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Lancing College
Lancing College
Lancing College
Lancing College
top 200
Lancing College Lancing, West Sussex Visit
Lancing College
603 pupils, ages 13-18
Day and Boarding

Lancing College

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Our view

From the beautiful architecture and grounds to the pupils striding purposefully across quads on their way to lessons, Lancing College seems to have the playbook of an Oxford college. But while the environment feels awe-inspiring, it’s also refreshingly unflashy, with no sense of entitlement or privilege, just the love of learning, working hard and being part of a supportive community underpinning its solid foundation. It's an impressive school that surprisingly flies under the radar – but we suspect that won’t be the case for long.

Where is Lancing College?

High up in the South Downs, Lancing sits on a stunning, collegiate hilltop campus with gorgeous views over the Sussex countryside in one direction and the English Channel in the other. Approached by a bucolic winding lane, the magnificent neo-gothic Lancing College chapel (the largest school chapel in the world, no less) is the first thing you notice, and it really takes your breath away – legend has it that the architect died before seeing the completion of his masterpiece, so intent was he to put perfection before conclusion.

While it can feel a little windswept and bleak at times, the school has everything pupils need on-site, with playing fields stretching in all directions as far as the eye can see, then valleys and grassland rolling down towards the south coast. A new café is in the works while the old one is being refurbished to become a dedicated sixth form centre. Co-curricular facilities are good, and include an onsite pool and equestrian centre where pupils can stable their own horses.

Day pupils can use the extensive school minibus service, which covers routes towards Horsham, Chichester and Lewes. Extra routes from Cobham and Guildford are laid on at exeats and the start and end of each term. Brighton and Worthing are both within easy reach, while Gatwick airport is a 40-minute drive away (the school runs a shuttle bus to and from the airport at the start and end of each term).

Headmaster at Lancing College

Headmaster Dominic Oliver joined Lancing College from Bedales in 2014 (before that, he was head of the English department at Malvern). We’re big fans: he’s got a nicely relaxed and friendly approach to being a head, and is very popular with pupils and parents. His hands-on approach sees him getting very involved in the admissions process and actively getting to know all the new starters – they’re all invited to a September barbecue at the beginning of the year and he also takes all Year 9 pupils for debating classes. He’s passionate about pupils’ voices being heard and doesn’t shirk from tabling debates about school rules – which on occasions persuasive arguments have made him rethink and change.

Mr Oliver has admirable ambitions for the school: he’d like to make Lancing net carbon neutral, as well as expand the bursary provision in order to open up the school to all, regardless of means. The former is proving challenging due to most of the buildings being listed, but undeterred he’s currently exploring a plan that he wouldn’t be drawn on except to say it’s exciting and involves the estate’s land. ‘Watch this space,’ he told us.

Admissions at Lancing College

The main entrance points are Years 9, 10 and 12 – all of which are almost always oversubscribed. At 13+, a significant number move up from Lancing’s affiliated prep schools in Worthing and Hove; external applicants need to put their names down by Year 5, and the growing popularity of the school means if you’re not quick off the mark, you’ll miss out. The school is selective, and entrance is via its own entrance test which is a similar format to ISEB taken in the autumn of Year 6. Assessment days involve collaborations and conundrums and while there is an academic focus, Mr Oliver stresses they are also looking for pupils with ‘human qualities, kindness and those with an ethical edge’. He describes the school as ‘marvellously exhausting’ and getting stuck in is a prerequisite, so admissions isn’t all about high scores on tests.

At 16+ the school takes another 45-50 stonkingly strong students (a sizeable majority are girls arriving from single-sex day schools). Sixth form places are in high demand – there’s a ratio of more than three students applying for every available spot.

Academics and destinations

Pupils all bring different strengths to the table. While the more academic are stretched, there is plenty of support for those who need it and Lancing really is a school for the full range of abilities – we were really struck by all the pupils’ can-do mentality.

Results are rising, and there’s a fantastic mix of subjects for pupils to pick from at both GCSE and, in particular, A-level. Pupils have a choice of A-levels or BTECs in business and sport – the latter are chosen because the courses are excellent and they’re highly regarded by universities that offer those subjects, such as Loughborough and Bath.

