Set in 250 acres of landscaped parkland on the outskirts of the market town of Wimborne in Dorset, Canford is an inspirational place to live and study.
Canford offers its pupils so many opportunities both within and outside the classroom. Emphasis is placed on individual development in all areas; Canford is ambitious for its pupils and exam results are excellent but the School also provides all the academic, emotional and spiritual support pupils need to reach their potential in all areas of their school life. The recent Independent Schools Inspectorate report said that "pupils' learning and achievements in their academic courses and in games and co-curricular activities are outstanding". Canford celebrated one of best years for A* grades at A level this summer, with nearly 25% of all grades A* and nearly half of all candidates gaining an average of straight As or better.
Canford's results are impressive compared with the picture nationally, where the trend was downwards in percentage top grades.
Over 95% of Canfordians move on to University each year, mainly to those in the Russell Group. Oxbridge entrance success is impressive, with 42 offers in the past three years, and on average 13 places in each of the past five. Around 30% of the Upper Sixth apply each year.
Canford has established a commanding reputation built on its excellent academic record and fresh lively approach. Nearly 40 scholarships are offered each year for academic excellence or for talent in Art, Design Technology, Drama, Music or Sport.
With a culture which encourages participation and hard work, breadth and excellence jostle to good effect here. Many clubs and societies, educational trips and facilities give pupils the opportunity to develop strong personal qualities as well as lifelong skills and enthusiasms. Leadership within the school is seen in terms of service. Canford regards service as a natural dimension of learning. The pleasure and enthusiasm with which Canfordians embrace community service, as well as care for each other, is one of its proudest achievements.
Pastoral care is based on the house system, which provides the continuity and security in a pupil's life within which personal development can take place. The houses consist of 60 or so pupils, large enough to create a varied and challenging community, small enough to promote a sense of belonging. Above all else, the house is home. Pupils remain in the house unit throughout their time at the school, learning from each other and taking on different roles as they move up the year groups.
Canford's key to success is creating an expectation of excellence and then ensuring that there is the support and route to receive it. Canford continues to think long term, giving pupils attitudes and skills to last them all their lives. It is rare to find a Canfordian who is a narrow specialist and that, of course, makes them all the more interesting.