Dorset Schools Open Days Directory

As Year 6 pupils begin their final year at primary school, they may be feeling a mixture of emotions. Many of the children will gain a welcome boost in confidence by becoming the eldest in the school, yet, they also know that they will be moving on, so there’s a sense of excitement, or sometimes anxiety, about the next step to secondary school.

Any unanswered questions or apprehension will be addressed early in the school year, as many of the secondary schools hold their Open Days or events in September and October.

These ‘Open’ events give prospective pupils and their parents a taster of secondary life. They will meet current teachers and representative students, be able to tour the facilities, look at the work displayed on the classroom walls and gain ‘a feel’ of the school.

Aside from attending the Open Days, there is other legwork you can do to help you and your child make the right decision.

Go to to find the Progress 8 scores - this score shows how much progress pupils at a school make between the end of key stage 2 and the end of key stage 4. On the website you’ll also find league tables, statistics and the Ofsted rating for individual schools. To find an Ofsted inspection report about an individual school visit


Catchment Areas

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 in Dorset

Designated areas, or catchment areas, have been pre-determined by Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council:


Applying to a School out of Catchment Area

You’ll be asked to list up to 3 state schools in order of preference on your application form. Whether a place is offered will depend on the school’s admission process and if places are available. For most schools in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole there is an admissions priority for children who live in the school’s catchment area.


The Application Process

Submit your application for a primary or secondary school place online. An email receipt will confirm that the application has been received. 


Dorset Council Applications:

Reception, Junior or Middle School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2019 to 15 January 2020.

Secondary School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2019 to 31 October 2019.

Dorset Contacts:


Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole Council (Bournemouth and Christchurch schools) Applications:

Primary, Infant and Junior School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2019 to 15 January 2020.

Secondary School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2019 to 31 October 2019.

Bournemouth and Christchurch Contacts:


Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole Council (Poole schools) Applications:

Reception, First, Junior and Middle School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2019 to 15 January 2020.

Secondary School Applications:

The online system will be available from 1 September 2019 to 31 October 2019.

Poole Contacts:


Allocation Days

The dates when school places are officially confirmed are:

Monday 2 March 2020 – Secondary Schools

Thursday 16 April 2020 – 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.

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

All students are instilled with a sense 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 the unique Christian ethos.

The Bishop of Winchester Academy has an Open Evening on Tuesday 17th September, 5pm-7.30pm, where families will be able to see the school at work.

Parent Tours, led by members of the Academy Leadership Team, are also available during school hours for those who wish to see how the school works on a day-to-day basis.

For details call 01202 512697 or see


Canford School

Did you know that Canford School offers means-tested financial assistance worth up to 100% of the fees? There are scholarships available for individual talent, plus at least one fully funded day place each year is available for a gifted Year 9 child. It also offers entry in Year 10 and into the Sixth Form at Year 12. Applications from able children who will contribute strongly to the life of the school are also welcome. Currently, financial assistance is provided for more than 40 pupils per year.

Why not visit the school, and meet the pupils and staff? They would be delighted to see you at the next Open Day on the morning of Saturday 5 October 2019 – book a place online at Alternatively, email the admissions office for more information or see


Dumpton School

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 embedded in all activities throughout the school day. 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, lifelong love of learning will be increasingly important in our ever-changing world. At Dumpton, everyone tries everything, as it is crucial that pupils find things that they are good at, as this gives them the confidence to have a go at each new challenge they face. The wide-ranging academic and co-curricular opportunities ensure that the pupils can aim for both breadth and excellence, whether on the stage, in the classroom, or on the sports field.

Dumpton is a happy school with purposeful pupils and committed staff. This is a powerful combination which lies at the heart of the ‘special atmosphere’ often referred to by first-time visitors. The beautiful location and excellent facilities play their part, but it is the quality of relationships throughout the school that creates such an enriching and fulfilling environment.

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 4 October at 9.30am – call 01202 883818 or register online at In addition, individual visits can be arranged throughout the year.


Glenmoor and Winton Academies

‘Pupils’ academic outcomes and personal development are outstanding. Pupils make very strong progress from their starting points. This has been the case for the past three years’. Ofsted December 2018.

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 2018.

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”. Ofsted inspections have judged both Glenmoor and Winton Academies Outstanding in all categories.

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 five 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.


Poole High School

At Poole High School, you will see a vibrant and thriving community, committed to the wellbeing and future prospects of the young people that it works for.

It is a large school which alone brings enormous benefits for its learning community, but it also prides itself upon the positive ethos and warmth of relationships in which young people flourish. It has a very successful pastoral system which reflects the value placed upon each individual, sustaining its reputation as a ‘big school with a small school atmosphere’.

Students’ pride in sporting the Poole High colours does not merely stem from being so heavily oversubscribed; rather, the high quality learning experience that typifies each child’s day in Poole High School.

In choosing Poole High School, parents know that its track record for reaching the best universities is the norm. The formula is simple: a curriculum that is unparalleled – both class-based and through an enviable array of enrichment; uncompromising adherence to behavioural expectations; relationships which nurture respect for self and others.

