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OMG – not another ‘OMG’! – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 9th August 2017

August 9, 2017
OMG Oh my God image

OMG – not another ‘OMG’!

I recently admonished one of our pupils for being liberal with her ‘Oh, my God’ (OMG) expletives whilst talking loudly to a friend in the corridor. She retorted (politely, I might add), ‘But, sir, I am not a Christian’. Equally politely I pointed out that no matter her faith position there were some of us who found such language offensive.

OMG Oh my God image

Let me say quickly that I am not a prude and I do understand that the blasphemy laws in the UK were largely repealed many years ago. I also accept that language evolves over time and that this is one reason why we still have the English language today whilst Latin is ‘dead’. Notwithstanding this, I do feel that the liberal use of ‘OMG’ (and other slang) is often a result of a limited grasp of vocabulary and imagination. It is also perhaps a result of the ‘me generation’ – I can do / say what I like so long as there’s no real harm to others. This is the ‘sticks and stones’ syndrome – a woefully misplaced saying if ever there was one.

The everyday conversation approach

There is, however, perhaps a more fundamental problem here. Ever since swearing became part of everyday conversation (with no hint of embarrassment but just a sense of entitlement) bad manners have taken root. Four-letter words are a normal part of the soundtrack on buses, in supermarkets, at the park and in most work places. Soap operas such as Emmerdale and EastEnders have argued that they need to reflect ‘normal’ life and so confrontational exchanges and abuse become the norm in our living rooms, too. ‘Reality television’, writes Janet Street-Porter in the I newspaper,

‘with unedited stuff running for hours on niche channels, normalises offensive language and sexual innuendo.’

When characters in series such as Love Island become cult figures, is it any wonder that young people (and older ones, too) emulate their choice of vocabulary? Street-Porter continues:

‘Our use of language and tone has become brutal and coarse, to the extent that many of those sending horrible texts, tweets and emails do not regard their behaviour as anything more than fair comment.’

It is easy, of course, to hold one’s hands up and say ‘woe is me’ and simply give in to the ‘norm’. I am an advocate, however, of the Mother Teresa approach: the ocean is made up of many droplets and so even if we feel what we are doing is inconsequential, it will ripple out, albeit slowly, and make an impact far beyond our presence. If we are individually known as someone who won’t tolerate loose, abusive and offensive language, then those around us will moderate their tone (so as not to infringe our liberty) and, in turn, this will also ripple out to others.

GIAG anyone?

So, why not GIAG? (AKA ‘give it a go’.)

Alastair Reid (Humbug Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool 

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

 

101 things to ignore before I die? -Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 2nd August 2017

August 2, 2017
1001 things to do list

101 things to ignore before I die?

We are into the holiday season at last – a time when the pressure should ease off and we have time to ‘chill’…time, as I have written before, to ‘stop and stare’. I have just had a break in the Peak District helping with a teens’ camp for young people whose parents have returned to the UK after working overseas in Christian ministry for many years. Some people suggested that this was a ‘busman’s holiday’ but I have to say it was super to be in a beautiful location with hills to climb, streams to ford and with time to play – and almost no mobile ‘phone access! I even stopped wearing my smart ‘phone on my person and only dusted it off if I felt the need to take a photograph. (Better still to take a ‘snapshot’ with the mind?) Bliss indeed!

1001 things to do list

Listing the things one ‘must do’

I have now returned to the land of wall-to-wall internet and newspapers. One of the first things I have read on my return ‘from the wilds’ is to do with ’50 sunsets you must see before you die’ – and then to be followed by an article on ‘1001 books you must read before you die’. There was then an exhortation to see 1001 movies followed by 1001 restaurants – also to be squeezed in before I die, however long or short that time might be (so morbid)! Fortunately I have seen a few of the movies (Mary Poppins, Dumbo, Free Willy…) and so I might reach that figure sooner than dining out ad nauseam.

Don’t get me wrong: I am keen on movies, restaurants, sunsets and books – and I don’t mind suggestions and challenges – but I’d rather not have the ‘must’ word hanging over me. I feel for the parents with young children who are now feeling guilty because they have booked a two-week beach holiday in Corfu this summer rather than feeling obliged to go to the ‘must visit’ activity centre in Wales, ensure that they visit every museum and historical site in Florence, Venice and Rome and, in between times on the journeys, ensure their offspring work their way through all the classic books from the nineteenth century.

Our Headmaster gives permission

If it’s of any help at all, can this humble Headmaster give you permission to go to a beach (at home or abroad), to stretch out for an hour or so (having applied the necessary sun cream or rain cover, of course), to play with the sand and to investigate the rock pools, to paddle or to swim, without any feeling of ‘must do’? By all means take an improving book or two – but be released from having to finish them if they really aren’t a good ‘holiday read’ – and do encourage your children to keep a holiday diary if it’s a creative pleasure rather than a drudge. (It can be fun to log your postcards, entry tickets, dried flowers, local maps and small artefacts – but only if you delight in recording such things and not because you have to.)

