Respect. Kindness. Community. Curiosity. Conservation.
Hampstead Hill School is an independent Nursery and Pre-Preparatory School based in St Stephen’s, a magnificent Grade I listed former church, and the adjacent School Hall in the heart of Hampstead, London. (www.ststephenstrust.co.uk)
Hampstead Hill is a non-selective school catering for children aged 2 to 7+ years. There are five Year Groups at Hampstead Hill and each Year Group consists of four classes. The Lower School, based in St Stephen’s Hall and the Garden classrooms, is made up of Early Years (age 2–3), Pre-Reception (age 3–4) and Reception (age 4–5) and the Upper School, based in St Stephen’s, is made up of Year 1 (age 5-6) and Year 2 (age 6-7).
Hampstead Hill provides the peace of mind and security that comes with traditional teaching and values. Alongside a wide and varied syllabus we offer a balanced, nurturing and happy environment that gives children a stimulating and exciting introduction to early education and encourages them to learn and grow.
In the Upper School our goal is to prepare children for the academic challenges of the 7+ entrance examinations to a wide range of future schools. At the start of the Summer Term the Year 2 pupils, who have finished entrance examinations, move into Post Exam classes and the Year 1 pupils move into their Year 2 classes, giving the children due to sit 7+ examinations three full terms with the Year 2 Class Teachers.
With so many parents running extremely busy lives, it is important that a School recognises the pressures of today’s working arrangements. Hampstead Hill offers flexible hours for younger children, with facilities available for up to ten hours a day, 51 weeks a year. For parents who need it from the end of Reception Year onwards (5 years and over) we run a varied, exciting Holiday Scheme during all half-term and holiday periods.
NB: There is an additional daily charge for this service, which varies according to activities.
Hampstead Hill School…My daughter Lana went to HHS, the school set the foundations for Lana’s education so well, she spoke and still speaks English like the Queen does. The meals are so healthy and staff were really helpful, especially Mrs Andrea Taylor. Thank you HHS.
They have a great education. My kids cried about leaving the school. Teachers are really sweet with the kids, food is delicious and the kids come home with beautiful art work. Looking for a new school for your child? Hampstead Hill is a glory for every child.
We’ve had a fabulous experience with Hampstead Hill School. Our son has been there for the last 4 years and they’ve nurtured his confidence throughout the process and helped position him to sit exams. The good news for us is that he was successful in getting in to UCS. What we loved most about the school when we first visited was that Andrea Taylor has a wealth of experience and we felt we could really trust her with a process we were very nervous about, especially with our first child. Secondly, the environment had such an amazing spirit and we were really drawn to that. We wanted an environment that would develop both his academic skills and also nurture his self esteem, and the school has certainly done that!
My mother, Hazel Mary Riches, opened this school, in this very building on October 4th 1949. Plagued by weak health from early childhood, Hazel was raised by her grandmother and kept alive by her and the talented military doctors at Colchester Garrison. At fourteen she was sent to London and told it was time for her to make her own way in life.
She went from domestic service to being a Rates Officer for the Old Borough of Hampstead within a few short years, as well as carrying out fire watching and ambulance duties during the War years. In the early 1940’s she married a handsome young soldier and against all medical advice went on to have two children during that decade.
Hazel needed to work but was unable to find a suitable nursery school in which to leave my sister and I so she used her initiative and decided to open one herself. She found St Stephen’s Hall, which had been used for newspaper storage during the War, and asked the Parish if she could lease the building. She then spoke to the local Welfare Officer who advised her on what she needed to do and how to do it, and then gave her a licence to open a school.
The great day came on Tuesday 4th October 1949 – Hazel having exhausted herself of course, clearing rubbish from the relevant areas of the building, eliminating the ‘all over’ bottle green paint and getting the place suitably equipped. I clearly remember walking along Rosslyn Hill towards Pond Street, wheeling my dolls’ pram, in which sat a kettle among other things, with my sister beside me clutching her teddy bear. In that first year sixteen pupils attended Heathland Nursery School, as it was known then – one of those sixteen was Julia Neuberger who is now both a Rabbi and a Dame.
Hazel ran the school, as it grew in size and reputation, until the 1970’s when ill health forced her into early retirement and it was then that I changed the name to Hampstead Hill School.
I myself had trained to teach drama but had come to work at the school for a short period in the 1960’s to cover Hazel’s absence while she was in hospital, and during that time I became very involved in the development of a little boy with problems – today he would be called autistic. By now I had a small daughter and feeling inspired by my experiences with this little boy I decided that a career in early education would provide me with a life I would really enjoy as well as enabling me to use my drama training to some extent.
Obviously I did stay and as the years rolled by I grew to love my chosen path more and more and found I thrived off the challenges it brought. In 1980, whilst raising my daughter and two small sons from my second marriage, I registered the school to take older children. Then in 1982 I expanded Hampstead Hill by opening the Pre-Preparatory Branch, originally in Willoughby Road, before moving it in 1990 to larger premises in Courthope Road. From there we moved again in 2009 – our 60th Anniversary year – into St Stephen’s, the magnificent Grade I Listed building that we are privileged to occupy today. My husband and I had taken up the challenge to restore St Stephen’s in 1998 and spent the next decade raising nearly six million pounds. He then supervised the actual restoration work with the support of English Heritage.
So from the sixteen pupils in 1949 we grew into the much larger family that is Hampstead Hill today, but we strive, and always will, to maintain the same happy, caring family atmosphere and educational ethos that we have always had. Hampstead Hill is most certainly a Mighty Oak that grew from a very small acorn but everything that is its ethos was born from Hazel’s beginnings. I am only sad that neither she, nor my dear sister Vanessa, have lived to see the culmination of the great and proud history of this school. I am however deeply grateful and happy that two of my children have also chosen to work at Hampstead Hill alongside me, as this will ensure that the family line and ethos will continue long into the future.
Term Begins: Thursday 2nd September
Inset Day: Friday 15th October (School Closed)
Half Term Break: Monday 18th – Friday 22nd October 2020 inclusive
Term Ends: Friday 10th December
Term Begins: Tuesday 4th January
Inset Day: Friday 11th February (School Closed)
Half-Term break: Monday 14th – Friday 18th February inclusive
Term Ends: Wednesday 30th March
Term Begins: Thursday 21st April
May Day Holiday: Monday 2nd May
Inset Day: Friday 27th May (School Closed)
Half-Term break: Monday 30th May – Friday 3rd June inclusive
Term Ends: Friday 8th July
Term Begins: Thursday 1st September
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