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Knighton House School marks its 70th anniversary with significant developments

Knighton House School, Durweston

One of the most distinctive prep schools in the South West has confirmed a series of new initiatives to broaden access to pupils from a wide range of backgrounds and further develop its long and successful relationship with its close neighbour, Bryanston.

Marking 70 years since its formation, the new announcements from Knighton House School form part of an ambitious development plan to build on its reputation for inspiring and developing the confidence and aspirations of girls aged between 7 and 13 years old.

Knighton House School, Durweston
Headmaster, Robin Gainher

The school has now launched the Knighton House 70 Appeal specifically to fund new scholarships for pupils from the local area and to widen access to the school’s extensive range of teaching and learning experiences on its 35 acre campus at Durweston in Dorset.

A recent survey of Knighton parents also revealed a strong demand to open the school to boys, so the decision has been taken to move progressively towards co-education. Consequently, for the first time the school is now accepting boys up to and including Year Six as day pupils. This will be extended to include Years 7 and 8 with effect from September 2021.

Work is now proceeding on a planned refurbishment of the school’s boarding accommodation in preparation for the move to a full co-education environment in 2022.

The announcements coincide with the news that Bryanston has confirmed the acquisition of the land and buildings of the Knighton House campus. For many years the site was leased from the Crown Estate but, significantly, the move by Bryanston will see it restored as part of the original Portman Estate for the first time in almost a century.

Although this will have no impact on the management, operation and autonomy of Knighton House School, it will increase the potential for both schools to share facilities and resources for the benefit of all pupils.

This is a hugely exciting time for everyone connected with the school as we start our 70th anniversary celebrations. The announcements we are making today demonstrate our passion for delivering truly inspirational education for all pupils and our clear commitment to build on our strengths and reputation for forward-thinking. Increasing access and progressively welcoming boys to the school signals an important step in our evolution while maintaining our long-established agenda of empowerment and confidence for girls. A new and dynamic co-educational setting beckons and we can’t wait to get started!

Robin Gainher, Knighton House Headmaster

According to Paul Slight, Joint Chair of Governors at Knighton House, looking to the future with real ambition, confidence and enthusiasm is the best way to celebrate such an important milestone in the history of the school.

While we are all proud of the remarkable achievements of Knighton House over the past seventy years, we have never rested on our laurels and have always looked to build on the unique qualities and ethos that have underpinned the school’s continuing success. It is very fitting, therefore, to celebrate such a significant year with a special scholarships initiative that will enable more local children to benefit from our superb teaching and learning environment. Adaptability, innovation and agility are key qualities in today’s education and I have absolutely no doubt there will also be far-reaching benefits from having a like-minded landlord that shares our commitment to invest in the future and lead by example in the education of young people.

Paul Slight, Joint Chair of Governors at Knighton House

Mark Mortimer, Bryanston’s Headmaster, says the acquisition of the Knighton House campus represents a sound and logical investment that strengthens the integrity of the School’s grounds and the ability of both schools to share facilities and expertise in the years ahead.

Knighton House is a fine school and, as next-door neighbours, we have always enjoyed a close relationship. Indeed, many members of our staff also send their own children to the school. Although Bryanston is simply a new landlord for Knighton House, the benefits from greater sharing of resources and closer cooperation will cover both academic and co-curricular activities and will provide new opportunities to enrich the educational experience of pupils. We’re delighted such a positive and forward-looking development has occurred at a time when Knighton House has every reason to celebrate its tremendous achievements over the past seven decades.

Mark Mortimer, Bryanston’s Headmaster
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