Hanford School

Hanford School
Address
Child Okeford
Blandford Forum
Dorset
DT11 8HN
Tel
01258 860219
Fax
01258 861255
Email
Web
If you are a representative of Hanford School and wish to add to or amend the information we hold on the school please click here

Hanford School, Blandford Forum is an independent school for girls aged from 7 to 13. Takes boarders.

Local authority:

Dorset

Pupils:

100

Religion:

Church of England

Fees:

Day £16,500; Boarding £19,950 pa

Open days:

March


Properties

Properties for rent:

Properties for sale:


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Good Schools Guide Review Snapshot

As the years go by, this school becomes more and more special. It doesn't change, sailing serenely on, while other preps scramble towards identikit purgatory. Not a flash school: faded carpets, slip-covered arm chairs, large chilly rooms, dogs wandering down corridors and the bracing smell of rotting manure – the informality can be too much for some parents...
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School Self Portrait

Hanford provides a perfect combination by giving its girls a secure academic framework and discipline, but also fostering their free spirits in a way which is rare in a world of increasing educational uniformity. If you want your child to have the opportunity to excel and to enjoy their childhood to the full, then come and pay us a visit. Read More

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The Good Schools Guide Review of Hanford School, Blandford Forum, DT11 8HN

Click here to read Our View on this school

Headmaster

Since September 2014, Mr Rory Johnston, previously head of classics and housemaster at Horris Hill. Read classics at Cambridge and worked in the City for 20 years before taking up teaching. Married to George, who works with him and oversees pastoral care. They have two children.

Miss Sarah Canning MA (70s), the source of Hanford's spirit and owner of the school, retired from her rôle as headmistress in 2003, handing the school to a charitable trust in 2004. The school remains her home and she still runs the riding, teaches Latin, serves as moral backbone and can be found almost everywhere, like a benevolent ('Not always!' she says) genie.

Entrance

Informal – girls can come at any time, if space available (and lately that’s a big if). Some at 7, the largest number come as 8 or 9 year olds, and a few at 10 or 11. Locals, Wessex girls, Londoners (regular coach to Battersea) and numerous families posted abroad (popular with Forces and FCO families). A sea of fair hair, blue eyes and wellies; a sprinkling of Europeans, usually Spanish, tip up for a term or year to boost their English, plus a few genuine overseas exotics. Few first-time buyers. Some bursaries.

Exit

Leavers move on to Bryanston, Sherborne Girls, St Mary’s Calne, Benenden, St Swithun’s, St Mary’s Shaftesbury, Clayesmore, Moreland House, Queen’s College, London – not associated with any particular senior school.

School strives to find the right niche for each child. Leavers win loads of scholarships. Most girls stay to 13.

Our View

As the years go by, this school becomes more and more special. It doesn't change, sailing serenely on, while other preps scramble towards identikit purgatory. Has defied the downward trend of girls-only boarding – we note with sorrow that we can now count the number of free-standing girls' boarding preps in England on one hand. Back on track after a wobbly period while the torch was being handed on to new leadership.

Set in 45 acres of rolling countryside (we drove by it three times before spotting the drive, despite having been there before) on the edge of the Stour Valley and surrounded by iron age barrows and Roman fort remains, Hanford House was built in 1620 for Sir Robert Seymer (later Kerr-Seymer). Basically Jacobean with Victorian overtones, it has been splendidly adapted to scholastic life. The magnificent glazed internal courtyard is now the dining room.

We can continue to say this is one of the nicest, if not the nicest, girls' boarding schools in the country, with a gentle, kind, friendly, enthusiastic, gloriously happy-go-lucky, genuine family atmosphere. A place you can feel absolutely confident leaving your ewe lamb in, with the knowledge that the school will probably do a better job of looking after her than you would yourself and, almost as a side issue, give her a thorough grounding in CE subjects, and a fun time with it. Not a flash school: faded carpets, slip-covered arm chairs, large chilly rooms, dogs wandering down corridors and the bracing smell of rotting manure – the informality can be too much for some parents. No uniform – girls sit happily in class in their riding togs, their (seriously padded) crash helmets on the desk in front of them, working as hard as they can, because the next lesson has four legs. Ponies are important here – the school has 'around' 20 – plus a few privately owned (but used by everyone). Ninety five per cent of the girls ride, although most didn't when they arrived. Indoor riding school, outdoor arena, jumping paddock. A summer treat is a pre-breakfast ride.

