Each girl’s wellbeing and personal development is monitored carefully throughout her time at Hanford. During their time at Hanford girls grow from being children into teenagers. We have in place a structure that supports this transition.
Every girl is assigned her own tutor when she arrives at Hanford, either a teacher or member of the pastoral staff. This person will act as a sounding board, mentor and friendly face who will deal with everything from a missing teddybear to the loss of a beloved pet as well as more serious issues. To keep up to date with their tutee’s progress they are in regular contact with their colleagues. They work hard to prevent problems from arising and encourage the girls make the most of the opportunities on offer at Hanford. All tutors attend regular training ensuring they can offer the best kind of support.
The Head of Boarding is directly involved in the children’s pastoral care day to day. She and her team meet weekly and during these meetings will explore any causes for concern. Hanford is a small school and as such the girls are all known individually, making it easier to spot problems early and nip them in the bud. If there are going to be any issues, such as home sickness, they often happen in the evening. Hanford’s boarding team is always on hand to offer a sympathetic shoulder to lean on and will also encourage the other girls to support any individual who is struggling. The Boarding team pride themselves on the highest standards of pastoral care at Hanford.
If girls want to speak confidentially to somebody who is not involved in the day-to-day life of the school, they can contact our Independent Listeners, Sophie or Jean. They visit Hanford once a week and are always happy to hear from Hanford girls via the telephone.
The House, Grounds and Buildings
Hanford was created especially for girls. The front drive is not flanked by neatly mown cricket pitches or towered over by imposing H-frame rugby goal posts. Instead you see ponies grazing in fields, a playground obstacle course and a small pretty Gothic chapel. In the grounds there are chickens, a working walled kitchen garden, a Grade II listed stable block, a knot garden and our famous climbing tree. The interior feels like a family home, albeit a rather grand one. At its heart is the Hall where the whole school sits down to eat every meal. Upstairs the dorms are all decorated individually and girls bring their own toys, duvets and blankets and pictures so they will feel at home away from home.
This family atmosphere encourages all the ages to mix together, with older girls acting as big sisters to the new arrivals – reading them stories, leading them out on rides and supervising the catching of ponies in the morning. Every Monday Mrs Johnston, head of Pastoral Care, creates a seating plan for the whole school where she mixes together the year groups. After Grace, the older girls serve the younger ones and conversation is very much encouraged by the member of staff supervising the table.
Committees and Teamwork
Instead of a Head Girl there are ‘The Committees’. These groups team up to make decisions and share the tasks normally undertaken by one individual in the more traditional prep school hierarchy. This encourages shared responsibility and teaches girls to compromise, as they learn that not everyone sees things the same way.