Ballard Life

‘Life’ represents all that we do here at Ballard as a busy and vibrant school. Academically, ‘Life’ includes English, Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages (French, German and Spanish) and Religious Studies. More information on these subjects may be found by clicking on the links below.

Opportunities at Ballard are vast. There is so much that we do which goes beyond the pure academic; including our extensive extra-curricular activity programme which covers in excess of 120 weekly activities (extra-curricular) in addition to trips, visits and workshops.

Our excellent pastoral care (pastoral care) allows our pupils to feel safe and secure. Pupils embrace challenge, demonstrate resilience, and really make the most of Ballard Life.

Ballard believes in developing the whole child, providing them with key life skills, a strong moral compass and respect for others. We promote a spirit of community, reflected in the strength of the Ballard family. Our award-winning Eco-committee pupils set the green agenda for the School; our charitable and community programme (charity and community) is tied into our local and international platforms (local & international). It is this wider outlook that makes Ballard pupils curious global citizens with a passion to be the best they can be.


Life is full of fun, curiosity and learning. Our family ethos alongside the passionate and caring staff give pupils the courage to be independent and try new things, so essential to their development. Whether reading their favourite book or writing their name on the outside chalk board Ballard pupils are keen to learn.

There are many indoor and outdoor opportunities for pupils at Ballard and they thrive on the variety. We have extensive facilities that enable us to offer wonderful educational opportunities. They love exploring the grounds and regularly hunt for insects and flowers. Forest School is particularly popular with even the smallest child getting ‘stuck in’ from creating their own bird feeders containing a tasty seed mix treat for our garden friends to making a den. Our youngest children even cook in our Pre-Prep kitchen.



English is part of everyday life at Ballard Nursery with regular storytelling, a book corner and lots of chatting!

Writing is a little trickier at this age so we help children develop their fine motor skills, which are essential to writing, through a number of fun activities, including threading. For the youngest pupils we use shaving foam on a table top to help them make shapes, which eventually become letters.

Older pupils are more confident and many can write their name with chunky chalk when they are in Kindergarten. We continue to offer them an array of opportunities for letter formation to keep them engaged.



Pre-Prep Life at Ballard is exciting and full of wonder. Our pupils love the variety of work and all the opportunities open to them. Whether it’s completing their diary or rescuing frogspawn, pupils are always keen to give their all. They look forward each week to the Headmaster reading to them and unlocking a world of imagination. In addition to our academic curriculum, we offer a wide variety of after-school activities such as Art Club, gymnastics, multi-sports, horse-riding, rugby tots, to name but a few.

Our spacious site allows pupils to play freely in a secure and safe environment. Ballard pupils climb trees, explore the adventure playground, ride bikes, play on the pirate ship, run on the fields, tennis courts and practise fine motor skills using balls, hoops and skipping ropes.

Families have many opportunities to visit and they regularly attend our assemblies at which we celebrate the children’s achievements and reward them for their work during that week. This recognition is based on our core values: kindness, respect, curiosity, responsibility, safety, honesty and a positive attitude.


In Ballard Pre-Prep we continue to embrace English as a key part of everything we do. We continue to encourage our children to write using an array of equipment and techniques.

We introduce composition by asking them to write down what they did at the weekend and to illustrate it – mimicking the picture books they love to read. We introduce spelling and grammar alongside correct letter formation and, as they develop, more complicated English concepts such as poetry and onomatopoeia.

Pre-Prep have also had a huge focus on reading with much success! At Ballard we believe that reading and sharing stories at home, and developing a love of literature is of real importance.

To help create positive daily reading habits, pupils collected sponsorship for reading every day for a month with some children reading for over 600 hours! Pupils were then asked to design their own reading corner in their classrooms which they created with their teacher before being judged by our School governors!

Ballard Pre-Prep also ran a competition to see who could do the most ‘extreme’ reading in an unusual place. Photos flooded from pupils reading on horseback, to their dog, up a tree, on a trampoline, and even whilst doing gymnastics!

