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Latest News – Summer Term 2018
Curriculum changes at Knighton House beginning September 2018: towards a new bespoke curriculum fit for the modern world.

We are delighted to announce that from September 2018 Knighton House will be moving away from the traditional prep school Common Entrance syllabus and introducing a new and bespoke KED (Knowledge Enlightenment Discovery) Curriculum.

  The move to pre-testing pupils at the start of Year 7 creates an opportunity to reimagine our curriculum across the final two years. As you may be aware, it has become the exception for a pupil at Knighton to sit Common Entrance (CE). Many teachers at the best senior schools and our own leadership find CE unduly restrictive: teaching facts not skills and too often failing to inspire children in this critical moment in their education. At Knighton the staff works incredibly hard to bring the CE syllabus to life: it isn’t always easy.

We have consulted widely with senior schools and listened to them carefully on their requirements at entry. We also have examined several new, modern syllabi that develop deeper skills of analysis and encourage better development of critical thinking and problem solving.

Rather than opting for an off-the-shelf curriculum we are proposing to introduce a new bespoke curriculum, with phase one beginning September 2018.

This phased approach means that in 2019 leavers will take Common Entrance papers in English, Maths, Science, French and either Spanish or Latin. The following year current Year 6 girls will not be expected to sit any Common Entrance exams.

I have received overwhelming support for the plans from Knighton’s Board of Governors, the Senior Leadership Team and the staff and, crucially, from senior schools. I want to assure you that we will continue to consult closely with senior schools as our new curriculum is developed and phased in. Support and enthusiasm for this change from senior schools is an important part of it.

Looking beyond 2019 Knighton pupils will follow an enhanced syllabus that is still aligned to Common Entrance in English, Maths and Science. Meanwhile standardised tests (GL Assessments: Progress Tests in English and Maths; Reading Tests and CAT tests) will continue to be used to track pupils’ academic progress.

Pupils’ broader learning skills and critical thinking will then be developed by integrated projects in Geography, History and Religious Studies — and potentially in other subjects too. Pupils will be assessed through a wider variety of assessments including essays, coursework and orals, as well as exams. Every Knighton pupil with receive a Leaver’s Report with a detailed assessment of these projects specifying their learning skills, knowledge and other talents.

Moving away from the somewhat rigid Common Entrance curriculum and testing regime will help us create a better balance between factual knowledge and the development of real, transferable skills. We believe this will lay still stronger foundations for successful future study, examination performance and later life.

Our new KED curriculum will be intellectually sound in content and methodology and include more stretch and challenge for each pupil. The aim is to increase pupil engagement while embedding positive learning dispositions, intrinsic motivation and a life-long love of learning.

We are very conscious of the need to seed and develop the skills necessary for a changing world. We will be developing pupil’s thinking skills and promoting problem solving and meaningful learning — rather than the short-term retention of certain sets of more or less arbitrary facts.

We’ll continue to prepare pupils for academic and other scholarships with the same thoroughness as now. Indeed it is our belief that scholars will benefit from our increased focus on transferable skills and the development of critical thinking.

Over the course of this year, we will be liaising with you and with senior schools as we develop and phase in the new KED Curriculum. Next term there will be an opportunity to learn more about our vision for the KED Curriculum with two presentations followed by Q & A sessions (Friday 4th May at 3.30pm and Monday 11th June at 6pm).

The governors, the staff and myself are all committed to ensuring all the Knighton pupils experience a state-of-the-art, enlightened, inspiring and modern curriculum fit for the Twenty First Century. For teachers this is an amazing opportunity to develop new teaching and learning ideas. For Knighton girls this change will ensure that every leaver goes on from Knighton intellectually confident: readier and better able to meet the challenges of senior school and the world beyond.


Robin Gainher

April 2018

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Knighton House Prefects 2018 crowdfund for local defibrillator


The aim of the Knighton House Prefects 2018 is to support the local community and save lives by purchasing a defibrillator and housing unit.


As Knighton House Prefects 2018, we wanted to do something that would support the community that surrounds Knighton House School and in some way create a lasting legacy of our final year at Knighton.  In the Autumn term we took part in the British Heart Foundation’s ‘ Restart a Heart’ campaign.  The majority of the  Year 8s were trained in CPR,  what to do in an emergency and how to use a defibrillator… we all thought that it was a really valuable skill to learn and was the beginning of this journey.


After a little research, we realised that there was not a defibrillator locally, and we saw this as an opportunity to do something really good and to give something back locally.  We all got together and decided to write a letter to the Village Hall committee to see if a defibrillator was something that they would agree to being attached externally to the village hall. Thankfully when they came back they said ‘yes’ and we decided to launch this project.


In addition to the defibrillator and the housing unit, we also wanted to do something that would ensure that people would know what to do in an emergency and how to use the defibrillator.   We decided that we would also like to purchase the Call Push Rescue training kit.  Future Knighton House prefects will be specially trained to facilitate CPR workshops using this amazing piece of kit.  In addition to facilitating CPR training in school for their peers, Knighton will host open invitation CPR training for the local village community and the village primary school.


“How FANTASTIC will it be when all Knighton House girls and quite possibly the whole community have the knowledge to potentially save lives”.  Rosie H


“It is really AMAZING to think that we could be saving lives in our community”. Ottilie


To donate to our crowdfunding please go to



Knighton boarders learn how to Parkour!


On Sunday the boarders set off for the Pavilion Dance South West Theatre in Bournemouth for a Parkour workshop with Train Hard. Learning how to jump and land safely was key as the girls tried out a series of different challenges rounding off with a run, jump and balance beam combination. It was fantastic to see all the girls having a go and taking on all the challenges they were set. Afterwards we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the beach followed by an ice-cream at Durweston Fayre to round off a wonderful boarding Sunday at Knighton.


All-Stars Cricket comes to Knighton

Our thanks to Ryan from All-Stars Cricket who came to Knighton on Thursday to talk to the girls about the work All-Stars undertakes to encourage children to play cricket and then afterwards to take three workshops with the Y1/Y2 children and Bs later in the morning. He even managed to persuade Mrs Dominey and Miss Weatherley to take up some cricket challenges during the assembly!


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Knighton starts polo training at the Dorset Polo Club

A minibus of excited girls set off on Friday for the Dorset Polo Club for their first training session of the term courtesy of Rob and Jemima Brockett. This was the first lesson of five this term as they look to master the tricky art of riding a pony whilst also trying to hit a small ball with a polo stick! The girls are definitely are up for the challenge and are already looking forward to the next session.

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SATIPS Training Orchestra Afternoon at Bryanston


Ten of the girls joined a prep schools’ training orchestra on Tuesday 1st May comprising over a hundred local players from local prep schools of about grade 2-3 standard in Bryanston’s magnificent Elder Concert Hall. The 100+ orchestra finished the afternoon with a short concert played to a very appreciative audience of parents.   

A Night at the Museum with Dippy!

Armed with sleeping bags, blankets and heaps of enthusiasm Alpha’s Evie, Rosie and Abigail ventured into the unknown to spend a fun packed night volunteering at Dorchester museum.  The girls worked extremely hard ensuring that all of the 117 children attending the ‘Farewell Dippy’ Sleepover had lots of fun joining in with the various workshops and activities on offer at the event organised by the Jurassic Coast Trust.

The nose and toes workshop,  ran by Evie, Rosie and Abi encouraged the children to create their very own dinosaurs after discovering five fossilised bones, the workshop ended with each group doing a presentation of their creation.  In addition to running the workshops, the girls were also set the arduous task of secretly judging the fossil and dinosaur costume creations that many of the children were wearing,  prior to the screening of the late night film the girls awarded a total of three prizes for the most creative costumes.

The tired but excited chatter during the drive back to school on Sunday morning summed up the experiences of the girls when asked if they enjoyed themselves….’It was really cool, I would definitely do it again’. ‘Amazing opportunityI loved it’.  ‘I was really worried about talking to people that I did not know but everyone was so friendly’.  ‘I really enjoyed working with the small children, it was a lot of fun .  ‘ I feel really proud of myself, I think it has given me more confidence and helped me to not worry about things too much, I would definately to do something like this again’.




Grandparents Morning at Knighton


On Saturday Knighton welcomed the girls’ Grandparents who they had invited to look around the school and share some of their own school memories with their granddaughters. After refreshments and a welcome from Mr Gainher grandparents joined their granddaughters to wander round the school proudly showing them their work and joining in with different classes. The morning ended with performances from the Chapel Choir singing ‘Chim Chim Cherree’ from Mary Poppins and ‘We go Together’ from Grease; the Junior Choir made us laugh with their lyrics about getting stuck in traffic jams and the chorister quartet were able to reprise the utterly beautiful Lift Thine Eyes by Mendelsohn. A big thank you to all the Grandparents who made it a really special morning for us.



