Dorset Schools Open Days Directory

The last year of primary school is often an exciting one for pupils in Year 6. The children start the year by becoming the eldest of their peers, giving many of them a welcome boost in confidence. They also know that they’ll be moving on, so there’s a sense of excitement, or sometimes anxiety, about the next step to high school.

Any tensions can soon be quashed, and questions answered pretty promptly into the school year, as many of the secondary schools host their Open Days or events in September and October. These ‘Open’ events give prospective pupils and their parents a small taste of secondary life. They’ll meet current representative students and teachers, be able to tour the buildings and look at the work displayed on the walls of the classrooms.

It offers a great opportunity to gain ‘a feel’ of the school and answer many questions: Does it have a welcoming environment? Is there a positive vibe and atmosphere around the school? Can you see your child ‘fitting in’ there? Listen to your instincts; you know your child best and this is an important stage of their life, so you want to make the best decision for them.

School performance tables ( and Ofsted reports ( are worth looking at, as are the school’s facilities and provision for children with special educational needs. Do your research to help you and your child make the right decision.

Although most pupils end up applying to the school in their catchment area, there are some schools that do not operate designated areas and have a slightly different admissions policy. So, it is worth checking the admissions policy on each school’s website for further information. If you are considering applying to a local independent school, it will have its own separate admissions procedure.

Catchment Areas 

Designated areas, or catchment areas, have been pre-determined by Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole Council.

To find the designated school for your area visit:


Bournemouth: – Applying for a School Place – School Catchment

Poole: – search for school catchment areas

Applying to a School out of Catchment Area:

When you fill in the application form you’ll be asked to list the schools you’re applying for. You must apply for at least 3 schools in order of preference. Whether a place is offered will depend on the school’s admission process and if places are available. Priority is always given to pupils who live within the catchment area of a school.


Dorset County Council Applications:

Primary School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2018 to 15 January 2019.

Secondary School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2018 to 31 October 2018.

Dorset Contacts:

Education helpline: 01305 221060

Online applications:



Bournemouth Borough Council Applications:

Primary, Infant and Junior School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2018 to 15 January 2019.

Secondary School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2018 to 31 October 2018.

Bournemouth Contacts:

Education helpline: 01202 456223

Online applications: - click on the Children and Education link



Borough of Poole Council Applications:

Reception School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2018 to 15 January 2019.

Junior School Applications:

The online system will be available from September 2018 to 15 January 2019.

Secondary School Applications:

The online system will be available from September 2018 to 31 October 2018.

Poole Contacts:

Education helpline: 01202 261936

Online applications:



Offer Day

There are now set dates when school places are officially confirmed. These are:

1 March 2019 – Secondary Schools

16 April 2019 – Primary Schools


Read a general overview of each school and find out when the Open Days will be taking place...


The Bishop of Winchester Academy

Students at TBOWA thrive in a culture that is driven by the mantra ‘High Expectation- No Excuses.’ ‘Teaching and Learning’, Leadership and Management’ and ‘Governance’ are all graded as ‘Outstanding’ (Ofsted/SIAMS).

All students are challenged in a highly supportive setting as they begin their journey to University or the world of work. All students are coached intensively as they seek to establish their own identity in a rapidly changing and challenging world.

The ‘Grammar Stream’ students will benefit from a bespoke package of interventions that will enable them to reach their aspirational goals.

At the Academy all students are instilled with a sense of self-worth, pride in achievement and have the courage of their own well-founded convictions to make wise decisions that will allow them to celebrate their talents, fulfil their God-given potential and ‘Live Life to the Full’.

Students are privileged to be taught in extensive new buildings that provide a 21st century Learning Experience. Students and their families all benefit from a unique Christian ethos.

The best way to understand the Academy is to see it at work – the Open Evening is on Tuesday 18 September, 5.00-7.30pm. The Principal will provide personal tours of the Academy during school hours for those who wish to see how the school works on a day-to-day basis.

See or call 01202 512697


Canford School

Fee assistance available at Canford School

Canford School offers at least one fully funded day place each year for a gifted Year 9 child who otherwise would not be able to attend.

Together with scholarships for individual talent that can sometimes be worth up to 50% of the fees, and means-tested financial assistance worth up to 100% of the fees, there are various options for entry to the school at both 13+ and in the Sixth Form. Applications are welcomed from able or talented children and from good all-rounders who will contribute strongly to the life of the school. The school is currently able to provide financial assistance for around 40 pupils per year and plans to increase this number as funds allow.