At Ballard we encourage our pupils to input their ideas and this year our pupils chose how they wanted to celebrate World Book Day. This included a book swap, dressing up, book reviews, role play in their favourite book character and a fashion catwalk!

Part of our recent refurbishment was spent on using the pupils’ ideas for our Pre-Prep library. They wanted a bright space with new furniture, cushions, animals and new books. Children have the opportunity to borrow books from the library and often ask to sit and read there.

Our visiting author BB Taylor with her yeti, pets and stories made reading come even more ‘alive’ for our pupils. Parent workshops on spelling and reading have also supported with ideas at home to continue a love for reading.


At Ballard, our Pre-Prep pupils are surrounded by Geography! We are lucky to have a range of ecosystems: the gardens, playing fields, woods (including Forest School), our Victorian Pond and the water meadows, all within the School grounds.

Form tutors take pupils out and about regularly; exploring, investigating, questioning. We visit the nearby beach, too. This variety stokes our pupils’ innate love of nature and we integrate this into our day whenever we can. The success of our Forest School lessons underlines the ability of even the youngest child to get involved and let their curiosity lead them.

Ballard’s cross-curricular approach in Pre-Prep enhances our pupils’ learning with recent rain water measurements helping them understand not only our weather (Geography) but volumes and quantities, too (Mathematics).

In Geography we also study Human Geography. Year 2 recently made a big map of the New Forest National Park and surrounding area showing all the villages and towns. We then worked out where we all lived and put our pictures there. We also study other cultures; most recently India.




In Pre-Prep children love to listen to stories about ‘olden times’. At Ballard we also try to transport them into these times with dressing up and visits to local historical landmarks and museums.

A visit to Manor Farm took the children back in time to the Victorian era and a rather harder life. They experienced sleeping ‘three to a bed’, hand washing clothes and polishing brass. At the School the children had to use pen, ink and chalk for their writing which was rather tricky. The teacher was very scary and strict – not like at Ballard!



Modern Foreign Languages


French is taught from Year 1 on a weekly basis with a trip to the Pre-Prep library to meet Camembear and his owner, Mrs Prout, Ballard’s Head of Languages.

Quite complex vocabulary is taught in fun and engaging ways with pupils naming parts of the body before launching into a rendition of head, shoulders, knees and toes – in French, of course!

Each week our star pupil is allowed to wear the beret at celebration assembly – the children love it!


Religious Studies



RS in Pre-Prep provokes challenging questions about the ultimate meaning and purpose of life, beliefs about God, one’s self and the nature of reality, issues of right and wrong and what it means to be human.

We aim to develop pupils’ knowledge and understanding of Christianity but also other principal religions, religious traditions and world views which offer answers to these important questions.

RS also contributes to our pupils’ personal development and well-being and to community cohesion by promoting mutual respect and tolerance in a diverse society.




Life in Lower Prep is stimulating and engaging with many exciting topics and creative cross-curricular opportunities. Pupils rise to this challenge in many ways such as building a model Stonehenge in History to taking metrological measurements in Geography. We often welcome visitors to Ballard, whether it is a mysterious historical figure, GB Athletes, Alumni, or a well-known author, our pupils have a wide-range of experiences. Ballard pupils continue to extend their knowledge and skills with a bespoke range of trips.

These skills are shared as our Lower Prep pupils become mentors to younger children in Pre-Prep, helping them with such things as their reading or sport. Lower Prep pupils helped create the award-winning Eco-committee; creating and policing a green strategy for Ballard. Recently, a Year 5 group were undertaking one of their weekly apprentice challenges to raise money for charity. They were so polite to local shoppers that when one found out what they were doing, they immediately gave a donation to their cause. This ‘can do attitude’ is what makes a Ballard pupil.


English at Ballard is built around the key disciplines of reading and writing but it is taught in many different ways.

Pupils’ experience of literature is enriched by visits from touring theatre companies and storytellers. This year we saw a performance of Wind in the Willows and some of our pupils got up on stage to perform with the professionals.

