Transition to university and beyond - Hurstpierpoint College

Transition to university and beyond

The transition to university and beyond can be difficult and unsettling, and whilst new-found freedom can be liberating, not all young adults feel prepared for independent co-educational living. It can also be difficult for those who are used to a single-sex environment.

Students who enter the Upper Sixth at Hurst College – whether they are day or boarding, male or female – are based in one co-educational house, St John’s. Each student has their own room with a bed, even if they are day students, with separate corridors for the boys and girls.

Hurst students are already used to having co-ed classes and in St John’s they also learn to live with each other in a co-ed environment. They make full use of the large social space, where they can play table tennis and pool, sit and discuss work or simply relax in a vibrant and civilised atmosphere.

Students enjoy the feeling of having some extra space, in what is an important year, and it enables them to live with a broader range of people, which is far more representative of real life and as a result prepares them far more effectively for the transition to university and the world beyond Caty Jacques, Hurst’s Deputy Head (Pastoral)

As well as trying to bridge the gap between school and university, the idea of St John’s is to create an environment that encourages greater independence. This model has proved so successful, that many other independent schools have followed Hurst’s example.

We give our students more independence as they progress through the school, whilst still providing a safety net of support when it is needed - after all, they are still at school Caty Jacques, Hurst’s Deputy Head (Pastoral)

When students join St John’s they still maintain links with their previous house, which was chosen when they first joined the senior school. In the Lower Sixth, students start preparing for their role as leaders of the rest of the school, and gain a taste of responsibility in leading their day or boarding house as they becoming prefects, house captains and organise house events.

The sense of camaraderie and support in St John’s – also seen throughout the rest of the school – is tangible as students tackle the process of completing UCAS forms and EPQs (Extended Project Qualification), understanding only too well the challenges faced by their peers.

Upper Sixth students are provided with a sensible introduction to alcohol, at twice weekly bar nights when they are allowed up to two drinks each. They also enjoy other social events, such as discos, which are absolutely vital to help them unwind in a challenging year.

At the start of the year they can’t wait to have two alcoholic drinks, but by the end of the year they’re often quite happy with a Diet Coke and a packet of crisps. Importantly they’ve had that first, level-headed introduction to alcohol Caty Jacques, Hurst’s Deputy Head (Pastoral)

St John’s has also created its own traditions. To raise money at Halloween, the Upper Sixth organise a haunted house night for the younger students who pay to enter an appropriately themed environment.

The younger children see the Upper Sixth students as grown-ups – which they are - and mostly they behave like grown-ups Caty Jacques, Hurst’s Deputy Head (Pastoral)

In essence, St John’s provides an increased amount of freedom, with an excellent support network, which effectively bridges the gap between a school environment, the transition to university and life outside of Hurst.


Please follow the links below for further information about Hurst College, an independent, co-educational, day and flexi/weekly boarding school for pupils aged 4–18, located just to the north of the village of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.

Prep & Pre-Prep
Senior School
Sixth Form
College Campus

Hurst College’s inspection reports and reviews:
ISC Inspection reports
Good Schools Guide