Best of the Best for Kindness

Mar 09

Hanford has won the ‘Best of the Best’ for Kindness in The Week’s Independent School Guide 2024.  This is a new category in the coveted The Week’s ‘Best of the Best’ annual Independent School Guide and we can’t think of a better accolade.
Hilary Phillips said, “The most important thing we can teach children is to be kind.  Kindness is not the same as being nice, it is about actively assessing when something isn’t right and working towards rectifying the situation; putting yourself in others shoes and treating them with empathy. These are life skills that will fit our girls for the future.”

There is only one school rule at Hanford and that is ‘Be Kind’.    Kindness is central to everything the girls experience and are taught.   There are no Head Girls or Prefects, rather all senior girls are members of committees which help the school run smoothly.   A key committee is the ‘Undercover Agents’ whose sole remit is to make sure they know how all girls are getting on, find out if anyone is having a difficult time and make sure she is scooped up and looked after.   A reward system of ‘Hands Up’ is a favourite tradition – girls who have been kind or thoughtful are given a yellow ‘Hands Up’ sticker which they then stick on a Kindness Tree.  Recent stickers were awarded for ‘Being kind and thoughtful’, ‘Being brave before riding’ and ‘Being kind to new pupils’.   All new girls are assigned a buddy who is in their form and dormitory and look out for them until they have happily settled in to school life.   Older girls enjoy their role as ‘older sisters’ to the younger girls, there really is a family feel to Hanford; everyone knows everyone and looks out for each other.   Rewarding kindness means that it is a quality that is respected and emulated by younger girls.


Hanford was also in the top three Prep Schools for STEM


With two science laboratories, two full time science teachers, a dedicated ‘Handwork’ teacher (aka textiles and design) with a studio classroom in the new Art Barn, and exhibition space, pupils learn STEM skills every day in a multi-disciplinary, cross-curricular way.  Every girl has a double Handwork/textiles lesson each week. In the Junior school they spin, weave, knit, dye, felt and sew, learning about the process of making fabric from sheep to shawl and developing excellent hand skills.

Sewing machines are as common as iPads at Hanford and senior girls make their own clothes, (there is no uniform), skirts, pyjamas, aprons, tote bags and finally, in Year 8, a fully lined, fitted dress with zip and circular skirt (using pi to calculate the circumference) to wear at interviews, parties, chapel services and celebrations.

Each of these projects involves design, problem solving, measuring and engineering of fabrics into 3D shapes as well as encouraging individuality and creativity. If the girls don’t actually make the fabric, then they decorate it, dye it or source it in the holidays so that every piece is unique to them and timeless. There is often an element of transformation with The Great Hanford Sewing Bee activity using old jeans to make new garments and adding patches to update clothes from scraps. Girls use their entrepreneurial skills to manufacture items to sell at the Christmas Advent Fair and at pop up charity stalls, such as the one they organised last year to support Amazon Rain Forest charities.

You can read the Best of the Best guide here.


Hanford School-Best of the Best for Kindness 3
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