Virtual Open Day

Welcome to our Virtual Open Day. Ballard is an exceptional School which places our pupils at the centre of everything we do. As a family school, who believes in bespoke education, our ethos is ‘to provide a supportive and caring environment for learning and excellent teaching, designed to ensure all pupils achieve their academic best’.

Please watch our welcome video from Mr Andrew McCleave, our Headmaster, to start your ‘tour’, followed by our whole-school video and those showcasing our strengths in STEM, the arts, sport and academic life. You may also view videos from our school sections; Pre-Prep, Lower Prep, Upper Prep and Senior School. You may find out more about these areas and our fantastic facilities by visiting our interactive map. We also have a Frequently Asked Questions section.

For any other enquiries and to register your child or children, please contact Laura Legg our Registrar.

Open Mornings:

We are delighted to be able to welcome back prospective parents and pupils to visit our School on our Open Mornings. Please visit our Open Morning page for dates and to register your interest.

Life Magazine

To get a flavour of what life at Ballard is like, please read our latest life magazine here.

Whole School Video

Headmaster's Video






Lower Prep

Upper Prep


Interactive Map

Main House & Reception

Our Main House dates to the early 1900s and is a wonderful welcome to Ballard School. Our Main Reception and School Office are situated on the ground floor. Our Chapel, Heritage Room and well-stocked Junior Library are also located on the ground floor; classrooms, the Headmaster’s office, Bursar’s office and Deputy Head Pastoral’s office are on the second floor; leading to further classrooms, including Business Studies, our MFL hub and our Senior DEL on the second floor.

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Nursery & Kindergarten

Rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED (ISI), our Nursery & Kindergarten pupils have the very best start to their educational journey. With its own dedicated entrance, pupils are allowed the freedom and space to explore and enjoy, both inside and out. There is access to the beautiful Bluebell Woods, vegetable patches and an exciting adventure playground, enabling pupils to learn and experience at every step. The classrooms are fully equipped with an abundant array of activities ranging from: our sensory wall to our 75″ Promethean interactive screens; traditional wooden toys to iPads; structured learning to free play, all encouraging positive learning. With PE and dance lessons taught by our specialist teachers and Forest School and Beach School for our Kindergarten pupils, they get the chance to experience all that Ballard offers.

Ballard believes in a bespoke, holistic approach to education that starts in our Nursery. Here is one of our pupils, Emily’s story, told by her Mummy:

“Our friends recommended Ballard and we were inspired by the pupil-focussed education they offered: the needs of the child are considered in such an interactive and ever-evolving way, it really does challenge and nurture our daughter.
We appreciate the opportunities that she has had already to try out different activities. Emily loves her Dance class in the Dance studio, testing her balance at home and putting on her own dance shows! ‘Show and tell’ has given Emily the chance to gain confidence with public speaking and she loves the huge interactive screens; practising her letters, drawing and creating. She also loves taking pictures with the cameras and going for wonderful nature walks, meeting the chickens, looking at the beehives, exploring the water garden and getting involved in the garden. Emily also loves any chance that she gets to see the school dog!

It was identified early on that Emily would benefit from spending some time in Kindergarten as well as Nursery. She enjoyed the extra challenge and meeting new friends, which extended her vocabulary and love of learning. Emily enjoyed working with Mrs Spicer as well as the teaching assistants, who are so nurturing and enthusiastic. She particularly enjoys eating lunch with her teachers and peers in the Dining Room. Emily always tells us what she ate and usually says, “lunch was delicious!”
We are always surprised when older children know her name and engage in conversation with her. One of the reasons that we chose Ballard was because the children look genuinely happy. When we collect her 5.00pm, many children are still in School making the most of every opportunity available. It is so refreshing to hear them laughing and developing relationships with their teachers who guide them in a gentle but ambitious way.

We absolutely love Ballard and we registered Emily for Reception as soon as the email came out!”

For more on our Nursery & Kindergarten please click here.

