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Port Isaac, Cornwall

Living in West Sussex

The glorious South Downs provide a dramatic backdrop to this geographically diverse area. The county spans 50 miles of coastline in the south and stretches north through the South Downs National Park and the High Weald (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), to the borders of rural Surrey. It is also the UK’s sunniest county and unsurprisingly many of England’s finest sparkling wines are produced here.

Proximity to London and a fast rail network make West Sussex a magnet for city workers seeking more space and a better quality of life – don’t expect much more house for your money than in the capital, though. Few counties in the UK afford the possibility of hitting the beach, hiking in gentle hills, supping in a winery, and dinner-and-a-show in London’s West End, all within the same day.

A wonderfully hybrid county, a stone’s throw from the trappings of London yet a world away in landscape and pace. Culturally diverse Crawley, quirky seaside towns Worthing and Bognor, up-market Chichester historic Petworth and Arundel - such a medley ensures the county’s down-to-earth soul. Gatwick Airport (technically in West Sussex) means you’re rarely more than 40-minutes away from jetting off somewhere more exotic and is extremely convenient for business travellers. 

Education scene in West Sussex

Local Education Authorities in West Sussex
West Sussex County Council

West Sussex boasts a comprehensive education system with nearly 40 state, non-selective, secondary schools including academies, three free schools, a few single-sex options, and well over 200 state primary schools. There are no grammar schools in the county, which does away with the 11+ entry assessment angst. Instead, the right postcode and, in some cases, regular visits to church, are your best chances of securing a place.

Two state secondary schools fall into the UK’s top ten per cent, based on recent GCSE and A level results and ten schools are rated outstanding by Ofsted at the time of writing (although The Good Schools Guide believes academic performance, alumni, and word-of-mouth can be better measures of a school). 
Only a handful of schools go up to year 13, most finish in year 11 (after GCSEs) so it’s important to research the sixth form college route, too.

State faith schools in the area tend to top the charts when it comes to academic performance and Progress 8 scores and are often oversubscribed. For these schools, it’s worth checking a school’s individual criteria regarding regular church attendance, as they can differ. 
Private schools account for 13 per cent of schools in the county, and there’s a variety to suit geography, budget and education style.

Looking for the best schools in West Sussex? Our education consultants can help

The Good School Guide’s experienced and knowledgeable team of consultants work closely with you to find the best fit for your child, be it a boarding, day, private, state or special educational needs school. If you’d like to find out more or if you would like to engage our help, please get in touch. Read about our education consultancy services or contact us at [email protected] 

Your experience of education in West Sussex

We scour the county to find the best schools across all sectors of education, but we also rely on parents and teachers to keep us on our toes and up to date with the local education scene. If you have your ear to the ground on the West Sussex education front, we’d love to hear from you - [email protected]

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