Headmaster's Welcome

Children joining St Mary’s Hall from the age of 3 are welcomed into our purpose-built, award winning Pre-Prep unit, Hodder House. Set in glorious woodland, it is an ideal location for indoor and outdoor play, and learning using our exceptional facilities and outdoor classroom.

St Mary’s Hall nursery is the first step in the Stonyhurst journey that will take them seamlessly through an enriching education and into the world beyond. Based in Hodder House on the 1,000 acre Stonyhurst estate, children from age three, enjoy a broad curriculum that celebrates each individual and offers them countless opportunities to discover their unique talents.

Children work in small classes under the care and guidance of highly skilled and experienced teachers. In addition to literacy, numeracy and ICT, they learn to express themselves creatively, study modern languages and enjoy PE and swimming. There is an extensive after school activities programme which runs until 6pm and a holiday club which runs out of term time. Hodder House is self-contained, but has the advantage of sharing the facilities and taking part in the activities and special events of the main school.

About the Headmaster

Fr Christopher Cann was appointed Headmaster of Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall in 2022. Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall is Fr Christopher’s fourth Headship in independent boarding and day schools.  Prior to joining Stonyhurst, Fr Christopher was Headmaster of Ratcliffe College Preparatory School in Leicestershire and previously Headmaster of Leicester Preparatory School and Denstone College Preparatory School. He has a Master of Arts degree in French from the University of St Andrews and in Theology from the University of Oxford.

The Pre-Prep at Stonyhurst St Mary’s Hall is an exciting, creative and diverse community where learning is celebrated, initiative is developed and lifelong friendships are formed. At the heart of all we do at Stonyhurst lies our strong Jesuit ethos and our belief that each individual has something of value to bring to the community.

As you read through our website, we hope that you find the information not only uplifting but also helpful. It will become increasingly clear to you that the children are happy and that they know it is good to be at SMH. 

We are a community of people who help one another and who enjoy spending time together. We hope that as a family you will be very happy here and your son or daughter will feel supported and nurtured – spiritually, academically and pastorally – on his or her journey through the next few years of education. We are sure your child will feel happy and settled here.


I’m a firm believer that children can achieve anything if they have the platform and the inspiration to do so. The breadth and richness of our curriculum has been designed with that in mind and seeks to truly enhance children’s formative years.

 Fr Christopher Cann, Headmaster Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall


Where do you want to go next?


Open Days

Experience a Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall school day, meet the teachers, pupils and other children who are hoping to join the Stonyhurst family.

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Virtual Tour

We have developed an immersive, state-of-the-art virtual tour to provide you with an opportunity to explore St Mary's Hall from the comfort and safety of your own home. We hope you enjoy taking a tour of the wonderful facilities we have to offer.

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Private Visits

We welcome families to join us for a virtual private visit. During one of these more intimate visits, families will have the opportunity to meet the Headmaster and other key members of our staff to talk more specifically about areas that you are interested in. 

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ISI Report

We were inspected by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate and are delighted to report that this inspection resulted in the best possible outcome by being rated ‘excellent’ in most judgements of educational quality.

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