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“Our experienced staff understand the needs of younger children and know how to support each individual to blossom during their first years in education.” – Mrs Jane Hunt (Head of Pre-Prep)

Everything is perfectly formed for our Reception to Year 2 pupils: from the food technology suite and library to the bespoke learning zones. From carpeted quiet areas with beanbags to inviting classrooms with resources aplenty, it sets the pupils up for a great day of learning.

Outside, our Pre-Prep pupils take full advantage of their self-contained playgrounds, Forest School, and in the summer, Beach School, with lots of outside learning, too.

Our nurturing environment fosters independence, supports resilience, encourages motivation and develops concentration skills – all leading to effective learning. The high ratio of staff to pupils allows us to support each individual, as they flourish and grow. The setting also encourages learning through play and activities – both teacher-led and pupil-led. Playing and exploring inspires engagement and independent thinking.

Specialist teachers support our Pre-Prep staff in PE, Dance, Forest and Beach School, Music and, from Year 1, French. Pupils in Pre-Prep can also participate in peripatetic speech and drama and music lessons, too. No wonder we are continuously rated ‘outstanding’ by OFSTED (ISI). For more information on Pre-Prep click here.

My Pre-Prep top 3 from Connor.

Connor has been at Ballard from Nursery through to GCSE’s. Connor also has a younger brother in Pre-Prep.

  • Family atmosphere created between pupils and caring staff; a fun and safe environment to learn and be nurtured
  • Opportunities – sports and performing arts; iPads and computers; outdoor learning; the library; forest school; and wooden play structures
  • Interaction with older children through after school clubs and mentoring

For more on our Pre-Prep please click here.

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Lower Prep

“Inspiring children to find their inner genius and inner confidence” – Mr Paul Farley (Head of Lower Prep)

Our Lower Prep pupils (Years 3-5) revel in the best of life. With a unique, friendly and fun-loving environment, the resources and teachers promote development, confidence, personal responsibility, self-belief and exploration for each pupil. By treating our pupils as individuals, not just a number, each child can fulfil their potential. For example, we offer workshops throughout the year for our most able.

By stepping away from SATS we can focus on developing pupils’ critical thinking skills and high academic standards. Our Life Skills programme builds on this approach with both practical and soft skills. Our seven-year-olds learn to use a screwdriver and a dishwasher; make pitta pizzas and rainbow salad pots, amongst other practical lessons. We develop their emotional intelligence, for example, they learn the difference between wants and needs and how to overcome a disagreement. Pupils learn the importance of supporting charities; planning and working together to fundraise. Animal husbandry, with the Ballard chickens, and outdoor learning. They also learn to work alongside nature in Forest School and our Lower Prep pupils helped create our Eco-committee, developing and policing Ballard’s green strategy. Thanks to their hard work Ballard is a Green Flag Eco School, and we are working towards becoming carbon neutral.  These elements are not only good for our pupils’ skills but also their souls.

Throughout Lower Prep, pupils develop their ICT skills; in Year 4 pupils learn Spanish, alongside French (which they learn from Year 1); Year 5 develop their entrepreneurial skills, undertaking weekly apprentice challenges. Unlike many schools, our pupils also have access to subject specialist teachers, facilities and equipment in the Art (including ceramics),Dance, Drama, DT, Forest School, French, ICT, Music, PSHE, Science, Spanish and Sport.

Our Artsmark Gold arts department has a Performing Arts Centre, dance studio, art studios and music building, complete with iMac suite so opportunities are abundant. As well as Art, Dance and Music, we offer ‘Expressive Arts,’ helping pupils prepare for Lower Prep productions e.g., Mary Poppins and, most recently, The Jungle Book.

Flexible streaming allows sport for all, and ability-related lessons are modified as pupils improve. Team success is backed up by individual achievements. One girl who could not swim when she joined Ballard (Year 3) took part in the Ballard triathlon a year later, to the astonishment of her parents. This ‘can do’ attitude is what makes a Ballard pupil.

Passionate staff encourage a life-long love of learning through topic-led, cross-curricular lessons. Highlights include our WOW days where pupils fully immerse themselves in their topic, living as they did in Ancient Greece, or as they do in India. Team building days not only encourage friendships and make memories but help critical thinking. Pupils have regular day trips to help inspire them. Year 3 & 4 pupils have a fun packed Trips Week whilst Year 5 have their first residential trip to the Isle of Wight.

The Junior Library is stocked with fact and fiction books allowing young imaginations to flow. Our Accelerated Reader programme underlines literacy skills along with a love of reading – we embrace World Book Day. Pupils also benefit from a dedicated science room where they are encouraged to experiment.


We also offer our new scholarship programme in Year 3, click here for details. The opportunities are endless and our pupils’ enthusiasm boundless in our ‘excellent’ (ISI) School.

My Lower Prep top 3 from Amy

Amy has been at Ballard from Lower Prep through to GCSEs.

  • Fun and excitement: World Book Day, WOW days, the Apprentice Challenge and lots of visitors, including GB athletes.
  • The huge variety of opportunities available to all including access to fantastic facilities and equipment; lots of outdoor learning, Forest School, my first sports matches, expressive arts, and fantastic Lower Prep productions.
  • Success with lots of rewards and achievements – raising money for charities, gaining responsibilities: class monitor, eco, sports academy, school council as well as being a mentor for younger pupils – creating relationships up and down the School.

For more on our Lower Prep, please click here.

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Upper Prep

“Combining character education with academic rigour and a huge array of opportunities, Upper Prep at Ballard encourages pupils to embrace their individuality and be the best they can be.” Mr Matthew Harris (Head of Upper Prep)

Our Upper Prep pupils (Years 6-8) get all the benefits of a Prep School and so much more. There are plenty of leadership opportunities: prefects in Year 8; rugby, netball, hockey and football captains; leading roles in tailored productions; mentoring – helping younger children to flourish as they would in any Prep School; but there is more. Our Upper Prep pupils have access to all our GCSE equipment, facilities and teachers, providing them with an exceptional GCSE foundation. As they move up into Year 9 they are already well-known both pastorally and academically, as young people and as learners so we are able to support and stretch them from day one.

Pupils are encouraged to take part in all the opportunities on offer in Upper Prep and they have key roles in our Eco Committee and School Council. As in Lower Prep, each pupil has a chance to play in a sports team and to take part in our wide array of ensembles, performances and productions. Recent productions have included Matilda (Years 6-11) and Peter Pan (Years 6-8). This year we are excited to announce that our Year 6 will be   , Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the musical, Aladdin. We also offer several trips, including one to Normandy in Year 6, where they order all their food in French; and our sports tour to Jersey for those selected in Years 7 & 8.

Scholarships are offered into Year 7 across several subjects and more details can be found here reflecting our all-round opportunities. More information may be found here

My Upper Prep top 3 from Cameron

Cameron has been at Ballard from Lower Prep through to GCSEs.

  • All the trips, especially France and Jersey.
  • The responsibilities of being a junior prefect and house captain.
  • Helping to look after and mentor the pupils in Lower Prep.

For more on our Upper Prep please click here.

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Senior School

“A world of opportunities.” – Angela Guillen, Head of Senior School

Our Senior pupils (Years 9-11) have a plethora of opportunities and support as they work towards their GCSEs within their own mini campus alongside our inspiring teachers. A carefully planned enrichment programme offers the chance for pupils to learn life skills as well as see or hear their subjects in action – getting up close to coastal erosion in Geography; attending an artist workshop; or practising their languages in France, Germany or Spain.

For those with a passion for STEM our Senior building houses our Senior Science, ICT and Food Technology suites. Interactive, hands on and experimental it’s the perfect environment for our older pupils to push their boundaries and really excel. Modern and fully equipped, it allows the pupils the freedom to learn in a safe and controlled area.

Career skills are honed, too, with debates, personal statements, and Morrisby testing, to name a few. More life skills are gained during our Year 9 Challenge Week, participation in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, sports elite, prefects, School Council, Eco Committee and mentoring younger pupils.

