Hurstpierpoint College | Sixth Form - Outdoor Education

Outdoor Education

The Outdoor Education programme involves all students from Shell (Year 9) to Upper Sixth.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, and a wide range of activities, is available to all. These include the Combined Cadet Force, Community Service projects, Year 12 skills programmes every Tuesday and Outdoor Pursuits during Games sessions. We also have year group off-site activity days.

Duke of Edinburgh (DofE)

Sixth Form students canoeing down a canalThe nationally recognised Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award scheme begins with training in Remove (Year 10). All of our students take their Silver Award in the Fifth Form (Year 11) and Gold is an option in the Sixth Form.

The awards involve personalised programmes of activities in four (or five) sections: volunteering, physical, skills and expedition. There is a residential section required for the Gold Award. Many of the sections are covered in our timetabled outdoor education programme.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award Service Afternoon on Wednesday consists of DofE and CCF Army, RAF and Navy for the Fifth Form and above, with Community Service, Environmental Conservation and Recycling as an option.

The Service Afternoon for Remove (Year 10) on Fridays consists of Duke of Edinburgh and the Combined Cadet Force.

Combined Cadet Force (CCF)

CCF cadets marching in the College groundsHurst’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF) encompasses the Royal Navy, Army and Air Force divisions.

Taking part in the CCF promotes personal responsibility, leadership and self-discipline. It is compulsory for all Remove (Year 10) students to take part in one of the CCF divisions, and is then optional in subsequent years up to the Sixth Form.

The Hurst CCF is one of 260 school contingents and is an educational partnership between the College and the Ministry of Defence. We are proud of our CCF which is one of the oldest in the country. Hurst College was one of the first six schools in England to establish a corporation in 1860, and the only public school corporation in Sussex for 36 years.

Community Service

Community Service involves both regular weekly commitments as well as larger, one off, projects. Lower Sixth pupils are encouraged to develop community projects and options at times to suit them and can form part of their Silver or Gold DofE Award. Year 11 participate in several local off-site and on-site projects. These also contribute to the Silver DofE Award.

There are many noteworthy projects that Hurst pupils have set up themselves over the last few years, including an in-house crèche, LVS Hassocks (a learning and business school for individuals with Asperger’s or autism) and coaching sports at a local school, to name but a few.

Environmental Conservation – Woodland & Recycling

Two girls painting a chicken hut on the school farmWe place a high value on the natural world around us. Pupils who care about the environment and wildlife can take part in practical conservation projects by joining the Woodland Conservation group.

The countryside does not look after itself, and so we have carried out management tasks on the South Downs and in the grounds of local churches and schools. Through TCV, the country’s leading environmental charity, we help to manage a local public open space. By joining, pupils learn a traditional countryside skill such as hedge laying and become familiar with their local environment and local conservation and preservation groups.


Hurst Farm

Girl filling chicken huts with hayBack in September 2013 the College started building a vegetable garden and a farm project. This has now taken shape. The large number of students opting for service on the farm includes many who are looking at careers as vets and in farm management. The farm has a significant livestock range including chickens, goats and pigs. The Farm Manager assists with a programme of work for the students to undertake.

Sporting Activities

The Outdoor Education department offers a wide range of outdoor and indoor sports and pursuits. Students can choose to take part in specialist sports during timetabled games sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. These include, climbing, water sports (kayaking and sailing), mountain biking and skiing.


Students with ropes and harnesses looking up the face of rocks ready to climbClimbing is a hugely popular activity and Hurst has a fully equipped climbing wall with top rope climbs, a bouldering wall and cave. During the Spring and Summer students have the opportunity to travel further afield to climb at some of the many outdoor climbing spots in Sussex and the South West of England. The department also runs various weekend trips for students who want to gain a wider range of climbing skills.

Our strong climbing teams compete in both local and national competitions, including the Sussex Independent Schools Climbing Competition (SISCC), which we host, and the prestigious National Independent Schools’ Climbing Competition (NISCC) held in London.


Girl on horse jumping over a jump at Hickstead ShowgroundAt Hurst our Equestrian opportunities are expanding. We have a team of around 40 pupils who represent the College in Show-Jumping, Dressage and Eventing at local and national competitions, including the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) Championships. There is something for everyone, whatever the discipline, from beginners up.

As part of the school week we offer weekly training sessions at Hickstead during the summer months and at an indoor venue, in the winter. International Show-Jumper and Eventer, Brian Cassidy and Harriet Upton respectively, have come on board as our team trainers.

Our teams work hard throughout the year to qualify for National Schools Championships, held at Addington each October, the Eventer’s Challenge and the Elite National Schools Show-Jumping Championships held at Hickstead in May and August respectively.

Pupils who are interested in representing the College in the equestrian team, must have their own, or be able to loan, a horse/pony. To compete in a NSEA competitions they must be registered as a Hurst pupil with the NSEA.


We have close links with the world-famous All England Jumping Course, Hickstead, taking pupils on trips there during the Derby Show and have sponsored the National Schools, Pony Club and NSEA Show-Jumping Championships in August, since 2009. These links have grown as we now host our weekly training sessions here in the summer months.

Each year we host our annual Invitational Schools Show-Jumping Competition at Hickstead.


Girl in Hurst branded ski wear skiing down a snowy slope

Hurst has qualified ski and snowboarding coaches who cater for all ages and levels and two ski trips a year are offered to students.

Hurst has a competitive Ski team who have been hugely successful in the Independent Schools Skiing and Snowboarding Championships (ISSSC) in recent years. The team also competes at the British Indoor Schools Ski (BISS) competition and our students enter individual events throughout the year.

Additional clubs and activities

Young Enterprise team with their standThese take place during the school week and include: Young Enterprise (Sixth Form); sessions for Drama; Music groups such as Orchestra and Rock and Jazz bands; Debating; workshops for Art and Design and Technology; the Engineering Education Scheme (ESS); Forensics and Gold CREST projects; a Top House competition (general knowledge quiz) and various academic societies.

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