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Hurst Lodge School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hurst Lodge School
Bagshot Road

, ,
SL5 9JU[1]

FounderDorice Stainer[2]
Specialistperforming arts
HeadmistressVictoria Smit[1]
Staff30 full-time, 20 part-time[3]
Age3 to 18[1]
HousesStainer, Scott, Randall, Eden

Hurst Lodge School, established in 1945, was a non-selective independent school in Ascot, Berkshire, England, for girls and boys aged three to eighteen, with about 250 children of all ages.


Miss Dorice Stainer, of Hurst Lodge, founded the school in the aftermath of the Second World War as a course of "Dancing Classes".[2] A sister of the film star Leslie Howard,[4] and also of Irene Howard, the London casting director of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer,[5] in the 1920s Stainer had been a partner in 'The Misses Stainer and Sinclair, Dancing Teachers', of 39, Onslow Square, South Kensington, London S.W.7, and after 1928 had continued the business alone at the same address.[6] Immediately before the War, she had been a travelling dance teacher based in Ascot, teaching classes at Camberley, Godalming, Guildford, Sunningdale, Virginia Water, and a variety of schools around England.[7]

The actress Juliet Stevenson, a pupil of Miss Stainer's at Hurst Lodge in the 1960s, has described her as "a progressively educational woman who had been a prima ballerina and who believed the arts were fundamental to a child's education".[4]

According to an article in The Times published in 1986, when Sarah Ferguson, future Duchess of York, was about to leave the school in 1977, she observed a tradition by diving into the swimming pool naked at midnight on the eve of her last day.[8] The Duchess paid an official visit to her old school on 13 March 1989.[9] In 1992, writing of Sarah Ferguson's time at Hurst Lodge, the journalist Valerie Grove called it "an expensive boarding school that turned out jolly Chalet Girls with lots of bounce but not too many O-levels".[10] In that year's school performance tables, the proportion of girls sitting GCSEs who gained five passes at grades A to C was given as 50%, by comparison with 98% for Wycombe Abbey and 97% for the Dame Alice Harpur School.[11] In 1998 only four pupils were entered for two or more A-levels, but their examination results were slightly better than the average for schools in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.[12] In 1999, the school entered only one pupil for A-Levels, but as the result of her excellent results it appeared in the list of Top Independent Schools published in The Times on 25 November.[13]

In 2001 The Daily Telegraph reported that Hurst Lodge was the third most expensive prep school in Great Britain, coming just after Colet Court, the junior school of St Paul's, and the Dragon School, Oxford, but before Horris Hill, Papplewick, St John's Beaumont, Cheam and Ludgrove, all eight of which then charged more than £13,000 a year.[14]

The school is now permanently closed. In early 2018, Hurst Lodge merged with Hawley Place, under the name HawleyHurst, on a site in Blackwater, Hampshire.[15] The merger created animosity and led to a large number of students leaving. At the same time the school was given a warning from the Department of Education [16] In 2020 HawleyHurst went into administration as a result of dwindling student numbers.


  • 1945– c. 1970: Miss Dorice Stainer[4]
  • 1973: Mrs D. A. Carter[17]
  • 1974– c. 1980: Mrs Celia Merrick[8]
  • 1987: Mrs A. M. Smit[18]
  • 2006–2011: Miss V. S. Smit[19]
  • 2011–2012: Mrs Kate Leiper
  • 2012–2018: Miss V. S. Smit (again)

Notable former pupils


  1. ^ a b c d Hurst Lodge School at Retrieved 16 May 2012
  2. ^ a b The Times, issue 50336 dated Saturday, 29 December 1945, p. 1
  3. ^ Hurst Lodge School at Retrieved 17 May 2012
  4. ^ a b c Richard Stayton, THEATER: Truly, Madly, Deftly: Juliet Stevenson, a 'national obsession' in England, is making her American stage debut dated 21 March 1993, p. 2 of 3 at Retrieved 17 May 2012
  5. ^ Frank Muir, A Kentish Lad (New York: Bantam, 1997), p. 53
  6. ^ London Gazette dated 22 May 1928, p. 3611
  7. ^ Dancing Times, issue dated June 1939, p. 31
  8. ^ a b Alan Hamilton, 'Love on a wing and a smile' in The Times (London), issue 62516 dated Wednesday, 23 July 1986, p. 9
  9. ^ 'Today's royal engagements' in The Times (London), issue 63340 dated Monday, 13 March 1989, p. 18
  10. ^ Valerie Grove, 'And they all lived sadly ever after', feature article in The Times (London), issue 64285 dated Friday, 20 March 1992
  11. ^ 'School Report' in The Times (London), issue 64494 dated Thursday, 19 November 1992, p. 62
  12. ^ '6th Form' in The Times (London), issue 66373 dated Tuesday, 1 December 1998, p. 6 (S)
  13. ^ 'A level: Top Independents' in The Times (London), issue 66681 dated Thursday, 25 November 1999, p. 3 (S1)
  14. ^ John Clare, Roedean, 154th for results, tops the school fees league, from The Daily Telegraph dated 24 November 2001 online at Retrieved 18 May 2012
  15. ^ "About HawleyHurst". HawleyHurst School. Archived from the original on 2 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ The Education Authorities Directory and Annual (School Government Publishing Company Ltd., 1973), p. 565
  18. ^ Independent Schools Yearbook (London: A. & C. Black, vol. 97, 1987) p. 739
  19. ^ The Independent Schools Guide: A Fully Comprehensive Directory (Gabbitas Educational Consultants, 2006), p. 75
  20. ^ Felicity Dean at Retrieved 16 May 2012
  21. ^ 'Relative Values: Emma Forbes and Sarah Standing' in The Times (London) dated 1 December 2002
  22. ^ Sarah Potter, 'Randall and flexible friend plumb the depths in search of Olympic heights', in The Times (London), issue 68824 dated Friday, 6 October 2006; p. 99
  23. ^ Alan Franks, 'Freeing the Spirits' feature article in The Times (London), issue 65176 dated Saturday, 28 January 1995, p. 8
  24. ^ Belinda Stewart-Wilson: Celebrity Interview and Paparazzi at Retrieved 17 May 2012
  25. ^ Andrew Morton, Duchess: an Intimate Portrait of Sarah, Duchess of York (Contemporary Books, 1989), p. 25
  26. ^ David Banks, Sarah Ferguson, the royal redhead (Dillon Press, 1987), p. 14: "From Daneshill School, she went to a private girls' boarding school called Hurst Lodge."

External links

This page was last edited on 25 March 2021, at 14:33
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