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Wacky Glasses Day to support the RNIB


On Friday the girls and staff at Knighton supported the Royal National Institute for the Blind by wearing ‘wacky’ glasses or sunglasses to promote the wonderful work of the RNIB. Our thanks to Florence whose initiative it was to support the charity. Florence made posters which were put up around the school to advertise the day and worked tirelessly to ensure it was a great success. Well done to Florence and a big thank you to her and everyone who helped raise nearly £100.


Polo Taster Session with Dorset Polo Club

On Friday over 20 girls at Knighton took part in a Polo taster session kindly run by Dorset Polo Club. They had the opportunity to work on their stick & ball work on foot before getting the chance to ride Dorset Polo Club’s amazing ponies. They had to learn a different way of steering the ponies and had the chance to play some games. Knighton would like to thank Mr & Mrs Brockett and all the staff at Dorset Polo Club for running a wonderful afternoon.


B1 visit to Bournemouth Mosque

As part of our Religious Studies, B1 visited Bournemouth Mosque on Monday morning.  We were greeted by John, who gave us a most interesting and knowledgeable talk about Islam and what goes on inside a Mosque.  For most of us, it was the first time we had been in a Mosque and it was really interesting to discover how Muslims are called to prayer and to be shown the rituals involved in praying.  We also learned how to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in Arabic (‘Al-Salamu Alaykum / Wa Alaykum al-Salam’ and ‘Asalam o Alaykum’).  We had lots of questions and John was happy to answer them all until we ran out of time and had to leave to return to school, but not before we had a tour of the Mosque and drew our plans of the inside of the building.

It was a really interesting visit.  Thank you very much to John and the Bournemouth Islamic Centre and Central Mosque for making us so welcome.

Learning Dispositions at Knighton House


We think a great deal about how our pupils learn rather what they learn, at Knighton House, and so the summer term got underway, as in previous terms, with tasks to reflect on the learning disposition of optimism.

The first part of the morning was devoted to a task called ‘My Best Possible Self’, the idea being for girls to think to their future, imagining, in an ideal world, what they might be doing and the character strengths they would need to realise this best self. Girls worked from an example, but the range of their plans was a reminder of how deeply engaged they are with the world and how well they are beginning to understand their strengths.

‘I want to help people in hospitals by making versions of real organs to do the same job to keep people alive. The people won’t need to donate organs and more lives can be saved in this way because not everyone wants to donate organs.  To do this job I will need to be resilient to keep going when things go wrong.’

‘In 15 years’ time I will be starting a riding club called MDRA (Mental Disabilities Riding Association). I will be helping people with mental disabilities to have a happier/easier life and give stress/anger relief. My future self will need many character strengths and abilities to succeed and I will need to push myself to believe that this will work, and people will benefit.’

‘In twenty years’ time I will lead an expedition to the wreckage of the R.M.S. Titanic. To make the expedition successful I will need determination in case the wreck is hard to find, optimism to be able to think positively about how deep down the wreck would be, perhaps up to 4km/2.5 miles, and resilience in case we come back time and time again with nothing.’

There were several other tasks to extend their understanding of this important disposition, but the central message of the day was all about practical optimism: dreaming, planning, and having the highest hopes of the future was what we all understood optimism to epitomise, but it was only by taking practical steps that our ambitions would ever be realised. In the words of a would-be Knighton House medic: ‘I will need to study very hard in Science and I will probably need a degree in Science too.

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Latest News – March 2018
Journée Internationale de la Francophonie


We celebrated the ‘International Day of Francophonie’ on Tuesday 20th March with an Assembly where we learnt about all the countries where French is spoken and discovered that it is the 5th most spoken language in the world (after Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish and Arabic).  A display was then put up outside the Library, where pupils and staff could add French words and phrases which we use in English, too.  The prize for the most recherché phrases goes to Miss Weatherly!

A1 and Alpha also took up the challenge to learn some idiomatic similes and were interested to find that the French version of ‘as cunning as a fox’ is, in fact, ‘rusé comme un renard’, whereas ‘as thin as a stick’ in English would be ‘maigre comme un clou’ in French (‘as thin as a nail’)!  Next term, some of the girls will be continuing with the challenge to place the francophone countries in the correct place on the world map.  A bonne journée was had by all!

Winter Trec competition


Knighton House held it’s first Winter Trec Competition on Saturday. Winter Trec is an obstacle course designed to replicate situations that might be found out hacking such as bridges, tight turns and jumps.

 The girls had a great time and we managed to finish before the snow started! Winners of the classes were Edie, Bibi, Tara and Charlotte with Bibi being the overall high scorer of the day.





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A1 Fashion show at St Mary’s Shaftesbury


On Saturday evening the A1 girls took part in the St Mary’s Shaftesbury school fashion show. After a few hours of hair, make up and nails we set off ready to perform dressed in our set of 50s inspired party dresses created entirely from plastic bin bags.

The girls did a fantastic job on the night performing a dance to ‘ Itty bitty pretty one’ that they had choreographed together and showing their individual pieces off with flare and enthusiasm. We were all really proud of their commitment to the project and their conduct on the night, a fantastic job.

Pictures will be put up as soon as they are available from St Mary’s.



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STEM day 2018


Over recent years the take up of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at GCSE has evened out in terms of any gender bias.  However, this has not yet translated to the work place, with surveys suggesting that women make up just 11% of the workforce in engineering.  We decided this term to play a part in opening our girls eyes to the opportunities, fun and excitement involved in these subjects by running a STEM morning.  The day started with discussing what STEM (or STEAM) stood for, why it mattered and what combining these skills could do.  We learnt about exciting career opportunities in developing mechanical hands for amputees, being legal hackers and using infrared cameras to find criminals!  This was followed with a clip from a recent BBC series ‘The Big Life Fix’ which showed a group of skilled people working together to develop new solutions for people suffering with life changing illnesses. 


The rest of the morning was spent learning about technology justice and how a charity called PracticalAction are using STEM skills to improve the lives of people in developing countries by providing simple solutions.  The girls were split into small groups across the As and Bs and each group represented a different country.  Using the resources their country could afford, the challenge was to build a working turbine.  Each group had different approaches and they found by working together and pooling their skills they were able to build some successful turbines.  Following scientific testing we voted for the most successful country and realised that having a big budget does not always lead to success!  The girls have now reflected on this day by making a poster to share their learning, which can be viewed, along with the turbines, in the JB hall. 


We are also pleased to share that the Friends of Knighton House have funded a selection of STEM based resources, which the children will have access to at break times.  These include a architects kits, Lego, a gears game and a telescope.  We are all looking forward to ‘playing’ with those!


A great morning was had by all and to quote one of the A1’s ‘WE found out that you need many different STEM skills, in things we wouldn’t imagine you needed, for jobs that may be minor but can change the world one person at a time’.



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Public Speaking Competition 2018

It has a regular calendar slot now (this is our fourth Public Speaking competition) and it is an event we really enjoy at Knighton House. As in previous years, everyone was asked to prepare a piece and then girls voted in each class for their winners, against specific criteria.

In class, we used performance poet Francesca Beard’s tips* to help us focus on how to give a truly engaging performance: voice projection, articulation, facial expression, gesture and ‘mood’ were aspects of performance she specifically highlighted as crucial. In addition, we thought about what we wanted our performance to convey to our listeners.

The finalists presented the audience with a very varied selection of pieces, from the humorous to the very challenging. ‘Own composition’ was heard twice in the final (although there were several other pieces in the class competitions which girls had written themselves) and overall their choices were highly engaging.  In the end, after some tussling off stage between the judges (Mr Gainher and Miss de la Poer, Head of Speech and Drama), the winners were agreed upon; for the Junior Competition, Freya Dodd was awarded first prize for her rendering of The Island of Lost Socks by Arden Davidson and in the senior competition Bethen Truman carried off the winner’s laurels with her piece, The Zebra Question by Shel Silverstein.

Thank you to everyone who took part; as I said after the competition, these are very busy girls, and sometimes it seems too much to ask them to do anything more, but as always, see them rise effortlessly to the challenges we set them.



