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’. We are delighted to announce that we have been nominated for the Independent School of the Year 2021 for Student Wellbeing by Independent School Parent Magazine, having been nominated for the Co-Curricular School of the Year in 2020.
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 Lynsey Davis, our Registrar. For Nursery and Kindergarten enquiries, please contact Emma Pidwell, our Assistant Registrar.
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.
To get a flavour of what life at Ballard is like, please read our latest life magazine here.
Our Main House dates to the early 1900s and is a wonderful welcome to Ballard School. Our Main Reception is situated on the ground floor. Our Chapel, Heritage Room and well-stocked Junior Library is also located on the ground floor; classrooms, the Headmaster’s office, and our Junior IT room are on the second floor; leading to further classrooms and our Senior DEL on the second floor.
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 interactive activities encouraging positive learning. With PE and dance lessons taught by our specialist teachers and Forest School for our Kindergarten pupils, they get the chance to experience all that Ballard offers. For more on our Nursery & Kindergarten please click here.
“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 and Forest 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, 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 in
Connor has been at Ballard from Nursery through to GCSE’s. Connor also has a younger brother in Pre-Prep.
For more on our Pre-Prep please click here.
“Inspiring children to find their inner genius and inner confidence” – Mr Simon Ridley (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.
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. Year 5 undertake an Apprentice Challenge encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to weekly assignments. 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 Osmington Bay.
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. Pupils have specialist teachers in all arts subjects, DT, ICT, French, Forest School, Science and Sport.
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.
Amy has been at Ballard from Lower Prep through to GCSEs.
For more on our Lower Prep, please click here.
“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 a tailored Upper Prep production. Recent productions have included Peter Pan, 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
Cameron has been at Ballard from Lower Prep through to GCSEs.
For more on our Upper Prep please click here.
“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.
Millie starred as Belle in our whole-school musical – Beauty & the Beast, as well as Kathy in Singin’ in the Rain.
For more on our Senior School, please click here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 7 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.
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 2021 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 have a taster day with us in their current year group. During this visit, they will be assessed by our teaching staff so that we have an understanding of their individual abilities and development needs. We are currently unable to offer taster days, so we look forward to speaking with you online.
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.
Prior to the start of the Autumn term, all new parents and children are invited to attend an induction morning. Here relevant teaching staff will present an overview of the coming academic year and there is a chance to sample our delicious home-cooked School lunches. Also we give you and your children the opportunity to meet their form teacher and refamiliarise themselves with Ballard.
There is a very even split at Ballard with 48% female and 52% male pupils currently.
There are currently around 460 pupils from Year R through to Year 11.
Each class will have a maximum of 18 pupils with an average of 15 pupils in a class.
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.
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.
Pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) are warmly welcomed at Ballard and helped to integrate by our EAL department.
We have an excellent scholarship programme for current and new pupils entering Year groups 3, 7 and 9.
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.
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.
Our pupils are very fortunate to have the talent and expertise of specialist teachers from Year R through to GSCE level.
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.
We offer French from Year 1 and Spanish and German are taught from Year 7.
Please view our admission process chart here.
Yes, we accept the Government childcare vouchers and up to 15 hours Early Years Funding.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please follow this link for our fee schedule. There is no extra charge for lunches or the majority after-school clubs.
We have a very active parent body – Friends of Ballard School. Parents are also invited to join our parent choir and workshops.
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.
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.
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.
Ballard takes great pride in its appearance and school uniform.
Please click this link for more details of our uniform.
There are a variety of School trips available for all pupils, from local trips to far flung locations.
Forest School is a very important aspect for our younger pupils and enjoyed by pupils from KG through to Year 5.
Please see our latest GCSE results here.
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.
Please click the link for further information.
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.
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
Costs vary depending on examining boards and type of exam.