Education Schools Secondary schools

The Swanage School

The Swanage School is the town’s only secondary school, serving students aged 11 – 16 from Swanage and the surrounding Purbeck locality.

An Academy school since 2013, The Swanage School is overseen by the Education Swanage Trust and is located in the heart of the community.

The Swanage School aims to encourage independence, resilience and respect, and nurtures a love for learning in a supportive atmosphere.

The latest Ofsted Report (2018) rated Swanage School as ‘Good’.

School motto:  ‘Omnia vinces perseverando’, meaning: ‘Perseverance overcomes all things’

In its idyllic setting on the Jurassic Coast – surrounded by the Purbeck Hills and within walking distance of Swanage Beach, The Swanage School aims to be a small school that makes a big impact – on students, their families, and their community.

(Pictures courtesy of The Swanage School)

‘Human Scale’ school

Wooden re-wilding sign on the premises of the Swanage School, Purbeck
Supporting the local ecosystem

The Swanage School has adopted various principles of the human scale education model, such as the ‘vertical tutor group’ system – this means that students of all years together form a tutor group, allowing children of varying ages to mix and support each other, with the aim of nurturing a strong sense of community within school.

There is tutor time at registration every morning (for ten minutes) and afternoon (40 minutes).

Challenge Days

Part of what makes Swanage School a fun place to be are its special ‘Challenge Days’, where students are off their normal timetable for the whole day to take part in extracurricular activities aimed at enhancing learning in a fun way and making great memories with friends, peers and teachers.

Challenge Days and Weeks can take the form of year group, house or whole school extracurricular activities.

Some of the Challenge activities include:

People on the inflatable course at Dorset Adventure Park
Wet & wild fun (Dorset Adventure Park)
  • Surfing & other watersports
  • Fencing
  • Mountain biking
  • Abseiling
  • Hiking
  • Den-building
  • Camping on the school field
  • Dorset Adventure Park
  • Wild crafting and bush skills
  • Cookery
  • Team-building activities
  • Exploring the Purbeck countryside and beyond


The Swanage School is proud to provide pupils with state-of-the-art learning spaces.

Front view of the Swanage School from pathway
Entrance to The Swanage School
  • Central atrium – This large space at the heart of the school is used for assemblies and as the school dining hall. It’s also used as an events and sports venue
  • The Gull Wing – There are two parts to the wing, with Maths, Science and computer labs on one side and English, Languages and Humanities on the other
  • Library – Equipped with all the latest fiction, non-fiction and learning resources
  • The Hub – A centre on the first floor for students needing additional support
  • Art studio – The Art studio is a bright, inspiring space, with panoramic views of the Purbeck Hills. There’s also a gallery area for displaying students’ work on the balcony above the atrium
  • Sports hall – The full-sized sports hall is complete with four badminton courts and is used both by students and the wider community. Games played in the hall also include 5/6-a-side football, hockey, netball, basketball and volleyball. There are also options to take part in sailing, rowing, kayaking and athletics, and the school has good links with local swimming pools
  • Outdoor pitches – Including an all-weather, artificial turf pitch. The school is also involved with the local cricket club and its facilities

Check out this video tour of to see what the school day is like:

(Courtesy of The Swanage School’s YouTube channel)

Contact details

Swanage School sign along entrance path
The Swanage School

To get in touch with The Swanage School office, call or email:

  • 📞 01929 500599
  • 📥

See what staff and students have been up to by following their social media pages or by checking out the school & community news page, ‘Making Waves’:

Post-16 options for Year 11 leavers

School life at The Swanage School ends for Year 11s after their summer exams, but there are various post-16 courses at nearby schools and colleges where students can continue their education by taking A-Levels, or choosing from a range of vocational courses.

Entrance to the Purbeck School
The Purbeck School in Wareham
  • The Purbeck School – The Purbeck School in Wareham is an 11-18, mixed comprehensive school, rated Good by Ofsted. Many students from Swanage and villages in Purbeck attend the school, with both school and public buses transporting students from Swanage to Wareham. The specialist science college aims to nurture academic excellence and personal confidence within a supportive environment. Contact the Purbeck School by phone: 01929 550077 or email: or find out more on the school website:
  • Lytchett Matravers School – An 11-18 mixed school (rated Ofsted Good) situated just beyond Sandford and around four miles from Poole. Some Swanage and Purbeck children do travel to Lytchett for school by public bus. Check the sixth form curriculum, which includes A Levels and vocational pathways, on the school website:
  • Weymouth College – The Further Education college in Weymouth is a popular choice for 16-18 education for both academic and practical subjects as well as apprenticeships. There is a college coach that picks students up from Swanage, Corfe Castle and Wareham. Find out more about courses and student life on Weymouth College’s website
  • Dorset Studio School – Year 12 & 13 students at the Studio School in Dorchester study for a Technical Baccalaureate qualification in one of six land-based areas, including veterinary nursing, travel & tourism, agriculture, countryside and horse management. For more information:
People on the forecourt of Kingston Maurward House on a sunny autumn day
Kingston Maurward House
  • Kingston Mauward College – KMC (Ofsted rated Good) in Dorchester offers full- and part-time apprenticeships and university-accredited courses in a wide range of disciplines and areas, such as agriculture, equine studies, horticulture, wildlife and conservation. Visit Kingston Maurward’s website for a full prospectus:
  • Poole Grammar – Sixth form at the all-boys’ grammar school in Poole (Ofsted rated Good) focuses on academic success and leadership, problem-solving and communication skills. Many students go on to attend places at Russell Group universities and prestigious higher-level apprenticeships. Find out more on Poole Grammar’s website or get in touch by phone: 01202 692132
  • Parkstone Grammar – Poole Grammar’s sister school, Parkstone Grammar (rated Outstanding), also encourages academic excellence, along with opportunities for students to get involved in a range of musical, sporting and theatrical studies and extra-curricular activities. Both Poole and Parkstone are selective and generally over-subscribed, so it’s worth checking admissions criteria online: or email:
  • Brockenhurst College – Although slightly further away in neighbouring country Hampshire, Brockenhurst College is often a popular choice for students wishing to travel for A Level, vocational and leisure courses. See what opportunities Brock College, located within the New Forest National Park, offers online: