What it’s like
Founded in 1593 at St Omers, it moved first to Bruges then to Liège.
Forced to leave the continent at the outbreak of the French Revolution,
it established itself at the Hall of Stonyhurst in 1794. It has very
fine buildings in a beautiful setting in the Ribble Valley on the slopes
of Longridge Fell. It has two prep schools: St Mary’s Hall at Stonyhurst
and St John’s Beaumont at Windsor. Extremely well equipped with modern
facilities, the college is a foundation of the Society of Jesus, and
describes itself as a community of young people, parents, Jesuits, lay
staff, former pupils and friends. It undertakes to provide instruction
in Catholic doctrine and to educate pupils in the principles and
practice of their faith; enquiries from other Christians are also
welcome. Now con-educational, girls have been admitted at 13 since 1999,
to the sixth form for some ten years longer. There is a staff:pupil
ratio of 1:8. Excellent teaching is provided and examination results are
good. It is very strong in music and drama and there is a wide range of
games, sports and activities. Excellent standards in games with a number
of county and national representatives. Considerable emphasis on outdoor
pursuits for which the environment is ideal. There is a highly regarded
cadet corps contingent, substantial commitment to local community
schemes and charities and a good record in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 13–18; 410 pupils, 130 day (90 boys, 40 girls),
280 boarding (200 boys, 80 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam
used; for sixth-form entry, 6 GCSEs at least grade C (grade B in
sixth-form subjects). Special skills taken into account. Pupils are
largely Roman Catholic although Christians of other denominations are
encouraged to apply. Over 65% of intake from 2 prep schools, St Mary’s
Hall, Stonyhurst (tel 01254 826242) and St John’s Beaumont, Windsor (tel
Scholarships, bursaries & extras Up to 14 pa scholarships
awarded at 13, value £1000–50% fees: 10 academic, 1–2 all-rounder, 1–2
art, 1–2 music; plus 2 at 11 (via St Mary’s Hall Prep), 2 into the sixth
form. Variable number of bursaries. Parents are not expected to buy
textbooks; other extras variable.
Parents 20+% live within 30 miles; 20+% live overseas; 25%
from Home Counties/London.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Adrian Aylward, appointed 1996. Educated at Worth
School and at Oxford University (Greats) and King’s College London
(education). Previously Housemaster, Head’s Deputy and Director of
Admissions at Downside. Prior to teaching, worked in corporate finance
with Samuel Montagu, County NatWest and as chief executive of a public
Teaching staff: 49 full time, 13 part time. Annual turnover 5%.
GCSE: Typically, 77 pupils in fifth: 87% gain at least grade C in
5+ subjects – average 8.1 subjects with GCSE score of 56.
A-levels: 80 in upper sixth: 17% passed in 4+ subjects; 64% in 3;
13% in 2; and 1% in 1 subject. Average final point score achieved
by upper sixth formers 346.
University & college entrance All 2003 sixth-form leavers
eventually went on to degree courses (25% after a gap year under the
auspices of the Jesuits), 10% to Oxbridge. 7% took courses in medicine,
dentistry & veterinary science, 15% in science & engineering, 69% in
humanities & social sciences, 5% in art & design, 4% in vocational
subjects (eg agriculture, property management).
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 21 GCSE subjects (plus
astronomy in sixth form); 25 at AS/A-level.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level,
3 at A-level; general studies is not taken. 35% took science A-levels;
35% arts/humanities; 30% both. Key skills being piloted.
Special provision: EAL classes inside and outside the timetable
(small groups). Specialist teaching for pupils with dyslexia and other
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered to GCSE and A-level
(and Italian as an extra).
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (1 lesson a week in Years
9–10) and across the curriculum (eg data logging, production of language
texts, use of e-mail). Most pupils take Clait; A-level computer studies
offered. 250 computers for pupil use (14 hours a day), all networked and
with e-mail and internet access; all upper sixth have networked
computers in their rooms. Video conferencing facilities.
Music: Over 30% of pupils learn a musical instrument (including
all first years, as part of the curriculum); instrumental exams are
taken. Musical groups include orchestras, concert band, training band,
string and wind chamber groups, jazz band, dance band, several choirs.
Drama & debating: Pupils and staff in school productions;
majority of pupils in year group productions. 4–5 major productions each
Art & design: On average, 20 take GCSE, 6–8 A-level. Design and
pottery also offered; separate design and technology department. 2–3
entries each year to art & design foundation courses.
Sport & activities
Sport: Rugby, cricket, hockey, athletics, netball compulsory.
Optional: soccer, badminton, squash, tennis, cross-country, basketball,
fencing, swimming. Many county and national representatives in rugby and
other sports. Strong outdoor pursuits.
Activities: Pupils take bronze, silver and gold Duke of
Edinburgh’s Award. Cadet Corps compulsory for 1 year in fourth form,
optional thereafter. Community service optional at all ages but very
active. Up to 20 clubs, eg astronomy, maths, debating, fishing, hill
walking, video, science, computing, scuba diving, philosophy, theology,
Uniform: School uniform worn by all (home clothes for part of
Houses & prefects: Competitive houses for sports only. Prefects
and head pupil – appointed by the Headmaster.
Religion: Compulsory Sunday Mass, year group Mass regularly,
Sunday evening service. Daily morning prayers.
Social: Links with Jesuit colleges in Reims, Sydney, Melbourne,
Zimbabwe and Berlin. Pupils allowed to bring own bike to school (from
third year). Some meals formal, some self-service. School shop. No
tobacco allowed; occasional alcoholic drinks allowed at sixth-form
Discipline Pupils failing to produce work assignments can
expect some loss of free time. College teaches pupils about the dangers
inherent in becoming involved in illegal drugs and underpins its
teaching with a clearly defined disciplinary structure. Those found
selling or distributing illegal drugs are removed immediately. Any pupil
found to have used illegal drugs is likely to be suspended and
discussions initiated with parents; pupils offending a second time will
be asked to leave. All pupils and parents receive a copy of the Family
Boarding Most sixth formers have own study bedroom, remainder
share; third and fourth form in small dormitories. Houses divided by age
group; separate houses for sixth-form and junior girls. Resident
qualified full and part time nursing staff. Central dining room. Exeats
on application to Assistant Headmaster. Visits to the local town
allowed, with permission, for older pupils.
Alumni association The Stonyhurst Association, c/o the
Former pupils General Vernon Walters (former US Ambassador to
UN); Arthur Conan Doyle; Charles Laughton; Paul Johnson; Sir Cecil
Clothier; Bruce Kent; Bill Cash MP; Kyran Bracken (England rugby); Lord
Chitnis; Patrick McGrath (novelist); Bishop Crispian Hollis; Mark
Thompson (Chief Executive Channel 4); Charles Sturridge (film
producer/director); Brendan O’Friel; Lord Talbot; Greg Wood (BBC
economic correspondent); Lord Lilford; Leonard Ingrams; Sir Tim
Chessells (Legal Aid Board); Iain Balshaw (England Rugby).