Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Priory School, Lewes

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Mr Anthony Smith



Mixed-sex education

Foundation school

114598 Tables

+44 1273 476231

Number of students

Mountfield Road Lewes East Sussex BN7 2XN England

Mountfield Road, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2XN, United Kingdom

Local authority
East Sussex County Council

Lewes Old Grammar School, Seaford Head School, Ringmer Community College, Chailey School, Varndean School


Priory School is a British co-educational secondary school for 11- to 16-year-olds located on Mountfield Road in the East Sussex town of Lewes.



Priory School was originally formed in 1969 when the Lewes County Grammar School for Girls, the Lewes County Grammar School for Boys and the Lewes Secondary Modern School were amalgamated to form a comprehensive school called Priory School. At this point, although the school was comprehensive for children who lived within the town of Lewes, it was also open to children from the surrounding towns and villages who had passed the 11 plus. During this period there was also academic streaming: the names of the streamed groups were based on the letters of the word MOUNTFIELD.

In its early years (from 1969 until around 1980) the school was in three separate locations: the former Girls Grammar School buildings in Potter's Lane housed the Lower School (ages 12–13), while on Mountfield Road the Secondary Modern buildings housed the Middle School (ages 14–15), with the Upper School (ages 16–18) in the former Boys Grammar. Later, in the early 1990s, the school was split into a Sixth Form College (16-19) and the separate Priory School (11-16) on the Mountfield Road site.


Priory School then became centred on the site of the former Secondary Modern School and new buildings have since been added. The adjacent buildings formerly used by the County Grammar School for Boys and by the Sixth Form College have become part of the Sussex Downs College (Higher Education). The Chapel, of the former Boys Grammar School, was retained by the Priory School. This chapel was built after World War II to commemorate the boys from the school who fought in the war. Next to it is the Music Block, which was rebuilt in 2008 in place of the old temporary one. The new block features improved disabled access, but thin walls and a void beneath the floor make it a rather difficult environment for music lessons.

In 1991, the new revised version of Priory School opened boasting a new wing — the "South Block" — and a heavily refurbished main building. The latter was the home of Lewes Secondary Modern School until 1969, sporting a distinctive copper plated clock tower. The main building included new science labs, a library and design technology rooms, built in anticipation of design technology being in the National Curriculum. The South Block hosts, on the ground floor, the Art, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, and English classrooms and on the first floor the Humanities classrooms. The Performing Arts Block was built recently next to the Main Hall.

The nearby Leisure Centre is used for indoor sports and the nearby Convent Fields, the Cricket Nets and the Tennis Courts, for outdoor ones. Between the South Block and the Main Building is a playground called The Quad. The tarmac playground continues until the chapel but there are large muddy and grassy areas surrounding it.


Priory School has a strong tradition of amateur drama that it inherited from the Grammar Schools. The Head of History, Jim Butt and co-writer Colin Burgess wrote an entire musical about the life of local World War I soldier, Private Rupert Freeman, called "In the Pink". The pupils are divided into four "houses" named Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Each pupil is allocated to a house and the houses compete collectively in sport and other activities.

Priory has been awarded Arts and Language College statuses, specializing in these areas with increased funding. The three modern foreign languages taught are Spanish, French and German. There is also a Chinese club. These four languages are represented by the flags of their home countries (along with the Union Flag) outside the entrance of the school. The school will sit, but not teach, an Italian GCSE.

A number of pupils have gone on to make careers in the arts. Eric Goulden, Pete Thomas, Hugh Harris and Tom (Keith) Morley, made their names in the music business. Graeme K Talboys has had a number of books published.


The current Priory School uniform is:a navy blue blazer, mid-grey pullover, blue and silver striped tie, mid-grey trousers or skirt, a long sleeved shirt and plain black school shoes.

Present day

At the beginning of the academic year September 2009, a new arrangement for the school day was put into practice consisting of five lesson periods, with half an hour of tutor time per day. The lunch times have been altered to create three lunch sittings. Which lunch a student may be sitting varies from day to day. Each lesson lasts 60 minutes. Break time is 15 minutes long and lunch is 30 minutes. Between these three there are gaps of 5 minutes to give students time to get around.

Priory alumni commonly progress to further education courses at the close by Sussex Downs College, or BHASVIC, Varndean and City Colleges in Brighton. The current Headteacher is Mr. Anthony Smith, who replaced outgoing headteacher Mr Martyn Ofield in September 2010.


In 1960 a chapel, designed by Sir Edward Maufe, was built to honour the boys from the Lewes County Grammar School for Boys who died in World War II. Their names are shown on the walls of the vestibule, with the Latin motto "Dare Nec Computare" above the door, translating as "To give and not to count the cost".

Notable former pupils

  • Eric Goulden, musician
  • Alex Hughes, Church of England priest and Archdeacon of Cambridge
  • Tim Loughton, Member of Parliament for East Worthing and Shoreham
  • Piers Morgan, Journalist
  • David Rutley, Member of Parliament for Macclesfield
  • Ronald Smith, musician
  • Graeme K Talboys, writer
  • Pete Thomas, musician
  • References

    Priory School, Lewes Wikipedia

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