Our outstanding pastoral team and PSHE provision brings out the best in our pupils. We encourage them to be community minded and many of them raise funds for worthy causes. During lockdown many helped and entertained neighbours, wrote to local care homes and raised funds for the NHS. Many raise funds for our biennial trip to Kenya where they spend a month working alongside locals helping their community.

Scholarships are offered into Year 9 across several subjects reflecting our all-round opportunities. More information may be found here.

My Senior School top 3 from Millie

Millie starred as Belle in our whole-school musical – Beauty & the Beast, as well as Kathy in Singin’ in the Rain.

  • More opportunities open up to you, I particularly loved all the performing arts opportunities – Tuscany; dancing in a Time for Everything; performing at the Royal Albert Hall, and in the productions at School: musicals – Happy Days, Beauty & the Beast, and Singin’ in the Rain.
  • All the responsibilities you can take on – house captain, sports elite, prefect, head prefect.
  • Interacting with younger pupils and the opportunity to become a role model for them.

For more on our Senior School, please click here.

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Ballard Bees & Eco

We have recently begun to harvest our own honey through our growing colony of ‘Ballard Bees’. As well as Forest School our pupils are able to visit our Victorian water garden, exploring its eco-system and watching the lifecycle of frogs unfold.

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Situated between the main house and our senior building, the music block is a hub of activity and part of our Artsmark Gold performing arts department. With a range of facilities: classrooms, practice rooms, performance space and a newly refurbished iMac suite it offers all that a budding musician could want. From our orchestral instrumental starter scheme for our Lower Prep pupils right through to consistently high GCSE results at Year 11 music is part of life@Ballard.

Led by two inspirational teachers our pupils have some outstanding opportunities from singing in the Royal Albert Hall with Gareth Malone to touring Tuscany (you may watch highlights of the tour here). A range of ensembles, tailored to the cohort, offer diversity that many larger schools find hard to match. A talented team of peripatetic staff help with individual lessons and performances including those held at Beaulieu Abbey and Christchurch Priory. From Year 3, pupils can compose their own music in our iMac suite giving them the confidence to get creative and enjoy their own music. Even during lockdown they encouraged pupils’ musicality through a number of channels including a virtual choir which brought together members from all elements of the Ballard Family: alumni, parents and grandparents, staff as well as the pupils, which you may listen to here.

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Performing Arts Centre

Situated opposite the main house our PAC is a fantastic facility for us all: from whole year-group PSHE lessons to our whole school production of Beauty & the Beast. With its own foyer, ‘green room’, and recently refurbished sound and lighting rig it offers our pupils a plethora of opportunities whether on stage, behind stage, in the wings or working in our sound and lighting box.

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Situated by the PAC and above Pre-Prep our art rooms are light and airy. The range of art produced by our pupils is outstanding. From large scale clay work in Year 3 to incredibly complex and intricate GCSE work in Years 10 and 11. Visiting artists run workshops and have helped our pupils create murals for the sports hall. Many visitors have commented on the creativity of our pupils’ work and we regularly win the regional ISA art awards. Even working remotely, our art teachers inspired some incredible creativity from our pupils.

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Design & Technology

Opportunities are endless within the Design & Technology department with 3D printers, laser cutters and state of the art computer design equipment. From Year 5 and above pupils are taught by exceptional teachers who support, foster and encourage each child to reach above and beyond their potential.

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Dining Hall

Located in between the main house and the sports department the dining room provides all our pupils with nutritious and delicious food at lunchtime. Our award-winning Head Chef ensures that all pupils are catered for and regularly adapts menus to include seasonal foods and new recipes.

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Dance Studio

Located in between the sports hall and Pre-Prep the dance hall has a wall of mirrors and a barre for all pupils to enjoy. From the very youngest to GCSE dancers the studio is used for a range of dance styles as well as gymnastics. Our talented dance teacher runs a junior and a senior dance team as well as teaching all our pupils throughout School.