World Book Day is celebrated as pupils dress up as their favourite book character. Texts are enjoyed together and pupils are supported in becoming more independent readers through a partnership between home and School.

The Oxford Reading Tree scheme is supplemented by library books (from their dedicated Junior Library), set texts and reading material suggested by teachers, parents and the pupils themselves.

When writing, pupils build on their understanding of grammar and learn spellings weekly. They are nurtured in becoming competent writers in a range of genres. An emphasis on drama, discussion and public speaking results in confident young communicators.


Our pupils discover their world in Lower Prep Geography with a comprehensive study of the local area, the British Isles and beyond. From learning the basics of grid references to map reading and studying aerial photographs, we develop their curiosity and love of learning.

Form tutors have access to specialist geography resources and equipment, which gives our pupils a head start. For example, our Year 3 pupils have used professional instruments to study the weather.

Our cross-curricular approach allows the pupils to immerse themselves in topics. Year 4’s study of India covers a wide-range of topics including; endangered animals, where tea comes from, life in a village in Mumbai, Ghandi and the struggle for freedom. At the end of this topic, we celebrate by immersing ourselves in a special ‘India Day’.

Our hands-on learning encourages creativity and individuality. We recognise that many children learn in different ways so we encourage our pupils to have a go. We give them opportunities to experiment, whether it is creating a ‘live volcano’ or a model earth made from plasticine layers – it gets them thinking.

It was our Lower Prep pupils’ interest in their world which helped create the Eco-Committee. Their aim is to educate the whole School in areas such as energy conservation, recycling, studying air quality, growing vegetables and building a grow room. Forest School is also part of the Lower Prep programme.


In Lower Prep History is taught in topics and with cross-curricular support. We cover a huge range of topics in History from the Classical World to the early Twentieth Century. The children love the variety and creativity involved in Lower Prep History.

Year 5 pupils recently made models of Stonehenge using modelling clay, trying to match the specifications and order of the real stones. This practical experience encouraged questions and debate as they tried to balance their model stones on top of each other.

At Ballard we try to show the pupils rather than tell them and wherever possible we take them to sites of historical interest such as Fishbourne Roman Palace, an Iron Age Hill Fort and a range of local museums.

Modern Foreign Languages



Pupils are introduced to French through stories, rhymes, songs, games, crafts and role plays.

Again, emphasis is placed on enjoying the language learning process, whilst still providing the solid grounding which pupils require as they get older.




Religious Studies



Although this subject is taught predominantly from a Christian perspective, using the Bible as a major source and reference, other faiths including Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam are introduced.

Examining other religions and unfolding various moral and philosophical issues fosters religious tolerance, curiosity, imagination and creativity.




Upper Prep pupils have a fantastic array of opportunities. Leadership qualities and confidence are built upon with our pupils achieving remarkable results in their English Speaking Board examinations. Whether it is dramatising gothic horror in the School basement or asking a sensitive question of a Holocaust survivor, our pupils are provided with the skills to live Ballard Life to the full.

Prefects develop teamwork skills and confidence with specific training sessions and a team building trip to Altitude in Bournemouth. Ballard pupils have the opportunity to enter a challenging Dragons’ Den competition taking on the role of young entrepreneurs with relish. An array of trips stimulates our pupils’ minds: Harry Potter World, Normandy, Bude, Warwick and Stratford to name just a few. Combined with all the extra-curricular opportunities there is plenty to keep them busy.


In these crucial years, Ballard’s English department focuses on continuity and progress, creativity and enjoyment, whilst introducing the skills needed for IGCSE. Drama activities and trips are integrated into the curriculum.

Reading for pleasure is encouraged through allocated reading time and participation in Read for My School and World Book Day.

Pupils participate in ESB (English Speaking Board) exams to gain confidence in public speaking, achieving incredible results. Topics are wide-ranging and classrooms could be laden with scuba diving kit, models and much loved pets. An unprecedented number of Distinctions were awarded and Ballard was again complimented on the excellent preparation of the pupils and the imaginative presentations delivered.

