Hanford, being an old house, is fortunate in having many rooms of different sizes and shapes. This enables the younger children to use the larger dormitories on the first floor, and to settle in and make friends in bigger groups, while being close to the Housemistress and matrons. On the top floor there are smaller rooms for the more senior girls.
In Fan’s House, there are five dormitories, a playroom and a special Housemistress. It is a 1960s’ building with under floor heating which the children love. The older girls spend their last term here where they can be more self governed and learn how to organise themselves before leaving for their senior schools.
The young matrons are usually gap year students; some of them are old Hanford girls who return to help and know all the tricks of the trade. Boarding life is about learning to live together, looking after one’s possessions and showing respect for other people’s property. Children, after the first year, are encouraged to make dormitory requests to be with their friends and, as far as possible, their wishes are granted.
Hanford has always placed great importance on good manners. Over the years a typically Hanford way of encouraging good manners has developed, with a girl moving up (or down) a scale as her manners improve (or not). Royal Guest is the top category. Only two or three reach this height. Piglet is the most lowly position and seldom occupied.
Afternoons are arranged so that the children have time to play with their friends on the playground and on the lawns. There are also special areas set aside for them: Tumbledown for the juniors, the IVth form gardens and Chestnut Village for the Vth forms. Children quickly learn to play their own games without the need for constant adult encouragement or direction, although supervision is constant.
The weekends are an important time for extended play and for the development of the child’s imagination. Some children may be involved in matches. There will also often be the opportunity for girls to ride, look after the chickens, swim, climb trees, walk in the hills, play music or organise various forms of entertainment which are entirely voluntary and are for their own diversion and amusement. These include Art Club, Gym Club, Wiggle Club (dancing), acting, computers and other games. On Saturday evenings, there will typically be some form of activity: pizza-making, silly games, camping, barbecues (weather permitting), Ready, Steady, Cook. On Sundays, after Chapel and letter-writing, there may be occasional trips, e.g. ice-skating or geocaching or even to Splashdown or the beach.