Hanford is a preparatory school for some 100 girls aged 7 to 13, set in 45 acres of rolling Dorset countryside. While the great majority of our children board, we have always welcomed day girls who live locally or who do not yet want to board full-time.
Hanford was founded by the Reverend and Mrs Clifford Canning in 1947. Their daughter Sarah Canning took over the school from them in 1959, and owned it until 2004 when she passed it over to the charitable trust which now runs it. This rare sense of family and continuity has shaped Hanford and made it the special place it is today.
A beautiful Jacobean house, surrounded by lawns and formal gardens, lies at the heart of Hanford. Flowers, fruit and vegetables for the school are grown in a large walled garden, and add to the feeling of living in a family house.
Sarah Canning remains very involved with Hanford, teaching Latin, English and riding, but since September 2003 the Headmaster has been Nigel Mackay. Formerly headmaster of Ruzawi School, Zimbabwe, he moved to England with his wife Sarah and four young children in August 2003. Sarah Mackay was Director of Music at Sunningdale for thirteen years before becoming Director of Music at Ruzawi where she met Nigel.
The age range at Hanford is from seven to thirteen with the majority arriving into the Third Form (Year 4) during the year in which they are 9. A curriculum wider than the National Curriculum is taught, including French from Year 4, and Latin to the majority of the classes.
Each year all children are tested for reading, spelling and reasoning ability and school exams are set bi-annually. Children are streamed as appropriate. The forms are named after the form teacher, each having his or her own classroom; the curriculum is taught by subject specialists, with children moving between classrooms for each lesson. There is full-time professional support for those who need specialist teaching or extra help in English or Mathematics.
In the IT room, senior children have access to more advanced software, and the Internet, under supervision. Children may send and receive e-mails. Each child has her own e-mail account.
Form visits to places of interest are organised. Senior children and the French staff spend a week in France in April.
Achievements and Scholarships
Small classes and traditional teaching mean that children of all abilities do well at Hanford. In recent years all children have passed Common Entrance into the schools of their choice. Girls have gone from Hanford to Badminton, Benenden, Bryanston, Cheltenham Ladies College, Downe House, Francis Holland, Godolphin, Gordonstoun, Marlborough, Roedean, Sherborne School for Girls, Tudor Hall and Wycombe Abbey.
We are not a hothouse and do not seek to make children conform to any particular pattern, but over the same period, academic, art, games and music scholarships have been awarded to Badminton, Bryanston, Downe House, Gordonstoun, Millfield, Heathfield, St Mary's Calne, St Mary’s Shaftesbury, St Mary's Wantage, Sherborne School for Girls, Talbot Heath, Wells Cathedral School, and Wentworth.
Scholarships and Awards 2007
Academic Scholarship - Sherborne School for Girls
Sports Scholarship - Roedean School
Sports Scholarship - Malvern College
Art Exhibition - Sherborne School for Girls
Richard Hunter All Rounder Scholarship - Bryanston
Art Scholarship - Bryanston
Art Scholarship - King's School, Ely
Scholarships and Awards 2006
Academic Scholarship - Bryanston
Academic Scholarship - Sherborne School for Girls
Academic - Minor Exhibition, Downe House
Music Scholarship - St. Mary's, Calne
Music Scholarship - St. Mary's, Shaftesbury
Music Scholarship - Sherborne School for Girls
All Rounder Award - Sherborne School for Girls
Sports Scholarship - King's Taunton
Sports Scholarship - St. Mary's, Shaftesbury
Art Scholarship - Downe House
Art Scholarship - Sherborne School for Girls
At Hanford there are two houses. These houses are called the Main House and Fan’s House. The Main House is run by Sarah and Sam. Fan’s House is run by Sue.
There are matrons that are always here and some part-time matrons. There are also young matrons who come from different parts of the world to work here for a couple of terms. At the moment the main matrons are Mary, Marion (part-time matrons), Daphne (a nurse), Christine (a nurse), Laura (a nurse), and Sue, Sam and Carol (who live here).
On the first floor of the Main House there are seven dorms. They are Cromwell, Seymer, Stuart, Oak, White, Shakespeare and South. On the top floor there are ten dorms. They are North, Beaumont, Fletcher, George, Herbert, Cabin, Ben Johnson, Herrick, Marvel, Pigeon Loft and Milton.
The first floor is usually only for the juniors and the top floor is for the seniors. This changes in the summer term because all the sixth forms go into Fan’s House, then some of the fourth forms go onto the top floor.
Fan’s House is for all years from the very bottom of the school to the very top. As above, this changes in the summer when it becomes a sixth form house. The dorms in Fan’s House are named after the colours on their doors: Orange, Yellow, Purple, Blue and Red. On the top floor the dorms are smaller than the ones on the first floor, because the first floor used to be the main rooms in the house, but the top ones were for the servants.
The easiest dorms to talk in at night are Red – any dorm on the top floor as long as you are quiet, and South. The next thing is dares; these you make up when you get here. Some of them include going down the from stairs or going to different dorms. If you get caught you either get put on the balcony (an inside balcony where you have to sit getting really cold but really it is quite fun). Or you get an S.Y.R. which stands for Serve You Right, but you only get them if you are really bad.
At the end of term if you have been good you can sleep at the end of your bed. At the end of term you are allowed to put in a dorm request in which you ask to be with certain people in a certain dorm (you are not allowed to say the people that you don’t want to be with). This doesn’t mean that you will definitely be in this place but you have a good chance.