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Sports Fields & The Astro Pitch

Ballard’s sporting success owes much to the fantastic facilities available to all children, from early years through to GCSE pupils. With three sports fields for rugby, football, cricket and athletics, a hardcourt area and a basketball court. Ballard also has a state of the art Olympic-sized, 3G AstroTurf hockey pitch. In the summer months, there are outdoor tennis courts and cricket nets, while during the autumn term our netball courts and cross-country course are in good use.

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Sports Hall

Our huge sports hall means that there is always room for PE. There are basketball, badminton, netball and volleyball courts as well as equipment available for gymnastics, indoor cricket and good, old-fashioned dodgeball; all keeping the children happy and energised. Our fantastic sports department deliver sport for all and national success alongside the development of International talent.

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Swimming Pool

Our 18m heated, outdoor swimming pool is a great place for fun and learning. Pupils in Reception up to and including Year 9 have weekly summer swimming lessons and the swimming galas are always well supported.

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Forest School

Our recently redeveloped Forest School site is brimming with nature and excitement. From redirecting streams, making a tree top lookout or roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate, this junior site is a firm favourite for all. A place where children are encouraged to explore and grow in confidence. Our younger pupils have their own Forest School located near our Bluebell Wood.

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Water Garden

Ballard is extremely proud to be an Eco-friendly, award-winning School. Our pupil-led Eco Committee sets the Green Agenda for the School. Their consideration for the environment within School and towards the wider community is incredible.

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How to Apply

Entry Requirements

Our admissions’ procedures are in place to ensure that every pupil joining the School can fully benefit from the environment and teaching we can offer. Places are subject to availability, with main entry points being into Years Reception, 3 and 9. Places do become available in other year groups, so please enquire.

Admission is open to children aged 2 to 16 years. All pupils from Reception upwards are required to attend a taster day and to meet with the Headmaster. Full details, along with our Admissions policy, may be found here.

Whilst we are currently unable to offer taster days on site, we are conducting informal online interviews with our Headmaster, Mr McCleave, and the relevant Head of Section.

Registering Your Children

Parents wishing to register their interest should email our Registrar, Lynsey Davis, to check availability. There is a waiting list for a number of year groups for 2022 and beyond so we recommend an early registration.

Once the registration forms have been completed fully and returned, along with a copy of your child’s passport, birth certificate and most recent school report, and the £100 registration fee has been paid, a space will be reserved.


Once registered, your child will be invited to an Admission’s Day or have a taster day, depending on their year group.

Offering a Place

Once feedback has been received from both you and the relevant Ballard staff, a formal offer of a place will be made should it be felt that your child will benefit from the opportunities at the School and that the School is able to cater for their needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the boy/girl ratio?

There is a very even split at Ballard with 48% female and 52% male pupils currently.

How many pupils are there at Ballard?

There are currently around 460 pupils from Year R through to Year 11.

What are the class sizes?

Each class will have a maximum of 18 pupils with an average of 15 pupils in a class.

How many forms are there in each year?

Ballard is an inverted triangle. One form in Pre-Prep, two forms in Lower Prep, three or four forms in Upper Prep (Years 7 & 8) and four forms in Senior School.

What does a typical day look like?

Pre-Prep and Lower Prep have two lessons before break, one after break and three in the afternoon.

Upper Prep and Senior have two lessons before break, two after break and two in the afternoon.

Can children whose first language is not English join Ballard?

Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) are warmly welcomed at Ballard and helped to integrate by our EAL department.

Do you offer scholarships?

We have an excellent scholarship programme for current and new pupils entering Year groups 3, 7 and 9.

Learn more about our scholorship programme here.

What does the Senior Leadership Structure look like?

Mr McCleave is our Headmaster, with three Deputy Heads leading our academic, pastoral and co-curricular activity. Our Bursar makes up the fifth member of the Leadership Team.

Do children need to sit an entrance exam?

No entrance exam is required, although we do request to see previous school workbooks and will, on occasion, ask for assessments to be taken in Maths and English.

Do Ballard teachers teach everyone?

Our pupils are very fortunate to have the talent and expertise of specialist teachers from Year R through to GSCE level.

