Headmaster’s welcome

Ballard School is bursting with life and vitality and I hope you get a sense of this from our website! Better still, come and visit us on our superb 32 acre site on the edge of the New Forest National Park, meet the pupils, talk with our staff and view the facilities on offer in our ‘through’ school from Nursery to GCSE. With children from the Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch, Ringwood, New Milton, Highcliffe, Lymington and west of Southampton area, we are a family school with a rich history and heritage.  Whilst we hold to traditional, Christian, values we are also forward thinking and career minded through equipping our young people to take an active and positive part in the community we serve.

Ballard is a holistic school offering an all-round education leading to superb academic qualifications (do check out our GCSE results, Speech and Drama qualifications and Music grades). We look after children aged two (Nursery) to sixteen (GCSE level). The School is run in four departments (Early Years and Pre-Prep, Lower Prep, Upper Prep and Senior School) allowing children to settle in effectively at any age or stage. If your child is ‘gifted and talented’ we have a challenging programme for them and help all pupils, including those with moderate learning difficulties, to exceed beyond their wildest dreams. More often than not their talents are unlocked and their imaginations ignited beyond the classroom – not least in the Performing and Visual Arts where our status as an Artsmark Gold school testifies to this. For others it’s our ‘outward facing’ emphasis (such as through the European Comenius project or in charitable ventures, trips, outings and overseas’ exchanges) that excites and inspires. Many more find their drive on the sports’ field, through activities or in outdoor activities (such as through our watersports' programme or in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme).

We look forward to your visit to Ballard. Our children delight in showing guests round and answering their questions.  Come and see us!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster since 2009)

Additional note for prospective parents

I have sometimes heard it said that because Ballard is a 'non-selective' school and has some pupils receiving Learning Support that we are 'non-academic.'  This could not be further from the truth!

We admit pupils to Ballard without an entrance exam ‘hurdle’ but we do expect a personal visit from a prospective pupil, a 'taster' day during which we do some informal assessments, copies of recent school reports and a reference from the previous school. We seek to match the child’s potential and needs to what we offer and make a place available accordingly. Once at Ballard, our pupils are stretched and challenged in all directions. Our ethos is a holistic one – to encourage pupils to be fully involved in extra-curricular activities, sport, performing arts and outdoor pursuits and, in so doing, we find they perform way beyond their potential in the classroom and get a better idea of their future career options.

There has been much press comment about GCSE results and the 'league tables.'  For 2017, the talk has been about the overall fall in 'pass grades' (A* to C except for 9 - 4 in English and Maths.  I am delighted to say that Ballard has outperformed natonal averages and this year we have seen significant improvement in our results with an increase of 4% to 89% for the 'gold standard' 5 GCSE passes including English and Maths.  We offer a significant range of GCSE courses.  Above all our pupils are happy, purposeful and successful. Where learning is more of a struggle, we will tailor appropriate strategies to instil confidence in pupils. We are also very keen at Ballard on looking for cross-curricular links and building on the links between subjects. Our careers service offers a number of internal and external opportunities to make links between the classroom and working in industry across a range of different sectors.

We put a lot of effort into effective communication with Parents who are encouraged to contact us if they have any thoughts or concerns.  There are regular opportunities to meet staff, both formally and informally.  Progress reporting is regular and thorough and parents have access to information about attendance, homework, timetable and behaviour that is updated daily.

We normally hold two open mornings per term where you can come and see the school in action, get a tour of the school with our pupils and meet the Headmaster. If you prefer a private visit, this can be arranged through the Headmaster’s PA.