So, have a snooze, enjoy people’s company, take some photos, enjoy a meal out (even with a tomato juice or two), catch up with your spouse or partner, walk the dog and go somewhere fresh – but only if this helps you and your family relax and be refreshed and not because you ‘must’!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster in search of a ‘must-less’ holiday)

We tweet from @BallardSchool 

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here.

For more read ‘Idleness is good for you‘ from our blog earlier in 2017.

Heritage Open Day 2017 – an invite to visit Ballard School

July 26, 2017
Ballard Heritage Open Day 2017

Heritage Open Day 2017 – an invite to visit Ballard School

In 2016 Ballard opened its doors for the first time for a Heritage Open Day event. We are happy to say we had a fantastic turn-out for our first year with all our tours fully booked on the day. Visitors, former staff, current staff and pupils came to learn about the main school building which was built as a country house by the Ubsdell family.

Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Welcome to all those coming to our Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Photos from 2016

Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Our Heritage Room all laid out for the Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Ballard bears welcoming those who attended Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

A tour group being shown round by staff from Ballard on the Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

Ballard’s tour begins in the Heritage Room for Ballard Heritage Open Day 2016

We thank all those who helped us prepare Ballard for the event in September 2016 – and many of those return to help us in 2017!

Press from 2016

We had local interest in our event from Hampshire Life magazine online, Cadland (another local estate who opened for Heritage Open Day 2016) and Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We covered the event in our blog, seen here from our 2016 post.

Heritage Open Day 2017

This year, for the second year running, Ballard School is opening its main school building, formally ‘Great Ballard House’, to the public for heritage tours. Visitors will have a guided tour of the rooms and period features of the Arts and Crafts movement which include various fireplaces and original tile surrounds. Tours will be led by staff and volunteers at the school who have particular interest in the Great Ballard Estate, the Ubsdell family and local history. The dedicated Heritage Room includes plaques and photographs from a country estate to a modern, thriving school.

New for 2017

We will have a display on our Great Ballard estate through WW2 with details about which battalions were based here, who visited during WW2 and a chance to find out about life during WW2 at this Great Ballard estate.

Throughout the year we have been learning much about our Great Ballard estate during World War Two. As with many similar buildings and situations, schools were requisitioned by the military.

A local historian, Nick Saunders, writes about Ballard in a recent article (page 64-65)

In 1940, the school and its grounds were commandeered by the military. A number of infantry battalions were posted to the New Milton area and defended the coast line from Highcliffe through to Keyhaven with their headquarters based at Great Ballard. The war diaries reveal that Lt General Montgomery and Field Marshal Alan Brooke were among some of the senior officer who visited Great Ballard and inspected the defences.

Highcliffe Herald online article on Great Ballard House

Highcliffe Herald online article on Great Ballard House from August 2017 edition

 

Do read the full article on the history of the site and if you do have any photographs or postcards from the area, please do contact Nick Saunders on 01425 618549 as the article requests.

Booking on the day

Ballard School will be open for the Heritage Open Day 2017 from 09.30am until 12.30pm on Saturday 9th September 2017. There will be four free timed tours offered at 09.30am, 10.15am, 11.00am and 11.45am which will include a tour of some of the main rooms of the Great Ballard house. Please do book in on the day but arrive in plenty to time if you do not book ahead – in order to get a space on the tour!

The Heritage room will be open throughout the morning with the WW2 display and the outside area will include a reenactor bringing artifacts and information from the time of WW2.

Although booking is not required Alix Stockwell would be grateful to know if you are planning to come for refreshments’ purposes. Please email her on alix.stockwell@ballardschool.co.uk.

We very much look forward to welcoming you to our school on Saturday 9th September 2017.

Ballard School Fireplaces Arts and Crafts

A snapshot of our interiors with original features – Ballard School

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

Ballard Arts – Music Tour to Barcelona 2017

July 19, 2017
Ballard Montserrat Abbey performance

Ballard Arts – Music Tour to Barcelona 2017

Over thirty of Ballard School’s Music students, including Ballard School Alumni headed off for their Music tour of Barcelona, Spain just after the end of our summer term.

Our last Music tour was to Austria in 2014.

For photos from the trip to Austria do see our blog posts below.

 

 

Austria Music Tour 2014

Austria Music Tour 2014

Do see some of the blogs from that trip here with Day three and blog four.

Music Tour 2017

The channel crossing and bus trip to Spain mainly involved quite a lot of sleep (for some!) and the group were very ready for their first full day in Blanes, Costa Brava! Some went into the pool, others relaxed by playing volleyball!

On the evening of Day 2 our group had an opportunity to practice for their two performances on Day 3; Montserrat Abbey in the morning followed by an outdoor concert at Vilassar de Mar in the early evening.

See some of the practice photos below.

Ballard Barcelona Music tour

Ballard Barcelona Music tour

Preparing for the two concerts in Costa Brava

Day three

Ballard Arts (Music) performed twice with their first performance at the iconic Montserrat Abbey.

Mrs G writes:

Our amazing pupils have pulled of a stunning performance in Montserrat Abbey. A stunning venue and packed with people listening. We are now back on the tour bus and making our way to our next venue – the show band outdoor performance in Vilassar de Mar 🎺🎷🥁

In Montserrat Abbey there were upwards of 1000 people listening!

