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Recharging our batteries? -Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 24th August 2016

August 24, 2016
Ballard School Headmaster's Blog batteries

Recharging our batteries?

Assuming you are having something of a holiday over the summer, how much time are you spending on your mobile device / computer? According to research published last week in the ‘I’ newspaper, we spend on average 9 hours a day looking at a screen (no wonder I am back to see the optician more frequently than ever before) and we check our ‘phones 200 times a day on average! Moreover, it seems that it is easier than ever to keep in touch and to be online as we have on average 7.4 internet devices per UK household.

I have to say that I find these figures extraordinary, albeit sobering. One figure with which I did feel empathy was the 80% of 18-24 year olds who feel anxious about not replying to emails, messages and calls quickly. Whilst I don’t quite fall into this age bracket (!), I do belong to a generation which feels that it is only polite to respond quickly to a query, enquiry, complaint or request. I am also holding onto another generational quirk (even though I know I am old-fashioned to do so – but it’s for my own good) and that is whenever I go abroad on holiday I turn off the mobile data. I argue to myself (despite the ready availability of Wi-Fi in the hotel and restaurant overseas) that it’s expensive to have the data roaming turned on. What I do know, however, is that it is healthy to turn off the email for a couple of weeks a year – and I’m trying not to access them after 9.00pm each evening for the rest of the year – and so I am trying to buck the trend in the research and reduce the hours in front of the screen.

A slightly more optimistic piece of research was in the Press recently (the Times, the Guardian, the Telegraph amongst many others) which indicated that whilst children who spend too much time on social media were doing less well academically, those who played online games might actually be boosting some academic skills.

A study by Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology suggests children who often use online social networks tend to perform less well in school than pupils who rarely use such sites. Researchers say youngsters regularly using sites such as Twitter and Facebook were more likely to fall behind in maths, reading and science – with these pupils likely to score 4% lower on average. The study also found that pupils who play online video games tended to perform better in school. Students who played online games almost every day scored 15 points above average in maths and reading tests and 17 points above average in science.

So, my suggestion is that you ‘recharge the batteries’ in your body by reading a book, contemplating the horizon, sleeping a little more and eating a better balanced diet whilst on holiday and that you don’t shout too much at the children for playing online games – although they, too, will also benefit from your health regime. In fact, don’t shout at all – be cool!

Ballard School sunshine New Milton Summer

Enjoy the Sunshine – Ballard School, August 2016

Alastair Reid (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

 

Revealing all? – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 18th August 2016

August 17, 2016
17938696482_4183538e49_z edit sexting

Revealing all?

A recent YouGov survey of parents of teenagers found that there has been a change in the last few years about what concerns parents most. Alcohol and tobacco abuse remain significant worries but some 78% of parents were now emphasising their anxiety over sexting – sending a sexually explicit image. Some 10% of the respondents felt that schools needed to provide more education on the issue whilst only 13% felt that involving the Police was an effective way of dealing with the problem.

17938696482_4183538e49_z

Sexting – sending a sexually explicit image 

At Ballard we certainly do spend a lot of time (especially in PSHE lessons) trying to teach about the perils and the positives of using social media of all types – and warning about the pitfalls of things like sexting. We are aware, however, that human nature being what it is (curious and inclined to push boundaries), the more someone in authority says ‘no’ to something, the more it can lead some people to want to say ’yes’ to it. I remember in my first year of teaching (in 1980) being concerned when the local Police force in Bedford (where my school was) being reluctant to come and speak to the pupils about the dangers of drug taking. The schools’ liaison officer then explained to us that their experience had been that the more graphic and detailed their talks became, the more it seemed that young people wanted to experiment. They had found that it was helpful to give information about the different types of drugs, and to mention the potential dangers whilst stressing the financial cost and the impact on families, but then linking a talk in with other social concerns (such as violence, theft and domestic upset) so as not to put too much emphasis on one thing (drugs) which might make them more desirable by being highlighted over other concerns.

I have some understanding of the argument used by the Bedford Police and appreciate that there are different approaches we can make to social evils. More recent moves to anonymise cigarette packets and to hide them behind cupboards in shops do seem to be helping reduce the number of younger tobacco smokers – but the glamourizing of e-cigarettes now seem to be taking up the slack (but that’s another story)!

Australian_cigarette_pack_with_health_warning_December_2012

plain packaging cigarettes from Australia – and soon the UK?