History starts with the Norman invasion and works forward. And the breezily non-PC scripture teacher told us, 'We teach them the Bible because they'll only get comparative religion once they leave.' French from age 8 – pupils are usually way past the standard of their senior school by the time they leave (ditto for Latin). 'Native foreign speakers' plus the daughters of British diplomats based abroad are encouraged to continue with their languages. Specialist teachers in all subjects from year 5 onward. No scholarship set per se, but pupils streamed and potential scholars looked after. Occasionally puts girls up a year. Class sizes tiny throughout the school: nine or 10 in each lesson - makes a huge difference. The lessons we watched were so intimate, they reminded us a children's game – 'Oh, I know, let's play school!'

On top of this, 30 girls receive extra help for SEN from a mixture of sources who add up to one full time member of staff. Mostly mild to moderate special needs, but a couple in the 'more severe' category. School introducing new 10-15 minute 'drop in sessions' for quick jolts of extra help. Lots of consistency and stability: average age of staff a youthful 50 and many teachers have been with the school for ages. Classrooms are incredible – some in the converted stables (you go in and out of the window - promise) and some in the most ramshackle collection of what might, in a real world, be temporary buildings.

Music very important - 90 per cent of girls learn an instrument and practice sessions timetabled. Two girls preparing for grade 7 exams when we visited. Girls are auditioned for the chapel choir (only). Also a normal choir, folk group, bands for everything – woodwinds, strings, recorders – and orchestra. Incredibly ambitious art, with ceramics that would not disgrace any senior school; regular masterclasses for gifted artists, plus weekend art club for all. Drama also prolific and good – do ask to see the famously well-stocked costume cupboard. Games (hockey, rounders, pop-lacrosse etc) played on the lawn, adjacent to the outdoor swimming pool. Tap dancing, ballet, year round tennis coaching, even a bit of pistol shooting in the gym. Watch for the magnificent junior cloakroom, a picture of managed chaos with towering heap of rollerblades, riding kit, trainers, wellies, all more or less in their places.

Vast majority board, but loads of flexibility and the line between boarding and day is blurred. All day girls have their own bed and get 20 nights' boarding for free ('They can decide at 6.30 in the evening that they want to stay and, with a quick phone call, it's sorted'). All prep done at school and day girls leave their clobber there. Hanford never closes for exeats – only half term – so perfect for overseas families. Dormitories tidy and feminine - no posters but lots of cuddly toys. Matching bedspreads instead of duvets – now when was the last time you saw that? Not all singing and dancing at weekends – more like a real home, with Sundays spent mooching around the grounds, playing hide and seek, tree-climbing, berry picking, reading. This is a school where time for play is treasured and children are allowed to be children rather than rushed to the nearest shopping centre or games arcade at the first whiff of free time. No TV on week nights – only on weekend evenings (why do so few schools have the guts to do likewise?).

Time-honoured Hanford extracurriculars include sewing and dressmaking (the cherished 'Hanford skirts' were much in evidence), pottery, current affairs and art appreciation. In the IT department girls can email whenever - but a school where the post is still keenly awaited. Loads of Hanford traditions, like using a briefcase as tuckbox, climbing the massive cedar tree (whose branches are each named), early morning rides in the summer, bonfire night entertainments and the marvellously convoluted – and effective – 'manners system', which includes SYRs (serve you rights) for the naughty. Sweets the occasional bribe. School's enormous walled kitchen garden produces veg for the menu plus fruit and the lovely flowers that decorate the main building.

Mooted merger with Knighton in 2014 died amidst parental disquiet and failure of boards to agree terms.

Old Girls include singer Emma Kirkby and Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, on which the film The Duchess was based. And what better example to the girls that they can do anything in life than Peggy, the 82-year-old paddock manager, who powered past us driving a tractor, as we toured the school? Having said all that, it isn't for everyone. 'You need a resilient child,' one parent told us. 'And if they are, they will have a fantastic, amazing, wild, brilliant time - but they won't necessarily learn (or be taught) kindness and tolerance and understanding of those weaker than themselves.' But - for the confident and outgoing child - no other school like it and nowhere better.


Special Education Needs Survey


SEN Statement

We provide support as follows:
English: Two part-time teachers, covering a full timetable, offer support to girls during times other than their allocated English lessons. Lessons are primarily for individuals, but in just a few instances they are for pairs or small groups of girls. The Special Needs teachers liaise very closely with the teachers of English.

Mathematics: one part-time Mathematics teacher offers support to individuals requiring help. Lessons are in addition to the normal allocation of Maths lessons.

