Sussex Downs College

Coordinates: 50°47′06″N 0°19′05″E / 50.785°N 0.318°E / 50.785; 0.318

Sussex Downs College
Sussex Downs College
Headquarters: Cross Levels Way
Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 2UF
United Kingdom
Motto "Putting Students First" [1]
Established November 2001
Ofsted number 133435
Principal Mike Hopkins
Staff 1,000
Gender Co-educational
Age 16+
Enrolment 5,000 full time; 10,000 part time
Language English
Campus Eastbourne, Lewes, Newhaven
Campus type Urban
School colour(s) Blue shades
Athletics Football, tennis, track & field
Nickname SDC
Budget £35m
Revenue £35m

Sussex Downs College is the largest further education college in East Sussex, providing education and training from foundation to degree level. The college educates almost half of the county's young people and over 8,000 adults each year at campuses in Lewes, Eastbourne and Newhaven, and in the workplace. It remained an independent college until March 2018 where it merged with Sussex Coast College to form East Sussex College Group (ESCG).

Sussex Downs College is the principal provider of work based further education and apprenticeships in these areas.


The college was established in 2001 through a merger of Lewes Tertiary College and Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology, with Park Sixth Form College added in 2003. In 2017 the college announced they were planning to merge with Sussex Coast College. Which on April 18 2018, was announced to have been completed and merged.[2]


Sussex Downs College, Eastbourne

Cross Levels Way, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 2UF

Sussex Downs College, Lewes

1 Mountfield Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2XH

Sussex Downs College, Newhaven

Training Centre, Denton Island, Newhaven, BN9 9BN


A variety of part-time and full-time courses are offered at Sussex Downs College including A levels, BTECs, apprenticeships and many work based vocational qualifications.

Students can also study at the Sports Academy, Performing Arts Academy and East Sussex Music Academy [3]

International College

Sussex Downs College offers a wide range of programmes for overseas students, with learners undertaking anything from one week courses to three years of academic study in preparation for progression to UK universities.

Student Population

4,500 full-time students under the age of 19. 10,000+ adult learners.

The College has 1,200 staff.

Academic results

In 2014 the College achieved an overall A-Level pass rate of 97%[4] with almost three quarters of students achieving higher grades of A-C.

An outstanding 55 subject areas achieved 100% pass rates.[5]


In the most recent Ofsted inspection (2017), Sussex Downs College was rated 'Requires Improvement'.

This rate from Ofsted is the same as their previous inspection where the College was rated 'Requires Improvement'. Four key areas were identified as needing to improve: effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; outcomes for learners; and the 16-19 study programmes. Teaching and Learning were heavily criticised and in particular students of GCSE Maths & English do not make adequate progress.

For the most recent reports please click on the ofsted link.[6]


Beacon status from the Learning and Skills Improvement Service.[7]

Artsmark Gold for its creative and performance arts education from Arts Council England.[8]

Awarded the Matrix Standard for advice and support services.[9]

The College is a founding member of the Collab Group of high-performing further-education institutions.[10]

The College was a founder member of The National Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills.

Member of English UK national association of accredited language centres.[11]

Achieved Investor in Careers status.[12]

Assessed under QAA UK Quality Assured scheme.[13]

Action for Inclusion working together to develop and improve education for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities in the FE sector.[14]

Notable alumni


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