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Overhead view of Canford School
|Motto||Nisi Dominus frustra|
|Head Master||Ben Vessey|
|DfE URN||113922 Tables|
|Colours||Blue & White|
|Publication||The Canfordian, Canford News, This Week (weekly pupil-produced newspaper)|
The school was founded in 1923 and is located in 300 acres of ground on the banks of the River Stour. There are approximately 630 pupils at Canford, organised into houses and ranging in age from 13 to 18. Currently,(2014) 5% of students in the school are foreign nationals. Ben Vessey is the Headmaster; Richard Knott is the Second Master. The Daily Telegraph ranked it in the top five co-educational boarding schools in the United Kingdom at A Level in 2013.
Canford has eight boarding houses (Beaufort, Marriotts, Court, Franklin, Monteacute, de Lacy, School House and Tennis Court Lodge) and three day houses (Lancaster, Salisbury and Wimborne). Each house has a married housemaster/mistress, three tutors (one resident in each boarding house) and at least one house matron. House year groups vary between 10–15 pupils and each community numbers 60–65.
The school was originally founded in 1923.
In 1992, a lost Assyrian stone relief was rediscovered on the wall of "the Grubber" (the school tuck shop). The relief was sold by Christie's at auction in 1994 for £7.7 million (US$11.9 million), by far the highest price that had been paid at the time for an antiquity. Although it is at first sight rather unlikely that such a valuable item should be found on the wall of a school tuck shop, the history of the school explains how the relief came to be there. It had been brought back from the site of Nimrud in northern Mesopotamia (Iraq) by Sir Austen Henry Layard along with other antiquities which were displayed at Canford before it was a school. Originally Canford had been a private country house (known as Canford Manor), designed by Edward Blore and improved by Sir Charles Barry, and the residence of Layard's cousin and mother-in-law, Lady Charlotte Guest and her husband, Sir John Josiah Guest. At that time, the building now known as the Grubber had been used to display antiquities and was known as "the Nineveh Porch". It was however believed by the school authorities to be a plaster copy of an original which had been lost overboard during river transit and little attention was paid to it after the school was established. A dartboard was even hung in the Grubber close to where the frieze was displayed. It was John Russell of Columbia University who identified the frieze as an original, one of a set of three relief slabs taken from the throne room of Assyrian King Assurnasirpal II (883–859 BC). A new plaster copy now stands in the foyer of the Layard Theatre at Canford and a number of "Assyrian Scholarships" are available, funded from the sale proceeds which also helped pay for the construction of a new sports facility.
School fees cartel (2005)
In 2005, the school was one of fifty of the country's leading private schools which were found guilty of running an illegal price-fixing cartel, exposed by The Times, which had allowed them to drive up fees for thousands of parents. Each school was required to pay a nominal penalty of £10,000 and all agreed to make ex-gratia payments totalling three million pounds into a trust designed to benefit pupils who attended the schools during the period in respect of which fee information was shared. However, Mrs Jean Scott, the head of the Independent Schools Council, said that independent schools had always been exempt from anti-cartel rules applied to business, were following a long-established procedure in sharing the information with each other, and that they were unaware of the change to the law (on which they had not been consulted). She wrote to John Vickers, the OFT director-general, saying, "They are not a group of businessmen meeting behind closed doors to fix the price of their products to the disadvantage of the consumer. They are schools that have quite openly continued to follow a long-established practice because they were unaware that the law had changed."
The Layard Theatre
The Layard Theatre is situated inside Canford School and is open to the public. It seats 299 people and can also cater for those who are restricted to a wheelchair. It was opened by Sir Richard Eyre in May 1999, and was part-funded from the £7.7 million achieved through the sale of an Assyrian relief (see below), originally brought to Canford when it was a private house by Sir Austen Henry Layard in the mid-19th century.
Nick Gorman, who taught art at Canford from 1997–2000, was commissioned to design the logo for the Layard Theatre.
