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Ethel Ellis painting by students in Enrichment week 2016
Ethel Ellis painting by students in Enrichment week 2016

Ellis School's desire to focus on sporting, artistic and cultural education alongside academic success, was born from the inspiration of our visionary namesake and former Headteacher, Ethel Ellis. Ethel valued individuality as, 

one of the greatest things in the world, upon which the fineness and quality of which so much depends.

Head of School - Laura Fairbank

I grew up in Brighton and having completed my A levels in Geography, Economics, Biology and English I moved to Leeds to study Geography at The University of Leeds. Once I completed my degree I was straight back to Brighton before heading to South America to travel and work in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. On my return and a short stint working in finance I enrolled on the PGCE course at Sussex University. Having completed my training I moved to London and worked as a Geography teacher and eventually as Head of Humanities at a secondary school in Hackney. I couldn't stay away from the seaside for too long though and moved back to Brighton, joining Varndean as Assistant Head Teacher.

Deputy Head of School  -  Ms S Knights 

London born and Midlands bred, I moved from Northamptonshire to Brighton University after finishing my A levels. I have lived and worked in Sussex ever since…it’s where my heart is! After finishing my degree in History and English I spent time travelling around Europe trying to decide my future. Finally, after flirting with journalism and contemplating law, I enrolled on a PGCE course at Sussex University to train to teach history. I have never looked back.

School Leader  -  Miss C Ball 

I started working at Varndean in 1998 and worked in a number of different administration roles before starting as the Ellis School Leader in September 2012.

I am the first point of contact for students, parents and staff to come to for enquiries and concerns covering a wide range of issues including uniform, behaviour and attendance.

School Leader  -  Donna Mills  

I started working at Varndean in September 2006 I have worked in a few different roles this has been a Student Supervisor an FDA in Performing Arts before starting in Ellis School Base as a Leader in September 2018.

I am the first point of contact for students,parents/carers and staff to come to for enquiries and concerns covering a wide range of issues including uniform,behaviour  and attendance

Ellis News and Events

September 2018

Well done to the following Ellis students who completed their DoE Silver Expedition at the start of the summer holiday.

11CBR - Miles, Amelie, Ellie

11TCW - Adam, Andrea, Olivia, Louis, Gabriella, Lola, Alina, Ashley, Chloe & Nina

Staff in Ellis Base

Ms Laura Fairbank - Head of School

Ms Sandra Knights - Deputy Head of School

Mr Tom Lightfoot - Lead Tutor

Mrs Caroline Ball - School Leader

Mrs Donna Mills - School Leader


Senior Students for Academic Year 2018/19

Ellie (11CBR) Head Student

Charlie (11CBR)

Alice (11CBR)

Louis  (11TCW)

Ashley (11TCW)

Maddie (11CBR)

Ewan (11TCW)

Isabella (11CBR)






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