George and Rory Johnston
Hanford is, in the words of parents, a ‘gem’. Nestling at the foot of Hambledon Hill in Dorset, it is 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. When you catch your first sight of the beautiful Jacobean house, the ponies in the fields or the girls playing happily on the lawn, you immediately get a sense of what a very special place it is.
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: 2017 was the twenty-fifth consecutive year in which at least one Hanford girl has received an award from a senior school and there are currently 8 Hanford girls studying at Oxford and Cambridge.
Our philosophy is straightforward: we aim to ensure that the girls at Hanford are happy, are making the most of the opportunities on offer here and are thoroughly prepared for the challenges of life at Senior School and beyond. We have no intention of joining the facilities arms race - what we lack in state-of-the-art facilities we make up for in the quality of the teaching and pastoral care and the breadth of extra-curricular activities.
Hanford is a vibrant and happy school for girls aged 7 to 13. While many join us in the IIIrd Form (years 3 and 4), we are happy to be joined by girls at any stage. The majority of our children board, but we have always welcomed day girls who live locally or those who do not yet want to board full-time. Day girls are very much involved in everything that goes on at Hanford and they often stay the night so that they don’t miss the fun.
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.