Are all School sections on the same site?

Ballard is located on one whole 34-acre site, which each school section benefitting from their own private areas as well as communal facilities and leisure areas.

What languages do you offer?

We offer French from Year 1 and Spanish and German are taught from Year 7.

What is the admission process?

Please view our admission process chart here.

Do you accept Early Years Funding and Childcare vouchers?

Yes, we accept the Government childcare vouchers and up to 15 hours Early Years Funding.

Do you offer assistance with fees?

Fee assistance or bursaries may be applied for. They are awarded dependent upon financial circumstances and are means-tested by an independent agency. They are awarded at the Governors’ discretion.

You may find out more about bursaries here

Do you offer School minibuses/transport?

Our fleet of minibuses cover a wide catchment area often with convenient door-to-door pick-up points.

Find out more about our transport service and transport links here

Do you offer support for children with special educational needs?

Ballard has a comprehensive Department of Enhanced Learning (DEL), with a team of expert teachers for children with Special Educational Needs. Our Deputy Head (Pastoral) and ELSA Manager (Emotional Literacy Support Assistance) work from the very first moment to ensure each pupil feels safe, happy and secure within the School environment.

What are your staff/pupil ratios in Nursery and Kindergarten?

The staff ratio for children who are 2 years old is 1:4 and 3 years 1:8, although we would always aim to have a ratio of 1:6. In Kindergarten, the ratio is 1:8.

What are the session times for Nursery?

We request that our 2 year olds have two sessions, and 3 year olds have three sessions. A session is considered to be either a morning or an afternoon.

The morning session is from 08.30 – 12.00 (or 12.30 if you include lunch).

The afternoon session is from 13.00 – 16.00.

Early Club is available from 08.00-08.30 and Late Club from 16.00 – 17.00.

What is included in the fees?

Please follow this link for our fee schedule. There is no extra charge for lunches or the majority after-school clubs.

What opportunities are there for parents to join in with the School Community?

We have a very active parent body – Friends of Ballard School. Parents are also invited to join our  parent choir and workshops.

Find out more about FOBS here.

Is the food prepared onsite? Do you cater for allergies and dietary requirements?

Ballard has a first class catering team; home cooking lunches every day, along with scrumptious match teas. All allergies and requirements are catered for, and there are plenty of healthy daily choices – hot and cold.

Find our more about our award-winning catering here.

Are there lunchtime rotas?

Pre-Prep and Lower Prep have lunch together, and sit with their teachers. They are served by their teachers. Upper Prep and Senior pupils then have their lunches together and have a selection from the hot servery and cold buffet counter.

Is there interaction between each School section?

Ballard is a family School and we encourage support across the sections. Siblings are able to watch performances of each other and give their support. Older pupils act as mentors to the younger pupils, and often listen to them read.

What are the uniform requirements?

Ballard takes great pride in its appearance and school uniform.

Please click this link for more details of our uniform.

What opportunities are there for School Trips?

There are a variety of School trips available for all pupils, from local trips to far flung locations.


Does Ballard have a Forest School?

Forest School is a very important aspect for our younger pupils and enjoyed by pupils from KG through to Year 5.

What are the examination results?

Please see our latest GCSE results here.

What extra-curricular activities are available?

There are over 120 weekly activities to choose from, all included in the fee structure (apart from some offsite activities such as horse riding and sailing). An example of our activity schedule may be viewed here.

Ballard also offers early and late club to our Pre-Prep children.

What links does Ballard have with its Alumni and local community?

Please click the link for further information.

Do you offer Holiday Camps?

Ballard runs very successful and popular holiday camps, which are open to all and available throughout the school holidays. More details can be found via this link.

How does Ballard deal with behaviour and rewards?

Assertive discipline is all about focusing on positive recognition and we have a range of ways to recognise good choices in behaviour as per our “Ballard Charter”.

You may also read our Behaviour Policy: Ballard School Behavior Policy


How much do GCSEs/Exams cost?

Costs vary depending on examining boards and type of exam.