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Lewes Priory School is a British co-educational school for 11 to 16 year-olds located on Mountfield Road in the East Sussexmarker town of Lewesmarker. It is a specialist school as an Arts College, Language College, and Science College.

History

The Priory School was originally formed in 1969 when the Lewes County Grammar School for Girls, the Lewes County Grammar School for Boys and the Lewes Secondary Modern School were amalgamated to form a comprehensive school called Priory School. At this point, although the school was comprehensive for children who lived within the town of Lewes, it was also open to children from the surrounding towns and villages who had passed the 11 plus. During this period there was also academic streaming: the names of the streamed groups based on the letters of the word MOUNTFIELD.

In its early years (from 1969 until around 1980) the school was in three separate locations: the former Girls Grammar School buildings in Potter's Lane housed the Lower School (ages 12-13), while on Mountfield Road the Secondary Modern buildings housed the Middle School (ages 14-15), with the Upper School (ages 16-18) in the former Boys Grammar.Later, in the early 1990s, the school was split into a Sixth Form College (16-19) and the separate Priory School (11-16) on the Mountfield Road site.

Campus

The Priory School then became centered on the site of the former Secondary Modern School and new buildings have since been added. The adjacent buildings formerly used by the County Grammar School for Boys and by the Sixth Form College have become part of the Sussex Downs College (Higher Education). The Chapel, of the former Boys Grammar School, was retained by the Priory School. This chapel was built after World War II to commemorate the boys from the school who fought in the war. Next to it is the Music Block, which was rebuilt in 2008 in place of the old temporary one. The new block features improved disabled access, but thin walls and a void beneath the floor make it a rather difficult environment for music lessons.

In 1991, the new revised version of Priory School opened boasting a new wing — the "South Block" — and a heavily refurbished main building. The latter was the home of Lewes Secondary Modern School until 1969, sporting a distinctive copper plated clock tower. The main building included new science labs, a library and design technology rooms, built in anticipation of design technology being in the National Curriculum. The South Block hosts, on the ground floor, the Art, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages, and English classrooms and on the first floor the Humanities classrooms. The Performing Arts Block was built recently next to the Main Hall.

The nearby Leisure Centre is used for indoor sports and the nearby Covent Fields, the Cricket Nets and the Tennis Courts, for outdoor ones. Between the South Block and the Main Building is a playground called The Quad. The tarmac playground continues until the chapel but there are large muddy and grassy areas surrounding it.

The Arts

Priory School has a strong tradition of amateur drama that it inherited from the Grammar Schools. Members of the teaching staff wrote an entire musical about the life of local WWI soldier, Private Rupert Freeman, called "In the Pink". The pupils are divided into four "houses" named Fire, Earth, Water and Air. Each pupil is allocated to a house and the houses compete collectively in sport and other activities.

Priory has been awarded Arts and Language College statuses, specializing in these areas with increased funding. The three modern foreign languages taught are Spanish, French and German. There is also a Chinese club. These four languages are represented by the flags of their home countries (along with the Union Flag) outside the entrance of the school. The school will sit, but not teach, an Italian GCSE.

A number of pupils have gone on to make careers in the arts.Eric Goulden, Pete Thomas, Hugh Harris and Tom (Keith) Morley, made their names in the music business. Graeme K Talboys has had a number of books published.

Uniform

The current Priory School uniform is:a navy blue blazer, mid-grey pullover, blue and silver striped tie, mid-grey trousers or skirt, a long sleeved shirt and plain black school shoes.

By 2010 the model uniform will be compulsory for all years

Present Day

At the beginning of the academic year September 2006, a new arrangement for the school day was put into practice consisting of six lesson periods, Two times a week, one lesson period is used as tutor time. The lunch times have been altered to create three lunch sittings. Which lunch a student may be sitting varies from day to day. Each lesson lasts 55 minutes. Breaktime is 15 minutes long and lunch is 30 minutes. Between these three there are gaps of 5 minutes to give students time to get around.

Priory alumni commonly progress to further education courses at the close by Sussex Downs Collegemarker, or BHASVIC, Varndean and City Colleges in Brighton. The current Headteacher is Mr. Martyn Ofield.

Chapel

The school has a chapel that was built in the 1950s to honour the boys from the Lewes County Grammar School for Boys who died in World War II. Their names grace the walls of the vestibule to this day. The Latin "Dare Nec Computare" above the door translates to "To give and not to count the cost". The schools assemblies are now mostly held in the chapel, including a weekly "collective worship" session in which speakers from various religions come to talk to the students.

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