The formal merger follows Bryanston’s acquisition of the land and buildings of the Knighton House campus last year, which created a 430-acre campus estate on the edge of Blandford Forum. The merger makes the Bryanston duo the independent school in Dorset with the most number of students.
Knighton House will be renamed Bryanston Knighton House from 1 September 2021.
The schools announced the appointment of a new headmaster to lead Bryanston Knighton House; Will Lockett, a former housemaster at Bryanston, returns to Dorset having left six years ago to take up the headship of Abberley Hall prep school in Worcestershire. He takes over the school just after it celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Julian Greenhill, chair of Bryanston governors, said the “logical and forward-looking step” to merge would “enable both schools to build on their respective strengths and to capitalise fully on shared resources, facilities and expertise”.
Knighton House’s co-chairs of governors, Iain Weatherby and Paul Slight, will assume responsibility while the school transitions. Bryanston governors will eventually assume responsibility for the entire portfolio, with a new governor appointed to the board to represent the prep and pre-prep school.
Bryanston headmaster Mark Mortimer said the merger would “expand the reach and visibility of Bryanston’s operations and profile through innovative partnerships, community engagement and new commercial initiatives”.
Announcing such a positive and exciting development at the end of a year that has been really challenging for everyone in the world of education gives both schools a real boost – Mark Mortimer, Bryanston headmaster
Mortimer said the school would continue to develop and strengthen its “long-standing relationships with other prep schools across the region as part of a supportive and mutually beneficial network of private and state schools”.
“Announcing such a positive and exciting development at the end of a year that has been really challenging for everyone in the world of education gives both schools a real boost,” he added.
Said Lockett: “The merger with Bryanston will accelerate our move to full coeducation and the development of a truly innovative curriculum. The collective resources and expertise within the merged schools will mean an experience for our pupils that is distinctive and modern and a rich environment for real creativity and growth.”