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Scholarship Awards 2018

We’re delighted to congratulate the following girls for their scholarship successes:

Delphi D – Academic and Art to Bryanston

Rosie R-M – Academic to St. Mary’s Shaftesbury

Anna S – Music to Bryanston

Rosie H – Mary Ward All-Rounder to St. Mary’s Shaftesbury

Ella S – Sport to Leweston


‘Learning Together Week’


It is part of Knighton’s ethos that we are all part of an extended family.  What better way to see that than to all join in together. From nursery to A2 we have had truly collaborative learning with parents taking part in lessons in the classroom, in lessons outside and even coming to join us for lunch. It has been fabulous to welcome so many of our parents to our annual Learning Together Week.

Parents have been surprised at the variety of topics and events that they and their children have experienced this week. Many have commented on how much is done in a day, on the things that have been achieved and the joy of being in school. As they go home the discussion, laughter and the learning has continued.

Definitely in the calendar for next year.



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‘International Women’s Day’ – Thursday 8th March#PressforProgress


The theme for Monday’s assembly was International Women’s Day held annually on 8th March around the world to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. The girls learned it was the Suffragettes who started International Women’s Day, with the first officially named “lnternational Women’s Day” event held in 1911. The 8th March sees the annual International Women’s Day campaign theme kick off for the year ahead, although many groups around the world adopt and promote the campaign theme from early in the year. We talked about a range of issues facing women today around the world such as inequality in the workplace; child brides; and a lack of literacy for women which is far worse than for men simply because they haven’t had the same opportunity to attend school. Of course, inequality of pay continues to be on the front pages almost daily. I would encourage you to continue to have similar open conversations with your children about these important issues.

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Knighton House pupil wins in ‘Born To Write’ competition

Megan Elliott in Year 8 won a prize in this year’s St Mary’s Shaftesbury’s ‘Born To Write’ competition, the second year of the competition, adding to the ‘overall winner’ achieved by Delphi Donald in the inaugural competition.  Megan was Highly Commended in the Year 7-9 category for her story on this year’s theme: Time.  Megan took an unusual route in with a re-imagining of Thomas Eddison’s discovery of the light bulb, in a time slip story that was highly inventive.

This year, 143 children across three counties entered the competition, where pupils were invited to write a short story on the theme of time.  Entries were judged on plot, characterisation, style, use of language and originality by local author Rebecca Westcott.

Rebecca Westcott visited Knighton House last year and talked about the process of writing her own books and later, in the writing workshops, she repeatedly used the phrase, ‘show don’t tell’ to reinforce to girls the art of engaging your reader, and this has been our watchword(s) at Knighton House.


‘Inviting Parents to Lunch’


On Tuesday we were delighted to welcome parents of girls in B2 and B3 to lunch with us at school. We tucked into a mega roast followed by apple crumble and custard to remind them all of school days!

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‘Snowmaggedon’ is over!

Finally the ‘Beast from the East’ has passed on leaving in its wake a trail of destruction and disruption but what great fun it gave us too.

Three awesome snow days to enjoy and a siege-like existence for the boarders and resident staff over a long weekend.

It is not often that schools have to close for weather related reasons so it’s definitely something the girls (and staff!) will remember for many years to come.

We loved it while it lasted but we’re quite pleased life is returning to normal!


There are many more photos of this, and other, weekends on the Parent Portal.

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Latest News – February 2018
Play in a day at Bryanston    

Year 1 and 2 were privileged to spend a day at Bryanston with Katy Scott and her team, to rehearse and perform our own play in a day, entitled ‘Our Magical World’. We learned lots about the theatre – waiting in the ‘wings’, what a ‘fly tower’ is, and many more stage secrets. We had great fun practising our play amongst some large and spectacular props! Best of all, our performance contained falling autumn leaves, snow and a very fiery volcano which showered down on the stage! Many thanks Mrs Scott and her Bryanston team for a brilliant day.  



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B1 (year 5) pupils visit Beaulieu

On a very cold 27th February B1 ventured out into the snow to experience life as medieval monks. They had a tour of the abbey and learnt about it’s beginnings after a nightmare experienced by King John and its final days in the reign of King Henry VIII. The girls also learned how to card and felt wool and experienced using quill pens for calligraphy.

We couldn’t resist a quick ride on the monorail and a viewing of Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang and Ron Weasley’s car before heading back across a snow scattered New Forest complete with ponies and a few new born calves.

Friends of Knighton House Quiz

Well done to Team Alpha who triumphed on Friday at the annual Friends of Knighton Quiz night. In a keenly fought contest with only a few points separating the top three teams, the Alpha team of Ramage-Mangles, Donalds, Mardens and Cotterells won bragging rights for 2018! Our thanks particularly to Jo Spolton and the FoKH Committee for all their help organising the event and a special thanks to our Quiz Master, Simon Vincent for both setting the quiz and compering the evening. 

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Chapel Choir sing at Wimborne Minster 

Chapel Choir joined six other choirs to form a massed choir of 200 voices in Wimborne Minster to sing Fauré’s Requiem, arguably the best-loved Requiem in the whole of European history. The nave of the Minster was packed, with any late- comers having to slip into a side aisle. This was the girls’ first experience of this beautiful choral work and I have no doubt they will sing it again many times in their lives. Hopefully they will remember the excitement of being in the heart of such a big sound in an historic setting.


Chapel choir sang the Libera Me by themselves for our Saturday church service: it was a thrilling and spine-tingling performance for us all.

Hear Chapel Choir again this Saturday at our Surround Sound Concert Café (11.30 in the Dining Room) and our end of term service (2pm Durweston Church Friday 23rd March). 

Street dance workshop 

Wednesday afternoon the girls at Knighton had the opportunity to take part in the second stage of their introduction to street dance. Once again professional dancer, Anthony Biela, from the pavilion dance company led an energetic class. The girls continued their journey through the history of street dance learning a variety of styles including popping, crunching, locking and breaking. The experience was really enjoyed by all that were involved and we look forward to seeing some break dancing on the front lawn in the warmer months!




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Knighton House pupils visit Dippy!

 On 21st February the Bs (years 3-5)  were lucky enough to visit Dippy on his only visit to the south of England. We were able to explore the Jurassic gallery and compare the fearsome Megalosaurus and the Plesiosaur, we were very impressed by the size of their teeth and vowed never to swim in the sea again in case we met an 18 metre plesiosaur! We also got a chance to get up close to the famous Dippy and were amazed by the size of this amazing creature. A wonderful experience.




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A1 French trip to Leweston


A1 had a wonderful day at Leweston on Tuesday, when they attended a theatre workshop followed by a performance of a hilarious play called ‘Mes Chers Voisins’.  The Onatti Theatre Company produces plays for schoolchildren and tours the country each year with a cast of 2 French actors playing several different characters. There is plenty of opportunity for hilarity and a certain amount of audience participation, too.  Ellie was picked to ‘operate’ a ‘video camera’!  There were several other prep schools there, plus the Leweston pupils themselves.

Our girls had a terrific time and were a credit to us all and to themselves.  They were put into groups and, having studied a short scene from the play, they had to invent their own scene, either immediately before or immediately after the one they had read. It was particularly delightful to hear the praise given for their excellent pronunciation during the little plays they produced and performed before the main performance.  Well done to all!  And thanks to Leweston for organising another super French activities day.




Knighton House pupils visit Nettlecombe Court


The Knighton House year 5 pupils had a fantastic trip to the field studies centre, Nettlecombe Court, in Somerset.  The trip is one that covers many subjects in the curriculum, and beyond, as well as providing the pupils an exciting night away and lots of fun.

 Nettlecombe Court itself is a field studies centre which prides itself on being environmentally aware; the girls learnt lots about environmental awareness – from our local responsibility to the wider global effect of global warming. 

The investigation of the best materials for a hedgehog’s nest linked directly to their work in the science lab, they were able to understand first-hand the thermal properties of materials that a hedgehog might use for hibernation. At first they struggled to understand that the investigation with hot water, leaves, mud, sticks and grass in the woodland was anything to do with their investigations in the science lab, but gradually they learnt that language such as ‘fair test’ and ‘control’ is not limited to the lab. 

The fantastic history of Nettlecombe Court (it is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was stated to be held by William the Conqueror) links directly with the pupils’ study this term of Medieval history when they return back to school.  

As well as all of this outdoor learning they built dens, sang songs around a campfire, played games on the ‘croquet lawn’ and finished the trip with a scavenger hunt around the extensive grounds. Given the cold February weather the lashings of hot chocolate went down a storm.  A super first night away from home for many.




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Chartwell’s Nutrition Day

On Thursday the Chartwell’s Catering Team delivered three workshops to increase the pupil’s awareness and knowledge of a healthy nutritious diet. The As enjoyed a Sports Nutrition Workshop; the Bs focussed on a sugar workshop and the Orchard learned more about healthy eating.

Our thanks to Chartwell’s for their work to raise awareness of such important around what we eat.




Safer Internet Talks

Personal safety has been a hot topic over the last couple of weeks. The girls in B1 have had their NSPCC Pants talk. A serious message given in a child appropriate and humorous way. B3 and B2 will have their talk after half term. You can find out more at

Throughout the school the girls have also been concentrating on e safety with Internet safety Day falling on 6th February. Talks were held on Tuesday and Wednesday to enlighten parents on some of the strategies you can use to be informed about the cyber world your children inhabit. Here is a link to the presentation Safer Internet presentation for parents February 2018 .

If you have any questions about this area of the curriculum then please do get in touch and we will be happy to answer your questions.





Annual gym competition at Hanford

On Monday Mrs Hughes took the Knighton House gymnastics team to Hanford for our annual tumbling competition. All our girls looked particularly smart and professional in their red leotards and shorts and of course the obligatory red ribbons. All 5 teams set a very high standard with their compulsory routines, full extension and minimal travel in their jumps. Well done to Emily D & Jan for getting the highest scores in the compulsory round. In the ‘elected’ routine round Knighton’s highest scorers were Abigail C-W (best score), Jessica and Catherine. Overall Knighton House u12/13B team had the highest combined score in the whole competition, congratulations to Charlie, Abigail, Bethen, Maddie, Jan and Ellie.



Pupils learning Spanish have tapas for lunch

During our visit to the Spanish Tapas Restaurant in Bournemouth our girls had a lovely time practicing their Spanish as they asked the waiter for food and peppered him with questions.

Not only were we treated to delicious “Pollo al ajillo” one of their favorite tapas and glass of non-alcoholic sangria !Salud ! We were told about the history of tapas by restaurant owner Jose.

We were made most welcome and it was wonderful to see our girls talking in Spanish and growing in confidence with the language.


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Boarder’s Fun Ride

6 girls took part in the boarder’s fun ride on Sunday 4th February. We had wonderful weather, with the sun shining (though it was quite cold)

We went on a new route that we don’t get the chance to do in our lessons, enjoying some lovely canters and a wonderful jump over a log!

Everyone had a brilliant time and came back with huge smiles on their faces.

Thrifty boarders shopping on a shoestring for the Foodbank

On Sunday the boarders rose to the challenge of shopping on a shoestring during a weekend boarding activity. With just £3 each, the boarders headed off to Lidl with Mr and Mrs Gainher, Miss D and Mrs Spencer to see what they could purchase for the local Blandford Foodbank. Armed with baskets and trolleys, some reliance on a bit of mental maths and a few tricky choices to make, the boarders soon learnt that shopping on a budget was more challenging than they anticipated. The girls impressed with their focus on mainly essential items, with a few treats and how they had really thought carefully about what to buy.

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Prep School Debating Competition at Milton Abbey


A team of Rosie H, Delphi and Rosie R-M were drawn against Forres Sandle Manor School (FSM) in the annual debating competition at Milton Abbey along with eight other local prep schools. Knighton’s task was to oppose the motion that ‘This House believes that factory farming is necessary’, an emotive subject which gave the girls licence to focus on the animal cruelty aspect of the debate. After a workshop on debating and time to research their topic, the girls put on a confident and skilful performance against FSM who were narrowly declared winners by the judging panel, an impressive performance and good enough to give them the runners-up position overall. Well done to the girls for taking on a tough challenge.   

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Latest News – January 2018
Street and Break Dance Workshops at Knighton

 On Wednesday we were delighted to welcome Anthony from the Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth for two Street and Break Dance workshops to our Year 6, 7 and 8 girls. Anthony returns after half term for more dance workshops with the younger girls as we continue to introduce a wider range of dance opportunities at Knighton.  Girls can sign up for Tap, Jazz and Ballet classes in addition to the one-off specialist workshops. Next term it’s a Parkour session for the boarders with more planned later in the year.

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Science news at Knighton…

It has been a busy few weeks in the science department.  B1 and Alpha have continued to explore the wonders of space. B1 have made scale models to compare the sizes of the Earth and the Sun and the distances between them.  A2 have dissected hearts and were amazed by what they found, as well as being inspired at Bryanston’s prep school day. A1 have been investigating forces on springs and being curious about the science of baking.


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Moreton NSEA Showjumping

6 girls and ponies travelled to Moreton Equestrian Centre on Sunday the 28th January for the county showjumping competition. It was a huge competition with 100 people taking part over the day. All the girls rode brilliantly over some challenging courses. The results were:


Team 2nd place- Daisy, Tara, Charlie and Edie


Team 4th place- Edie, Madeline and Charlie


Fast, clear and leading for quite a while- Madeline

Knighton Year 8s watch Bryanston perform Cider with Rosie

 On Thursday night Alpha boarders went to Bryanston to see the Junior Production of ‘Cider with Rosie’.  It was a beautiful show and a very touching production which even moved one of our girls to tears. Of course, the delicious ice cream in the interval was a bonus!

Knighton Prefects leading the way

In Church on Saturday our prefects gave a talk on the challenges of leadership and what it means to them to be leading the way at Knighton. They took their inspiration from luminaries like Confucius and Margaret Thatcher as well as from personal experience when they put themselves forward for selection to be a prefect. Thank you girls for such an inspiring and interesting talk. As Confucius says: “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones”.

And the winner is…… 

Congratulations to Maddie and Hippo who rose to the challenge and raised an amazing £5,700 to go to the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

They were deserving winners of the Shetland Grand National at The London International Horse Show Olympia and came second  at the Liverpool International Horse Show.  We look forward to seeing Maddie and Hippo race at Badminton Horse Trials in May 2018! 

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Haircut for the Princess Trust

In December, I went to the hairdressers and had eight inches of hair cut off. The reason I cut my hair was because Mrs. Dales-Bull (my clarinet teacher) had cancer and she told me that she may lose all of her hair, that really upset me and made me think if I could do anything to help. I was going to trim my hair anyway, so I just decided to get more hair cut off as the charity The Little Princess Trust needs at least seven inches to make a wig. I am so pleased that my hair went to good use.

Ellie W – A1

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Les Cérises ont de la chance!

The lucky boys and girls from Cherries class had 5 extra helpers in their French class today!  Les Cérises have just started making their own version of La Chenille qui fait des trous [The Very Hungry Caterpillar] and the girls from Alpha gave up some of their games time to help them.  Look out for more lessons and perhaps a performance in Music Assembly in a few weeks’ time!



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Knighton House girls play at Wimborne Chess Club

On Saturday 13th January 4 girls from Mr Dominey’s chess PEP were invited to take part in the inaugural junior chess tournament run by Wimborne Chess Club.  

The girls and I were treated to a master class in different strategies – playing with just 8 pawns and the King or a King and Queen versus the opponent’s King and pawns. This helped with both the opening moves and how to get to the end game. Points were scored throughout as we swapped opponents, playing 6 mini games.  I can confirm there was a lot of concentration and cerebral activity throughout.  Finally, we played a full game. 

All of the children were awarded prizes, kindly donated by the club and Jan, the overall winner, was also given a book token, courtesy of the Library.  Well done, Jan and to all the competitors. 

Our thanks to Mr Dominey,  Wimborne Chess Club and Wimborne Library. We look forward to the next challenge on 3rd March. 

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KH LAMDA Results 2017

Once again I am pleased to report that all children achieved fantastic results. As you may know, duo and solo LAMDA examinations at Grade 4 and 5 are the same ability level as a GCSE (A*-C) under the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).  Year 8’s have therefore done particularly well and their results will assist any scholarship examinations they may sit.

Passes are awarded for 50%+, Merits for 65%+ and Distinctions for 80%+.


Duo Entry

Harriet M               80% Distinction

Hawa-I                  80% Distinction

Emily D                 78% Merit

Daisy E                 75% Merit

Grade 1

Florence H             77% Merit



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Ana J-H                  73% Merit

Carlota K                70% Merit

Duo Grade 2

Charlize W               91% Distinction

Jemima D                 83% Distinction

Charlotte R                83% Distinction

Anna Laetitia R         81% Distinction

Group Grade 2

Bethan T                     76% Merit

Lucy D                         76% Merit

Cristina Z                     76% Merit

Duo Grade 4

Scarlet A-H                  76% Merit

Delphi D                       75% Merit


Bassoonist visits Knighton House’s Friday music assembly

Andrew Huntriss is a professional bassoonist in Brazil. He has worked full time there for six years playing in the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, which is a symphony orchestra serving an area the size of France. There are three symphony orchestras in Brazil and only 25% of the players are allowed to be from overseas, so Andrew is seriously good! At the age of 8 he learnt piano, singing and theory but he took up the bassoon aged 12, noticing that all school ensembles want bass line players such as bassoon, trombone, cello (we need more cellists here at Knighton if your daughter is thinking of starting an instrument). He took Music GCSE and A level (qualifications that are highly regarded in the ‘ivy league’ universities) and gained a university degree in philosophy and music. He now earns his living playing his bassoon, which means six hours orchestral rehearsal a day and three concerts a week, and he has to learn his music in his own time, but he loves it. Thanks to the fact that his mother, Mrs Huntriss, is our cello teacher we had a wonderful insight into this delightful instrument.





