Canford School: Explore Reviews, Rankings, Fees, And More

With a rich history dating back to its founding in 1923, Canford School has consistently maintained a reputation for academic excellence, holistic education, and a commitment to nurturing the talents and potential of its students. In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the various facets of Canford School, exploring its educational philosophy, co-curricular offerings, admission process, and the unique experiences it offers to its diverse student body. 

Canford School Review

Table of Contents

Key Features of Canford School

While exam results constitute just one facet of the comprehensive education Canford provides and represent just a single dimension of the accomplishments attained by Canford students, the school takes immense pride in the recognition of the students’ academic achievements, supported by the exceptional teaching staff,. Among co-educational independent secondary schools in the South West region, Canford has once again secured the top spot at A Level for the 2023 results, boasting an impressive 87.7% of all entries receiving A*-B grades. Nationally, the school maintains its position among the top 100 independent secondary schools across the country as a whole, ranking 56th at A Level and 81st for A Level and GCSE combined performance. As for the fees, day students pay £34,491 per annum while boarders pay £45,519 per annum.

Canford School Results

In 2023, 72% 9-7 at GCSE; 66% A*/A at A level (87% A*-B). In 2019 (the last pre-pandemic results), 70% 9-7 at GCSE; 48% A*/A at A level (77% A*-B).

Boarding Facilities in Canford School

Canford School offers accommodation in four boys’ boarding houses and three girls’ boarding houses, all situated on the school grounds. They are just a short stroll away from the main buildings, arranged separately for boys and girls. Approximately 65% of our students are full-time boarders, as we do not offer weekly or flexible boarding options. However, there are opportunities for students to return home during each term if they wish.

Within these boarding houses, there are spacious and comfortable communal areas where students can unwind and socialise. These areas are well-equipped with amenities such as a piano, pool table, table tennis, board games, and televisions. Additionally, kitchens are available as communal spaces for students to use. Most of the houses also feature designated quiet rooms that students can utilise for studying or making private phone calls.

While all meals are served in the main building, each boarding house is equipped with several kitchens complete with fridges and facilities for making toast, hot beverages, and occasional baking or cooking. Daily deliveries of bread and milk are made to each house, and the Matron also provides a variety of fruits and biscuits for students to enjoy.

Extra Curricular Activities

At Canford, the philosophy is centred on providing young individuals with a diverse and challenging array of options throughout their educational journey. It is strongly emphasised that the development of ‘soft skills,’ commonly associated with the co-curricular programme, holds equal significance alongside academic skills, particularly in preparing students for life beyond formal education.

Starting from the Fourth Form, students have the opportunity to participate in the Army, Navy, or Marines divisions of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) during their Monday afternoon activities. Remarkably, approximately 80% of students choose to join the CCF, and they have the option to continue their involvement into the Sixth Form, where they gain invaluable experience in leadership, management, and instructing.

Canford offers students a wide range of co-curricular activities as they progress through the different year groups. Some examples include:

  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • PADI Diving
  • Expedition training
  • Clay pigeon shooting
  • Pringle Trophy

These activities play a significant role in fostering the comprehensive development of the students.

Admissions Process: Entering Canford School

Newcomers at Canford School come from a diverse pool of over 50 prep or junior schools, with Castle Court and Dumpton being the most common choices for day students. The admission process typically commences in year 6 or 7 at the prep school level, where prospective students take the ISEB pre-test to compete for the limited 125 places available at 13+. Success in this initial step leads to an invitation to an assessment day, known as the Headmaster’s List, which involves a combination of interviews and written assessments designed to evaluate both abilities and knowledge. The head of the school emphasised their preference for students with unique and distinctive strengths, often referred to as ‘spiky profiles,’ as it provides a foundation for individualised development. Additionally, the school values the students’ passions and interests.

For those students who do not come from traditional prep schools, they undergo Canford School’s own entrance tests in year 8. Up to 30 students are admitted into the sixth form, and the expectations for this level include achieving GCSE grade 8s in all four subjects intended for A-level study and obtaining a minimum of 42 points at GCSE, in addition to passing the entrance tests and interviews.

SEN Support

  • ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Aspergers
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • English as an additional language (EAL)
  • Has SEN unit or class
  • Mental health
  • SEMH – Social, Emotional and Mental Health
  • SpLD – Specific Learning Difficulty

Testimonials and Reviews

Sarah Middleton
We have two children here and we are so thrilled that we picked Canford. Such a wonderful school in a beautiful setting.
Holly Allen
Visited on Open Day, beautiful surroundings, wonderful atmosphere, friendly pupils and helpful staff.
Suzie Cameron
Enthusiasm, high teaching standards, whole person development, staff of high quality gifting, well used for the good of the pupils. There is a caring atmosphere, for emotional needs . The energy within the school is apparent and infectious. Extra school activities are exceptional in choice , and number. The overall impression is everyone working together for good. Thank you
Amazing place and perfectly organised.

Frequently Asked Questions about Canford School

While Canford is not the most academically selective of schools – “attitude is the key” – it does look for a minimum of 55% average at the Common Entrance exam.

Canford School was founded in 1923, but occupies buildings with a rich history stretching back to before the Norman Conquest.

Canford is a full boarding school – there is no flexi or weekly boarding. Day pupils take advantage of the 24/7 school environment and can join boarders for activities and events during the evenings and at weekends.

Around 35% of their pupils are day and take advantage of all the opportunities open to them at a full boarding school.

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