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Aspergers Syndrome MildTicked
Aspergers Syndrome ModerateTicked
Aspergers Syndrome SevereTicked
Autism MildTicked
Autism ModerateTicked
Autism SevereTicked
Semantic Pragmatic DisorderTicked
Other AutisticTicked

Behavioural Difficulties

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Attention Deficit Disorder MildTicked
Attention Deficit Disorder ModerateTicked
Attention Deficit Disorder SevereTicked
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders MildTicked
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders ModerateTicked
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders SevereTicked
Emotional and behavioural difficulties MildTicked
Emotional and behavioural difficulties ModerateTicked
Emotional and behavioural difficulties SevereTicked
Conduct DisordersTicked
Obsessive Compulsive DisordersTicked
Oppositional Defiant DisordersTicked
Tourettes and other tic disordersTicked

Genetic and related Disorders

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Down's Syndrome MildTicked
Down's Syndrome ModerateTicked
Down's Syndrome SevereTicked
Fragile XTicked
Other geneticTicked

Learning difficulties

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Moderate learning difficultiesTicked
Profound and multiple learning difficultiesTicked
Severe learning difficultiesTicked

Specific learning difficulties

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Dyscalculia MildTicked
Dyscalculia ModerateTicked
Dyscalculia SevereTicked
Dyslexia MildTicked
Dyslexia ModerateTicked
Dyslexia SevereTicked
Dyspraxia MildTicked
Dyspraxia ModerateTicked
Dyspraxia SevereTicked
Other Specific Learning Difficulties MildTicked
Other Specific Learning Difficulties ModerateTicked
Other Specific Learning Difficulties SevereTicked
English as an additional languageTicked

Sensory Impairment

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Hearing Impairment MildTicked
Hearing Impairment ModerateTicked
Hearing Impairment SevereTicked
Multi-sensory ImpairmentTicked
Speech and Language DifficultiesTicked
Visual Impairment MildTicked
Visual Impairment ModerateTicked
Visual Impairment SevereTicked

Medical and Related Needs

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Cerebral Palsy MildTicked
Cerebral Palsy ModerateTicked
Cerebral Palsy SevereTicked
"Delicate" childrenTicked
EpilepsyTicked
Eating disordersTicked
Physical Difficulties (Not indicated elsewhere.)Ticked
Other

General Questions

Are all children tested for SEN on entry to the school?
Please outline the screening programmes used by the school.
How many children with statements of need or equivalent do you have in the school?Nil
Do you make special provision for exceptionally gifted children?Small classes, streaming, specialist subject teaching and scholarship preparation
Please outline what is on offer for such children
Please indicate if the school has or has available to it any of the following:
Behaviour Support Unit.
Learning Support Unit.Ticked
Pupil Referral Unit.
Other withdrawal.
Specialist language centre
Schemes or Initiatives such as SHARE or Playing for Success.
Please indicate if the school has any of the following characteristics:
SEN accreditation, for example by CRESTED?
Centre of excellence for SEN that is Not already outlined?
Good wheelchair access
Provides outreach support?
Receives outreach support?
Do children with SEN participate fully in sport and other extracurricular activities?Ticked
Please provide information on staffing. Does the school have:
A SENCO or equivalent?Ticked
Staff who will administer prescription medicines to a childTickedThree part-time nurses.
Qualified teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment(please say how many, in full-time equivalent).Ticked3 part-time teachers = approx 1.4 full time equivalent
Non-teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment(please say how many, in full-time equivalent).
Please list specialist qualifications held by teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment.English: Mrs Rough M.Ed (Education Special Needs)(Open) Mrs Rawlingson Plant BA Ed (Hons) (Exeter); PGC in Dyslexia and Literacy (Dylexia Institute/York)
Please list specialist qualifications held by non-teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment.

Hanford School Catchment Area Map

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Hanford School Where to pupils come from and Go to

Hanford School A Level, GCSE Exam Results, Tables and Graphs

School Features


Sports

Horse riding

Equestrian centre or equestrian team


Hanford School KS2, GCSE, Alevel Results and Performance

Ofsted report, English Baccalaurate, value Added

Hanford School University Leavers Data

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Understanding the road risks in your local area

As many of us do, AXA Insurance and Road Safety Analysis believe that one child casualty on Britain’s roads is too much.

The data is presented by local area in order to aid the understanding of risk – it’s not just about killed or seriously injured, but about any incident reported to the police. Although road safety issues may arise due to a myriad of different reasons including proximity to busy roads and local speed limits, schools play a pivotal role in mitigating these risks by investing time in road safety education programmes.

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