Ballard is a local school with an International outlook. We are very involved with our local community but we have also been recognised for our International approach to education by the British Council – winning a coveted International School Award and becoming part of their Erasmus + programme.
We are constantly building relationships with overseas schools and have an Italian partner school who we are working with on Erasmus as well as those in Spain and France where we run our popular exchange programmes.
As well as exchange students we welcome trainee teachers from Zurich University who spend time at Ballard as part of their training. Visiting students from China were really engaged with our pupils this year teaching our Year 5 pupils the art of origami and how to write their name using traditional Chinese characters. We also welcome students who have English as a second language (EAL) including Dutch, Croatian and Spanish pupils. Our twins from Argentina, Maria and Lucas, who arrived exactly one year ago speaking very little English, are now fluent and achieving great results in all their lessons.
Each day we raise a different flag drawing our pupils’ attention to the country in question with fun facts posted on the notice board. A fun game of ‘where are we’ had our Year 6 children skyping a school in Turkey asking questions whilst each School tried to work out where they were!
We have amazing International travel opportunities for our pupils: from skiing in the alps (both junior and senior) to Broadway workshops; from historical battlefield visits to studying Art in Venice; from helping local communities in Kenya to singing in Montserrat Abbey.
Here are a just a couple of the highlights
Every other year, as part of a Camps International Expedition Year 11 pupils get the opportunity with their intrepid teachers to visit Kenya following two years of intensive fundraising to help improve the locals’ living and learning conditions.
During last year’s visit our students dewormed goats, built a new classroom for a local secondary school and worked on elephant deterrents to help protect the farmers’ crops from the devastation of migrating elephants.
They also spent four days building and decorating a house for a family of ten. An empty shell, the pupils decided to use the rest of the funds and some of their own money to make it a home, buying mattresses and bedding, clothing, shoes, pans, paraffin lamps, and food.
33 students and Alumni travelled to Spain to perform in three spectacular venues: Monserrat Abbey, where the Chamber Choir performed a programme of sacred A cappella music to a packed audience; Vilassar Del Mar – a Show Band gig which wowed the locals, drawing crowds of hundreds from the surrounding bars and restaurants to listen and dance; Barcelona Cathedral – an hour of Classical Music enjoyed by visitors and locals in this magnificent church. We were also supported by a loyal band of friends and family.