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Hazlegrove Prep School
Hazlegrove Prep School
Hazlegrove Prep School
Hazlegrove Prep School
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Hazlegrove Prep School Yeovil, Somerset Visit
school
Hazlegrove Prep School
Yeovil
368 pupils, ages 2 -13
Mixed
Day and Boarding

Hazlegrove Prep School

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Our view

This historic Somerset school has enviable film-set looks, but it’s the pupils who give it soul, belting around its 200 acres on bicycles and scooters and clomping through forests in brightly coloured wellies. Bursting with creativity and innovation, plans are afoot for rewilding and solar panels, and the superlative academics (achieved without being selective) and enlightened pastoral care mean parents are clamouring to get their children’s names down from birth.

Where?

Allow an extra couple of minutes for your journey to Hazlegrove: once you’ve turned off the dual carriageway, prepare to give way to the sheep and cattle grazing languidly along the drive, ringed by open parkland and leading to the beautiful 18th-century main building. It’s all very wholesome and pastoral and sets the tone for what’s to come: a school that impresses from the minute you arrive and charms the more you get to know it.

Hazlegrove has all the bells and whistles of a top-notch country prep. Classrooms are big and bright; facilities expansive, and space endless (200 acres, if you want to quantify it) – yet with the A303 right on its doorstep, it feels properly in touch with the outside world. And we love the fact that the grand house isn’t just reserved for trophies and honours boards: instead, it’s very much part of everyday life, with classrooms spilling off the main hall and pupils excitedly retrieving rugby balls from puddles just outside.

From here, it’s a 15-minute drive to Sherborne in one direction and Castle Cary in the other. Castle Cary connects to London Paddington in under two hours, and the school runs a minibus service to and from Sherborne, Shepton Mallet and Warminster.

Head

Head Ed Benbow arrived at Hazlegrove in September 2022. This is Mr Benbow’s first headship; before Hazlegrove, he was deputy head at Cothill House, following a stint as head of boarding at Pinewood and a decade working in the City. We found him to be incredibly warm and wonderfully enthusiastic – and his palpable love for the job and the beautiful school he’s in charge of is nothing short of inspiring. 

Mr Benbow is a huge fan of the West Country (he was educated at Sherborne, just down the road), and his passions are wide-ranging – he’s sports-mad (particularly rugby, hockey and cricket), but also musical (he plays the French horn, piano and sings in the choir). He’s joined by his delightful wife Amanda and their two young children, and the pair make a fantastic team: Amanda is an educational psychologist, and thoroughly involved in school life. She sees pupils for one-to-one sessions and has created a wonderful nurture room, and she’s parents’ go-to for any neurodivergence or pastoral issues. She has also introduced a weekly coffee morning for parents which is hugely popular.

Admissions

Places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and priority is given to siblings and boarders. Most parents put names down a year prior to entry (places are limited and there are waiting lists in some year groups, so it’s worth being organised), but there’s nothing high-pressured about the process. Children entering the Nursery or Reception are invited to meet a pre-prep staff member and join a Forest School session before a formal offer is made (as most pupils go straight through to Reception, a place at the Nursery is considered gold dust). Children looking for places throughout the school undergo a short informal assessment to get a snapshot of current learning levels. The most important thing is finding children who’ll get stuck in.

Hazlegrove is part of a foundation that also incorporates King’s School, Bruton, a senior school located eight miles away in Bruton. Many children make the all-through journey from 2-18 across both schools, which share a common Christian ethos and a great sense of community.

Academic and senior-school destinations

A recent inspection found the quality of the pupils’ learning and achievement to be ‘excellent’, with everyone reaching beyond expected academic levels. Class sizes average out at around 15 pupils, and small tutor groups ensure each child is well-known and understood. A busy learning-support unit is well equipped to help children with dyslexia.

Specialist teaching begins in the nursery and gradually extends to every subject by the time pupils reach Year 6 (when they start moving around the site for lessons, readying them for the transition to senior school). Everyone learns French, and Spanish is offered as an alternative to Latin, which is on the timetable from Year 6. Oh, and it’s worth noting there’s a thriving reading culture, as illustrated by ‘Millionaires’ Club’ – once you’ve read a million words, you’re in.

