Hurst College

Debate surrounding the benefits of single-sex versus coeducation is by no means new, yet recent years have seen a marked shift towards the latter in independent schools throughout the country. By Caty Jacques, Deputy Head Pastoral


Founded in 1849 as a boys’ school, Hurst College committed to coeducation in 1995 and is now proud to have an almost 50:50 boy-girl split. In Years 9-12, pupils are placed into single-sex houses, and enjoy a real sense of camaraderie within this initial ‘micro-community’.

Pupils feel welcome and comfortable within their house environments, and it is from this safe space that they encounter a large range of pupils of all genders through lessons, games, and various other activities.

In this way, the Hurst community resembles far more the real-world society that our pupils will enter upon leaving the College, by which time they will have developed key skills in communication, teamwork, and mutual respect of all genders. Throughout the year, houses often pair up for social events and there are inter-house competitions—including House Music, House Film, and Sports Day –
during which all pupils compete with each other, irrespective of gender. This healthy, respectful competition becomes a key part of everyday Hurst life, and our pupils work together to boost each other’s confidence, motivation, and self-esteem.

By the time pupils finish Lower Sixth (Year 12), they move into a fully coeducational house – St John’s –where they each have their own study bedroom. Whilst the whole building is split into single-sex corridors, Upper Sixth (Year 13) students share a larger common room and study spaces, and also enjoy weekly bar nights. Students benefit hugely from this civilising, sensible preparation for university, as well as the mutual support they provide each other throughout the EPQ process, UCAS personal statements, and A-level exams.

Around the College corridors, you will see plenty of mixing amongst pupils of different houses and year groups. Throughout the Senior School, friendships cut across both houses and years, and it is within a sociable, co-educational school environment that every pupil grows up with an appreciation for the equality of all genders, as well as an understanding that many gender stereotypes are inaccurate and harmful. Our pupils work continuously to maintain an open, inclusive College culture, and carry these principles with them into the wider world beyond Hurst.

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