Curiosity at Knighton House – Our Spring Term Learning Disposition

Continuing our programme of Learning Disposition days which focus on how we learn, not what we learn, the girls returned from their Christmas break to a day dedicated to being curious. ‘Tinkering’ was a new skill we hoped to encourage (tinkering with materials, thoughts or concepts motivates us to be curious and therefore creative), but above all it was a day of asking as many questions as possible.

So much research has been done on the benefits of being a person who asks questions (try searching ‘The Importance of Curiosity’), but we took Leonardo da Vinci as our guide, da Vinci being a man of lists, long lists of questions, many, many questions; none of the lists I have ever written come anywhere near to expressing the range of this man’s thinking and his rampant curiosity: a typical, and quite average ‘To-Do’ list looks like this:

  • Find a book that treats of Milan and its churches, which is to be had at the stationers on the way to Cordusio
  • Discover the measurement of Corte Vecchio (the courtyard in the duke’s palace).
  • Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle.
  • Get Messer Fazio (a professor of medicine and law in Pavia) to show you about proportion.
  • Ask Benedetto Potinari (A Florentine Merchant) by what means they go on ice in Flanders
  • Draw Milan
  • Find a master of hydraulics and get him to tell you how to repair a lock, canal and mill in the Lombard manner
  • Ask about the measurement of the sun promised me by Maestro Giovanni Francese

Knighton House pupils were in no way intimidated by this Master of Enquiry and in many ways, without the congestion of most adult minds, accepted no boundaries to the questions they wanted to pose, from ‘Is everyone’s brain as unique as your fingerprints?’ to ‘How has Art affected humans?’.  In the afternoon, the girls came together in their Houses and were asked to design an invention – using Leonardo’s designs for helicopters as a prompt.  Girls were asked to label their designs, considering how their invention could be used and to present these to their peers.

From their thinking, tinkering and questioning emerged: the Super Sketch pen (includes solar panels and is a pen for life, growing with your developing brain), The GLP (phone in a glove, with hologram button and other high-tech features, but with a second glove for the design aesthetic to be just right) and the Nightime Pen (with peltier module).  Robots to support work in the classroom were particularly well-designed.  At the end, staff were asked which design they thought might best represent the future and it was the security glasses, with built-in camera to shoot footage, replay play it and even switch between several rooms at once, which provoked much discussion; in our highly surveillance-conscious society – they seemed a clever marrying of form and function.

Our hope is that Knighton House girls will be ever more questioning, and along with their knowledge of collaboration, communication, resilience and positive mistake making (previous Learning Disposition days), theirs will be an assertive attitude in the classroom with skills which will carry them into the work place (but that’s a long way into the future).

Year 4 pupils understand what the Greatest Gift at Christmas really is…

In Visual Literacy just before Christmas B2 looked at the Sainsbury’s advert from 2016 ‘The Greatest Gift’. This inspired them to think about which things were most important to them at Christmas and the difference between getting lots of presents and the opportunity to spend time with their families. The class then started to think about different groups of people who might not spend this time with their families and what this might be like. As a result, they each then chose a local branch of the emergency services to write letters to, asking about what they did at Christmas, how it felt to work during Christmas instead of being with their families. They have been very excited to receive replies this week, which they have shared with the class.





Emergency services


Latest News – December 2017
A brilliant affordable education at Knighton House

The thinking behind deciding to send your child to private school is a deeply complex and emotional one on many levels with financial considerations somewhere near the top of the list. Having been fortunate enough to put three daughters through private school, I don’t regret it for one moment, however there are times when ‘I do the maths’ and think about the sacrifices we’ve made in order for our girls to have the education we wanted for them. It hasn’t ever been easy but somehow we’ve made it work.

I am acutely conscious therefore of the many sacrifices of parents to make private school accessible for their child/ren. For many it’s the most expensive investment they are likely to make after buying a house, and it’s possibly the most emotionally charged one given we want to do everything we can to give our children the best possible education. Sadly the cost of private education has never been so expensive. And it is likely to get more expensive.

In almost every independent school in Britain the annual fee rise – usually ahead of inflation – has been, like death and taxes, one of the eternal verities. The effect of this automatic fee escalator over decades, has been to take the very best education beyond the reach for too many of the families it was originally designed to benefit. Over the past six years, the average annual fee for day pupils has increased by 21%, while wage inflation has increased by 6%.

It is our responsibility to do our best to ensure Knighton remains a strong forward-looking school, while staying true to the school’s core purpose and its charitable mission. We have recently undertaken an analysis of fees of schools locally and nationally.

Taking all these things into account, we have decided to rebase our fees according to the schedule below, effective from September 2018.

· Day fees are reduced by between 15% and 20% – roughly to their 2010 levels.

· Day fee increases are staged much more gradually between year groups.

· UK Boarding fees are reduced in Y3 and Y4, but remain the same further up the school, where we believe they are already competitive.

· Year 1 & Year 2 pre-prep fees have been reduced and the step-up into prep has been smoothed out.

Importantly – in somewhat uncertain economic times – we are committing to hold to this fee scale for two full academic years up to and including the Summer Term 2020. We hope this clarity will help parents plan effectively.

The aim of this fee review is to ensure the very best experience for Knighton House children while improving the accessibility of a Knighton House education, especially to local children.

As the new Head at Knighton, I am extremely grateful to the board of governors at Knighton who have had the vision and confidence to undertake this review. The news about rebasing school fees and fixing them for two years, presents us with an exciting opportunity to take Knighton House forward in 2018/19 as part of the school’s strategic development.


Fees for 2018-19 and 2019-2020

Prep School (Years 3 – 8)
Day Pupil (Years 3 & 4) £3,750 per term

Day Pupil (Years 5)  £4,500 per term

Day Pupil (Year 6) £4,750 per term

Day Pupil (Years 7 & 8) £4,950 per term
Boarding £7,600 per term

1 night £380
2 nights £760
3 nights £1,140


Fees for 2018-19 and 2019-2020

The Orchard Pre-Prep
Years 1 and 2 £2,700 per term
Reception* £2,700 per term
Nursery* £2,325 per term (maximum cost for full time attendance)



The Autumn Term Snapshot

The Snapshot is a brief resume of the term.

Autumn Term Snapshot


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The Orchard Gymkhana


The Orchard gymkhana took place on Tuesday where the horse riders took part in Christmas themed Gymkhana games. They raced to dress a snowman in a hat, scarf and carrot nose, leapt to victory in Santa’s sack race and helped by all the other Cherries and Damsins ran in the Rudolph Relay Race.


The riders then warmed up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and had their rosettes awarded by Mrs Dominey in front of their family.


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Friday Assembly Certificates

Well done to Jess and Freya for being awarded their 100 Merit Certificate, and to Tara, Iris, Nancy and Izzy for their 50 Merit Certificate awarded at this morning’s assembly. Good work girls!


Well done to the girls who were awarded their Primary Maths Challenge Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates. Maths is alive and very well in Year 5 and Year 6!

Latest News – November 2017
Knighton House School Red Cross Charity day – Reuniting Separated Families

“Right now there are 65.3 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes, more than half are children. Many have mothers, fathers, daughters and sons with whom they have lost contact”. The Big Give website.

A Christmas fundraising appeal for the Red Cross by Knighton House School has raised £1143, which will be match funded by The Big Give to make a total donation of £2286. The response has been overwhelming as parents, families, staff and the children themselves gave so generously, all contributing to the fundraising efforts.

As we approach Christmas our thoughts turn to our families and seeing people who we have not seen for a long time. The timing of the Red Cross campaign to repatriate separated refugee families alongside the ‘The Big Give’ was too good an opportunity to miss. It was a chance for us to make a real difference to families who have experienced incredible and unimaginable hardships, people who are resilient in seeking a new life but now need a little help.

Pupils at Knighton House School have been touched by the plight of many families who have been separated by difficult circumstance. The year 7s attended a superb workshop last year on the work of the Red Cross where the girls considered some of the practicalities of supporting displaced peoples. In October our year 5s and 6s saw for themselves the plight of refugees as they travelled back from France seeing the refugee camps and vehicle searches.