Parents who visit the school see first-hand that challenging lessons are not the exclusive preserve of the expressly academic classes. It only employs subject specialists of the highest standard, but they are also professionals whose love of their subject and infectious enthusiasm engages everyone. Throughout the school, students are caring and happy, but also secure in the knowledge that the daily challenge to achieve their best will result in the brightest of futures.

For further information see or call 01202 666988


St Aldhelm’s Academy

Exceptional teaching, a broad and balanced curriculum, inclusive, modern facilities and a very welcoming environment are all words that have been used to describe St Aldhelm’s Academy as it is in 2019.

The mantra, ‘High Expectations lead to High Achievers’ permeates throughout all that the academy does.

St Aldhelm’s Academy is passionate about delivering everything that is important to parents choosing the right education for their child. Its results over the last three years reflect this, with the most recent published outcomes for Year 11 placing it in the top 20% of the country for its progress 8 score and second locally out of all the other secondary schools.

In March 2016, the OFSTED inspection rated it as a ‘Good’ school and recognised that the academy had been ‘transformed’.

Visitors to the site are amazed, delighted and keen to enrol their children at the academy, evident in the near doubling in size of student numbers over three years.

To fully appreciate the changes that have been achieved at St Aldhelm’s Academy, do go along to the Open Evening on Thursday 26 September from 5.30pm and experience it for yourself!

For details call 01202 732500 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.

As a small school, one of their strengths is that they know their students well and are able to help them succeed on a personal level. Young people leaving this school will be confident individuals with the necessary ‘life’ skills for further success at university, college or in employment.

The school believes in educating students academically, emotionally, socially and spiritually in order to support and challenge them to achieve their best.

The school will be open for prospective parents during the week commencing Monday 23 September during the daytime so you can view the school in action. The students and staff will be delighted to show you around and answer any of your questions. If you would like to visit during the school day during this week, contact the school office for an appointment

The school’s Open Evening this year is on Thursday 26 September starting at 6.30pm.

For further information see or call 01258 472642


Talbot Heath School

Talbot Heath School, Bournemouth’s award-winning independent school for girls aged 3-18, is realising its dream of offering a ground-breaking new curriculum within state of the art facilities. Its nationally acclaimed, future-focused vision for education will become a reality with the opening of its STEAM Hub building in September. Three thousand square metres of the school’s campus have been transformed into a fabulous new facility that encompasses a 600 seater auditorium, immersive interactive learning spaces, holograms, projection windows, art, textiles, drama, graphic design, robotics and electronics studios, as well as an indoor pool and café facility.

Pupils from the age of three will receive an education that encompasses design thinking, material science, sustainability, coding, robotics, virtual reality, ethics, AI, computer animation and film editing. In addition, they will be taught the importance of an interdisciplinary approach by studying topics from all angles. The Gunpowder Plot will involve a Chemistry lesson in which gunpowder is made in front of their eyes, followed by History, English, Politics and Ethics lessons, during which pupils will consider all aspects of the theme.

Junior pupils studying WW2 will create floating pontoons in the school pool and face some of the challenges that the D-Day landing planners encountered. Pupils will lay steam tracks across the playground and build their own steam engines while considering the impact of the industrial revolution.

Talbot Heath will work with partners in Higher Education such as BU, AUB, Southampton University and UCL, as well as overseas partners such as MIT and Stanford Design School, to provide educational modules and units that offer all its pupils breadth and depth of subject knowledge. Business Partners across the area specialising in engineering, technology, sustainable development and the creative arts will support the delivery of the interdisciplinary curriculum for all.

The young women who benefit from such a radical, forward-thinking education will view the future as an exciting challenge to be embraced, not feared and will leave Talbot Heath with the knowledge, skill set and attitude of mind necessary to change society for the better. They will ‘think big’ and be determined to realise their dreams.

For more, see or call the Junior School on 01202 763360 or the Senior School on 01202 761881


The Bourne Academy

The Bourne Academy’s ethos is of mutual respect, courtesy, cooperation, resilience and hard work; it particularly encourages high standards of personal presentation and behaviour. It believes that all students should be empowered to achieve and aspire to the highest level, be treated with respect, treat others with respect and enjoy the Academy.

Its specialisms of Engineering and Design and English help to encourage creativity across all aspects of learning. The quality of learning and teaching is at the centre its success and The Bourne Academy’s talented and committed staff will support and work with your child so that they go out into the world as a self-confident thinking person, able to communicate and empathise with others, looking for opportunities to be successful and eager to carry on learning for the rest of their lives.

‘Staff rightly, and proudly, champion ‘ASPIRE’, which sets out the school’s vision for pupils and threads through different aspects of its work. ‘ASPIRE’ stands for Ambitious, Self-confident, Physically literate, Independent, Resilient and Emotionally literate’. Ofsted Feb 2018

The school engages well with parents, carers and the local community. As a result, and with good reason, the school is held in high regard by parents and local employers. Ofsted Feb 2018

See or call 01202 528554


Keep up to date

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

Message here