Canford School is a public school attended by pupils aged 13–18, when they attend sixth form. Situated in 300 acres of parkland near to the market town of Wimborne Minster in Dorset, located in south west England, it is one of the largest schools by area. Canford is within reachable distance from Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth, which are some of the largest southern cities outside of London. If you’re a fan of the English Premier League then some of those cities may appear even more familiar, or if you’ve seen the blockbuster movie Titanic, then Southampton will need no introduction, as it’s where The Titanic set sail for its ill-fated maiden voyage.

Because of much of the above, Canford is easily accessible for boarders and parents. The school is well served by rail, air and road links. It is under two hours from London, Oxford and Exeter, 90 minutes from the M3/M25 junction and within easy reach of London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Bournemouth, Exeter and Southampton airports.

If you’re driving to the school directly then use the postcode BH21 3AD for sat nav.

Canford SBC


Canford School was founded in 1923, having been “provided with a nucleus of boys and staff from a small private school in Weston-super-Mare”, but later became a co-educational school when the first girls attended in 1969. Canford recently celebrated its 50th anniversary of co-education boarders.

In 2014, and again in 2016, Canford was among four runners-up for “Public School of the Year” in the Tatler School Awards and received the top award in 2019. The school is rated outstanding by Ofsted and is consistently ranked among the best co-educational independent schools nationally.

The school has an enrolment of 660 students, the highest in its proud history, with girls and boys aged between 13 and 18 spread across seven boarding and three day houses.


Canford School counts among its alumni high-ranking military officers, pioneers in industry, computing, and economics, as well as senior figures in the Arts and Sciences. Famous author, Alan Hollinghurst, who won the 2004 Man Booker Prize for The Line of Beauty, attended Canford School in the sixties as did iconic film maker Derek Jarman, who directed Caravaggio (1986), and music videos for iconic British bands The Smiths, Suede and The Manic Street Preachers.


With over 250 acres, 10 houses and impressive facilities such as the Layard Theatre, sports centre, library, boat house and art gallery, there is plenty to explore.

Layard Theatre

Attractively sited on the campus of Canford School, in 250 acres of parkland on the banks of the River Stour, the theatre offers the pleasure of the performing arts in a beautiful and historic setting. It is a flexible and atmospheric building, which has won wide acclaim.

Sport Facilities

There is plenty of sporting choices on offer within the school’s 250 acres of grounds. The facilities include squash courts, two Astroturf pitches and an historic Real Tennis court – Canford is one of only two schools in the country to possess an original one. Well maintained Rugby and Football pitches are on site along with numerous Netball and Tennis Courts. The Sports Centre boasts a double court sports hall, 25 station fitness suite, dance/spinning studio, 25m 6 lane indoor heated swimming pool and a further strength and conditioning room with bespoke lifting platforms and racks. Few schools can boast their own outstanding golf course in the grounds and the proximity of the River Stour is exploited for rowing from our on-site Boat House.


All students live on-site in purpose-built student accommodation. At Canford School, there are mostly single & twin rooms, with some 4-bed dorms (available for Junior students). Students will have access to shared bathroom facilities.

Boys and girls live in separate accommodation buildings and enjoy access to their own private common rooms. There are six boarding houses in total, three Boys’ and three Girls’ and they are called:

  • Franklin Boys’ Boarding House
  • Court Boys’ Boarding House
  • New School Boys’ Boarding House
  • de Lacy Girls’ Boarding House
  • Marriotts Girls’ Boarding House
  • Beaufort Girls’ Boarding House

Staff also live on-site to ensure that there is 24-hour support available to all students should they need it. Forming a safe teacher student community.

All accommodation and facilities are cleaned regularly throughout the stay to ensure the highest standard of hygiene is maintained. The school features laundry service which is available once per week to all students.c


Bournemouth Beach

With Canford being so close to the sea the students spend a day enjoying Bournemouth’s sandy stretch with amusement arcades on 2 piers & backed by cliffside gardens & terrace restaurants. Bournmouth is one of the most popular beach destinations in The UK.


Just under a 100kms north of Canford is the world famous city of Oxford, with its legendary university, historic city centre and state of the art shopping mall.

SBC Oxford 1


The students enjoy at least one trip to the capital, where they can enjoy the shops, museums, and all of the history that the capital brings.

SBC London 2


The students enjoy the largest city in the county of Somerset, which is famous for its Roman-built baths. Bath became a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is also famous for the world-renowned writer Jane Austen.

