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Ashdown House is a co-educational prep school in Forest Row, East Sussex. There are currently around 100[1] pupils from the ages seven to thirteen; with a roughly even split of boys and girls.

Ashdown House School
Ashdown House - - 1691918.jpg
Ashdown House School
Forest Row

East Sussex
RH18 5JY

TypeIndependent school
Boarding and day school
Department for Education URN114624 Tables
HeadHilary Phillips
Age7 to 13
Years3-8[clarification needed]


Ashdown House was originally an 18th-century country house, completed in 1794 by Sussex-born Benjamin Latrobe who was later one of the architects of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and also designed the nearby Hammerwood Park and the front portico of the White House in Washington.[2] Ashdown is a Grade II* listed building.[3]

The school was founded in Brighton in 1843 as a boys' school and moved to Ashdown House in 1886. It first became co-educational in 1975.[4]

Historical allegations in the 1970s of physical and sexual abuse by multiple former pupils, investigated by law firm Slater & Gordon in 2013, were followed by widespread recollections from former pupils that the regime at the school in the late 20th century had been spartan and unforgiving, with boys or entire classes regularly punished with canings.[5] Abuse at the school is much of the subject of former pupil Alex Renton's book Stiff Upper Lip.[6]

Hilary Phillips, previously the head teacher of Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, an independent day and boarding preparatory school in Wales, is due to take over as head teacher in September 2019.

Notable former pupilsEdit

Notable Old Ashdownians (OAs) include:


  1. ^ Edubase statistics
  2. ^ Renton, Alex (4 May 2014). "Abuse in Britain's boarding schools: why I decided to confront my demons". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Name: ASHDOWN HOUSE SCHOOL List entry Number: 1286907". Historic England. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  4. ^ Ashdown House - History Archived October 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine "Ashdown House School". Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  5. ^ Kennedy, Dominic (24 December 2013). "Prep school faces claims of physical and sexual abuse". The Times. p. 5.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Pugh, Tom (11 July 2014). "Former head of Boris Johnson's prep school arrested over sex abuse". The Independent. Retrieved 16 July 2016.

External linksEdit