Prep School in Dorset

Hanford is one of the leading prep schools in Dorset, offering pupils an enriching blend of outstanding academic curriculum and fulfilling extracurricular activities.
Proven teaching methods coupled with small classes (around 10-12 pupils) create an environment where girls can truly thrive, and we consistently strive to bring out the best in each and every one of our students.

As an independent prep school, we offer students the option of both full-time boarding and attending on a daily basis. Activities offered during weekends and free time include archery, croquet, debating, and stable management. The ponies are a big part of life here at Hanford, with girls often spending their free time grooming and caring for the animals. We believe that being around animals teaches children to be thoughtful, kind and gentle.

Information about the fees for full-time boarding, as well as day fees, can be found here.

We understand that finding the right prep school is key to the success of any student. That’s why we’re on hand to answer any questions you might have. Book a virtual open morning, find out more about admissions, or get in touch with us today for further information.


The Dorset prep school that feels like home

Hanford School Pony Riding
Hanford’s aims are as true today as when the school was founded in 1947 by Rev Clifford Canning and his wife Enid. It was Enid’s dream to run an all-girls boarding school, and her vision for Hanford was that it should feel like a family home. Her progressive approach – no uniforms and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere where girls could truly feel at home – paved the way for Hanford’s lasting success.

We pride ourselves on moulding girls into confident, well-rounded individuals. With an outstanding curriculum taught by subject specialists, exciting range of clubs and activities, and a character curriculum designed to build intellectual and emotional character, we equip each child with the tools they need to succeed out in the world.



Our aims are to fulfil potential, nurture talent, value individuality, encourage respect, and cherish childhood. We are incredibly proud of each of our girls and we have plenty of success stories to share. In the past five years, our girls have received 50 scholarships and awards.

An outstanding curriculum

Hanford School STEM
Our rounded curriculum includes focus on the Humanities and creative subjects, as well as ICT and STEM. We believe in fostering intellectual curiosity and a wide interest in the world around us, to help our girls to understand the relevance of science in everyday life. As part of our focus on STEM subjects, students build their analytical skills and learn to use data as evidence.

Modern languages are taught from Year 3, with French, Italian, German and Spanish on offer. Beyond simply building language skills, the girls are encouraged to explore other cultures through their entertainment and literature. The girls read books and watch film and television shows in their chosen language. They also have the opportunity to take two residential trips to France, one in Year 6 and the other in Year 8.

The curriculum, approach to teaching, and general way of life at Hanford all encourage girls to become thoughtful, open-minded and well-rounded individuals, while giving them the tools they need to succeed out in the world.

To find out more about Hanford, one of the finest prep schools in Dorset, please get in touch with us to discuss potential admissions.