All the pupils get thorough academic preparation for the best universities. We’re hugely impressed with the level of further-education and careers support here, provided via Lancing’s dedicated ‘My Futures’ programme, which gives pupils access to everything from one-to-one coaching to careers fairs and networking opportunities with former students and pupils from a wide range of professions. There’s also extensive support with CV writing and mock interviews, plus a dedicated head of Oxbridge admissions and staff on hand who specialise in entry into overseas universities. There’s even a medical programme for those with their eye on a place at medical school, which acts as a major pull, and lots of advice on apprenticeships and alternative career paths.

Popular destinations include Durham, UCL, Bath and Exeter, but there’s no set route for these leavers – last year’s highlights include spots at acting school and Royal Holloway to study video games art and design.

Co-curricular at Lancing College

Sport is part of the curriculum for all, the whole way up to the U6 – and with acres of pitches on site, there’s plenty for pupils to get stuck into. The main sports are football (for both boys and girls), hockey, netball, tennis and swimming (an incredible elite programme produces national and international-level athletes); riding at the equestrian centre; not to mention a developing reputation in women’s cricket. Note there’s no rugby. Other options include water polo, squash, cross-country, fencing, fishing and sailing, as well as co-ed dance, badminton and golf.

Music here centres around the blockbuster chapel (there’s space for 1,100 at a squeeze), with sung Eucharist each week. The chapel choir has sung in the likes of Chichester Cathedral and St George’s Chapel at Windsor, and a huge team of peripatetic teachers offer lessons in pretty much every instrument under the sun. There are also orchestras, bands and ensembles galore, plus heaps of concerts, recitals and opera trips.

The drama department produces plays and at least one musical every year, plus playwriting competitions and student-led workshops. The lovely open-air theatre was opened by Agatha Christie in 1960 and a play is performed every summer term.

The art department is housed in one of the nicest buildings on campus (with blockbuster views of the Downs) and has a very enthusiastic head at the helm who adapts the course to suit the strengths and interests of each cohort – there is currently a strong group of students interested in studying architecture and there’s talk of introducing A-level history of art.

Two hours a day are ringfenced for clubs, activities and societies, with over 130 for pupils to choose from including CCF, shooting, foraging and roller skating. Pupils are encouraged to mix it up and try options outside of their comfort zone. The Year 9s have a carousel afternoon once a week where they try out lots of different activities. The pupils also get a say in bringing in new clubs – one girl wanted to try boxing so one of the sports teachers took her for special classes.

A big shout-out to Lancing’s very own farm too – students can muck in and take part in all the tasks, even helping to deliver lambs (which, in turn, has inspired a fair few pupils to go on to study veterinary medicine). The farm’s land plays a big part in the school’s sustainability efforts: a large part of the land is set to be re-wilded and turned into a wildflower meadow to help offset the school’s carbon footprint.


Around two-thirds of pupils opt into boarding, choosing between full or flexi. Full boarders are allowed home at weekends; flexis are able to upgrade; and day pupils can even book in for the occasional overnight – if an activity or rehearsal overruns beyond 9pm they can stay over at no extra cost. There are seven boarding and three day houses in total: four boys’ boarding; three girls’ boarding; one boys’ day house; one girls’ day house and one co-ed day house (an increasingly popular option). They’re all situated on site and close to the main college building, which makes getting around a breeze. Pupils share a room with two or three others until they reach Year 11, when they move to their own single bedrooms. We had a recent snoop round two girls’ houses which were both homely and comfortable – one had breath-taking views of the South Downs and a lovely huge common room.

Nearly all staff live on campus, creating a unique community feel. At weekends, there are sometimes up to 300 pupils in school, and there is certainly enough going on to keep those who stay entertained. There are lessons on Saturday mornings, then the afternoons are dedicated to sport – Sundays are reserved for studying, activities and downtime. The younger years can book trips to the local leisure centre, while older pupils are allowed to walk into Shoreham or get a train to Brighton.

Day pupils regularly stay for evening school and supper. All meals are taken in the stunning, panelled dining room, which makes for a cosy, family environment, and the food, we were told, is great, with many ingredients sourced locally, including from the school farm.

Lancing school community

Pastoral care is taken seriously here, with an onsite chaplain and counsellor supported by a solid house system and network of tutors. Every year, sixth formers are trained up as peer supporters, and there’s a special PSHE programme for parents and pupils. Sixth formers also choose a tutor to stay with them for their final two years, supporting them pastorally as well as academically. The school chapel is a focal point of life here – weekly services are attended by all, regardless of faith, and there is also a prayer room for pupils who are Muslim.

