"Hailey is the most historic building on campus and has recently been extensively refurbished. We have a constant stash of food; an annual house blessing; tea parties for guests - and we organise impromptu suppers when we need cheering up. Hailey prides itself on its family feel and great sense of humour; is certainly one of the nicest Houses - in spirit and outlook. We see ourselves as Haileybury's great secret."
Alison Baker Housemistress, Hailey
Hailey House is the oldest building at Haileybury, with parts of it forming the building used by the Reverend Thomas Malthus as his home when the East India Company first acquired the estate in 1805.
Its badge, a rampant lion holding a cross, and motto Quid Fortius Leone (brave like a lion), are both emblems of the Walford Family, after the Reverend Henry Walford, the first Housemaster of Hailey. House colours are dark blue and pink.
Hailey is focused on developing fully-rounded people who are excellent, flourishing holistic individuals working together happily as a community of good and honest souls.
The Housemistress, Alison Baker, takes great pride in the fact that her door is always open, with every girl encouraged to treat it as an extension of the Boarding House. Alison and her team promote strong spiritual and philosophical virtues with the view that every girl at Hailey should enjoy their time here, take responsibility for their actions and make the best of themselves.
This spirit is reflected not just in the official motto of the House but also in its modern equivalent, ‘be the best version of yourself’. These values (being brave, facing your fears and aiming to be well-balanced, flourishing people) make Hailey a spirited and well-rounded house.
Hailey is a happy home where feasts, family and festivals form a core part of House life. Major festivals, including Rosh Hashanah and Chinese New Year are eagerly celebrated and the house also enjoys regular themed suppers including French, German and Bollywood nights.
For international boarders who are often a long way from home this is particularly important. Sitting around the table, eating and talking together - often in Alison's own kitchen - brings everyone together in the warm embrace of House friendship.
A particular attraction, especially in summer, is Hailey's own private and much-loved garden, giving the girls a place to enjoy life away from the bustle of school. It is ideal for relaxing and for hosting House events such as barbecues.
Charity, and caring for others, are also important parts of House outlook and charitable fundraising is considered one of Hailey's key aims. The spirit is genuinely one of being a happy House - a fact particularly expressed by our reputation for dance.
Hailey also organises an annual dog show for charity, which is a real highlight of the school calendar!
Hailey House might be the oldest building on site but it has been extensively modernised and redecorated.
There are currently 66 girls in the House, over half of whom are boarders. The House runs across three levels with two big Common Rooms; one on the top floor and the downstairs one being the focus of the House.
Alison Baker became Housemistress of Hailey in September 2012. She lives there with her husband Colin, a pharmacologist, who she met in Switzerland over 30 years ago, their son and her dog, Charlie. Her two adult children, Ben and Alexandria are both Old Haileyburians. Alison has taught Religious Studies and Philosophy for 18 years, 13 at Haileybury and five at a local girl’s school.
Alison has worked variously as a police officer, nanny and business woman, running a small sewing and craft company. She later trained as a teacher, studying for a master’s degree in Theology and Education, and realised that she had found her forte.
As Alison says, "I enjoy living with the girls and sharing their lives. Teenagers are a wonderful mixed bag of enthusiasm, insecurity, dreams, worries and emerging personalities. To be a key person in their life, guiding them forward, laying markers down of expectations and aspirations is nothing short of an awesome job. I enjoy establishing and growing relationships with parents and helping be part of the guiding process through the teenage years. I have a good sense of humour and enjoy getting people to learn to laugh at themselves. What is there not to like?"
Alison is supported in her work by an experienced team of Tutors at Hailey, in addition to Anita, the House Matron, who helps with the day to day domestic management of the House. The House also has its own representative from the Haileybury Parents' Association. To find out more about the team of Tutors at Hailey, life in House, and the HPA representative, please click on the links below: