Battle Abbey School History

1000 Years of History

The attractive town of Battle gets its name from the Battle of Hastings, which was fought between Harold, the Saxon King and William the Conqueror in 1066. This battle changed the course of English history.

The town grew up around the Abbey of St Martin which was built by William the Conqueror after the battle. Battle Abbey was built between 1070 and 1094, and the high altar is believed to have been placed on the spot where Harold fell. Today, the Abbey ruins and the battlefield are cared for by English Heritage and are well worth a visit.

The imposing Abbey Gatehouse, built circa 1338, can be seen as you look down the length of the High Street.

The Parish church of St Mary was built in Norman times and, for the most part, is 12th-Century in construction. It offers the visitor rare 14th Century wall paintings and a Norman font, amongst other things. At the Northern end of the High Street can be found the Almonry, which was built in 1090 and now houses the Town Council and the Battle Museum of Local History.

When did it all begin?

The site occupied by the Senior School, dates back to the beginning of modern British history, with commanding views over the very battle field where William the Conqueror defeated King Harold in 1066.

The Abbot’s house was built in the thirteenth century, whilst a monastery grew up around the church. A substantial part of the main school building originates from that time, the most modern addition from the 16th Century. At the time of the Reformation, many of the Abbey buildings were destroyed but the Abbot’s house passed into private hands.

St. Etheldreda’s School, from Bexhill, took over the property in 1922 and has been in continuous occupation since that date. Generations of pupils have experienced a sense of privilege at being educated in such majestic surroundings.

ln 1989 the all-girls school merged with Glengorse and Hydneye, a local prep school and, becoming coeducational, accepted pupils from kindergarten to university age. In 1995, following a merger with Charters Ancaster, the school transferred its Prep School to a new site in Bexhill, adding a Nursery, playing fields, an astro turf pitch and a magnificent indoor swimming pool to its facilities.


The Ethos and Aims of Battle Abbey School

From the Nursery through to the Abbey, we are a caring and highly regarded family school with exceptional pastoral care and sensitive discipline, accompanied by strong academic results, focusing on the importance of each individual child.

With our enviable locations, impressive and talented students, loyal and dedicated teachers, international dimension provided by our wonderful boarding community and our distinctive ethos based on kindness, compassion, friendship, mutual respect and trust – Battle Abbey is a special place to study. The School’s rich history and many traditions are based on Christian values and the school welcomes students and families from all faiths and none.

It combines the modern with the traditional in terms of facilities and academic outlook and has an innovative and engaging approach to teaching and learning. In addition, the promotion of soft skills, self-confidence, concern for others, personal responsibility and leadership means that the School provides a first rate all-round education where students feel they belong and where they invariably develop academically, socially and emotionally.

Students enjoy the friendly and purposeful atmosphere at Battle Abbey and have a real affection for the School. From the very start at the Prep School, they learn to be inquisitive and creative individuals who are challenged to do their best. They learn the rewards that are the result of hard work both in and out of the classroom. They learn to compete hard in all areas of school life but also to serve, support and think of others. They learn how to develop as people and to become better team players and that manners and good conduct matter. They learn how to interact with students from all over the world as well as with people of all ages. They make great friends along the way, have lots of fun in a safe environment and develop very strong relationships with their motivated and supportive teachers.

We also have a unique enrichment programme which sees students introduced to subjects, topics and issues that are not covered in a typical exam syllabus. Furthermore, we are very good at finding skills and aptitudes in students that they don’t always know that they possess and we try very hard to develop those newly found strengths and interests. Academic success is something we value highly, but we are proud of the achievements of our pupils in all fields. Our pupils invariably achieve their best because we believe the pastoral care and the relationships that exist are exceptional.

In essence, the School aims to create passionate and enthusiastic life-long learners and also to inspire its young people to become positive and engaging members of their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

Specific aims are:

  • To inspire pupils to maximise their potential in all they undertake; to acknowledge and reward the achievements of each individual according to their aptitudes and interests.
  • To promote balanced social development through sensitive pastoral care within our structured day and boarding community.
  • To prepare pupils for life after school by providing an all-round education in which pupils of all ages are valued as individuals and develop the self-respect, self-confidence and empathy for the needs and desires of others that will enable them to contribute positively to our changing world.
  • To continue to develop the facilities and resources of the school to ensure that they underpin the achievement of the school’s aims and objectives.

Battle Abbey School Strategy Document Autumn 2022

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