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Stonyhurst’s Jesuit founders believed it was of paramount importance to allow students of the same age to develop strong ties.  To support these ties, our founders provided each year group with a room in which they could socialise and, under the direction of their playroom master, create a play about an important spiritual or moral issue, literally a “play” room.

The names of these play rooms became synonymous with each year group. The links below reveal our play room names and associated tutors and boarding staff.


Hodder House at St Mary’s Hall
Playroom Year Age
Nursery Foundation 3-4
Reception Reception 4-5
Pre-Prep 1 Year 1 5-6
Pre-Prep 2 Year 2 6-7
Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall
Playroom Year Age Playroom Leader Head of Boarding
Lower Prep Year 3 7-8 Ms Sally Evans Mr Kirk Stokes
Upper Prep Year 4 8-9 Ms Sally Evans Mr Kirk Stokes
Lower Elements Year 5 9-10 Dr Andy Chadwick Mr Kirk Stokes
Upper Elements Year 6 10-11 Dr Andy Chadwick Mr Kirk Stokes
Figures Year 7 11-12 Mr Andy Walter Mr Kirk Stokes
Rudiments Year 8 12-13 Mrs Jacqueline Hines Mr Kirk Stokes
Stonyhurst College Lower Line
Playroom Year Age Playroom Master Housemistress
Lower Grammar Year 9 13-14 Mr James Bickerstaff Mrs Jo Wood
Grammar Year 10 14-15 Mr Dave Eachus Mrs Jo Wood
Syntax Year 11 15-16 Mr Ryan Barrett Mrs Jo Wood
Stonyhurst College Higher Line (Sixth Form)
Playroom Year Age Playroom Master Housemistress
Poetry Year 12 16-17 Mr Reuban Strain Mrs Lyndsay Fielding
Rhetoric Year 13 17-18 Mr Paul Warrilow Mrs Lyndsay Fielding

Now, rather than group students in vertical houses, like other independent schools, at Stonyhurst we still group by horizontal Playroom for boys and by Higher Line and Lower Line Houses for girls.  Each Playroom or house has its own personal tutors and house staff for boarders

Although there are lots of opportunities for activities with the wider school community, and plenty of company at weekends, we believe that having space to play, relax and board within small age-groups, allows children to grow in confidence and mature at their own pace. 

At St Mary’s Hall boys and girls board in a single house, with a separate gallery for boys and one for girls.  At the College, boys board in Playrooms, girls are currently split into Lower Line (secondary school) and Higher Line (sixth form).  All pupils share small dormitories with children of the same or very similar ages, until sixth form when each student has their own study bedroom.