Outdoor learning plays a key part in the outstanding education Hazelwood School delivers. The 25-acre grounds are home to a variety of different environments that its teachers utilise to motivate their pupils and inspire them into a long-term passion for learning. Alongside academic success, a love of sport is also nurtured in Hazelwood students from the beginning of their school journey, with the games team regularly bringing their specialist sports knowledge to the youngest cohort in the pre-school.
Hazelwood have a team of six specialist PE staff and 22 games staff, who help with coaching and after-school clubs, working under the leadership of Director of Sport Alex Jones, who joined the school in 2022. Involved in a professional capacity in school and club sports for the last 15 years, Alex has worked on player pathways at both Saracens and Harlequins Academy and, as a coach, has won several national competitions in football and rugby.
The winning streak continued in November last year, when Hazelwood’s U‑13s boys’ team, led by first team coach Jon Jarvis, lifted the trophy at the Independent Association of Prep Schools’ national football finals. Indeed, Alex is sure that many of Hazelwood’s other teams are also on course for victory. However, it’s not just students who excel at sports that get to compete in matches and competitions. The opportunity is there for every pupil to join a team and represent the school in one of the many sports on offer, which includes swimming, badminton, rugby, hockey, lacrosse, netball, gymnastics and tennis, among many others. There is also a diverse range of after-school clubs, such as judo, golf and scuba diving, for children to join, and the wider school community of students, parents and teachers can often be found taking part in weekend park runs together.
During years 5 through 8, the children can also take part in the school’s newly introduced bespoke Sports Scholar programme. Pupils have obtained more than 35 sports scholarships to a range of senior schools over the last five years. Alongside grass pitches, courts, indoor and outdoor cricket nets, a state-of-the-art sports hall and the 15-metre swimming pool, the Hazelwood children are also getting great pleasure from their all-weather 80 x 55m astro pitch, which was completed during the autumn term of 2022. Part of the money for this new addition was raised by the school’s dynamic parents’ association, and Alex says it has been a game changer, allowing the pupils to participate in sports lessons in all weathers. He says: “We want to ensure that all pupils here at Hazelwood have the opportunity to explore and participate in a broad and varied sport offering. We endeavour to tailor what we offer to the needs of our pupils, no matter their ability. Our hope as a department is that all pupils leave Hazelwood having enjoyed their sports sessions and will have found an activity they love and will be a lifelong passion for them.”