Ballard Montserrat Abbey performance

Performing in the iconic Montserrat Abbey with upwards of 1000 people listening.

Show band in Vilassar de Mar

The show band performed to a packed town square in Vilassar de Mar.

Ballard Barelona Vilassar de Mar music

Our Show Band perform in Vilassar de Mar town square,

WhatsApp Image 2017-07-16 at 15.27.30

Performing in Vilassar de Mar town square

Feedback from the team is suitably summed up in the quote below!

The show band were AWESOME! A wonderful end to a fantastic day of contrasting performances. Back to the hotel to unload then get some well earned rest.

Day four

A sightseeing day with trips into Barcelona including to Park Guell and Sagrada Familia.

Day five

The third performance for Ballard Arts (Music) was in the Catedral de Barcelona.

As well as photos from the event we have a video over on our YouTube channel of their rendition of ‘Pie Jesu’.

The cathedral is awe inspiring and it was a privilege to be able to be part of their afternoon concert programme.

Ballard Barcelona tour cathedral

The awe inspiring venue for our final performance of our Music tour.

The day concluded with a lovely tapas meal before another ‘chill’ day and then the trip back to Ballard, New Milton, Hampshire and the UK begins!

Mrs G again:

The kids have been amazing. So professional and committed, a wonderful team to work with and a credit to the school.

Learn more about Ballard Arts

For more about our Performing Arts options at Ballard do see our website.

We offer Music from Pre-Prep to GCSE. Read more on Ballard Music here.

We tweet from @BallardSchool and @BallardArts.

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

 

No more tears? – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 19th July 2017

July 19, 2017
Ballard school speech day

No more tears?

I am writing as the Summer Term 2017 has just concluded. This week we have enjoyed a super series of celebrations in our Speech Day, had a necessary (and actually rather enjoyable) staff INSET day to tidy up after the academic year just passing and to prepare for the new one (schools are perpetual cycles of new life) and then a most positive Governors’ meeting looking at facility enhancement.

My reference to tears thus requires some explanation! We can, of course, shed tears (actually or metaphorically) in a variety of contexts – and these may be tears of sorrow, of joy, regret, frustration, pain, empathy – even anger. I am sure there were tears of joy for many pupils as they reached the summer holidays and perhaps even for parents whose youngest has finished at Ballard and thus the school fees are over! The tears I want to mention, however, were those shed at Speech Day: real, genuine and heartfelt.

Almost all of us were moved emotionally by the Senior Choir’s rendition of ‘Fly to Paradise’ by Eric Whitacre. Even within the rather metallic environment of a Sports’ Hall (where our ceremonies took place) it was still possible to feel transported by the soaring voices and the haunting music. If you are not familiar with this piece of music do search for it on You Tube. (I might also add, that the Director of Music was especially moved to tears after the gathering when she received a personal letter of thanks and appreciation from the composer arranged by one of her Year 11 musicians.)

Ballard Speech day flight to paradise

Ballard Senior choir performed Eric Whitacre’s ‘Flight to Paradise’ at our Speech Day 2017

We were most moved, however, by the speeches delivered by our Head Girl and Head Boy. It wasn’t just the content – the memories, the humour, the confessions and the appreciation – but it was also the fact that for each of them (and eight others of their cohort) the journey at Ballard had begun in the Nursery some 14 years ago and they were about to ‘fly the nest’. Tears literally flowed from these two fine young people and there was hardly a dry eye amongst the crowd in the hall. These were certainly tears of emotion but they were also expressions of gratitude, belonging and of promise: thanks for days past and the promise of a bright future ‘tomorrow’.

Ballard school speech day

Gathering for a formal photo in front of the Ballard entrance, complete with ducks and a Ballard bear!

Alastair Reid (a somewhat emotional and thankful Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

Year 8 Trip 2017 – Longleat– Blog 5

July 7, 2017
Ballard Longleat group

Year 8 Trip 2017 – Longleat

The #BallardTripsWeek for Year 8 has a jam-packed itinerary:

Monday- Warwick Castle and Stratford theatre – see blog one

Tuesday- Stratford- Shakespeare’s birthplace and theatre workshop – see blog two

Wednesday- Wyedean activity centre – see blog three

Thursday- The Big Pit and historical village – see blog four

Friday- Longleat and then home!

Today we visited Longleat, where as part of the visit our Year 8s had a talk on endangered species. This was included an interactive part!

 

A great group shot to end the photos from our trip to Longleat.

Ballard Longleat group

Posing for the camera one last time, but what’s that behind you?!

Thank you to all who made #BallardTripsWeek such a success 🙂

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

Year 7 Trip 2017 – Bude – Blog 6

July 7, 2017
Ballard Bude trip

Year 7 Trip 2017 – Bude – Blog 6

Missed the last blogs from Bude? Read blog one, blog two blog three blog four and blog five.

An update from Mr S:

Load the fridges, empty the washing machines… we’re coming home!

Have a look at some of the photos from our last day in Bude.

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

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