St Bede's School, Sussex

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For the comprehensive school in Redhill, Surrey, see St. Bede's School.
Bede's Preparatory School
St Bedes Prep School.jpg
Motto Docere et Discere
(To learn and to teach)
Established 1895
Type Preparatory school
Day and boarding
Religion Christian Inter-Denominational[1]
Headmaster Mr. Giles Entwisle
Chair Board of Governors
Founder Mrs Frances Browne
Location Dukes Drive
East Sussex
BN20 7XL [2]
DfE number 845/6011
DfE URN 114653 Tables
Students 400 [3]
Gender Coeducational
Ages 3 months–13
Houses      Eagle

Bede's Senior School, Bede's Prep School and Bede's Pre-Prep and Nursery are three schools in East Sussex in southern England which, along with the Legat School of Dance, form the St. Bede's School Trust, a charitable organisation whose aim is 'to educate'.

All three schools are independent and fee-paying. Fees can be as high as £30,000 depending on the package selected for a specific student.

While the schools are on holiday, their sites form the 'Bede's Summer School' for exchange students.

Bede's Senior School
St Bede's Sign.JPG
Established 1979
Type Independent day and boarding school
Religion Christian
Headmaster Dr. Richard Maloney[4]
Chair Major General Antony Meier CB OBE
Founder Mr P. P. Pyemont
Location Camberlot Road
East Sussex
BN27 3QH
Coordinates: 50°52′01″N 0°12′11″E / 50.867°N 0.203°E / 50.867; 0.203
DfE number 845/6006
DfE URN 114657 Tables
Staff 200
Students 911
Gender Coeducational
Ages 13–18/19
Houses Day:


The Prep School was founded in 1895 by Mrs Frances Browne, at her house in Blackwater Road, Eastbourne, as Eastbourne College Prep School. It opened with four boys and Mr D Burdett was appointed Headmaster.

In 1900 the school was acquired by Mr G Gowring who purchased a site in Dukes Drive and, at a cost of £7000 built what is still the school’s home today.

At the time of the Second World War, St Bede’s was owned by Mr and Mrs Kenneth Harding. During the War pupils were evacuated to St Edward’s Oxford, whilst the building itself was used for the essential wartime training of about 2,000 telegraphists who specialised in enemy code and cipher. St Bede’s boys moved back to Eastbourne on VE Day, 8 May 1945.

In 1964 Mr and Mrs Peter Pyemont took over the school and four years later it accepted its first girl pupil.

In 1971 it was formed into a Charitable Trust, administered by a Board of Governors.

By 1978, after growing tensions between the Prep School and Eastbourne College, and a dispute between the headmasters of each school, it was decided to split from the College and form a Senior School for pupils who wanted to continue an education steeped in the Bede’s philosophy of focus upon the individual, rather than passing on students to the exam and academic heavy College.[citation needed]

A country estate, eight miles to the north of Eastbourne, was purchased, and St Bede’s Senior School opened its doors in the village of Upper Dicker to just over 30 students.

The estate that was purchased, known to some as The Dicker, was the former of the Edwardian MP, financier and fraudster, Horatio Bottomley.

In Bottomley’s day, The Dicker boasted its own race course and stables. One of the most prominent houses in the village was the home of Bottomley’s stud manager, known as Stud House. That building still exists today, as the Sixth Form Centre and Café. This was only a recent change, as before the changes of Easter 2012 and the recent development of new boarding houses, this used to be 'Stud House', but have now been located just adjacent of the 'Multi Purpose Hall'.

As of September 2012, Bede's Senior School, Prep School and Pre-Prep and Nursery dropped the 'St.' from their titles.

Prep School[edit]

St. Bede’s Prep School is situated on the South Downs, next to the Helen Gardens in Eastbourne.

The Prep School was founded in 1895 with a roll of four boys. In 1902, it moved from its site in Blackwater Road to larger premises in the Meads area of Eastbourne, at Dukes Drive.

The school is now over 100 years old, and much has changed.

In 2009, new dining rooms, the conversion of Holywell Mount to a nursery, and new classrooms were built, and there is now a roll of around 400 pupils,[5] including both boarding and day girls and boys.[6]

Through St. Bede's Pre-Prep and Nursery, the trust now educates children from infancy up to Common Entrance exams at Year 8.[7]

It has a number of notable alumni, including Eddie Izzard and Nicky Henson.[8]

The School is also famous for its John Bodkin Adams' connection, a doctor believed to have tricked patients into adding him into their will, before poisoning them, and taking their money. The headmaster, Mr. Vaughan Tomlinson died in August 1954. His widow, Gertrude, having re-married and now Gertrude Hullett, died soon after this in mysterious circumstances on 23 July 1956. Her death led to an investigation into her doctor, John Bodkin Adams. He was tried at the Old Bailey in 1957 on two counts of murder and controversially found not guilty. Home Office pathologist Francis Camps identified 163 cases where Adams' patients died in suspicious circumstances.[9]

Senior School[edit]

St. Bede's Senior School, sometimes referred to as 'the Dicker' is a secondary, co-educational boarding school with five boarding houses and five day houses, in the village of Upper Dicker, near Hailsham, with a total of 911 pupils.[10]

The Senior School site covers around 100 acres (400,000 m2) of area and was founded in 1979 by Mr. P. P. Pyemont.

