About Us

Headmaster’s Welcome

Here is our Headmaster’s welcome to Dorset House School in West Sussex; a 4-13, one form entry, co-educational, day and boarding school. Founded in 1784, it is one of the oldest prep schools in the country. After various incarnations, the school moved to its present site in 1964; it can be found next to the church in the quiet village of Bury, on a 16-acre site by the River Arun in the South Downs National Park.

At the heart of Dorset House lies Bury’s 12th century Manor House, but the school also enjoys modern teaching blocks, a 16th century barn and other facilities which include an amphitheatre, swimming pool, playing fields and an astroturf.

Dorset House is both a traditional and a forward-looking school. Although flourishing, with waiting lists in some year groups, being a small prep school is part of our identity and something of which we are proud. The benefit of this is that it allows inclusivity and opportunity for all the children as well as enabling an effective partnership between staff and parents.

I also believe that Dorset House provides an antidote to a world where children grow up too quickly; and as I said in our school film, (click on the play button on the right hand side of this page), “You only have one childhood and that it is to be treasured.”

DH is a nurturing school which, as the Good Schools Guide highlighted, produces “open and chatty children where everyone knows everyone and where each child is able to find their niche.”

Our leavers’ boards demonstrate that our children gain places at a wide range of leading senior schools; a good proportion with awards and scholarships. DH children leave us with a ‘can-do’ attitude – not afraid to take risks and challenge themselves. Many have gone on to take up key positions of leadership and responsibility at their next schools.

As one senior school Head put it, “DH pupils are doers and givers”.

Please do arrange an appointment to visit by contacting the School Registrar, Sarah O’Brien.

I look forward to meeting you and your children.

Matt Thomas


View Our Video

Welcome to Dorset House School

The school is highly successful in meeting its aim to inspire children through a challenging approach to academic learning. Pupils consistently gain their first choice place in competitive entry to senior independent schools and each year a considerable number are awarded academic, music and sporting scholarships.

ISI report