 by the Rev Nathaniel Woodard and the first of the Woodard
schools. It has a splendid site on a spur of the South Downs overlooking the sea
to the south and the Weald to the north. The superb grounds comprise about 550
acres and include the college farm. The main buildings – handsome examples of
the collegiate style of architecture – are grouped round two main quadrangles.
There have been many developments in recent years, including a new library,
technology centre and a dance studio. Primarily a Church of England school, but
pupils of other Christian denominations are accepted. Girls have been admitted
to the sixth form since 1971 and at 13 from 2000. The college has a magnificent
chapel and a strong tradition of choral and orchestral music. A large and
well-qualified staff allows a staff:pupil ratio of about 1:8. A broad general
education is provided. Academic standards are high and examination results very
good. Music and art are an important part of the education of all pupils and
there is also a strong drama department. A good range of sports and games is
available and there is a variety of extra-curricular activities. There is a
flourishing CCF contingent (Army and RAF sections) and a farming group which
helps to run the school farm. A particularly active social services organisation
helps the local community and also people in the Camberwell district of London.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 13–18; 488 pupils, 181 day (139 boys, 42 girls),
307 boarding (215 boys, 92 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam used.
State school entry, 3% of main intake plus 9% to sixth form. Regular intake from
own prep school, Mowden School (The Droveway, Hove BN3 6LU; tel 01273 503452).
Scholarships & bursaries 30 pa scholarships and exhibitions. A
limited number of bursaries for children of serving members of HM Forces.
Head & staff
Head Master: P M Tinniswood, in post from 1998. Educated at Charterhouse
and at Oxford University (PPE) and INSEAD (MBA). Previously Master of Magdalen
College School, Housemaster and Head of Business Studies at Marlborough. Also
Trustee Cambridge Business Studies Project Trust. Publications: Marketing
Decisions, Marketing and Production Decisions.
Teaching staff: 40 full time, 25 part time. Annual turnover 14%. Average
GCSE: In 2003, 44 pupils in fifth: 39 gained at least grade C in 8+
subjects; 3 in 5–7 subjects. Average GCSE score 65 (over 5 years).
A-levels: 89 in upper sixth: 12% passed in 4+ subjects; 78% in 3; 10% in
2 subjects. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 359.
University & college entrance 97% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course (30+% after a gap year), 9% to Oxbridge. 6% took courses in
medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 16% in science & engineering, 1% in
law, 44% in humanities & social sciences, 5% in art & design, 28% in vocational
subjects eg business studies, physiotherapy. Others typically go on to further
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 22+ AS/A-level subjects offered.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level.
25% take science A-levels; 52% arts/humanities; 15% both. Key skills integrated
into sixth form courses and activities.
Special provision: Learning support.
Languages: French, German, Italian and Spanish to GCSE, AS and A-level.
Over 50% take GCSE in more than 1 language. Regular exchanges (France, Germany
and Spain). Euro-days for fifth and sixth form to stimulate interest in Europe
and give information (careers, political institutions, etc). Work experience for
ICT: 100 networked computers for pupil use and a major expansion of the
network recently completed.
Music: Over 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams
can be taken. Some 7 musical groups including orchestras, chamber group.
Drama: Drama and theatre arts GCSE, AS and A-level offered. Some pupils
are involved in school productions and majority in house/other productions.
Art & design: On average, 15 take GCSE, 12 A-level. Pottery, photography
Sport & activities
Sport: No compulsory sports but all must take exercise. Soccer (Advent
term), hockey (Lent term) and cricket (summer) main team games for boys; hockey,
netball, lacrosse (winter) for girls. Other options: Eton fives, swimming,
cross-country, fencing, shooting, basketball, rugby, squash, tennis, water polo,
wind surfing, sailing, golf and athletics. County squash and cricket champions.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh’s
Award. CCF, community service, school service or theatre work compulsory for 3
years. Up to 30 clubs, eg astronomy, electronics, trout and salmon fishing,
Uniform: School uniform worn; more choice in upper sixth.
Houses & prefects: Prefects, head boy/girl, head of house and house
prefects, appointed after wide consultation with staff and pupils.
Religion: Attendance at religious worship compulsory on Wednesdays and
Social: Rotary debating and public-speaking jointly with other schools.
Exchanges with France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Regular expeditions to Malawi.
Pupils allowed to bring own bike to school. Meals self-service. School shop. No
tobacco allowed; alcohol only permitted in a licensed club for upper sixth.
Discipline Pupils failing to produce homework once might expect house
or teacher’s detention; Head Master’s detention on subsequent occasion; those
caught smoking cannabis on the premises are liable for expulsion after
consideration of all circumstances.
Former pupils Tim Rice; Christopher Hampton; David Hare; Tom Sharpe;
Charles Anson; Christopher Meyer; Admiral Sir Robert Woodard; Lord Browne
Wilkinson (Vice Chancellor of Royal Courts of Justice).