Pupils come from 45 different countries and there are 40 different languages spoken, making up a diverse community of backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. Mr Oliver wants the Lancing community to be tolerant and outward-looking – an ethos that neatly sums up the atmosphere of the school.

Pupils we spoke to said they feel very supported by staff and friends; there are lots of friendships between year groups, which add to the school’s family feel. There’s also a strong alumni network, known as the 'The OL Club', with former pupils regularly popping back for mentoring and careers talks.

And finally...

There’s a very special atmosphere at Lancing where pupils and staff have strong bonds and their motto – ‘Be inspired. Be brilliant. Be you.’ – isn’t just a catchy slogan. You really see it at work here.

Gallery See All

swimmers in the pool wearing Lancing swim caps with red lane dividers in the water
Boys gathered around looking at a map on a track in the countryside
Boy in blue and white shorts and top playing tennis with an orange racket
Girl with her hair in a red ribbon playing the violin
Aeriel view of Lancing College
Pupils walking done a path with flowers in front of a large stone archway
Drama production of Anything Goes on a ship with life saving rings
Girls playing netball wearing pink and yellow bibs
Girls in safety goggles and white lab coats conducting a science experiment
Blond haired boy in a navy blazer and white shirt putting his hand up in class
Pupils in smart suits walking down some steps in front of a clock
Girls in light brown shirts with fabric badges on the arms and striped neck ties
  • Academic results

    GCSE results
    A level results
    Download results as PDF
  • Subjects offered


    Art & Design
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Physical Education
    English as an Additional Language
    Design & Technology - Engineering

    A Level

    Art & Design
    Classical Civilisation
    Computer Science
    Design and Technology
    Drama and Theatre Studies
    English Language
    English Literature
    Further Mathematics
    Physical Education
  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £10,150
    Year 10£10,150
    Year 11£10,150
    Year 12£10,150
    Year 13£10,150
    Boarding fees per term

    Year 7-
    Year 8 -
    Year 9 £14,850
    Year 10 £14,850
    Year 11£14,850
    Year 12£14,850
    Year 13£14,850

    Bursaries and scholarships are funded from within the school and – in the case of transformational bursaries – are augmented by the Foundation, funded by donations from across the Lancing community. Means-tested financial assistance ranges from 5 to 100 per cent remission of fees, and bursary awards are available to those who meet the general entry requirements and are in receipt of a scholarship award. There is no set financial threshold but the extent of any award is based on a number of factors, including family income, investments and savings and family circumstances. Transformational bursaries cover up to 110 per cent of fees and are awarded to young people in Year 9 and 12 from challenging backgrounds.

    Bursary contact:
    Director of Admissions Maggie Roberts
  • SEND

  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Shoreham-by-Sea
    Journey time to London by train: 84 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Gatwick (33 miles)

  • FAQs

    Was Lancing College used in Harry Potter?
    No – although there has been much talk of Lancing making an appearance. Areas near the school did feature in the films, including Seven Sisters near Eastbourne and another location in Sussex.

    What did Lancing College used to be called?
    Founded by Nathaniel Woodard in 1848, Lancing College used to be known as The College of St Mary and St Nicolas, originally intended for sons of rich businessmen.   

    What religion is Lancing College?
    The Eucharist has always been the focus of worship in the chapel, and whilst religion is not heavily referred to throughout the school, Lancing officially follows the Anglican tradition.

School Updates

  • Lancing College celebrates 175th Anniversary with a magnificent concert at Southwark Cathedral

    Music has always played a significant role in Lancing College’s past anniversaries and in this 175th year the tradition continues. On 13 March 2024, current and former parents, OLs, staff and pupils gathered at Southwark Cathedral for a magnificent celebratory concert.
    Lancing College celebrates 175th Anniversary with a magnificent concert  at Southwark Cathedral
  • Independent and Official: Lancing College’s pastoral provision a Significant Strength

    Lancing College was inspected under the Independent Schools Inspectorate’s (ISI) new framework, which came into effect in September 2023.
    Independent and Official: Lancing College’s pastoral provision a  Significant Strength
  • Schools unite to perform local Folk Opera at Lancing College Chapel

