Excellent state primaries include St Andrew’s Fontmel, Abbey Primary, milton on Stour School, Piddle valley First School, trent Young’s Endowed School, Broadchalke Primary and Dinton Primary.
Private Schools: Junior
All Hallows Prep Cranmore Hall, Shepton Mallet BA4 4SF 01749 881600 allhallowsschool.co.uk
Ages 3–13, Co-ed, day & boarding.
Quirky almost nostalgic feel with stunning grounds to roam in, popular with Catholic families. A feeder for Downside.
Castle Court Knoll Lane,Corfe Mullen, Wimbome BH21 3RF 01202 694438 castlecourt.com
Ages 2–13, Co-ed, day. Feels like a big happy home, popular with local families. Prepares children for 11+ and Common Entrance.
Chafyn Grove Chafyn Grove School, 33 Bourne Avenue, Salisbury SP1 1LR 01722 333423 chafyngrove.co.uk
Ages 3–13, Co-ed, boarding & day.
A small school on the outskirts of Salisbury. Strong on sport and punches above its weight academically.
Clayesmore Blandford Rd, Blandford Forum, DT11 8LJ 01747 813203 clayesmore.com
Ages 21/2–18, Co-ed, boarding & day.
A busy, small, friendly school, takes children from infancy to adulthood. Very strong on learning support. Normally oversubscribed.
Dumpton Deans Grove House, Wimborne Minster, Wimborne BH21 7AF 01202 883818 dumpton.com
Ages 3–13, Co-ed, day.
An ambitious hard working little school.
Hanford Child Okeford, Blandford, DT11 01258 860219 hanford.dorset.sch.uk
Ages 7–14, girls boarding & day.
A happy family feel. Girls run, skip, hop and canter but never walk. Well known for their riding.
Hazlegrove Sparkford, Somerset, BA22 7JA 01963 440314 hazlegrove.co.uk
Ages 21/2–13, co-ed, boarding & day.
One of the bigger prep schools. Lively and with modern facilities. Traditional feeder to King’s Bruton but sends children further afield.
Knighton House Durweston, Blandford DT11 0PY 01258 452065 knightonhouse.co.uk
Ages 3–13, girls boarding & day with boys 3–7 in Pre-Prep.
Famous for red dungarees. Girls get the individual attention of a small school but with the facilities of a larger one.
Port Regis Motcombe Park, Shaftesbury, SP7 9AQ 01747 857800 portregis.com
Ages 21/2–13, Co-ed, boarding & day.
Probably the area’s best known prep school and certainly its biggest, with cracking facilities. Children are well prepared for the transition to public school.
Salisbury Cathedral School 1 The Close, Salisbury, SP1 2EQ 01722 555 300 salisburycathedralschool.com
Ages 3–13, Co-ed boarding & day. one of the area’s oldest schools, dating back to the 11th Century. Strong musical and academic pedigree. The recent merger with Leden Hall will increase its facilities.
Sandroyd Rushmore Park, Tollard Royal, SP5 5QD 01725 516264 sandroyd.org
Ages 3–14, Co-ed, day & boarding.
Plenty of space and room to grow. A new head starts in Sept. Sporty, boisterous and lots of fun.
Sherborne Prep 39 Acreman St, Sherborne DT9 3NY 01935 812097 sherborneprep.org
Ages 21/2–18, co-ed, boarding & day
Though more day than boarding, traditional nurturing and unpretentious.
Great state schools:
Thomas Hardy, South West Wilts, Gillingham, Poole Grammar and Bishops Wordsworth. Sexey’s (state but you have to pay for the boarding element) is also excellent.
Bryanston, Bruton School for girls, Canford, Downside, Dauntsey’s, Godolphin, Kings Bruton, Leweston, Milton Abbey, St Mary’s Shaftesbury, Sherborne girls, Sherborne, Talbot Heath, Warminster.