The calibre of staff here is high – most have top-quality degrees from Oxbridge and Russell Groups, making them more than capable of really stretching the most able pupils. We loved the super-smart science block with state-of-the-art modern technology to ignite curiosity in any child. There’s a strong emphasis on digital learning: everyone in Year 6 and above gets their own iPad, and we spotted some serious gizmos on our tour (check out the laser cutter and 3D printer in the D&T lab). We love the school’s attitude towards working styles – children are encouraged to submit their work in the way that plays to their strengths, be that via voice notes, typed notes or handwritten script.

From Year 4, Saturday school is part of the school week, with lessons in the morning and matches in the afternoon.

End of year assessments are rigorous and the scholarship set (introduced in Year 7) still takes compulsory Latin. Up to around 40 per cent of leavers move on to partner school King’s Bruton, taking lots of friends with them. The rest head to the full range of seniors, including Canford, Millfield, Blundell’s, Wells Cathedral School, Radley, Bradfield, Marlborough and Sherborne, many with a scholarship in hand.

Co-curricular

The sporting facilities at Hazlegrove wowed us; you name it, they’ve got it. From Year 4 up, there’s sport every day (rugby, football, hockey and cricket for the boys; netball, hockey and cricket for the girls), making full use of the school’s pitches, Astros, tennis and netball courts, dance studio, and mini six-hole golf course. There’s a real team spirit, and players are swapped in and out during matches to give everyone a go at representing the school. The 25m indoor swimming pool means kayaking skills become part of the sporting curriculum from Year 5, and nursery school children take a short stroll to the pool for regular swimming lessons. More left-field options include biathlon and triathlon.

Art, drama and music are done to a high standard at Hazlegrove, with everyone taking part. Music is big and most pupils learn an instrument (even the bagpipes), and there are more bands, orchestras and music groups than we could count. Each year group has its own choir too. Annual highlights include choir services at Sherborne Abbey and Wells Cathedral. 

Every child gets their moment in the spotlight via an annual play for each year group from nursery to Year 8. After sitting CE, the leavers stage a musical extravaganza based around pop songs – and if the stage isn’t your thing, there are plenty of opportunities to help out backstage instead. LAMDA is a popular club.

We were very impressed with the Art and Design Centre, an exciting and dynamic hub of activity where pupils can get stuck into textiles, ceramics and computer-driven Design Technology (weekly awards and certificates inspire pupils and more and more are winning art scholarships). There’s a fully-equipped Food Technology room, though since the food in the dining room is ‘the best part of school life’ according to one pupil, we doubt many go hungry.

When pupils are not in the classroom, the real focus of life at Hazlegrove is outside. Outdoor learning is part of the curriculum for Years 3 to 5, and in summer, chickens strut around the grounds while children pick veg in the kitchen garden and help look after the aforementioned and much-loved guinea pigs. There’s kite flying, orienteering, woodland games, bonfire building and camping – and even a go-kart track that would turn most parents green with envy. The adventure-playground circuit is serious stuff, and there’s a trophy to be won for whoever clocks the fastest time around it. 

Boarding

Boarding is a thriving part of school life. Children can choose to go full, weekly or flexi (one to four nights per week), but all boarders stay at school for the first and last weekends of term to help create a real sense of community. Boarding numbers steadily increase as pupils move up the schools.

Expect exceptional pastoral care and a real family feel (we love the fact that siblings sit together during supper). With their Quentin Blake wallpaper and pretty pastel bunting, the dorms in the three boarding houses (one girls’, two boys’) are sunny and welcoming. We particularly liked the lovely garden in Blackford House (for girls in Years 3-8), which is home to guinea pigs Galaxy and Milky Way, and the newly refurbished Lankester House (for junior boys), complete with Lego room and fish tanks. Senior boys sleep in School House, which is squirrelled away at the top of the main house. Dorms have what must surely be the best views in the whole of Somerset.

With 60 or so children in the school every weekend, there is always lots on: baking, bonfires, ice-skating, a spin round the go-kart track, off-site visits to beaches or the caves at Wookey Hole. Oh, and we love the ‘no devices’ policy; even the teachers aren’t allowed to use their mobile phones on the school campus, and children have dedicated letter-writing time on the weekends. Children are, however, more than welcome to use the landline to call home, or borrow a tablet to Skype their family.

School community

The size of the school allows teaching staff to get to know all pupils individually, and all children check in with their form tutor every morning and lunchtime. Staff are brilliantly well-trained in spotting issues, and the overriding message we took away from our chat with Mr Benbow was that there are so many eyes on each pupil that problems are spotted quickly – and nipped in the bud as soon as they arise.

