Welcome to Hanford School

Welcome to Hanford Girls Private School Dorset, a vibrant and happy school for girls aged 7 to 13- which in the words of many of our parents is a ‘gem’. We are a place where children are free to enjoy their childhood, can begin to develop lifelong passions and interests and are prepared for life at senior school and beyond.

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Mrs Canning, who founded the school with her husband in the 1940s, always wanted Hanford to work just like a family, encouraging freedom of thought, individual development and mutual respect and trust. These principles have been upheld ever since: we want all the children to feel at home here, with the freedom to roam around the grounds in their free time.

Hanford girls make dens, climb trees and, in the summer, ride before breakfast. They make their own clothes and develop as free spirits. They learn resilience, confidence and a sense of adventure and they develop friendships which will last a lifetime. They also learn to work hard which is why Hanford achieves excellent academic results: over the past 8 years girls have been offered in excess of 80 scholarship or exhibition awards and we have a number of Old Hanford girls currently studying at Oxford or Cambridge.

Our philosophy is straightforward: we aim to ensure that the girls at Hanford flourish in all areas. We encourage them to make the most of what is on offer here. We focus our resources on ensuring that the girls have access to highest quality teaching, pastoral support and extra-curricular activities. As a result they are thoroughly prepared for the challenges and opportunities of their Senior Schools and beyond.


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While many join us in the IIIrd Form (years 3 and 4), we are happy to be joined by girls at any stage. We have a mix of boarding and day children: day girls have their own bed alongside boarders and have considerable flexibility as to when they may stay overnight; as a result they are able to be very much involved in everything that goes on at Hanford.

Please do not just take my word for it, however. I invite you to come and see for yourself and hear from the girls – our finest ambassadors – why Hanford is such a magical school.

Hilary Phillips