Sustainable Hanford

Environment, Social, Governance Policy

Over half of all cumulative CO2 emissions have happened since the fall of the Berlin Wall. All businesses, schools and organisations must work to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, material and energy consumption while minimising their effect on the environment. Hanford bears an additional responsibility when meeting these challenges – the direct impact climate change will have on the future of girls. Sustainability at Hanford is global, local and personal which is why we have specifically appointed Governor Annie Rainsford to oversee our ESG.

Click here to read Hanford’s ESG policy.

The Girls

We encourage girls to share some the responsibility for improving sustainability at Hanford via the Green Initiative Committee, aka Green Giants. Hanford’s Committees have always been an important part of school life. Committees bring girls together, teaching them to cooperate and take ownership. Joining a Riding, Gardening or Games Committee is an empowering and enjoyable experience for the girls.

The Green Initiatives Committee puts forward ideas using blue and yellow ‘post its’. Their objectives are mainly centred around the school its house, grounds and gardens. They are tasked with proposing changes the school can make to improve sustainability. This teaches the girls to use their ears, eyes and imagination to identify problems and find solutions. They also must encourage their peers to join in, making them initiators and advocates for change. For example, they are currently reporting on specific areas in the school where water or energy is being wasted unnecessarily through dripping taps and windows that don’t shut effectively.

Making sustainable improvements, no matter how small, instils in girls an enduring awareness of sustainability and climate change. It empowers them to believe they too can make a difference and hopefully will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

Hanford School-Sustainable Hanford 4

The Education

A Hanford education teaches girls to make the most of their interests and imagination. While the school may not own some of the cutting-edge technology available to other  educators, it lacks for nothing when it comes to providing a truly amazing education. Hanford girls build dens, ride ponies, make their own clothes and grow their own food. Learning to make the most of what is available encourages creative problem solving.

The House

The building at Hanford is an impressive 17th century Jacobean style Italian inspired quadrangular building, originally centred around an open courtyard (mercifully now covered over). It faces northeast and is built in sandstone. Like most buildings of its age and construction it was built to a different standard of insulation. This doesn’t mean it can’t be improved but limits need to be recognised.

While the building itself is not necessarily inclined to sustainability its inhabitants can be taught to make changes. Simple energy consumption can be reduced by a commitment to turning off lights, laptops, copiers when not in use. Keeping exterior doors closed and using shutters in the event of colder days. The office is paperless, any paper and card used is recycled or reused creatively by the girls. For example, old cardboard now replaces canvas in some art lessons.

The house is Grade II listed and all repairs are made in accordance with English Heritage conservation guidelines. However, where possible building materials are reclaimed, repurposed, or reused. Our head of maintenance, Robert, has a traditional workshop in daily use.

The house is kept clean and tidy exclusively with the use of Eco products, reducing the environmental impact of harsh or toxic chemicals. The grounds are adjacent to the river Stour. The school is mindful of the content of products used to clean and fertilise and their impact.

Hanford School-Sustainable Hanford 3

The Garden

Hanford with its 45 of grounds comprising orchards, fields, walled kitchen garden and stables provides many opportunities for sustainability. Some of which were in use well before the issue of climate change became so pressing.

Wildflowers grow along borders of paths and in the walled garden to support pollinators and provides cover and habitat for small mammals. The grounds staff grow plants from our own seeds and propagate from cuttings. The variety of plants contributes improve Biodiversity in the grounds and garden. Girls are encouraged to learn valuable gardening and horticulture skills for life.

Hanford School-Sustainable Hanford

Our compost heap takes waste from the kitchen to be mulched and matured for future use on our vegetables. The working kitchen garden makes a considerable contribution our consumption of fresh produce throughout the academic year. The produce is either used immediately or in the case of the summer months harvested and stored or preserved for use later.

The garden also supplies all the cut flowers that decorate the building throughout the year.

Local Initiatives

As a school we have always chosen to work with local partners whenever possible to keep our food miles low. Our kitchen sources meat and dairy from local suppliers: Prime Cuts butchers in Shaftesbury, free-range eggs from Foots and dairy produce and vegetables from Arthur David.

Where possible we take girls on walks or bring entertainment into Hanford such as during Art, Literature and Science festivals rather than endless bus journeys for trips and outings. If we do take girls out the visits are often to local events and attractions, of which there are many in Dorset.


Hanford School-Sustainable Hanford 2

“We do not inherit the earth we borrow it from our children”

Being a country school, we are aware of the many opportunities we can make in our small corner of Dorset. However, the greatest contribution we can make to sustainability is raise generation of children who can continue to make a difference throughout their lives.

Click here to read our ESG policy.