Families tend to live within a 45-minute drive. This is the school of choice for locals and thrusting ex-Londoners moving to the southwest, who want their children to have a more worldly lens than what is offered at some of the other local schools (note they're a nicely understated bunch too, with far more battered Land Rovers spotted in the car park than shiny sports cars). It’s also popular with military families, whose offspring make up a good majority of the full boarding contingent. The active and hugely welcoming parents’ association frequently organises events including a drinks party in September for new parents, quiz nights, a summer fete complete with dog show and a biannual ball.

And finally....

Hazlegrove seems to have it all: a beautiful building, arguably even more beautiful grounds, knockout facilities, a caring family ethos and a wide range of opportunities for children to really get stuck into their passions. Most importantly, it’s home to hordes of happy children – and we can’t wait to watch it flourish under Mr Benbow’s watch.

Gallery See All

Hazlegrove Indoor swimming pool
Girls lying on a white spotted duvet reading a book together
The Hazlegrove Headmaster and his wife
External image of the Fitzjames building at Hazlegrove school
Row of smiling faces and children in blue and grey jumpers
  • Senior school destinations

    Senior school destinations

    Hazlegrove is a launchpad for children to achieve their first-choice of senior school, with around 60 per cent each year moving on to leading independent senior schools, including Eton, Winchester and Marlborough. 40 per cent of Hazlegrove’s leavers move on to their partner school, King’s Bruton.

  • Scholarships for senior schools

    Scholarships

    Academic6Canford, Bryanston, Downside, Kingswood School, King's College Taunton, Sherborne Girls'
    Music3 Canford, Downside, Millfield
    Drama3 King's College Taunton, Kingswood School, King's School Bruton
    Sport7 Bryanston, King's School Bruton (2), Sherborne, Downside (2), Blundell's
    DT1 King's School Bruton
    All Rounder1 Bryanston


  • Fees and bursaries

    Day fees per term

    Nursery-
    Reception£3,594
    Year 1£3,594
    Year 2£3,594
    Year 3£5,714
    Year 4£6,723
    Year 5£6,723
    Year 6£6,723
    Year 7£7,287
    Year 8 £7,287
    Boarding fees per term

    Nursery-
    Reception-
    Year 1-
    Year 2-
    Year 3 £8,454
    Year 4 £8,454
    Year 5 £8,454
    Year 6£8,454
    Year 7£10,786
    Year 8 £10,786




    Bursaries
    Hazlegrove offers a generous package for forces families claiming CEA, which is approximately 10% of the fees. For those families who are not claiming CEA, Hazlegrove offers a 5% forces discount. 
  • SEND



    The school's Learning Support Unit helps children with a range of needs on either a short- or longer-term basis. The school aims to build children’s self-confidence and independence as learners so that they are better able to manage individual barriers to learning and fulfil their potential.

    There is a team of four specialist teachers who are experienced in teaching pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties such as Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism, Attention Deficit Disorders, Memory and Processing weaknesses. The school offers structured, cumulative, multi-sensory Dyslexia programmes alongside targeted Reading, Writing and Maths support, help with study skills and revision and tutoring in Touch Typing and Assistive Technologies. In addition, children are supported to boost their memory, organisation, fine motor skills and handwriting.

    Once a need has been identified and usually following an internal assessment, lessons are designed and delivered individually to a bespoke plan. There is regular liaison with the form and subject teachers and regular feedback is given to parents.

  • Transport links

    School Transport
    School daily bus network

    Public Transport
    Nearest mainline train station: Castle Cary
    Journey time to London by train: 97 minutes
    Nearest international airport: Bristol (35 miles)


School Updates

  • School launches Eco Fest with collaboration with Barefoot Running Farmers.

    Hazlegrove's Eco Fest provided a fantastic launch pad to kick-start a life-long commitment to greater sustainability and eco awareness and welcomed the expertise of Ben Goldsmith, Green Up Your Act and regenerative farming business, Higher Farm.
    School launches Eco Fest with collaboration with Barefoot Running Farmers.
  • Local Hazlegrove Pupil Stars in The Velveteen Rabbit on Apple TV+ this Christmas

    Children at Hazlegrove Prep School are all looking forward to seeing their fellow pupil star in Apple TVs The Velveteen Rabbit this Christmas!
    Local Hazlegrove Pupil Stars in The Velveteen Rabbit on Apple TV+ this Christmas
  • Syrian Refugee Dentist Shares his Inspiring Story with Pupils