    This April, 180 local Sussex school children unite with musicians from the Yehudi Menuhin School, Bernardi Music Group String Academy and Lancing College Choir alongside professional Opera soloists for a musical spectacular presented by Sing with Strings and performed at Lancing College Chapel.
    Schools unite to perform local Folk Opera at Lancing College Chapel
  • 111th Anniversary Celebration of Field's House

    111th Anniversary Celebration of Field's House
  • Lancing College Choir Perform at Hampton Court Palace

    On 12 October, the Lancing College Choir swanned up to London to perform at Hampton Court Palace. Chorister and Upper Sixth Former, Hannah C (Manor House), recounts her experience in the article below.
    Lancing College Choir Perform at Hampton Court Palace
  • Metacognition Prize Winners and Lancing Diploma Gold Awards

    Metacognition Prize Winners and Lancing Diploma Gold Awards
  • Student Scientists visit New Science Live in London

    On Monday, 9 October a group of Fifth Formers made their way to the ExCel Centre at Canary Wharf in London for the New Scientist Live Exhibition. Izzy B (Sankey's House) writes about her experience below.
    Student Scientists visit New Science Live in London
  • Lancing College GCSE Results 2023

    Lancing College has had another year of excellent GCSE results. Over 80% of grades scored were at A*-B equivalent with a 97% Grade 9 to 4 success rate and 56% of grades awarded in the Grade 9-7 band, the best in recent memory.
    Lancing College GCSE Results 2023
  • Best Results in 10 Years for Lancing College Sixth Form Leavers

    Lancing College A Level students achieve the best results in 10 years in a year when students across the country sat high stakes public examinations for the first time ever. There was much anticipation of how this return to the 2019 regime would impact results nationally and individually.
    Best Results in 10 Years for Lancing College Sixth Form Leavers
  • Sports Awards Dinner 2023

    Sports Awards Dinner 2023
  • Junior Scholars Symposium

    Junior Scholars Symposium
  • OLs Make Finals of Sussex Young Musician Competition

    We are thrilled to announce that two former students, Kitty Casey (Saints’ House, 2017 – 2019) and James Edgeler (Head’s House, 2011 – 2016), have both reached the finals of the Sussex Young Musicians Competition.
    OLs Make Finals of Sussex Young Musician Competition
  • OLs Return as University Ambassadors

    OLs Return as University Ambassadors
  • Read the Latest Edition of the Lancing Geographer Journal

    Read the Latest Edition of the Lancing Geographer Journal
  • Students and Staff Rock the Chapel Lawn

    The annual Lancing College Rock Concert reverberated across the Chapel lawn.
    Students and Staff Rock the Chapel Lawn
  • Third Formers Unleash Their Inner Filmmaker

    Third Formers Unleash Their Inner Filmmaker
  • Students Consider Studying Abroad at Overseas Universities Fair

    As part of our My Future Program, which helps students prepare for and understand their different options when they leave, Lancing recently hosted an Overseas Universities Fair.
    Students Consider Studying Abroad at Overseas Universities Fair
  • Upper Sixth Pupils receive one-to-one Mock Interview Practice

    This weekend over one hundred and thirty Upper Sixth pupils participated in a morning dedicated to preparing them for the world of work.
    Upper Sixth Pupils receive one-to-one Mock Interview Practice
  • WATCH: Lancing College - Boarding

    WATCH: Lancing College - Boarding
  • Third Form Project Week

    The final week of the Lent Term sees Third Form students break out from their usual timetable to participate in Third Form Project week, an extension of their Metacognition Projects throughout the year.
    Third Form Project Week
  • Success in USA College Applications

    Lancing has yet again seen an increase in pupil applications to study in the USA and other international destinations. In the last 5 years applications have increased and now some 8-10% of pupils proceed to take up offers.
    Success in USA College Applications
  • See Lancing in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide

    See Lancing in our Senior Boarding Schools Guide
  • Weekly boarding: everything you need to know

    Weekly boarding: everything you need to know


Lancing, West Sussex BN15 0RW

01273 452213


ISI Report


Term Dates


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days Register for open Day

Year 9 Open Day
28 September 2024
Sixth Form Open Day
05 October 2024
Year 9 Open Day
12 October 2024
Year 9 Open Day
16 November 2024

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