To raise money the girls were sponsored for demonstrating the key skills that they have been practising on our learning disposition days during lessons. Skills such as ‘collaborative learning’; ‘demonstrating resilience’ – bouncing back when things don’t go to plan; ‘getting it wrong’ – having a go and taking a risk  and ‘Communication’ – talking to everyone, waiting your turn to speak, listening carefully and so on.  Points were awarded in all lessons and these were tallied at the end of the day for the girls to collect their sponsor money.

With our donation and knowing that £300 can reunite a child with their parent and £1,200 can reunite an entire family we are thrilled that as a school we have been able to help to help several families.

Table Top Tack Sale & Cake Sale – In Aid of the RDA


The Alpha Riding Committee organised and held two wonderful events to help raise money for the RDA.

The cake sale was a success with girls loving the variety of cakes from pink and glittery cupcakes to wonderful chocolate brownies and biscuits. Well done to the committee for their baking skills!

The table top tack sale had a large number of stalls to browse selling everything from rugs to calendars, homemade horse treats to unicorn onesies. The riding committee helped to set up all the tables and clear away and still found time to buy a few things!

The fundraising total from the two events was over £110 a brilliant achievement girls, well done!

A big thankyou to all those that spent their money to help such a worthwhile charity.

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Knowledge, Enlightenment, Discussion: KED Talks at Knighton House

Staying on at University – A Career in Academia

A Doctor of Philosophy (a PhD) is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries, with the term “philosophy” not referring to the field or academic discipline of Philosophy, but to the broader sense of the original Greek meaning ‘love of wisdom’. With ‘love of wisdom’ ever present in all our thinking and doing at Knighton House, we invited a current PhD student to talk to our Year 7 and Year 8 pupils.

Not quite on the cusp of choosing their PhD thesis, Thea, who is studying for a Psychology PhD, nevertheless asked our girls what area of research they might like to pursue. From the deeply scientific, ‘how was the world created’, to a recurrent Knighton House question, ‘why do animals display certain behaviours’, the feeling in the room was that we all wanted to get started right now.

Thea talked about her own route into academia, which was by no means as linear as the girls supposed, and shared stories and pictures of her fellow PhD students, all of whom are pursuing widely diverse academic hypotheses. Thea also gave us an insight into the many skills which this type of in-depth study develops (resilience, problem-solving, critical thinking, self-discipline) and how well these skills transfer to the workplace, yet at the same time pointing out how much these are just great life-skills.

When it came to asking questions, the girls had all sorts of things they wanted to find out about, but from a grown-up perspective, one of the most interesting questions and the response which it elicited, was put by our Head Girl.

‘Do you have to be really clever to do a PhD?’.

Thea responded by saying that she had never thought of herself as ‘super clever’ but she likes to work hard, she really enjoys thinking and finding out about things and she had always been able to ‘bounce back’ when things didn’t go as she had anticipated:

‘It’s as much about work ethic as it is about brain power’; Thea’s response was the quotation of the entire session.

This was an incredibly informative talk by a thoroughly intelligent and engaging speaker, complementing the talk before half-term on ‘professional resilience’ given by creative strategist Harry Walker. For this very young audience, we want simply to hint at possibilities for their futures, but both talks had the added effect of restating the message that whilst the Media may suggest girls’ worth lies in their looks and their ‘likes’, it is your mindset and your work ethic which will have a far greater impact on your professional and personal achievements.

Helping to Reunite Divided Families – Red Cross Charity Day

Charitable giving is part of the blueprint for a Knighton House girl and having raised money before half-term for a very little charity (Cavy Corner who do good works for unwanted guinea pigs, rescuing them and even using them for wonderful outreach in schools and care homes), we turned our attention to a much bigger charity day, one that we have been planning for some time. Alongside their vital crisis work, the Red Cross have been championing a practical approach to a particularly difficult consequence of refugeedom, actively working on behalf of families who become divided by the circumstance of their asylum.  With the knowledge that our charity day would be match funded if we collected in the money by a certain date, we asked girls to get agitating for sponsors. Sponsorship was intrinsically linked to practising the many skills of our Learning Disposition days.  Form Captains were in possession of a tick sheet for everyone in their class and these were taken to every lesson.  Here, staff, busily teaching, were also watching out for those all-important learning disposition skills: ‘evidence of good collaborative learning’ – a tick on the sheet; ‘taking a risk with your learning’ – another tick on the sheet; ‘bouncing back’ – more ticking.

At the end of the day we added up the ticks and these totals will constitute the amount of sponsorship our girls will raise. While we hope to be instrumental in bringing at least one divided family together, we also wanted this day to remind our pupils how much refugees want (as we all do) stable family lives, in solid homes, contributing fully to their community narrative.

‘Refugee family reunion is a safe and legal way for refugee families to be reunited. It has the potential to prevent dangerous journeys across seas into Europe and onwards to the UK, instead offering visas that allow people to travel to the UK safely and legally.’

Further information about the work of the British Red Cross can be found at:

World Kindness Day – Monday 13th November

Our assembly on Monday 13th November marked World Kindness Day. The girls were asked to think about the importance of being kind to one another, one of the most treasured of human qualities. Mr Gainher read them one of Aesop’s Fables, The Lion and the Mouse, where the lion’s kindness to the mouse saved his life. Members of staff and some of the Alpha girls read out different quotations to further reinforce messages about kindness and the effect it has on us individually and as a school community.

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Remembrance Day – Saturday 11th November

On Saturday the Knighton community gathered in St. Nicholas Church to remember those who have died in conflicts around the world. Brigadier Roddis spoke about the importance of remembering the armed services and those who have given their lives for their country since the First World War and how the girls should try to make Remembrance Day personal to them by asking members of their extended family about their experiences of conflicts. Whilst it is easier for the older generations to find a personal connection, we need to ensure that the legacy continues for the younger generations as they grow up to find ways to mark Remembrance Day in the future. We are extremely grateful to Brigadier Roddis for taking the time to be with us on Remembrance Day.

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Music Café – 4th November 2017

The entire school was involved in a wonderful concert on Saturday which featured brilliant performances by soloists, instrumental ensembles and choirs.

The two choirs delighted us with solos and sign-language, as well as the beautiful singing for which Knighton is renowned. Twenty three of our instrumentalists impressed us with their skill on instruments ranging from trumpet and drum kit, through clarinet, violin and cello, to recorder, saxophone and piano. The eight stage hands enabled the concert to flow smoothly and to time; and the whole audience gamely joined in with in a dining room roof- raising five part round.

An hour of great tunes in a wide range of musical styles was enjoyed by a capacity audience, along with a delicious selection of beautiful cakes.

“Thank you for a fantastic cafe concert. I so enjoyed the thoughtful , varied and at times moving programme, the enthusiasm and professionalism of the performers, the wonderful  decorations and hospitality extended to the audience, all of  which made it such a delightful occasion. Well done to everybody! “

“The concert on Saturday was an absolute triumph: congratulations! All of your hard work paid off, everyone loved it and the girls were just marvellous. My daughter (in the audience) has not stopped singing “I love the flowers I love the autumn leaves I love the mountains I love the dungarees…” she loved it!! I Can’t wait for the next one.”

“As I sat in Saturday’s wonderful music concert, I thought about being a teacher: it’s a truly humbling profession when you get to watch and listen to young people perform with skill and confidence. The girls were amazing and thoroughly deserved our plaudits.”

“Huge thanks for the wonderful concert on Saturday. Brilliantly organised and lots of brilliant performances. Well done!”

(Many more photos are on our Parent Portal.)

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Latest News – October 2017
Year 6 and 7 French Trip 2017

It is part of Knighton House tradition for the Years 6 and 7 pupils to spend a week in France, something the girls really look forward to. For some it is their first significant time away from home, for others a first trip to France but for all it is a wonderful experience. The aim of the trip is to practise and improve our French, of course, but we also undertake a range of activities which cross subject boundaries and which enable pupils to experience new cuisine, culture and comfort-zone expansion!

This year, we travelled from Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany Ferries, so were able to feel as if we were already in France from the minute we boarded the boat. We stayed in the small seaside town of Hermanville, very close to Ouistreham,  which is a useful setting-out point for the many and varied activities undertaken. These included making organic bread, following instructions in French from a charming Dutchman; experiencing the wonderful ambience of the town of Honfleur, where we were also lucky enough to cross the breath-taking (or ‘époustouflant’) Pont de Normandie in both directions; visiting the market in Bayeux, where the girls took on the ‘One Euro Challenge’, and then both the glorious Cathedral and the Tapisserie de Bayeux.  Another ‘époustouflant’ experience!

