History at Ballard helps our pupils think, order their thoughts and develop critical arguments. Wherever possible, our topics are enhanced by hands-on experiences through trips, acting, role plays and activities.

The study of History is hugely rewarding because things are not always as they appear at first glance. Awkward questions need to be asked, sources of information are examined and questioned. Our pupils are encouraged to form arguments based on interpreting, analysing and evaluating sources; these skills are valuable in many other areas of the curriculum.

History is studied throughout the Key Stages by all pupils and is a popular subject at GCSE. Ballard’s History department uses an array of teaching styles encompassing group work, debate, role play, craft, script and story-telling. The teaching is also enhanced by popular trips, both day and residential.

As a department our aim is to inspire and encourage excitement and curiosity in the pupils. We encourage pupils to work hard and aim high; providing them with a wide-range of subject material and expertise. We aim to provide lively and engaging lessons.

“I think History at Ballard is taught very well, we have interesting class discussions, enjoyable role plays, we write scripts and have interesting topics to learn. The teachers in the History department are lovely and helpful.”


“We like our History lessons because they are very varied. We do plays, games, script work, raps, cooking, bookwork, essay work, text messages, emails, letters, timelines and diary entries.”


“We have really enjoyed our History lessons because they have been made fun and exciting. This is because our teacher knows our interests and has put them into our learning.”


“I believe passionately that the study of History is a life skill. It teaches us to look beneath the surface, to question and to investigate. History also gives me the opportunity to indulge my insatiable curiosity about the human condition; which is a grandiose way of saying that it allows me to be nosey about my fellow humans!

I remain an enthusiastic visitor to any and all sites with a link to the past. I hope to pass this love of the past on to my own pupils as my teacher did to me!”

Tracy Rule, Head of History


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 practised 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!

Lower Prep

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 Villa, an Iron Age Hill Fort and a range of local museums.

Upper Prep

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 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.


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.

Below is a recent history project by two of our Year 9 pupils, who examined why Adolf Hitler, who was such an extreme leader, was able to rise to power and how he was able to remain in power for so long: