Latest News & Events

2017,a great year for group bookings

This year has seen a dramatic increase in group bookings for both year round school ministay groups and our Young Learner Summer School.

In fact, this Summer we will welcome a record number of students at our Eastbourne campus for our Young Learner programmes from a variety of different nationalities (China, Italy, Spain, Ecuador, Austria and Japan).

If you are interested in sending a group to our college, please contact us at

Outstanding exams results for A Levels and English language in 2016

We are delighted to announce that our international students achieved a 100% pass rate in their final A Level exams and raised the IELTS average results from Band 6 to Band 6.3.

They also obtained 100% pass rate in Cambridge PET and FCE exams  and CAE candidates achieved 86% success.

Well done to everybody!


All you want from a top-rated English language school………and much more

Did you know that you can take an Adult Evening class at our college to combine with your daily English language lessons?

Please view the Adult Course Guide below for further details.




And further new courses starting at Sussex Downs College!

  1. 1-1 Gold Standard English

Designed for students who need additional support to their group lessons or for business executives requiring an intensive personal course to equip them with the necessary language skills for their area of work.


2. Pre-Foundation Programme

Then our pre-Foundation programme will help you achieve those goals.

New 21 Hour English Language Plus Short Course option

Booking of minimum of 2 weeks up to a whole academic term.

Just £135 a week for 21 hours of English Language teaching.

Please click here for full details of the course:






There is life after Brexit at Sussex Downs College

We at Sussex Downs College believe there is life after Brexit (Britain leaving the European Union) and we are positive about the future for EU students wishing to come to the UK for the following reasons:

1. Tuition fee guarantee: We intend to maintain our very competitive prices for the foreseeable future and even post-Brexit, which won’t happen for at least two years. If an EU student begins an academic course before the funding ceases for tuition fees, we will offer a tuition fee guarantee to that student so that they continue to benefit from the same fee rates as before.

2. Exchange rate: It appears already that the Pound will drop significantly in price compared to the Euro post-Brexit, making the UK a more AND NOT less attractive destination.

3. Brexit will take a long time to sort out, at least two years, if not longer. In the meantime EU students can study on our English and academic courses as before.

4. Travel to UK: Whatever changes the UK Government introduces, we are confident that it will still remain a straightforward process for an EU student to come to study in the UK for an English course. There are no plans to introduce a visa system and the majority of EU students attending English courses will be seen as low risk by UK immigration authorities.

We will keep you posted on further developments.

Sussex Downs College attends Japanese fair in May

Mark Allen, our International Director is looking forward to meeting new Japanese students at the SIUK language fair on Sunday 8 May in Tokyo. Ma ta ne!


Sussex Downs International College tops EL Gazette rankings for best value for money EFL provider in the UK

The EL Gazette March 2016 edition published a ranking chart of which English language schools in the UK provide the best value for money.

We are pleased to announce that Sussex Downs International College is ranked as the highest institution in this category.

This comes on the back of our ranking as one of the top 4% of English language providers in the UK according to British Council inspections (reported in September 2015 edition of EL Gazette)

More Good News from Our Students

Very well done to all the above!

Excellent English results Autumn Term 2016

We are pleased to announce that our international students continue to perform excellently in their Cambridge English Tests.

100% pass rate in Cambridge FCE and CAE Exams.

95% pass rate ESOL Skills for Life

Well done to all!

2015 Student Awards

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On 8 January 2015 we held our annual  Students Awards evening at our Eastbourne campus. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the International Student Award was Charis Lam from Hong Kong:

Her teachers had the following comments to make about her:

“Charis is an excellent student in every respect – her attendance and studentship are exemplary and she makes the most of every single opportunity available to her. In class, Charis is exceptionally hard-working and she frequently researches topics beyond the A level curriculum. She is a committed and dedicated learner who is determined to succeed and she is a real pleasure to teach.”

Also Highly Commended was Rox Yan, a Hong Kong student studying BTEC Level 3 Creative Media Production  at Eastbourne. Rox is described by his teachers as:

“having very good English skill, an independent learner, reliable and self-motivated.”

A very big well done to both Rox and Charis!

Three international students listed in Sussex Downs Roll of Honour for 2015 examination results

Many congratulations to Vu Phuong Trinh Dinh from Vietnam and Ka Hei Jocelyn Chan and Ka Chun Chow from Hong Kong who have been included in the Sussex Downs College Roll of Honour as they have achieved a combination of 3 or more A*/A  (A Levels) or D*/D (BTEC) grades in their 2015 examination results.



Sussex Downs College ranked in Top 4% of all UK English language providers

We are very proud to announce that our college has been ranked by the EL Gazette in the top 4% of all English language providers in the UK. The ranking is based on recent British Council inspection reports and we are the only Government College to feature on the Top 4% list. Please see link below to the EL Gazette article for more details.

EL Gazette Article September 2015

Outstanding British Council Inspection Report

3rd February 2015

Following on from the good news below regarding exam results, we are delighted to announced that Sussex Downs International College scored 12 out of a maximum 15 strengths following an inspection by the British Council.

The high number of strengths maintains the position of Sussex Downs College as one of the UK’s leading English language providers.

Many thanks to all teachers and administrative staff for their hard work and dedication that produced both this result and the 100% success in Cambridge exams. Quite an extraordinary month for the International College!!


100% Success in Exam Results

29 February 2015

We are proud to announce that for 2014 Sussex Downs College achieved the quite extraordinary result of 100% pass rate in all the following Cambridge  English exams:

Preliminary English Test (PET)

Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)

Business English Cambridge (BEC)

Cambridge ESOL Skills for Life

A very big well done to both students and teachers for this magnificent achievement!



2014 Student Awards


Photo of 2014 Award Winner

On 8th January 2014 we held our annual  Students Awards evening at our Eastbourne campus. We are pleased to announce that the winner of the International Student Award was Vu Phuong Trinh

Trinh is a Vietnamese A Level student predicted to achieve 4 A* at A Level in Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Economics. She already has an offer at the London School of Economics and is hoping to go to Cambridge University.

She is described by her teachers as “highly motivated, enthusiastic and well read with an insatiable curiosity and an enquiring mind. She was nominated for this award in recognition of her hard work, exemplary studentship, contribution to college life and commitment to study.”

Also Highly Commended was Yoo Jin Chung, a South Korean studying English Language Plus at Lewes. Yoo Jin is described by her teachers as:

“A very hard-worker; she always does more than required in terms of study and homework. Also she is very well integrated well into class with both Europeans and Asians, and takes a very inclusive and supportive approach to her learning”

Congratulations to both Trinh and Yoo Jin!!



Excellent A Level Results for 2014

We are proud to announce that our international students have achieved outstanding results in their A2 Level results this year.

Here are the impressive statistics:

99% Pass Rate at A2 Level

 45% achieved at least one Grade A

 83% achieved A*-C Grades

 67% of students gained a grade A or B at A2 Maths and Further Maths

 100% pass rate for A2 science subjects

100% pass rate for Economics A2

Many congratulations to all our students for their hard work and we wish them all the very best in their future careers at university and beyond.

Well done!!

Special offer: free airport taxi pick-up

4th July 2014

Book your place on our English Language Plus or IELTS Preparation programme starting at our Eastbourne campus on September 3rd 2014. If you’re flying into London’s Gatwick airport you’ll receive a free airport taxi pick-up courtesy of Sussex Downs College. (Please note that you will still need to pay for any airport taxi parking charges where necessary).

Click here to find out more.




Sussex Downs College: high quality and excellent value for money

2nd July 2014

Sussex Downs College has been ranked as one of the top two UK English language centres for high quality provision and value for money, according to a recent survey carried out by the EL Gazette.

In addition to the well-established EL Gazette Centres of Excellence rankings, which lists the top 10% of UK English language schools based upon British Council inspection reports, this survey aims to find centres who offer the best quality and price for students.

We’re delighted to say that in addition to being named as an EL Gazette Centre of Excellence for the last four years, as well as being ranked in the top 1.5% of all UK English language centres (June 2013), we’re now ranked as the no.2 centre in the UK for quality and value for money.

To read the full article, please click here.

EL Gazette Centre of Excellence 2014






New fee sheets available for the 2014-2015 academic year

5th April 2014

Please click on the links below to view our new course fees for the upcoming academic year.

Download the EU fee sheet (July 2014- June 2015) here

Download the International Fee Sheet (July 2014-June 2015) here


special offer: Free Airport taxi pick-up

27th March 2014

Book your place on our English Language Plus programme starting at our Eastbourne campus on April 22nd 2014 and, if you’re flying into London’s Gatwick Airport you’ll receive free airport pick-up courtesy of Sussex Downs College.

Please note that this offer is only valid for new bookings for the English Language Plus programme at our Eastbourne campus for the Summer Term 2014. You should be flying into London’s Gatwick airport and you will need to pay the taxi driver in cash for any airport parking fees. On your application form please write Free taxi offer in the Travel Arrangements section of your application form.

To book your course please click here or contact us for more information.





international day v6


Cambridge English: First – 100% exam pass rate for summer school students

23rd September 2013

, Sussex Downs College, Lewes, East Sussex.We are delighted to announce that all students who took the First Certificate (FCE) Preparation Summer Course have passed. Launched in summer 2013, this course offers intensive preparation for students who need to take the Cambridge English: First exam, but only have limited time to do so. Students who took the 6-week programme included undergraduates from Spanish and Italian universities, as well as professionals who require official confirmation of their level of English to improve their employment prospects.

All students achieved a grade C, which is the equivalent to CEFR Level B2. Click here to find out more about the First Certificate (FCE) Preparation Summer Course.

Sussex downs college in the top 1.5% of all UK English language centres

20th June 2013

Centres-of-Excellence-20131Research carried out and published in the July edition of the English Language Gazette has ranked Sussex Downs College in the top 1.5% of all UK English language schools. We are delighted to have retained our position as the No.1 state English language centre in the UK and to be listed as one of the top nine institutions in the country. To read the full EL Gazette article click here: Sussex Downs College Centre of Excellence_p1.


putting the priory on the world map

11th June 2013

Sussex-Downs-College-Lewes-Priory-TranslationSussex Downs College international students have assisted the Lewes Priory Trust by translating tourist leaflets and brochures into different languages. The project, funded by the UK’s Heritage Lottery Fund, involved students from China, Italy, Japan, Spain and Vietnam. The students were thanked in a special presentation where Sy Morse Brown, Chairman of the Lewes Priory Trust, said “We are particularly pleased that this further project with Sussex Downs College has involved international students and will allow foreign visitors to appreciate Lewes Priory more fully.”

Mark Allen, International Manager at Sussex Downs College added, “One of the reasons overseas students come to the UK is to experience British culture and to meet British people. We are very proud of the opportunities we can provide for them to integrate with the local community. Our new partnership with Lewes Priory is a great example of building links with an important piece of local culture. The translations that the students have completed will also give a great boost to their CVs as a demonstration of their linguistic strength.”

academic director of prestigious vietnam high school visits sussex downs college

18 April 2013

Mr Hoàng Ngọc Hùng, from the High School of the Gifted affiliated to the Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, visited Sussex Downs International College yesterday to learn about the UK education system, discuss programmes for his students and to meet Vietnamese students currently taking A Level programmes. Mr Hùng was impressed with College facilities as well as the broad range of courses and extra-curricular activities offered.

Sussex Downs College staff also learnt about the rigorous academic programmes offered by Mr Hùng’s school and the tough entrance examinations that students must take. 5000 students each year apply to study at the High School for the Gifted, but only 300 students are successful. Around 30% of students will choose to study abroad, with the majority of students choosing to study in the USA.

Sussex Downs College’s Vietnamese students shared their reasons for choosing to study in the UK with Mr Hùng, as well as some of their study experiences at Sussex Downs College. Students cited personal safety as well as the good education system as the main reasons for their choice. The College’s Vietnamese students have received excellent university offers this year including Exeter University and the Cass School of Business.

To find out more about scholarships offered to Vietnamese students, please click here.


Centre of Excellence: Sussex Downs College in the top 2% of UK English language centres

April 2013

Sussex Downs College has been listed in the top 2% of English language centres, and for the third consecutive year has been named a Centre of Excellence by the EL Gazette.

To compile the listing, which was printed in the March 2013 edition, the EL Gazette examined publishable statements from British Council inspection results of UK English language teaching institutions. Sussex Downs College is the only state FE College to have received an outstanding 9 points of excellence following its inspection in October 2010.

To read the full report please click here.

Click here to find out about English language programmes at Sussex Downs College.




IELTS test venue expansion at Sussex Downs College

Sussex Downs College is delighted to announce the opening of a new IELTS test venue at City College in Brighton & Hove.

IELTS is the International Language Testing System, and is the preferred English language test of millions of students around the world. Many education institutions and employers worldwide who require evidence of students’ level of English ask that students have a valid IELTS test certificate as part of their course entry requirements, and the UK Border Agency also recognises IELTS as part of its complex visa regulations.

Sussex Downs College International Manager, Mark Allen, says: “As a hub for test centres across the south coast, we are always looking for ways to improve the student experience.  We are really pleased to have secured this new test venue at City College Brighton & Hove, which has excellent facilities for students.  Students can be reassured that they are sitting this important exam with a successful test centre that has been used by thousands of candidates for more than a decade.”

Atif Naseem Ranjha, a student who has taken the IELTS test with Sussex Downs College says, “All the staff members are very friendly and treat you like a real family member. This encouraging environment boosts the candidate and they can perform better in the relaxing and friendly environment.”

Phil Hopkins, Chief Executive and Principal from The English Language Centre said: “The IELTS course at The English Language Centre is an important part of our provision. We have a large number of students who need IELTS to go onto foundation, degree and masters courses here in the UK. Having a reliable, efficient and flexible IELTS test centre is a key part of meeting our demand and Sussex Downs College provides just that!”

Sussex Downs College has over 30 years’ experience in offering English language, academic and vocational courses to international students. Its reputation is based on high quality programmes, comprehensive student care and outstanding exam success. Following its last British Council inspection, Sussex Downs was awarded the joint second highest number of publishable points of excellence of any English language school, college or university in the UK.

Over the last 10 years, Sussex Downs College has developed an international reputation for IELTS test centre management, and currently manages centres at its Eastbourne campus and in Hastings, at Sussex Coast College. Since 2002, the number of IELTS test candidates has increased from 3,600 to over 8,000 in 2012.

Click here for more information about our IELTS test venues.


For the 2nd year, Sussex Downs International College is named an Centre of Excellence.

Sussex Downs International College has been listed as the joint second highest accredited English language centre in the UK by the EL Gazette.

Published biannually and most recently in September 2012, the EL Gazette’s directory ranks British Council accredited UK English language centres according to the number of points of excellence they receive during their inspection. British Council inspections take place every four years and examines teaching, accommodation, welfare, marketing and administration.

Sussex Downs College underwent its British Council inspection in 2010, achieving a record eight points of excellence. This puts the College within the top nine UK English language school, and for the 2nd year marks the College as the best state English language centre.

To read the EL Gazette’s directory, click on the PDFs below.


EL Gazette names Sussex Downs College as a Centre of Excellence for the second year

Research carried out by the EL Gazette and published in their April 2012 edition has named Sussex Downs College as a leading English language teaching centre for the second year in a row.

The EL Gazette has reviewed British Council inspectors’ publishable statements, and based on their findings Sussex Downs College is the best UK state college for English language teaching. We are also joint second out of all UK English language teaching institutions, (which includes private centres, universities and state colleges), with an impressive eight publishable points of excellence.


International Day 2011

The Lewes campus hosted this year’s International Day celebrations. Lunchtime events included a traditional Japanese dance, as well karaoke, face painting, calligraphy demonstrations, music and language exchanges – all created and performed by our students.

In the evening, students and members of the public were treated to the annual International Concert, which included, singing, dancing and staff performances.

We are very proud of international life as Sussex Downs College. International Day highlights the wide cultural diversity we have, as well as showcasing our international students’ performing talents.


Internships help build a skilled workforce

We have been working in partnership with the Leonardo da Vinci Mobility Scheme, and the Leo Von Klenze Schule for the last four years which aims to build a skilled workforce across Europe.

The European Commission funded scheme focuses on the teaching and training needs of those involved in vocational education and training between Germany and the UK.

This project encourages young people to experience the differences between the two countries through in-country internships.

Above: Our internship group 2011

The week long internship placement is a key part of the project and has been mutually beneficial to all those who have taken part. The interns offer a strong working knowledge of English and bring a wealth of experience to the work placements. Feedback from the work placements was extremely positive; comments included fast, highly efficient, creative, willing to work, has an eye for detail.

We are always looking for new internship work placements. Anyone interested in having an intern working with them for a week in March, April or May 2012 should contact Clare Critchfield on (01323) 637232.


Afternoon tea with the Mayor of Lewes

International students met the Mayor of Lewes, Councillor John Stockdale and fellow councillors on Wednesday 19 October 2011. They were invited to the Town Hall to hear about the role of the Mayor, the history of the building and its involvement in the town.

It was a unique visit for our students from Spain, Japan, Italy, Slovakia, Thailand, Venezuela, Portugal and China, who thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.

Above: The students meet the Mayor at Lewes Town Hall

Mayor John Stockdale was previously a host to overseas students from the college. He said “It is my privilege to welcome international students from Sussex Downs College to take afternoon tea with me. Lewes has a strong sense of community and we welcome our visitors who enrich the life and contribute so much to economy of the town. I hope Lewes will hold a special place in their hearts forever”.


Visit from China

Mr Li, Headmaster of the International Section of Country Garden IB School from Guangdong, China recently visited us at the College.

Students from Country Garden have been attending the summer school at the College for the past four years. They are all doing the International Baccalaureate programme and sitting the IELTS exam.

Above: Mark Allen, International Manager, Melanie Hunt – Principal, , Mr Li , Headmaster and Woody Lang, International Agent.


British Council inspection points to excellence at Sussex Downs College

13 January 2011

The International College at Sussex Downs College are celebrating a record number of points of excellence from the British Council following a rigorous inspection last autumn.
Mark Allen, International Manager said: “The British Council come every four years to look at all aspects of our international language work. The inspection includes observing all teachers, visiting host families and residential accommodation, and assessing management, welfare premises and resources. In achieving such a large number of points of excellence in so many areas this puts Sussex Downs College at the very top of UK colleges.

British Council Inspection Publishable Statement:

The British Council inspected and accredited Sussex Downs International College in 2010. The Accreditation Scheme assesses the standards of management, resources, premises, teaching and welfare and accredits organisations which meet the overall standard in each area inspected.

The English language teaching department offers courses in general English and professional English for adults and vacation courses for adults and under-16s.

Points of excellence were general management and in premises, self-access facilities, academic management, teachers’ qualifications, teaching, pastoral care and the leisure programme. The inspection report stated that the organisation met the standards of the Scheme.

The British Council accreditation provides a quality kite mark that is known across the world and is vital for ensuring good recruitment. We are therefore delighted by this inspection result.

East Sussex derives considerable economic benefits from overseas students. The international students at Sussex Downs College study on a range of courses including English Language, IELTS preparation, and the International Foundation Year as well as academic and vocational programmes. With over 200 international students and more than 19 different nationalities studying in Lewes and Eastbourne, Sussex Downs offers a world class education for international students.

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