A highlight of the trip for girls who love horses was the Haras du Pin, the National Stud of France, where we were given a most interesting and informative guided tour. Later the same day, we visited a goat farm where we not only learnt about breeding and caring for goats, but also found out about the cheese-making process and got to taste some delicious goat’s cheese at the end of the day.  The next, and final, day, we visited an apple farm where they produce apple juice, cider and Calvados. Even the visit to the supermarket before returning to Dorset was fun – who knew how many different types of food, clothing, stationery and sweeties one would find in a country so close to home?!

Upon our return to school, the girls set to work on completing the journals they had been writing during the trip, ready for display on the ‘French Trip 2017’ board outside the classroom.  Miss Watson made a fab video of the trip, with a soundtrack by Brigitte Bardot.  This is available to view, along with a photograph album, on the parents’ portal.

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Hallowe’en Party  – 31st October 2017

Staff and children were unrecognisable as everyone dressed up for the Hallowe’en party. Glamorous witches competed with scary vampires, plump pumpkins and the odd ghost during the creepy costume parade. A sumptuous supper was sandwiched between games from both staff and our creative Alpha girls. These included wrapping a mummy, chasing rats, a pumpkin treasure trail, a spooky photo booth and find the sweets in a gooey mess!

A wonderful time was had by all.

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Raising Money for Outreach – But Not as You Would Imagine

Knighton House raises money for all sort of charities and we try hard to spread our money across national, local, children’s and animal charities (and some for the grown-ups too). Recently, we have supported the World Wetlands charity, Save the Children, The Red Cross, Medical Assistance Dogs and this term Cavy Corner Guinea Pig Sanctuary.  The brief for our charity day was to wear anything ‘guinea pig related’ which the girls interpreted in lots of creative ways: homemade guinea pig badges, a guinea pig tiara, guinea pig t-shirts and guinea pig masks.

In the words of their own website, ‘Cavy Corner rescues abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted guinea pigs in addition to taking in piggies with special needs either because of poor health or behaviour. We nurse them back to good health and find the perfect family for them or provide them with a loving forever home here. The guineas in our care are very much loved and cherished. We also make Pets as Therapy visits to residential homes and Educational Visits into Schools and visit Brownie and Cub and Beaver Scout Groups.’

The idea of using guinea pigs for outreach really chimes with our ethos of compassion and service – both to people and animals – and we are pleased to say we raised £150 for this worthwhile cause.

Drinks party in Madrid – 24th October 2017

Overwhelmed by the warmth and genuine love for Knighton House, Rob, Ali and Melanie returned from the Reception in Madrid in high spirits.

The majority of the 60 or so guests were Old Knightonians and their families, the oldest of whom, Ines Hernandez is now 19 and at University in Madrid! The reminiscing was enhanced by a screen play of photos spanning the last 8 years, which caused much mirth and excitement amongst the girls.

The event was a golden opportunity to meet with our Spanish Agent friends in person as well as representatives one of the Madrid Schools. It was also a great occasion to meet ‘friends of friends’ who are looking at Knighton House for their daughters in the years ahead.

In his welcoming speech, Rob introduced our Summer School. This was met with great enthusiasm and we look forward to welcoming our Spanish friends, past, present and future on board for a two week course in July.

Thank you to all for such a warm welcome to Madrid and for bringing so much to the Knighton House family.

Knighton House choir sings at Sherborne Abbey Charity Concert

Chapel Choir wowed an audience of approximately 350 people in the stunning surroundings of Sherborne Abbey as part of the Dorset Schools Charity Concert in October. We were the only Juniors invited to perform in a concert of seven schools and were proud to be part of an immense fund-raising effort for two charities: Royal British Legion (which looks after our service men and women) and Casting For Recovery (which helps women recovering from breast cancer). The evening raised about £14,000 and for many in the audience our Knighton choir was the highlight of the evening.

Jeremy Moger, who organises this event commented “A letter will follow but I am unable to wait any longer to say how utterly thrilled I was to have your fabulous choir at my concert and to be allowed to sing with them, especially with my family there to see, was just the cherry and the icing on the top. There were numerous accolades from members of the audience in praise of Knighton choir. From my perspective they are all “little angels” and just sang so beautifully. I cannot thank you enough and from the bottom of my heart please say so to all of them when you next all get together.”

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Canford gifted and talented art workshop.

This week a selection of girls from Knighton House were chosen to attend a gifted and talented workshop at Canford School. On arrival the eight girls were set to task creating a dry point acrylic printing plate. They selected their starting point from a variety of photocopies of animals and these were used as a base for their individual composition. Working with a dry point needle to scratch the image and a variety of sandpapers they inscribed their printing plate exploring the texture and form of the animal.

These were then inked up using traditional printing techniques and a printing press. The outcomes were fantastic, extremely professional and of a very high standard due to the level of concentration they had applied to the task. The girls worked with enthusiasm and energy throughout the whole workshop and should be proud of their achievements.

A huge thank you goes to Canford art department, especially to the three sixth form students who faultlessly led the activity. The original prints will be returned to school in due course and I look forward to displaying them in a prominent place for all to admire.

Kim Walker

Performance Sport Programme at Bryanston

On Monday 16th October 13 girls from years 5-8 went to Bryanston School to participate in their Performance Sport Programme. The session was led by Alex Fermor-Dunman (Director of Sport) and James Morris (Head of Hockey) using their fantastic new facilities.

The girls started by taking part in a number of different stretches to prepare them for the activities. They then explored different running techniques to discover the best way to achieve their maximum speed. The first test was to discover their speed over 10m and 20m and to compare that to Usain Bolt’s times! We were not too far off…….

The next test was performed on a bike and tested their power. Then they went into the sports hall and took part in a T-Test which measured the speed at which they can change direction.

The last activity was a game of touchball which gave them lots of ideas about the effective use of space in invasion games. The session was completed with a well deserved, delicious lunch in Bryanstons canteen. The girls all worked incredibly hard and we look forward to returning next year to gather some more results and knowledge about our fitness.

Year 5 visit Godolphin Literary Festival

B1 went to the Godolphin Literary Festival this morning.  Author of ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave explained the process of writing her first book and showed photos of people and places that inspired her. Many Knighton girls brought their own copies of the book to the talk or purchased copies at Godolphin and Kiran kindly wrote a personal message in each book.  An interesting and inspirational morning.

B1 at Godolphin Literary
Year 8 Geography field trip to Durdle Door

Alpha had chance to put their classroom learning into practice today with a trip to Durdle Door. A fabulous field trip where they tested their coastal erosion hypotheses. Will pebbles be smaller or larger on the exposed Durdle Door beach? Sharper or smoother on the sheltered Man ‘o war cove beach? Which will have the steeper profile and why?

The girls will use the data to complete their projects for their senior schools. Thanks to Louise from Leeson House for leading the session and answering everyone questions.

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durdle door 2
durdle door 1
The Orchard had a visit from the dental nurse Katrina and Mr Chomper. The children enjoyed learning about healthy eating,  looking after their teeth and how to brush them and why it is important to visit the dentist. Apples and Pears also had the opportunity to dress up as a dentist and a patient. Mr Chomper certainly left with sparkling teeth as the children  each had a turn at brushing them with a toothbrush.
orchard dentist
orchard dentist 2
B1 enjoy high ropes adventure.

B1 travelled to Kingston Maurward on Saturday for their High Ropes Adventure. They had a fantastic time playing games, climbing and supporting each other. Lots of girls overcame their fears and achieved something they might not have thought possible from the ground.

The hugging of the tree trunk was to try to stop it wobbling for the person at the top!!

It was a great, team building experience which left them all wanting to go back again!

B1 Church Assembly : Resilience

B1s church assembly was on the theme of resilience.  They acted out real-life examples of famous people who have succeeded only because they were resilient – JK Rowling, Thomas Edison and the Beatles.  B1 know that success is not straightforward, but they always have a go!

Knighton pupils play in the SATIPS Orchestra at Bryanston

On Tuesday six of our more advanced orchestral players joined an orchestra of 85 players (of about grade 4-8 standard) from nine prep schools to make music together for the day.

They had three hours to learn a new piece in sectional groups: the Strings learnt Prelude to the Holberg Suite by Grieg, the flutes, oboes and clarinets learnt Windmills of your Mind by Legrand and the Saxophones learnt a traditional air. They also had an hour to put together the full orchestra pieces: The Sweetheart Tree by Mancini and the traditional tune Down by The Salley Gardens. The day culminated with a fifteen minute concert to an appreciative audience of parents.

