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Hanford School

Hanford School

Child Okeford, Blandford Forum, DT11 8HN, Dorset

01258 860219



Hanford School
School type Girls' Boarding Preparatory
Founded 1947
Head of School Hilary Phillips
Girls Age Range 7-13 years (boarding from 7)
Associations BSA, IAPS, ISC

Hanford is a day and boarding prep school for girls, aged between 7-13 years old, in an idyllic countryside setting. Hanford girls enjoy a wonderful, carefree childhood and are given time and freedom to develop at their own pace. Hanford girls climb trees, ride ponies, make dens but they also learn to work hard. We are a small school where everyone knows each other, as a result we can build a curriculum around the needs of each child, valuing their individuality and nurturing their unique blend of talents and interests. This combination of fun, hard work and excellent teaching pays dividends when it comes to Common Entrance and scholarships, with girls achieving over 90 scholarships and awards to senior schools in the past 8 years.

We are extremely proud of our 'family' atmosphere at Hanford. Older girls help look after the younger pupils, we all eat together in the beautiful Jacobean Dining Hall, there is no school uniform and we don't believe in lots of unnecessary rules, other than 'Be Kind'. There are no prefects but all senior girls sit on a series of committees that relate to different areas of the school. The 'Under Cover Agents' committee is made up of older girls who make it their job to know if anyone is struggling and make sure the younger girls are happy and settling in well for example.

Boarding is central to life at Hanford and we have a very modern boarding offer to suit every family from full boarding to flexi boarding; day girls regularly stay the night at Hanford and the majority of pupils will board at some point during their time at Hanford. Dormitories are homely and cosy and always decorated by the girls with their own pictures, photos and personal treasures. Our boarding team is made up of house parents, residential matrons, school nurses and headed up by Susie, the Head of Boarding. The boarding team look after all aspects of pastoral care at school, alongside the pupils' tutors. The team know everything from the name of a beloved pet, toy animal and whose tights were left out overnight.

Parents find that their daughters quickly settle into school life with the help of the boarding team, their peer group and the older girls. There are so many fun activities and games that are part of their weekly boarding experience and each weekend the school is full of boarders who have chosen to stay at school to spend time with their friends and take part in the fun that the boarding team have in store for them. In the summer the girls spend as much time outside as possible and may end the day with a swimming pool party, a BBQ on the lawn and a game of 'Escape to Hanford'.

Hanford is well known for its riding and ponies. The stables are in the centre of the school and nearly all girls ride, either bringing their own pony back to Hanford or riding on one of the school ponies. In their free time, during the day and weekends, many girls will head over to the stables to chat to the ponies and help the Stables Team. We have three full time members of staff who teach riding and look after the ponies. In the mornings girls take it in turns to 'catch the ponies' from the fields before breakfast and bring them in to the stables. In the Summer Term, older girls take it in turns to go for 'Early Morning Rides' in the beautiful countryside before breakfast, a much-coveted tradition that younger girls eagerly look forward to doing themselves. Hanford excels in local and national riding and jumping championships and we have an outdoor and indoor arena as well as a cross-country jumping course.

Sport is incredibly strong at Hanford and recent successes have seen our teams qualify as county champions in rounders, tennis and athletics. Cross country running is also very strong with girls winning places on the regional teams and we host our own Prep School Cross Country competition. In addition gymnastics is particularly strong and popular with the girls. Saturday and Wednesday afternoon sports fixtures throughout the year are a great opportunity for parents to come and see their daughters representing Hanford.

Creativity runs throughout Hanford across all the academic subjects, in drama, music, dance and culminates in the wonderful new Art Barn which houses our art room, handwork (textiles) workshop and exhibition space. The Art Barn is open in the evenings and weekends and is somewhere the girls love to go and spend time with their friends. The results are impressive, last year alone eight girls were awarded art scholarships or awards to the senior schools of their choice. The girls take their creative talents outside as well; in the kitchen gardens they each have their own space to cultivate, growing vegetables and flowers. The school chefs use the vegetables, fruit and salad grown in the gardens in their homemade food, which is extremely popular. Did we even mention the daily 'Milk and Buns' which make Hanford Old Girls go misty eyed….?!