Ranked the top co-educational senior school in the South West for A Level results 2022 in The Sunday Times Parent Power 2023 report, Canford has a fine reputation for excellence in its teaching and learning, both inside and beyond the classroom. As one of the few remaining co-educational full boarding schools in the UK (there is no flexi or weekly boarding), pupils have the time and space to grow and develop through dynamic subject teaching, an enrichment programme of intellectual talks, debates and events and a very broad range of co-curricular opportunities across sports, creative arts and activities which can take place not only through the school day but also in the evenings and at weekends. The school was rated among the top 10 most beautiful schools by The Daily Telegraph and the landscaped parkland setting of over 250 acres is an inspirational place to live and work. Added to this is the proximity to the south coast with its award winning beaches, the New Forest and many geographical and historical areas of interest in Dorset which offer opportunities for outdoor study and fun boarding trips.
Over 95% of pupils at Canford move on to university, 80%+ each year to the top UK Russell Group/Sunday Times Top 12 institutions and an increasing number taking up degree apprenticeships with prestigious corporates such as Goldman Sachs, Accenture and PwC. As an international SAT testing centre, pupils can apply to universities across the globe and most recently scholarships have been awarded for sport and academic subjects to top colleges in the US including Columbia.
Making a difference to the lives of others is part of the school’s mission statement, and over 8,000 hours of Community Service work are given by pupils every week to local and regional charities and organisations in need of support. As Headmaster Ben Vessey writes:
“We seek to instil a deep understanding of the wider moral and social responsibilities that arise from living and working with others. This is embodied in the vision, aims and ethos of the school where we want all our pupils to have the opportunity to explore, to express and to excel in all aspects of school life as part of our Canford community. Our values of courageous attitude, purposeful engagement, humble ambition and gracious leadership underpin everything we do and help to forge the strong bonds between staff, pupils and parents which are a fundamental feature of Canford life. Education is and has to be a partnership driven by mutual respect, trust and a willingness to work together for a better future.”
Boarding at Canford
Canford has a 21st century boarding model, which commits to genuine 24/7 full boarding rather than weekly or flexi boarding options, but also allows pupils to spend a proportion of Saturday nights at home each year if they want to. Yet with a packed programme including Sunday trips to the beach and water parks, weekly Saturday night Sixth Form socials, film nights in the Layard Theatre and fun Sunday activities such as juggling lessons, pizza making and boarding ‘Bake offs’, alongside full use of the school’s facilities such as the boat club, indoor 25m pool, gym, dance studio and 9 hole golf course, it is perhaps not surprising that at least 70% of boarders choose to stay in on any given weekend. There are 10 boarding houses – 4 boy boarding, 3 girl boarding, and 3 mixed day houses.