- The Very Reverend Henry Lloyd (priest)(1911–2001), Anglican priest, Dean of Truro
- Stephen Ward (1912–1963), osteopath involved in the Profumo Affair
- Hector Maclean (1913–2007), decorated RAF officer during Battle of Britain
- Sir George Clark, 3rd Baronet DL (1914–1991), Unionist politician in Northern Ireland
- Sir Ashley Bramall (1916–1999), leader of the Inner London Education Authority, 1970–1981
- Charles Maclean of Duart, Baron Maclean (1916–1990), Chief Scout of the United Kingdom, 1959–1971, Chief Scout of the Commonwealth, 1959–1975, and Lord Chamberlain, 1971–1984
- Lieutenant Colonel Hilary Hook (1917–1990), Soldier and 'Home from the Hill' star
- Ted Cooke-Yarborough (1918–2013) physicist and WW2 radar and computer pioneer
- Paul Feiler (1918-2013), abstract artist
- Mike Randall (1919–1999), editor of the Daily Mail and Sunday Times
- John Barnes (historian) (1920-2008), historian
- David Sheldrick (1919–1977), Anglo-Kenyan conservationist
- Hector Monro, Baron Monro of Langholm (1922–2006), Conservative politician
- Stuart Symington (1926–2009), cricketer
- John Douglas, 21st Earl of Morton (1927), Deputy Lieutenant of West Lothian
- Michael Medwin (born 1929), actor
- Rutherford Aris (1929–2005), chemical engineer, Regents Professor Emeritus
- David Littman (born 1933), historian and human rights advocate
- Sir John Drummond (1934–2006), arts administrator, former controller of BBC Radio 3
- General Sir Brian Kenny (born 1934)
- Second Lieutenant Paul Benner GC (1935–1957), awarded the George Cross
- Stan Brock (1936), television presenter, philanthropist
- Air Chief Marshal Sir Roger Palin (born 1938)
- Simon Preston CBE (born 1938), organist, conductor, composer
- Stephen Rubin OBE (born 1938), founder of Pentland Industries (Hunter, Speedo, Berghaus, Ellesse, etc.)
- Derek Jarman (1942–1994), film director and gay rights activist
- Ian Bradshaw (photographer) (born 1940s), photographer and winner of the World Press Photo Award
- Sir Henry Cecil (1943–2013), champion race horse trainer
- Admiral Sir Ian Garnett (born 1944), naval officer
- Rear Admiral Sir Jeremy De Halpert KCVO, CB (born 1945), naval secretary
- Tim Stevenson (Lord Lieutenant) (born 1948), Lord Lieutenant
- Brigadier Mike Stone (defence) (born 1953), Chief Information Officer of the Ministry of Defence
- Alan Hollinghurst (born 1954), author
- Christopher Edward Berkeley Portman, 10th Viscount Portman (born 1958), British peer and property developer
- Owen Bennett-Jones, journalist, 'Newshour'
- Nigel Robertson (born 1962), entrepreneur, founder of FreePages plc
- Simon Hilton (born 1967), music video director
- Tom Holland (author), (born 1968), novelist and popular historian
- Stephen Phillips (politician) QC, MP (born 1970), Conservative politician
- Giles Duley (born 1971), photojournalist
- Miranda Cooper (born 1975), formerly the singer 'Moonbaby', songwriter and director of the company Xenomania
- William Villiers, 10th Earl of Jersey (born 1976)
- Yvonne Lui (born 1977), property magnate, philanthropist
- Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury (born 1979)
- Ben Gollings (born 1980), England rugby sevens player
- Alex Hibbert (born 1986), polar explorer
- Ore Oduba (born 1986), newsreader
- Brice Stratford (born 1987), Shakespearean actor-manager
- Russell, John Malcolm, ed. (1997). From Nineveh to New York: The strange story of the Assyrian reliefs in the Metropolitan Museum and the hidden masterpiece at Canford School. New Haven/London: Yale University Press; New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- McKenzie, Judith (1997). 10. "Canford School". Russell. pp. 173–189.
- Paley, Samuel M. (1999). "A winged genius and royal attendant from the Northwest Palace at Nimrud". Bulletin of the Miho Museum 2: 17–29, Plate 1.
- "Independent schools face huge fines over cartel to fix fees". The Times (UK). 2005.
- "The Office of Fair Trading: OFT names further trustees as part of the independent schools settlement". UK: Office of Fair Trading. 2006.
- "Private schools send papers to fee-fixing inquiry". The Daily Telegraph (London). 3 January 2004. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- "Legionnaires' hits public school". BBC News (UK: BBC). 9 March 2006.
- "Layard Theatre". Theatres Online. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Obituaries: Ted Cooke-Yarborough". The Daily Telegraph (London). 4 April 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2013.