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80 Years of Excellence

Our story is so closely tied to yours. Ermitage was built over the past 8 decades with you, our families and our community, working together to fulfill a mission. Through hard work and a continuous search for perfection, we have built a school together, a place for our children to grow and become global citizens of tomorrow.

Anne-Marie Thommeret
Anne-Marie Thommeret

In 1941, during WWII, Ermitage was founded at a time when access to education in the Paris region was restricted under the Occupation and resources for civilians were very limited. It was in this context that Mrs. Anne-Marie Thommeret, a university student in French literature, began giving classes to local students. This experience would mark the beginning of her long career as the founder and head mistress of Ermitage School. After the first school was destroyed by an ally bombing intending to target the city's railroad tracks, students quickly relocated to one of the many abandoned buildings in Maisons-Laffitte. With just a handful of students at the start, the school grew year after year through the same resilience that had allowed it to survive and succeed during the war years. Today, 80 years later, Ermitage has become a leader in bilingual and international education in France.
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Christopher Hunter

Christopher Hunter
Head of School: 1987-2019

Christopher Hunter dedicated 28 years of his career to Ermitage, so it only felt right to cover his significant contributions to the school’s success. A pioneer in bilingual and international education, Christopher Hunter led the transformation of Ermitage from a local and traditional French-curriculum school that offered weekly boarding to Paris-based families into an international institution that welcomed children representing more than 75 nationalities.

The town of Maisons-Laffitte evolved alongside as the school’s bilingual and innovative international educational programs attracted and welcomed an ever-greater number of international families. As the school’s transformation boosted academic performance, the pass rate for the baccalaureate exams went up from 48% to 100% in the space of 20 years. In this piece, we can get a sense of Christopher’s innovative and lasting contributions to the school’s development.
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Benjamin Hunter

Benjamin Hunter, M.Ed.
Head of School: 2019-2021

Mr. Benjamin Hunter led the transition from a family-owned school to new ownership over many years and was named Head of School in 2019. Ermitage continued smoothly throughout the pandemic thanks to his leadership, all while launching an ambitious strategic plan including a rebrand, technological enhancements to improve the learning and logistics, a campus expansion, and more. With a Masters in Education Leadership and Management from the University of Bath, Mr. Benjamin Hunter previously held the titles of Deputy Head, IBDP Coordinator, CAS Coordinator, and Round Square Rep for Ermitage & European Region. 

Benjamin was an approachable leader—guiding ten IB cohorts through to the successful completion of their Diploma Program, as well as overseeing impressive results for the French Bac. Students and staff appreciated his caring, open, and inspirational manner which marked everything he undertook. Throughout his many roles, Benjamin offered students opportunities to grow both academically & personally, leaving a lifelong impact on them and the future of Ermitage.

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The History of Ermitage

1941: Ermitage Was Founded
Ermitage was founded at a time when access to education in the Paris region was restricted under the Occupation and resources for civilians were very limited. Mrs. Anne-Marie Thommeret, a university student in French literature, began giving classes to local students. This experience would mark the beginning of her long career as the founder and headmistress of Ermitage School.
1950: Wordwide Partnership
From the beginning, Ermitage has been committed to multiculturalism in learning, and as early as the 1950s, began sending students abroad to Australia, England, Ireland, Spain, and the United States. Boarding houses opened on campus and welcomed their first residents during these years as well.
1980: Bilingual Education
Under the direction of Christopher Hunter in the 1980s, Ermitage developed a philosophy based on internationalism and excellence. The school instituted bilingual learning at every level, concentrating on its ability to give students access to a French curriculum with additional English classes at an advanced level.
1990: Annual USA Exchange Programs
During this period, Ermitage set up its first school exchanges with Amherst in Massachusetts, marking the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership that is still going strong. These exchanges provide yet another priceless opportunity for cultural and linguistic learning.
2002: First ICU2 student trip
Our first ICU2 humanitarian aid trip allowed us to provide vision testing and eyeglasses to populations in India who do not have access to such care on a regular basis. This project continues on today and helps 20,000 people each year.
2003: French Baccalaureate International
The International Option of the French baccalaureate (BFI) was offered at Ermitage for the first time.
2005: Round Square Global Membership
Ermitage became the first school in France to join the Round Square international network.
2009: IB Diploma Program
Ermitage became one of the first schools in France to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IB DP) and obtained a pass rate close to perfect.
2011: Ermitage Hosted Pre-Conference
Ermitage hosted 10 international schools on campus for a pre-conference week before the International Round Square Conference in England.
2012: Incredible Pass Rate
100% pass rate on the French baccalaureate and IB DP, many with honors.
2015: Received Distinctions
Ermitage received 20 distinctions from the IBO following the first 5-year evaluation of its IB programs.
2016: New Program at Ermitage
Ermitage officially launched the IB Middle Years Program.
2017: Ermitage is Ranked Number Two
Le Figaro newspaper ranked Ermitage as number 2 in their list of French lycées with the highest performance.
2019: New Head of School, Continued Legacy
Benjamin Hunter, grandson of our school's founder and son of the former Head of School, became the Head of School. Ermitage changed ownership the same year and became Laffitte Education’s first school.
2020: IBO Distinctions
The school obtained a record 24 distinctions from the IBO following its second 5-year evaluation of Ermitage IB programs.

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At Ermitage, we empower our students to invest in their education. They develop critical thinking skills, a love of learning, and the ability to adapt in an international context, going on to become engaged members of society.
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The Team
Experienced, empathetic, and committed, the Ermitage team doesn't just teach, they work alongside our parents and students to help them reach their goals. Discover the men and women who make our school such a special place.