Why not visit the school, and meet the pupils and staff at the next Open Day on the morning of Saturday 6 October 2018.

For details visit or for more information email:


Dumpton School

Andrew Browning, the headmaster writes:

“Dumpton is a family school, and takes pride in its warm, nurturing environment. The school motto ‘you can if you think you can’ and the main school rule ‘treat others as you would expect to be treated’ are reflected in all aspects of school life – pupils and staff are asked to work hard, aim high and, most importantly, be kind to each other.

School has to be fun, as a genuine, life-long love of learning will be increasingly important in our ever-changing world. At Dumpton, everyone tries everything – it is crucial that each pupil finds things that they are good at, as this gives them the confidence to have a go at each new challenge faced. The wide-ranging academic and co-curricular opportunities here ensure that pupils can aim for both breadth and excellence, whether on the stage, in the classroom, or on the sports field.

I love seeing pupils surprise themselves with what they can achieve. Smiling faces around the campus always gives everyone a lift, and are a great measure of the success of a school. Happy staff lead to happy children - which in turn lead to happy parents”.

The Open Morning for Nursery to Year 8 entry takes place on Friday 5 October at 9.30am –call 01202 883818 or register online at Individual visits throughout the year can also be arranged.


Glenmoor and Winton Academies

Glenmoor & Winton Academies are well-supported by a high performing Multi Academy sponsor called United Learning. The two Academies are located on the same site but offer single sex teaching in all classes. This provides the best of both to students and parents with lessons kept single sex and all the clear advantages that provides, with break, lunchtime and extra-curricular activities mixed. Since the opening of the Academies, they have gone from strength to strength and now both are heavily oversubscribed. The rapid and continued improvements in teaching, learning and behaviour since the Academies opened in September 2013 led to record examination results in 2016 and 2017.

One of the areas singled out for praise by Ofsted was the exceptional behaviour of students, who were said to show “great pride in themselves, their work and their Academy”. During a monitoring visit by United Learning in June 2018, behaviour was seen to be “exemplary… with students immensely proud to attend the Academies”.

Glenmoor and Winton are national leaders in the development of on-site sports Academies and offer rugby, football, cycling, netball and tennis with links to local and professional clubs. The Glenmoor and Winton choir has been named regional choir of the year for the last four years, and with the appointment of a full time choirmaster, the establishment of a yearly school production and wins in local performing arts competitions, this area of Academy life continues to flourish.

There are still limited spaces available in certain year groups and any prospective parent is welcome to contact the Academies for a meeting with the Principal and subsequent tour. Email or contact the Academies direct on 01202 527818.



Highcliffe School

Highcliffe School told Primary Times:

“At Highcliffe School we value the power of education to change lives. We are well known as a highly academic and successful school and Sixth Form attracting students from across Christchurch, the New Forest and Bournemouth, with an excellent track record of entry to Oxbridge and Russell Group universities, in addition to students securing the most sought-after local apprenticeships and training places at 16 or 18. In addition to academic success we believe young people learning mutual respect, being purposeful and responsible, and showing generosity towards others to be as important in their life as learning inquisitiveness, determination, and initiative. We encourage anyone considering Highcliffe for their education to visit our Open Evening and see our wonderful students at work on one of our School Tours”.

Call 01425 273381 or see


Sturminster Newton High School

Sturminster Newton High School sets high standards for academic and personal achievement within the ethos of a smaller school setting. The size of the school community is valued, where staff and students know one another and where students are treated and valued as individuals.

One of its strengths, as a small school, is that staff get to know the students well and are able to help them succeed on a personal level. The school promotes a happy and purposeful teaching environment, where all are supported and encouraged to do their best. Young people leaving this school will be confident individuals with the necessary ‘life’ skills for further success at university, college or in employment.

Working in partnership with parents, the combined aim is to build upon the existing standards and success, moving all aspects of school life to the highest possible levels. There is a belief in educating students academically, emotionally, socially and spiritually in order to support and challenge them to achieve their best.

If you are unable to attend the Community Open Day but would like to visit the school during a working day contact the school at The students and staff will be delighted to show you around and answer any of your questions.

See or call 01258 472642


Talbot Heath 

Talbot Heath's new STEAM HUB ready to open April 2019, the only facility of it's kind in the UK!

A new, innovative approach to education is urgently required in the UK if we are to prepare our young people adequately for the rapidly changing world that they are going to inhabit. 50 percent of the jobs that current school children will undertake, do not currently exist. Future generations will need to be creative, adaptable, resilient, digitally proficient, able to work independently yet collaboratively therefore Talbot Heath has created an educational model that would change how young people learn from 3-18. Our model, delivered through a state-of-the-art STEAM ( Science Technology Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) HUB, equipped with augmented reality, holographic, design, drama, art, robotics, electronics and textiles studios, will engender in students an ability to fashion, iterate and realise their ideas across all disciplines.

To find out more go to


Magna Academy

Magna Academy is very proud to be the only comprehensive secondary school in the Bournemouth and Poole area to have been recognised as Outstanding by Ofsted. Its ethos is simple: Work Hard. Be Kind.

The Academy expects high standards of everyone in its community – students, teachers and support staff. This is because the team at Magna is passionate about providing an education that gives every single student the best possible start in life.

Magna doesn’t make this claim lightly. It operates an ‘open door’ policy for prospective parents under its ‘Academy in Action’ Tours programme, because it knows that seeing is often the quickest route to believing.

If you would like to see the Academy for yourself during a typical academic day, the team would love to give you a guided tour, which lasts for about an hour. To make a booking, all you need to do is give the Reception team a call on 01202 604222 or visit the website at:

The Academy is also staging Open Evenings on the following dates:
Thursday, 12 July
Wednesday, 19 September

Doors open on 12 July at 5:45pm and the Principal’s presentations take place at 6:15pm and 7:15pm.

If you would like to know more about cognitive testing for the Year 7 intake, visit the website at:


Avonbourne College

Avonbourne is an 11-19 college with a well-earned reputation for a secure, caring but well-disciplined environment. It is dedicated to developing independent global citizens of tomorrow who are compassionate, aspirational and courageous in outlook and approach, ready for the challenges of a modern, interconnected world.

Avonbourne College continues to go from strength to strength with its new mixed Primary School, Avonwood. The students demonstrate that the values taught at home and school ensure happy, confident and bright young people, capable of making a difference to the world in which they live.

Ofsted (2017) stated the following strengths; that the behaviour of pupils is good and provides a calm and purposeful climate for learning to take place, the care and attention paid to the emotional well-being of pupils are a considerable strength and that there is a wealth of activities in which pupils can participate. Pupils thrive on this and have achieved strong outcomes as a result.

For more details go to


Harewood College

Harewood College is an 11-19 college where the pursuit of excellence is paramount. The unique community atmosphere is embodied with the Olympic and Paralympic Values of respect, excellence, friendship, courage, determination, inspiration and equality.

The College is dedicated to developing young men with active and creative minds, who retain a sense of compassion and respect for others whilst having the confidence and ambition to succeed as moral citizens and global workers. In the latest Ofsted report the college received praise for teaching, behaviour and leadership. “All groups of students achieve well” is the conclusion they reached, stating that “Teachers plan work that stretches students.”

The mixed sixth form with neighbouring Avonbourne College provides a vibrant and dynamic environment dedicated to supporting young people in order to maximise their full potential. Through fostering self-belief, developing mind and character, students are prepared to positively contribute to an increasingly challenging and exciting world.

To find out more go to


The Bourne Academy

The Bourne Academy has maintained its ‘GOOD’ grade following the latest short Ofsted Inspection. Mark Avoth, Principal, commented ‘We were delighted with the content of the report which contained many tremendous compliments and some excellent feedback to help us progress even further’.

Ofsted commented: Senior leaders lead the school with integrity and purpose. Staff at the school work hard to promote tolerance and respect. Furthermore, leaders and staff take seriously their responsibility to develop qualities such as ambition and resilience in pupils.’

‘Staff proudly champion ‘ASPIRE’ through all aspects of work. ‘ASPIRE’ stands for Ambitious, Self-confident, Physically literate, Independent, Resilient and Emotionally literate.

It was also noted that the Academy is held in high regard by parents and local employers.’

Moving on to the Academy’s relatively new Sixth Form, the report noted that Students in the sixth form are progressing well… Students receive high-quality information, advice and guidance in order to make informed, appropriate decisions about their next steps.’

Independently, The Bourne Academy has also been recognised for its excellent work in careers and is now one of the top three performing schools in the UK for the Gatsby Good Career Guidance, the gold standard of careers guidance measurement.

For more details see







Keep up to date

Receive the latest news, events, offers, competitions and so much more!

Message here

Advertise with us

Over 18 million copies of Primary Times magazines are distributed every year through primary schools in 59 regions across the UK and Ireland.