    Students at Hazlegrove Prep School were treated to a special guest speaker last week, as they welcomed Mr Eiad Zinah, a dentist, PhD student, and Syrian refugee who shared with them his extraordinary experiences.
    Syrian Refugee Dentist Shares his Inspiring Story with Pupils
  • Hazlegrove children and parents compete on the international sporting stage

    Children and parents from Hazlegrove Prep School represented the UK at the World Laser Run Championships as well as their team of riders reaching the finals at the prestigious National Schools Equestrian Association National Grassroots Finals.
    Hazlegrove children and parents compete on the international sporting stage
  • Hazlegrove Prep opens the new school year with an 'Excellent' ISI Inspection

    It's top marks for Headmaster, Ed Benbow, as he starts his second year in post at Hazlegrove Prep School with an 'Excellent' ISI report.
    Hazlegrove Prep opens the new school year with an 'Excellent' ISI Inspection
  • 10 Questions with Ed Benbow, head of Hazlegrove Prep School

    10 Questions with Ed Benbow, head of Hazlegrove Prep School
  • The Big 'I Can & I Am' Bus of Self-Belief Parked Up at Hazlegrove Prep This Week

    Inspirational educational speaker James Shone of the I Can & I Am charity spoke to the Hazlegrove community. The heart of his charity is to inspire confidence in young people to enable them to know who they are and what they are able to do.
    The Big 'I Can & I Am' Bus of Self-Belief Parked Up at Hazlegrove Prep This Week
  • Being Different is a Wonderful Thing: Neurodiversity – the New Superpower

    Educational Psychologist, Amanda Benbow, writes about the need to embrace all the positives that come with neurodiverse children. Amanda is married to Ed Benbow, Head of Hazlegrove Prep School.
    Being Different is a Wonderful Thing: Neurodiversity – the New Superpower
  • It's Lights Off for Low Energy Day at Hazlegrove

    Hazlegrove Prep School spent the first day of their week using as little energy as possible to kick start their new Eco drive. Lights were off, computers and laptops were used sparingly and classes were taken outside.
    It's Lights Off for Low Energy Day at Hazlegrove
  • School is amazed by response to baking challenge

    Move over Bake Off! Pupils at Hazlegrove have outdone themselves this year with their response to the Baffling Bakes challenge for charity.
    School is amazed by response to baking challenge
  • School Welcomes back Olympic Gold Medallist

    Hazlegrove pupils got the chance to hold a real Olympic Gold Medal when Old Hazlegrovian, Peter Wilson, revisited his old school to open The Wilson Centre, the school's renamed LSU Department.
    School Welcomes back Olympic Gold Medallist
  • Hazlegrove Prep School unveils its new Outdoor Classroom

    New Outdoor Classroom offers school exciting teaching opportunities in the great outdoors.
    Hazlegrove Prep School unveils its new Outdoor Classroom
  • WATCH: Hazlegrove Prep School welcome video

    WATCH: Hazlegrove Prep School welcome video
  • Hazlegrove's Year 7 Pupils had a wonderful time at the River Dart!

    It was a week full of adventure and team building as Hazlegrove's Upper School children explored all that was on offer at River Dart Country Park in Devon.
    Hazlegrove's Year 7 Pupils had a wonderful time at the River Dart!
  • Worldwide Media Following, Damian Hirst artworks and Funds Raised by 11 Year old

    Worldwide Media Following, Damian Hirst artworks and Funds Raised by 11 Year old
  • WATCH: Snapshots of life at Hazlegrove – 3

    WATCH: Snapshots of life at Hazlegrove – 3
  • WATCH: Snapshots of life at Hazlegrove – 2

    WATCH: Snapshots of life at Hazlegrove – 2
  • WATCH: Snapshots of life at Hazlegrove – 1

    WATCH: Snapshots of life at Hazlegrove – 1
  • WATCH: Hear a parent talk about their experience of Hazlegrove

    WATCH: Hear a parent talk about their experience of Hazlegrove
  • See Hazlegrove Prep in our Town & Country Prep Schools Guide

    From bucolic country preps to schools on the edge of buzzy market towns or slap bang in the centre of a city, there are a myriad of prep school options up and down the UK and within a daily minibus-ride of the Big Smoke. Use our guide to help with your search.
    See Hazlegrove Prep in our Town & Country Prep Schools Guide

Essentials

Address
Hazlegrove, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JA

Contact
admissions@hazlegrove.co.uk
01963 442606

Website
hazlegrove.co.uk

ISI Report

Fees

Term Dates

Bursaries


Open Days

Open days and how to visit View Open Days Register for open Day



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