Year 6 completed a delicious cross-curricular project combining DT, Food Tech and English as they created their own chocolate, designed the packaging and advertised the finished product. Chocolate definitely has a way of bringing departments together!

Our Year 7 have had a very creative year as they discovered more about their literary heritage. The year started with an introduction to Gothic Horror and offered huge potential for language development and they had a fantastic visit to Harry Potter World to complement the genre perfectly.

A recent project on Shakespeare produced an incredibly high standard of work and creative ideas; pupils baked for Shakespeare, dressed in period costume, made board games and models of The Globe Theatre as well as researching biographical and contextual detail.

Pupils loved the Canterbury Tales and embraced the art of storytelling with real enthusiasm, culminating in stories told round the camp fire in Ballard’s woods.

It is usual for Year 8 to enter the BBC 500 Words competition honing their precision of language skills and meeting the strict word limit. They also take part in our very own Dragons’ Den and their professional approach to product development and creative marketing is outstanding.



Hands-on Geography continues with Year 6 studying weather and climate, including micro-climates and climate change. A trip to ‘The Living Rainforest’ allows pupils to gain first-hand experience of the humidity, flora and fauna of a micro-climate.

Whilst studying Africa we look at human as well as physical Geography. We make footballs out of plastic bags, as many African children do, and test them at break time. This is held on ‘World Plastic Bag Free Day’, one of our links to the Eco-Ambassadors club at School.

A field trip to collect land-use data in New Milton helps Year 7 in their settlement studies. For our river topic, we undertake data collection in a local river.




Years 6 – 8 study History from the Norman Conquest to the Hanoverians. By the time they are ready to move to the Senior School they will have a good understanding of key events in this period.

Different learning styles are explored and they will begin to learn to analyse sources and how to write both narrative and analytical essays. Again creativity is encouraged and pupils’ input is rewarded.

We also go on a variety of History trips which have included Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Corfe Castle. Our Year 8 Trips’ Week has a historical focus and recent trips have included Stratford, Warwick Castle and Bath.


Modern Foreign Languages



Pupils continue to progress as confident language learners and are able to put their language skills to the test during a 4-day visit to Normandy at the end of Year 6.

In Year 7, having experienced taster sessions in German and Spanish, pupils begin to learn a second foreign language of their choice, alongside French.



Religious Studies



A closer examination of other world faiths becomes a key part of the RS syllabus. The philosophy of religion and a wider understanding of the nature of God are explored.

Healthy debates and group discussions are key to learning. At this stage, the questions the pupils ask are often more important than the answers they produce.

Again, the pupils’ curiosity, imagination, creativity and tolerance towards others are key principles.




Academic Life comes to the fore in the Senior School, with GCSE exams and decisions on next steps. Year 9 Challenge Week helps our pupils focus on Life beyond Ballard, building on the life skills Ballard instils from an early age. Whether it is leading others or using team work to problem solve, Ballard pupils rise to the challenge.

Rotary interviews and Morrisby testing in Year 10 also lay foundations for the future and a rigorous election system helps select the new Head Boy, Head Girl and the Deputies. Prefects and House Captains take their duties seriously and many pupils become mentors and role models for those lower down the School.

There is a real sense of comradery at Ballard and those who join us in Year 10 quickly feel part of our family. With a huge range of opportunities open to all including the Duke of Edinburgh awards, pupils enjoy Ballard Life to the full. Our trips programme adds to this enjoyment with New York and Kenya being particularly popular. Other highlights include The Sports Ball and Leavers’ Prom.

Business Studies

At Ballard we study the Cambridge IGCSE which is internationally recognised by schools, universities and employers. Thousands of students use Cambridge qualifications to gain places at universities around the world. IGCSE Business provides proof of an understanding of business concepts and the techniques across a range of different types of businesses.

