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Life as a Boarder

Life as a Boarder

Canford is a full boarding school.  There is no weekly boarding and on average at least 70% of boarders are in school on any given weekend.  There are seven boarding houses:

Court, Franklin, Monteacute and School for boys;

Beaufort, de Lacy and Marriotts for girls.

There is also a small additional boarding house for Sixth Formers called Tennis Court Lodge, currently used as a further boarding facility by Monteacute pupils.

The high quality boarding experience is a key feature of the school.

ISI Inspectorate

While the housemaster/mistress (known as a HsM) provides continuity of care from before arrival through to university and beyond, each house tutor will share responsibility for one year-group's welfare and academic progress. The objective is to provide clear guidance and support without stifling individuality.

Above all else, the house is home. Pupils remain in the house unit throughout their time in the school, learning from each other and taking on different roles as they move up the year groups.

Each house has a housemaster/mistress, three tutors (one resident in each boarding house) and at least one house matron. House year groups vary between ten and fifteen and each house numbers sixty to sixty-five.

The houses are welcoming social environments but they are also places for the nurture of independent study. Each house has a library, internet access and, above all, a purposeful air. They also provide the context in which initiatives such as charity work or directing a play might be attempted.

Over 70% of boarders are in school on average on any given weekend.


The Housemaster/mistress (HsM) is responsible for the day-to-day well-being of each pupil in their care, leading a team of tutors who take responsibility for each year group in the house. Each house varies in layout but all are staffed and equipped to be welcoming, social environments, small enough for each pupil to feel well known and large enough to allow a variety of personalities to flourish. 


Our catering is run in-house, and our chefs use the freshest local ingredients wherever possible. The pupil food committee meets regularly with catering staff to discuss menus and a professional nutritionist regularly audits and advises. There are tea and toast making facilities available in the houses and, for senior pupils, there is a fully equipped kitchen in the Sixth Form Centre.  


The School has a range of strong pastoral structures to ensure that pupils are supported and cared for on many levels. All matters concerning the Health and Safety of pupils and staff are taken extremely seriously.  The Health Centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It is staffed by fully qualified Registered General Nurses, there is a daily GPs surgery while Poole and Bournemouth Hospitals are within 30 minutes’ drive.  The Health Centre staff are in full communication with house staff, within the bounds of confidentiality.   The Joint Heads of Wellbeing liaise closely with staff across the school and offer further support to pupils on all aspects of general wellbeing and positive mental health. 


The parent-staff-child triangle of communications is central to our approach to pastoral care and we encourage informal contact to highlight positives and raise concerns. At the same time, one of the benefits of boarding is that it fosters independence and the growth of this is both encouraged and closely monitored by our experienced house staff to ensure there is enough communication between school and home.  

A termly newsletter updates parents on house news with other communications such as invitations to house events sent during the course of the school year.  Regular academic assessments are posted at least twice each term on the parent portal and a full report is written at the end of each term for Upper Sixth and Fifth Formers, and twice yearly for other year groups.

House staff and tutors are all contactable via telephone or email.  They are most readily available in the evenings as they also have teaching and co-curricular commitments.   Formal face-to-face meetings can always be arranged to discuss your son or daughter should the need arise. 

Boarding provision rated outstanding in all areas.

Ofsted Inspection 

Statement of Our Boarding Principles and Practice

ISI Boarding Inspection

Ofsted Report

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