Press Release

On 15 December, Victoria Smit, Principal at Hurst Lodge School in Ascot, announced that Hurst Lodge had purchased Hawley Place School in Blackwater. The two schools have now merged as HawleyHurst on the Blackwater site.

HawleyHurst now boasts the benefits of a ‘one-school’ progression from an outstanding nursery through to a bespoke Sixth Form and further education programmes.

The merger will see two successful schools with a very similar ethos and outstanding pastoral care combine their respective strengths.

Hawley Place has an enviable reputation for excellence in academics and sporting achievements, while Hurst Lodge has excellent strengths in environmental education, a strong A level offer, support for those with additional needs and an exceptional creative and performing arts programme. From September 2018 a two-strand entry will be available in the Senior school, which will allow students to follow either an academic or vocational pathway.


Victoria Smit, Principal said, “Hurst Lodge moved to its present site 20 years ago from Sunningdale and has now found a permanent home in Blackwater where it can develop its wide-ranging educational programmes.

This is an exceptional opportunity for us to expand and extend our current practice so praised in the most recent ISI inspection of the school. We are all very excited to have an opportunity to own our premises and combine the talents of our combined staff and the enthusiasm of our students. We look forward to welcoming our present and prospective students to our new school.”

Michael Stone, Headmaster said, “With Miss Smit, I am privileged to have the opportunity to continue to develop and espouse the vision and development of HawleyHurst.

The announcement made in December 2017 now provides the opportunity for us all to work together to provide a unique educational offering through the auspices of our new school, HawleyHurst. Together we will continue the tradition of providing a school that nurtures everyone as individuals through an outstanding pastoral care system, while at the same time espousing the values of creativity, global awareness and achievement of academic potential. Drawing on the successes of both educational establishments and combining as a whole, we look forward to an exciting future.”

Mr and Mrs Stokes, parents from Hawley Place School said, “Our daughter and we as parents are very excited about the merger of two excellent schools. The first day of term was one of excited anticipation thanks to the excellent communication from the Hawley staff.

The potential for HawleyHurst is second to none, extended curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities are evident while a family run School will ensure core values of trust, friendship and respect are maintained.

Looking forward, we will be delighted if we can send our three younger daughters when they start their senior school journeys.”

Mrs Faughnan, Year 9 and Year 5 parent from Hurst Lodge School said, “My children have attended Hurst Lodge since they were three years old.  On hearing the news of the merger both we’re excited (which I believe shows what amazing schooling they have had so far).

Miss Smit is an inspirational Principal and has led an amazing group of teachers who not only love and enjoy what they do but deeply care and respect each other and their students.

The merger of two great schools, in my opinion, can only build on what the staff and students have worked so hard to achieve.

I believe HawleyHurst will combine all the great qualities from teachers and students from both schools, to continue the unique, fantastic and nurturing education we have received since the day we started.”

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  1. HawleyHurst School accepts children from ages 2 to 19.
  2. Miss Victoria Smit, was Principal at Hurst Lodge School and continues as Principal at HawleyHurst. Mr Michael Stone was Headmaster at Hawley Place School and continues as Headmaster at HawleyHurst.
  3. Hurst Lodge has relocated its students and staff to the new site – Fernhill Road, Blackwater, Camberley, Surrey, GU17 9HU. Any child already registered for a place at Hurst Lodge or Hawley Place School will be given an automatic place at HawleyHurst.
  4. HawleyHurst is linked to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project through the Smit family who are the school’s directors.
  5. Multiple new bus routes will be available for students, for parents’ convenience. These will start from Maidenhead, Windsor, Ash Vale and Wokingham, with many stops along the way.
  6. The school is a member of the Independent Schools Association and Victoria Smit is the National Chair of Arts for the Association.

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