Our pupils learn to understand different forms of business organisations, the environments in which they operate and business functions such as marketing, operations and finance. They also analyse and appreciate the role of people in the success of any business.

At Ballard we aim to give our pupils lifelong skills when they take Business Studies. These include: the ability to calculate and interpret data; communication skills needed to support arguments with reasons; the ability to analyse business situations and reach decisions and judgements.

In Year 10 our pupils undertake a Dragons’ Den challenge, creating a brand new product or adapting an existing one to sell to their selected audiences. They look at everything from finances to marketing before finally presenting back to the dragons and their peers. This year the ideas ranged from a specialised shock absorber for skateboards to a travel App which “does it all”!


In the Senior School at Ballard all pupils study English Language and Literature and every opportunity is taken to enhance pupils’ learning with visiting speakers and theatre visits.

Excellent exam results are a result of the hard work expected of pupils in conjunction with the support of well-qualified, experienced, specialist teachers.

Pupils are encouraged to be independent learners through a variety of activities including our Year 9 Ballard Challenge Week, where they have to research and present their project to external judges. They also have the opportunity to visit the Battlefields on a cross-curricular trip which offers real insight in to the conflict poetry they will be studying at GCSE.

We have run our own Carnegie reading challenge and decided which of the national finalists we thought should win; interestingly our results didn’t match but it created great debate and discussion and for some it renewed an enthusiasm for reading and introduced new genres and authors.

Year 10 made a trip to the Imperial War Museum to complement their study of conflict poetry and produced some very strong creative writing course work as a result. They have worked hard on the new syllabus and we are delighted that the whole year group have either met or exceeded their rigorous target grades.


Geography is a valued GCSE subject at Ballard and the most popular option subject. Year 9 are prepared for the GCSE course with the study of coastal geomorphology, population and climate change. Again we use practical observation and activities wherever possible; showing rather than telling.

We study the effects of local rapid cliff erosion at nearby Barton-on-Sea. A coasteering trip to the Isle of Purbeck involves pupils clambering across wave-cut platforms, jumping from sea stacks and swimming through wave-cut caves. This helps to recall the processes that made each feature.

We study AQA’s Geography syllabus, which consists of physical and human Geography and geographical applications (fieldwork, map skills, and statistics). Again, we try to make the geography as kinaesthetic as possible; we use ball games to help our pupils remember the processes of erosion and transportation in rivers and the use of stop-frame animation and plasticine to explain how physical features change over time.

Many of our pupils go on to study Geography at A Level and university. Geography has been found to be an employable subject with graduates due to the wide-ranging skills learnt.

We are very proud of our GCSE results in the department with 97% of pupils achieving a Level 4 and above in 2018 and 48% of pupils achieving Level 7-9 (A to A*).



Year 9 work is designed to lead directly to the GCSE History course. We look at the story of the UK from the Industrial Revolution through World War 1, Liberal Reforms, Women’s Suffrage and the Home Front.

Visits may include the trenches and Bovington Tank Museum and we also invite a range of visitors into Ballard to tell their stories. Pupils are encouraged to do their own research, especially when the course covers topics within living memory.

For those doing the GCSE, we follow OCR’s Modern World Course. This allows pupils to study four themes from Twentieth Century History, typically two British and two International themes.


Modern Foreign Languages



In Year 9 pupils are prepared thoroughly for the challenges of studying a Modern Foreign Language at GCSE.

Although language learning is optional beyond Year 9, our high uptake and impressive exam results are testament to the quality of teaching and learning taking place within the department. To complement the curriculum, the School runs exchanges to France, Germany and Spain, giving pupils the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and culture of the language they are studying.



Religious Studies



The syllabus studied in the Senior School is much more philosophical in its nature. Theories evolving around theism, atheism and new atheism are all fully explored. Furthermore, many of the social and ethical issues are examined from various religious perspectives.

Intellectual curiosity is encouraged and supported by events such as Christian Focus Week, as well as our weekly Christian Union meetings in the Lower, Upper and Senior parts of the School.