Canford is one of the country’s leading co-educational boarding schools. Set in over 250 acres of fine parkland on the banks of the River Stour, the school combines academic excellence with a broad and balanced curriculum. “Outstanding collections of As and A*s at GCSE, ditto at A level. Strong, as ever, on team games. Music stunning. High quality facilities put the school almost in a class by itself.” Good Schools Guide
About the school
Canford aims for its pupils to develop the qualities to live life to the full and to contribute richly to society. The environment is structured and yet allows them to grow as individuals through exposure to a very wide range of opportunities. Pupils are helped to develop a long-lasting love of learning and the first class examination results achieved in recent years are testament to this. Examination results match some of the most well-known independent schools in the country. All pupils who want to go to University – currently over 95% - do, with 92 Oxbridge places and over 100 to Medical Schools in the past decade. Yet while academic work may be the ladder to universities and careers, it is equally a source of much pleasure and personal growth, regardless of ability. Breadth of opportunity is at the heart of a Canford education. Creativity and self-discovery are fostered through a range of extra-curricular activities. The list is extensive – whether your interest is in bee keeping, drama, fencing, CCF, sculpture or canoeing, the opportunities are there to be explored. Canford is run as a seven day a week boarding school. There is no weekly boarding. 70% of pupils board, with day pupils benefitting from the provision a boarding school offers. On average nearly 70% of boarders stay in at weekends, but they can go home for a proportion, not all, of Saturday nights each term if they wish to. Canford's recent Ofsted Inspection rated the school as Outstanding in all areas, with no recommendations for improvement.
Awareness of our need to do all we can to protect the environment and the planet is a focus among pupils and staff at Canford. We want to become a greener space in which to work and live.
2nd December 2020 — Awareness of our need to do all we can to protect the environment and the planet is a focus among pupils and staff at Canford. We want to become a greener space in which to work and live. The school appoints two Sixth Form ‘pupil leaders’ each year to spearhead initiatives and look for innovative ways to raise the profile of this important area. Last year Tessa successfully gained a Silver Eco-Schools Award for the school - a national award granted to schools if they reduce the impacts on the natural environment. Canford gained this for improvements in food waste, recycling and energy. This year Alice and Edward have taken on the role and hope to build on Tessa’s achievements.
They presented their ideas to pupils and staff at a recent school assembly. Among the proposals were:
- A catering waste review: Food waste to be sent to an anaerobic digester locally, and plastic waste to recycling, separated at the end of each meal, washed and placed in bins.
- Qualification for an Eco Green Award through evaluation and monitoring of Canford’s waste, litter and energy.
- Increase the number of waste bins in each lodge to include one general waste and one recyclable waste bin
- The creation of an ‘eco-code’ which can be displayed around school with the key principles to follow.
- Energy monitoring: At present LED installation has halted due to Covid-19 but across the world we are currently keeping windows open and heating on to ventilate rooms and minimise the risk of infection. We need to monitor our energy use to assess the potential effects of this.
The pupil leaders acknowledged that sometimes people need an incentive to recycle so proposed a house competition, where each house would accumulate points over the school year of how many crates or bags of recycling they fill with points contributing to a whole house cup award.
Speaking about their passion for the projects, Alice and Edward commented:
“It is easy to think that your individual actions will not make any difference, but every little helps and as a school community we really can achieve a great deal. We need a cumulative global response to the environmental threats to our planet, and only by working together can we achieve our goal and hope to safeguard the world for ourselves and for future generations. Through innovation and awareness raising we hope that this year we can inspire pupils and staff to recycle and conserve energy across the school.”
For more information about the Eco-Schools Awards, please visit https://www.eco-schools.org.uk
After eleven months of construction work, the Canford community welcomed the reopening of the Gisborough Hall at the beginning of November.
20th November 2020 — After eleven months of construction work, the Canford community welcomed the reopening of the Gisborough Hall at the beginning of November.
The aim of the project was to reconfigure the old Assembly Hall which the school had outgrown and was therefore no longer fit for purpose. The newly reworked space now has capacity to bring the whole school together in one building. In light of the current Covid-19 pandemic, initially the building is being used for socially distanced assemblies by school year group bubbles.