The current Headmaster is Dr Richard Maloney, who joined the school in 2009.[11]

St. Bede's Senior School offers academic scholarships based on Common Entrance or the school's own tests, interview and reference, as well as in areas such as Music, Art, Drama and Sports.

At GCSE there are over 35 subjects on offer. In the Sixth Form over 50 courses which may be A-Level, BTEC or Pre-U.

The Co-Curricular activities programme provides over 200 choices each week, and the teacher to student ratio is one to eight.

School councils[edit]

At the Prep School, a council exists of students from each year group coming together to discuss new ideas and plans for the school.

At the Senior School, there are house and school councils; subsequently the school councils are divided into 'Sub-Committees'.

Each day and boarding house has its own House Council, run by the head girl or boy of that house, which meets weekly. The Head of House, along with another elected member of the House, then takes any issues, ideas and suggestions to the Senior School Council, which is chaired by the Head of School.


Inside the modern Multi Purpose Hall at the Senior School
Views from the lake at the Senior School
One of the Boarding Houses at the Senior School, known as 'Stud'

At the Prep School, much renovation has gone on over the years since the initial purchase of the building years ago. Holywell House, which was formerly used for Year 8 and senior years, has now been completely rebuilt into a state-of-the-art nursery for infants. The Prep's senior years have moved into brand new classrooms, built on top of the new dining room, using the area which had situated the dilapidated year 1 and 2 classrooms. The Prep School also boasts new science labs which were built a few years ago, with plenty of equipment such as gas taps and electrical points for experiments. The area which had been taken up by the old dining room has also been converted into new cookery rooms, a new school shop, and a bigger dance studio.

At the Senior School the facilities have been expanded enormously from the temporary classrooms built at the school's creation. Which are slowly being replaced in the future. New boarding houses have been built with common rooms and bedrooms that are arranged in ‘flats’ ranging from singles and doubles to ‘fours’ for the younger students. Drama performances take place in the Miles Studio, which opened in 2006 by comedian Ronnie Corbett, which also houses the Legat School of Dance. The Multi Purpose Hall (MPH), opened in 2007, ensures that sport can take place whatever the weather and boasts indoor cricket nets, netball courts and badminton courts. At other times it is transformed into a concert hall for audiences of up to a thousand. It is also used regularly for school assemblies, remembrance day services, and the Inter house music competition. Inside the MPH, the indoor swimming pool is of championship size, along with a fitness centre and four squash courts. Music performances also take place in the Multi Purpose Hall, or in the Library and often outside in the Park, with the annual 'St. Bede's Rocks!' event taking place here. Outside, there is a golf course and a riding stable with its own cross-country course, as well as football, rugby and cricket pitches, and all-weather Astro that is used for hockey throughout the year. New tennis courts have also been built in previously unused land.

Co-curricular / Activities programme[edit]

Both schools offer co-curricular programmes. At the Prep, for two hours at the end of each day, students can optionally get involved in additional activities, such as Judo, Self Defence, Football, Rugby, etc. The Prep School Choirs also use activities times for rehearsals.

At the Dicker, it runs for four afternoons each week with activities including football, hockey and other popular sports as well as minority sports such as beach volleyball. There are also non-sports activities including the debating society, cookery, the School Magazine, the zoological society and many clubs, including ones for history, science and foreign languages such as Spanish and French. Many students, however, use this additional time to study, or take additional GCSE courses. Photography GCSE is an extremely popular activity choice, due to the long hours it requires. Drama rehearsals also take place in activities times.


At the Prep School, all students, both girls and boys, and boarders and day pupils, are randomly split into the houses Eagle, Falcon, Hawk and Raven, unlike at the Dicker, where girl's houses are separate to boys, and boarders are separate to day students houses. The Prep School houses system is based around section points, and houses battle it out in sports, academic quizzes and music events such as the Intersection Music Competition to become the house with the most points at the end of the year. Children are also given badges for points they have earned themselves.

At the Dicker, houses play a much more important role, with real physical buildings for each house, rather than just a points system. 'Deis', 'Dicker' and 'Knights' are the day houses for boys. 'Charleston' and 'Bloomsbury' are the day houses for girls. For boarders, the prestigious 'Camberlot'; 'Dorms' and 'Stud' are for boys, and 'Dorter' and 'Crossways' for girls. These houses are the ‘homes’ within the school for the students. The boarding houses have a Housemaster and two House Tutors who live in the houses, matrons are on duty from 7 am to 10 pm. Each student has a Tutor who is a member of the academic staff and each Tutor will have up to eight Tutees. Tutor time is scheduled into the weekly timetable and other meetings are arranged during Flexitime.

Former pupils[edit]

Alumni are known as "Old Bede's".


External links[edit]