SBC Bath 1




For students of an Upper-Intermediate level of English and above, we offer an alternative to general English language lessons with our Junior Academic Discovery course. The course develops language learning through the study of subjects such as History, Geography, English Literature and Science. This learning approach simultaneously teaches both the English language and the vocabulary, grammar and language skills connected to a variety of subjects. Students develop both their confidence and their ability to speak in English about a number of subjects they study at school.


Students will study a varied programme, from famous works of literature to interesting historical events, all through the same communicative approach used in our General English lessons. Students are encouraged to be creative and engage in classroom discussions, debates, improvisation and topic-based activities. These lessons focus on communicating so that the students activate what has been learned through communicating with classmates.


General English consists of 15 hours per week of English lessons designed specifically for 8 to 11-year-old young learners. The course focuses on improving vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing and speaking in English, and includes project work, so that students have the opportunity to use their English in fun real-world situations. All of our classes are taught using a communicative method which emphasises speaking and communicating, and builds the student’s ability to use English with confidence.

In our Junior General English course, students will always practice what they have learned during the lesson. Teachers will provide students with fun and challenging speaking activities that allow students to practice the language in real-life situations and contexts. Activating language through practice is an important step in the language learning process.


Our Academic Discovery course consists of 15 hours of lessons per week and is available to students of an Upper Intermediate to Advanced level of English. Students will benefit from a content-based learning approach, providing them with the opportunity to develop their English language skills through the study of other subjects. These include English Literature, Creative Writing, History, Science and Geography, and the syllabus has been designed specifically for our 12 to 15 year-old learners at SBC Canford. Our communicative method to lessons provides students with a comfortable, interactive environment that aims to build on their confidence as well as language fluency.



Future Business Leaders provides students with a comprehensive insight into the key concepts of international business. The course has been developed specifically for SBC Canford International and classes are multinational, providing plenty of opportunities for students to develop their English language skills. Students are provided with an interactive and collaborative environment to learn in, as we believe they learn most effectively when actively applying their subject knowledge through communicative project work.

Students will be taught the essentials of business, including finance, marketing, branding, market research and product design. In each lesson, they will develop their English language skills as well as their knowledge of Business. Students will also have the opportunity to analyse real-life successful business models and develop their practical understanding of business strategies, through effective project tasks and team-building exercises


STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This is an ideal course for students who wish to develop their English language skills to help them to influence scientific and technological development in the future. STEM at SBC Canford teaches students to apply each of these four academic disciplines to solve real-world scientific and technological challenges, such as in the fields of robotics, engineering, and technological design.

As Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are integrated together in the course syllabus, students will develop informed values and attitudes with regards to how each discipline contributes to the biological, technological and physical world. Students will learn about the dependent relationship between each discipline, and about how the four disciplines influence society when combined. Through this study, students develop their language skills and knowledge by constantly working, negotiating and planning in English and by studying and using subject-specific language.


Introduction to International Relations is a progressive and highly communicative course, which introduces students to major concepts of world politics. Designed specifically for 11 to 15-year-old students by our experienced course writers, this course challenges students to consider key global issues from a variety of perspectives, through interactive tasks, debates and role-plays. Students also benefit from a multinational environment, enabling them to build on their fluency and confidence in using English.

Students will receive a broad overview of International Relations, develop English language skills that allow them to talk about International Relations, learn about key international organisations such as the United Nations and NATO, and debate several crucial global issues, such as climate change and conflict resolution, from a range of viewpoints. This way, students will not only develop their language and subject knowledge but will also learn how to think critically about different situations affecting today’s world.


Our dynamic and varied General English course focuses on building communication, teamwork, and creativity skills, to develop both students’ understanding of English and their confidence in using it every day. The syllabus combines carefully selected resources with bespoke Time to Shine materials, which have been developed especially for Summer Boarding Courses by our creative and experienced academic team. Lessons are taught in a student-centred and multinational environment so that students can work together to develop their language skills further.

General English focuses on building both language knowledge and language skills. During the course, students will develop their understanding of vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, reading and writing. By engaging in interesting and stimulating tasks, projects and activities, students are challenged to activate their language knowledge and further develop their communication skills.  All classes are delivered by our carefully chosen teachers.  SBC’s ‘Teaching’ and ‘Course ‘Design’ are recognised as areas of strength by the British Council.


We hope our guide to SBC at Canford has got you as excited about the coming summer as we are, and we hope you have a much clearer picture of all the fantastic opportunities on the horizon at this truly unique school.

If there are any questions or queries in which you would like more information on then our dedicated admissions team are always on hand to answer any of your queries and are here to help you every step of the way.