It was important that the project combined modernisation and improvement to the facilities with sensitivity to the existing building. The old stage was removed and infilled, tiered retractable seating has been installed to maximise on flexible use of the space alongside a mezzanine floor at either end of the hall. The ceiling grid was removed to expose the original 1930’s steelwork above and a fantastic new lighting scheme has been introduced. The room has also been redecorated throughout, including sanding and lacquering of the floor to reveal its original appearance. A new audio-visual scheme included a state of the art sound system and 86 inch television screens while the organ speakers have been refurbished for chapel services. The room has also been improved acoustically and thermally. As a result, the space offers greater opportunities for presentations and events, alongside a much more comfortable room for examinations.
Headmaster Ben Vessey is delighted with the outcome:
“It was with genuine joy that I took my first assembly in the new hall this week after many months of virtual events. Canford has rather been a victim of its own success, outgrowing the existing space and left without a building where the whole school could gather together. Having the ability to do this is central to our school community and it will be a truly memorable day when we are able to do this. Until the authorities allow us, we intend to make as much use of the building as we can to bring pupils and staff together, socially distanced and in year group bubbles.
The design has exceeded all our expectations and my thanks go to all those involved in making this project a reality during very challenging times.”
Pictured are shots before and after the build, alongside a shot of the original Assembly Hall in the 1930s.
Congratulations to six of our pupils invited to attend England Hockey trials at Millfield School, during half term. Players could be nominated by Schools, Clubs or Performance Centres, and each age group (Girls and Boys U16 and U18) has three trial days. Thereafter, chosen players are taken forward to participate in further assessment and training with the National Age Group Squads (NAGS), before final selections are made. We would like to wish Georgie Boon, Honoré Cutler, Alicia Hudson, Dill Howell, Ed Schuster-Bruce and Tom Doyle the very best of luck as they attempt to progress further through the Player Pathway and into the England Squads. We hope they relish the opportunity to develop their hockey talent further.
21st October 2020 — Congratulations to six of our pupils invited to attend England Hockey trials at Millfield School, during half term. Players could be nominated by Schools, Clubs or Performance Centres, and each age group (Girls and Boys U16 and U18) has three trial days. Thereafter, chosen players are taken forward to participate in further assessment and training with the National Age Group Squads (NAGS), before final selections are made. We would like to wish Georgie Boon, Honoré Cutler, Alicia Hudson, Dill Howell, Ed Schuster-Bruce and Tom Doyle the very best of luck as they attempt to progress further through the Player Pathway and into the England Squads. We hope they relish the opportunity to develop their hockey talent further.
Director of Hockey, Matt Collison said “Whilst these six all have plenty of hard work ahead, it represents a great achievement and an exciting opportunity for them. Our pupils should be proud to reach this stage whereby they are considered as a player with the talent and potential to play at International level. I am sure they will be hoping to emulate the achievements in recent years of Henry Baugniet (England U16 and U18) and Martha Taylor (England U18), as well as joining two other current pupils who are already involved and established with the England junior teams – our two Captains of Hockey; Molly Fairbairn (England U18) and Will Whitmore (England U18), both of whom also played for England at U16 level.”
Tony Diprose, Director of Sport and Wellbeing, echoed Matt’s words:
“To take your sport to the highest levels is a very fine achievement. This opportunity is a great chance to play with others from across the country at a similar stage which can be very beneficial in terms of skills development, and it’s also inspirational working with others with the same passion for a particular sport. I wish our six pupils every success and a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience with the England Hockey programme over half term.”
For more information about England Hockey and the NAGS pathways, please visit http://www.englandhockey.co.uk/page.asp?section=1353§ionTitle=Junior+Performance
Canford School’s CCF is celebrating an exciting start to the new academic year, welcoming pupils back to the school campus, national recognition for the department and a brand new, purpose-built facility.
25th September 2020 — Canford School’s CCF is celebrating an exciting start to the new academic year, welcoming pupils back to the school campus, national recognition for the department and a brand new, purpose-built facility.
CCF staff were honoured to see Canford selected as the independent school with the best CCF in the country in The Week Independent Schools Guide Best of the Best Awards 2020. The Week judges wrote:
“CCF is a hugely popular part of Canford’s Enterprise scheme, which also includes an extensive volunteer programme and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (a third of each year group achieving Gold). Pupils have the choice of joining either the Army, Navy or Marine sections, all of which make the most of Canford’s location and proximity to the Dorset coast.
The School has its own assault course, a rifle range and climbing wall and the CCF also runs courses in power boating, mountain biking, first aid, kayaking and clay pigeon shooting. Cadets can take part in the Ten Tors challenge, survival training and expeditions further afield, such as tall ships sailing along the south coast, cross – country skiing in Norway or diving in the Red Sea.”
Facilities for the CCF have always been impressive, but the recently opened Outdoor Education Centre offers a modern, purpose-built dedicated building for briefings and equipment storage alongside a new 5 lane rifle range. Ideally situated next to the school assault course and just a short jog from the school’s wooded areas perfect for combat training, the new centre complements the flourishing CCF offering at the school.
Lieutenant Colonel Dan Culley is delighted with the latest developments:
“Our Outdoor Activities and Challenges programme is integral to the co-curricular education at Canford and provides pupils of all abilities a crucial opportunity to develop their core skills. The emphasis in this context is placed on offering significant challenges and demanding activities, each of which will generate a real sense of achievement whilst optimising the learning process and imbuing valuable life skills. Most pupils opt to join the CCF and benefit enormously accordingly. I am delighted that we have been recognised as the best CCF in the country and thank The Week for selecting us for this prestigious award. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues for their commitment and imagination in providing the most rewarding experiences possible for all our pupils.”
One recent Upper Sixth leaver summed up the feelings of many of her peers when writing about the Canford CCF experience
“I have loved these four years in the CCF and have been exposed to so many new skills and activities that I never would have had the opportunity to do otherwise, including cross country skiing in Norway, Ten Tors, whole day enterprises and the Rifles Cup – winning this was my highlight in the Upper Sixth. I acknowledge just how high the level of teaching we as cadets get, and I am very grateful for it. The CCF programme is so complex and well planned out, resulting in us learning so much and gaining important life skills. My abilities to plan, communicate to a group, lead and work as a team began and developed in the CCF and I will carry these skills with me. They have already helped me complete DofE Gold, carry out a position of responsibility as prefect and in public speaking. The excitement and adrenaline that you get from section attacks and all the drills we put into practice at Lulworth camp have encouraged me to continue onto the OTC at Nottingham University which looks like a lot of fun. I know a lot of hard work goes into running the CCF programme and I am again thankful for the staff efforts as it benefits so many people; especially if they really get stuck in.”
For more information about the Canford CCF and Activities programmes, please visit the CCF page on the Canford School website - www.canford.com
Our Upper Sixth leavers have had a very challenging time with the cancellation of A Levels, a lack of leavers’ celebrations and the very anxious results period in August involving Ofqual algorithms and Centre Assessed Grades. We are absolutely delighted to finally be able to announce excellent outcomes from this very talented year group, and wish them all every success whatever their plans for the future.
25th September 2020 — Our Upper Sixth leavers have had a very challenging time with the cancellation of A Levels, a lack of leavers’ celebrations and the very anxious results period in August involving Ofqual algorithms and Centre Assessed Grades. We are absolutely delighted to finally be able to announce excellent outcomes from this very talented year group, and wish them all every success whatever their plans for the future.
Of the 159 applications for university through UCAS, 94% have achieved places at their first or second choice. 84% are heading to Russell Group and Sunday Times Top 12 institutions with all thirteen offers to Oxbridge met. Nineteen pupils are heading to Bristol, sixteen to Exeter, fourteen to Durham, nine to Nottingham and eight to Edinburgh among the most popular destinations this year with places also gained on highly competitive courses at Imperial and LSE, London.