It was a wonderful opportunity for our girls to play in a large ensemble at a high level but with local children of a similar age. Being in the middle of a huge sound like that is a thrilling experience, akin to being on a vast boat going at full speed, and is what professional orchestral musicians experience in their working life.

Latest News – September 2017
Learning Disposition Day at Knighton House: Resilience

Learning disposition days are a termly feature at Knighton House School; collaboration, communication, mistake making and resilience have all been chewed over and looked at from many perspectives, enough we hope for the girls to have learned valuable skills and to be developing great ones for their future places in the world of relationships and careers. In our fast changing environment where the quantity of your Likes and your online persona is becoming almost all that matters, particularly for girls, we believe resilience to be the most valuable of all learning dispositions for children to develop.

On the day, we divided the girls by tutor group. The thinking behind this was to encourage the tutor group to bond closely, strong friendships being a key component of the conditions required to develop your resilience skills. Girls played a game designed to winkle out new information from people they see every day: ‘If you knew me well you would know…’ was the statement they were asked to complete.  ‘If you knew me well you would know that my pets have funny names’, (Badger and Scully), ‘If you knew me well you would know that I love music’ (we didn’t), ‘If you knew me well you would know that I don’t have a television’ (cue stupefaction in the tutor group when they heard this from their teacher), but this simple game strengthened group dynamics and the knowledge that in a crisis, it isn’t just your B.F. on whom you can rely..

The Red Cross website has fantastic education resources on resilience and much thanks to them for the hard-thinking hour we spent deciding what to do in various hypothetical scenarios: Accidental Half-Marathon, Blown Over and Overcoming Overwhelm, helped girls evaluate their normal reactions to difficulty and then using a list of ‘resilient behaviours’, to challenge their default settings. ‘I always cry’, ‘I panic’ and ‘I become frozen’, were common themes in discussion but new possibilities presented themselves: ‘Calling on past experience, your own or other people’s, of similar situations and using that as a guide or help.’, ‘Being creative with resources’ and ‘Not necessarily doing the first thing that comes into your head’ made ‘bouncing back’ seem absolutely do-able.

Resilience is a skill which we develop over time and life tests how well we are doing, regularly; in assembly, girls were asked to visualise an elastic band and to go forward from the ‘day’ thinking of themselves as made of the same properties; stretching to their fullest extent when tried, but always having the capacity to snap back.



resilience wall
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resilience 3
resilience circles
A2 sing at Milton Abbey

Our ten A2s joined with over 200 prep school singers in the beautiful building of Milton Abbey to sing together yesterday. They learnt four songs (jazz, pop, spiritual and African) in up to five parts under the guidance of professional tenor/ beat box artist/ music technician/ singing teacher Oli Vincent. We all thoroughly enjoyed making a big joyful noise  in the exquisite 13th century Abbey.



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Year 3 pupils use eggs for experiment – with rather smelly results!

B3 have been looking at the effects of different liquids on tooth enamel and have been observing five eggs during the last week – pretending that the shell is the tooth enamel.

We opened them today – they were pretty stinky – and discovered the damage caused by each liquid.

The blackcurrant juice and vinegar did the most damage and we will now all be choosing water or milk from now on!

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B3 eggs
Orchard Harvest Lunch

What a fabulous three course meal the Orchard children prepared and then enjoyed eating in the autumnal sun. There was home made soup, pizza and crumble (using our own Orchard fruit and hand picked blackberries) as well as home pressed apple juice – delicious!

Harvest display
Pears Pizzeria
Blackberry picking for crumble
Apple pressing
Inter Schools RPL and Grass Roots Show Jumping Qualifier at Leweston

Knighton House School girls took part in the National School Equestrian Association’s qualifier held by Leweston school yesterday. In the 50cm the Knighton teams came 1st and 2nd also getting individual 1st. In the 60cm Knighton teams came 1st, 2nd and 3rd again getting individual 1st and a best rider and finally in the 70cm Knighton came 2nd. Knighton also had another individual placing with a first in the 80cm. Well done to all the girls who took part.

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One Day Event

The sun shone as over 20 girls took part in Knighton House School’s annual One Day Event on Saturday. The girls tackled the daunting dressage test, rode brilliantly round a challenging show jumping course and leapt and raced around the school’s cross country course. Well done to all those that took part but especially to Christina, Madeline and Daisy who won their classes and a thank you to the new riding committee for helping the younger girls with their ponies.

LAMDA success at Knighton.

In our weekly Celebration Assembly on Friday eleven girls were awarded their LAMDA certificates with all the Grade 1s and 2s achieving Distinctions. Congratulations to the girls and a big thank you to their teacher, Mrs de la Poer, for preparing them so well.

Lacrosse training

On Wednesday 13th September Alpha and A1 girls took part in a lacrosse taster session at Knighton run by Sherborne Girls School. This is part of a series of training sessions to prepare the girls for playing lacrosse at their senior school.

Luckily the sun shone all the way through as the girls learned how to pick up the ball, cradle and throw to each other. It was made even more exciting by the challenge of building a bonfire and putting the ball on the top!!! The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have asked for more sessions if possible. Particular mention should go to Portia and Katie who caught the coach’s eye and were praised for their attitude and hard work.

Many thanks to Sherborne Girls school for coming along and giving the girls such a great time.

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Knighton House School – a leader for educating girls.

We have a wonderful opportunity to move Knighton forwards following a glowing piece in the Good Schools’ Guide and being judged excellent by the recent ISI Inspection Report. Knighton is undoubtedly in a good place. However, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels and be complacent.

The question I have asked myself since arriving at Knighton in the summer is whether the girls are intellectually and emotionally prepared for the world in which they will be a part of in the future and expect to be contributors to; a world which will have undoubtedly changed substantially in ten years’ time by the time many of them reach adulthood. Are we really forward thinking enough? Are we brave enough to steer the school away from its traditional course whilst retaining so much of what is special about Knighton? I feel the timing is perfect to look at how we are teaching and what we are teaching with a view to designing an academic curriculum and co-curricular programme to make sure Knighton is a leader in its field. We are a prep school which educates girls and we should be proud of this.

Additionally, Knighton has an opportunity to move with the times with the senior school admissions landscape changing as an increasing number of them now pre-assess children in Year 6, sometimes early in Year 7. Senior schools in London and the south-east of England have been adopting this practice for years now. It’s reaching the ‘shires’ as well so we need to adapt our approach to make sure our girls are suitably prepared for what’s ahead of them.

In today’s world the pressure on young people to get a job which suits their skills remains as challenging as it has always been, if not tougher in 2017. In the younger generation’s modern world fixated by celebrity culture, the unrealism of some TV docu-drama programmes (so far from reality it isn’t true), and a desire to instantaneously communicate every minutiae of their lives to each other, many employers rightly lament the lack of skills being learned, particularly “soft skills”. Education it could be argued has evolved very little: Exams are still taken at different points in a child’s schooling; they continue to be taken on paper despite the availability of technology; schools focus on results (those who protest otherwise are kidding us all); and children still learn in classroom spaces which haven’t changed very much at all over the years.

Knighton feels ready for what lies ahead. The Good Schools Guide’s commented: “Is there magic in the air (at Knighton)? Yes”.

Robin Gainher, Headmaster – September 2017

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New Headmaster at Knighton House School

Knighton House School was thrilled to welcome pupils and staff back to start this new academic year this week. As well as many new pupils we also have our new Headmaster, Robin Gainher and his wife Ali, starting their time at Knighton. Robin and Ali are a formidable team with significant experience; most recently Robin was Head at Beeston Hall in Norfolk and as parents of three girls there is not much they don’t know about building confidence in girls.

Robin Gainher says “As the new Head at Knighton I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to take the school forward into the next phase of its history. Building on the recent ISI report of ‘Excellent’ in all areas I believe Knighton can become a leader for educating girls. I can’t wait to work alongside the fantastic team of teachers here to start building an innovative exciting academic curriculum fit for the 21st Century and a co-curricular programme to excite and inspire the girls. This means road testing our current provision and asking two key questions: Is it fit for purpose? Does it match our ambitions for the girls? If not, then we have to be brave enough to make changes. Exciting times lie ahead for Knighton”.

Knighton House School, near Blandford in Dorset, is a prep school for girls aged 7-13 and a pre-prep for boys and girls aged 3-7.  Come and meet our new Headmaster Robin Gainher and see the school by booking an appointment through Alternatively come along to one of our Working Open Mornings, Wednesday 4th October and Wednesday 22nd November and see the school at work.

Robin and Ali Gainher web