The range of courses reflects the variety of interests and personalities which make for such an exciting and inspirational school community. Alongside the more traditional Arts and Science subjects such as English, Classics, History, Geography, Spanish, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Economics the list includes Anthropology, Engineering, Human Biosciences, International Relations, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Politics and Psychology.
There are also many specific vocational courses as pupils pursue careers as chiropractors, pilots, vets, medics, forensic scientists, sports and exercise specialists and physiotherapists and in cyber security, cosmology, drug discovery, finance and accounting, film, law and teaching.
Headmaster Ben Vessey commented:
“In a year of huge challenge and uncertainty, I reiterate my sentiments from August and congratulate every member of the class of 2020 on their courage and commitment in the face of such an unprecedented and extremely challenging situation. I speak on behalf of all my teaching colleagues in our genuine admiration for the approach they have taken and am absolutely delighted that so many have gained places at their chosen universities, higher education courses and career paths. Our greatest wish is that they can put the anxieties of these past months firmly behind them and look forward to their futures following the Canford values we hope to have instilled during their time with us – of courage, curiosity, purpose and determination in the pursuit of knowledge and opportunity. We wish them all the very best.”
We are delighted for two enterprising Canford Upper Sixth leavers who have been offered Bulkeley-Evans Awards by HMC to assist with their gap year projects overseas.
16th July 2020 — We are delighted for two enterprising Canford Upper Sixth leavers who have been offered Bulkeley-Evans Awards by HMC to assist with their gap year projects overseas.
Jack Salmon and Sabina Culley plan to work in schools in Nepal and India respectively, helping children to develop their English. Both were inspired following their Canford Partnership trips last summer, which are annual visits by Lower Sixth Canfordians to orphanages and communities in Argentina, India and Ghana. Pupils fund raise for the trips with the money going directly to those living there.
The Bulkeley-Evans fund originated in 1952 from a bequest from a previous Secretary of HMC, W. A. Bulkeley-Evans. The original scheme laid down that grants were to be made to suitable boys in HMC schools going to Commonwealth universities and expanded in 1987 to offer funding for pupils going on gap year projects between school and university.
Since their successful applications, Covid-19 has left both pupils uncertain about how much they will be able to achieve, but both are hoping to be able to travel at some stage in the next year to fulfil their dreams of supporting children and helping them develop their language skills.
“My plan was to go to India at the end of August to volunteer teaching English at a school there. I hope to be working alongside other volunteers who have come in groups or on their own and afterward go travelling and hopefully find further voluntary projects to experience and make a difference.
In these uncertain times, I was very happy to learn I had won this award and it encouraged me to go ahead with my plans and also take part in a TEFL course online. It has made me look forwards for what there is to come rather than stand back not knowing what will happen. Thank you to HMC for offering me this amazing opportunity.”
Jack is equally excited and grateful to HMC for their award:
“I was lucky enough to have an incredible time on the Canford Partnership trip to India and this inspired me to look at possibilities for teaching in Nepal during my GAP year. I have always wanted to visit the Himalayas and this is an extraordinary opportunity to become involved with a thriving community educating young people close to the Annapurna range. I hope to work at The Gandaki Boarding School which has a number of boarders on bursaries and scholarships from poor villages all over Nepal. It provides children with an education which is far broader than they could possibly receive in their villages and gives them the opportunity to study English GCSEs and A levels in the English language. This is a life changing chance for the children and I hope I will be able to make a difference by sharing the education I have been very fortunate to benefit from myself.”
Find out more about the Canford Partnership Projects at https://www.canford.com/prospective-parents/life-at-canford/community-action
For more information about the HMC Bulkeley-Evans Awards, please visit http://www.gap-year-the-bulkeley-evans.co.uk/
At 13+ entry, pre-assessment in Year 6 or Year 7 leading to a conditional place in Year 9 subject to either Common Entrance in Year 8 or for those pupils not at schools which offer Common Entrance, the Canford Entrance Test. Around 30 places are offered each year for Sixth Form entry, where pre-assessment takes place at the school in the Autumn of Year 11. Please visit www.canford.com/admissions for more information.