To return to sexting, my concerns echo those in an article by Sarah Newton of the Independent. As a former Police Officer, and now a Youth Coach, Ms Newton says that it is naïve for people to believe it’s best keeping the Police out of sexting concerns. Many parents argue that sexting is a matter of personal development and sex education (‘they’re just kids’ and ‘it’s innocent fun’ some say) but, according to Ms Newton, there is no such thing as ‘innocently’ sending an explicit photo to a friend. Ms Newton argues that we should indeed engage the Police when sexting occurs as they are best placed to advise those caught up in it. She confirms the legalities: ‘The law on sending indecent or sexually explicit photographs of an under-18 is crystal clear: it is an offence to possess or distribute a prohibited image (an image intended for sexual arousal), or incite another to do so, even if that image is of yourself’. Her argument is not that we should be seeking to criminalise youngsters but more that they need to know that if they take the risk over sexting, they need to understand that there will be a reckoning – even with a Police Officer.

Finally, Ms Newton suggests that calling it ‘sexting’ can seem to make it seem less serious as an offence in the same way that some serious assaults are dismissed as banter or bullying. She concludes: ‘Sending a sexually explicit image is an offence…we must protect our young people by seeing teen sexting as the crime it really is’. I do appreciate that our natural reaction, both at home and in school, is to try and deal with this issue ‘in house’ believing that we can best contain it because we know the young people better than any outsider. This is a reasonable line to take but perhaps we should also consider Ms Newton’s argument as a former Police Officer that we might do well to involve the Police more often if we really want sexting to be seen as the offence it undoubtedly is.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

 

IMAGES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cigarette_packets_in_Australia

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathanrolande/with/17938696482/

 

Ballard Summer Camps – Day 22 – Tuesday 16th August 2016

August 16, 2016
A beautiful array of cushion covers made in our Ballard Camps 'Fun with Fabric' course

Ballard Camps Week 4

Ballard Camps are in their final week for the summer 2016. We have had an amazing few weeks!

Last week it was the turn of the crafters – Junk Modelling, ‘Fun with Fabrics’, Jewellery making, Water Rockets…

Blogs from Week 1,Week 2 and Week 3 – click on the links and read all about them!

Endless choices

Buttons, tacks, foil, voil, zippers, cotton, MDF, glue guns, foam – the list goes on and on for our junior model makers and crafty creators.

With so much choice it is sometimes hard to decide what to make. A five story building and a huge foam crocodile were just some of this week’s junk modellers masterpieces.

Jewellery makers step up

2016.8.10 BC week 4 activities  (3)

jewellery making in progress – working with wire

Much of the jewellery made during the course was our of wire, using special tools to bend and shape the colourful wire. The girls then used deads from a whole spectrum of colours and materials to make their jewellery they could take home.

Cushion creations

Our ‘Fun with Fabric’ ladies finished off their craft projects with their very own cushion cover. Each could design their own front and choose from an array of fabric – they were not disappointed! Smile girls🙂

2016.8.10 BC week 4 activities  (9) LR

A beautiful array of cushion covers made in our Ballard Camps ‘Fun with Fabric’ course

Ballard School Summer Camps Week 5

The sun is shining on us for our last week of Ballard Camps in New Milton, Hampshire.

We are outside with tennis and hockey and in our Performing Arts Centre (PAC) we have our ever popular Drama Workshop. Mornings all this week our Year 2-5s have a chance to have fun and develop their acting skills. Years 6-8 are here for the afternoons – culminating with their own rendition of ‘The Jungle Book’ on Friday 19th August; our last day of our Summer Camps for 2016.

 And to this morning…

The tennis courts are in full use and the course begins this morning with a hand warming-up exercise! Mr W does his best to beat one of the course participants..!

2016.8.16 BC tennis LR

Ready for their tennis warm up -without rackets!

Hockey on our astro turf – our group are preparing for their warm up session with our in-house specialist coaches.

2016.8.16 BC hockey LR

Backs to the camera and ready for their first session of the day!

Pre-pre season hockey!

One of the great things about summer camps (and there are many!) is a chance for some of our new pupils, joining Ballard in September 2016, to come and meet new friends. We have a few participating in our Hockey course in such a position. As well as making friends they have a chance to be coached by our sports’ department and learn a few new tricks before their school year,and season begins!

#BallardCamps – make the most of your summer – we are!

PicMonkey Image

The Summer continues…!

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 Summer Camps – Day 13 – Wednesday 3rd August 2016

August 3, 2016
Ballard School Camps Australia camp summer

Ballard Summer Camps – Day 13

Our third blog installment from our Ballard Summer Camps  includes what has been going on ‘down under’ at the beginning of the week.

For our Week 1 Summer Camps blog and our Week 2 Summer Camps blog, please click on the links attached.

Ballard Bushwackers, bushcraft, tennis, and ‘Fun with Fabrics’ are some of our activities this week…

Ballard Bushwackers

Ballard School Bushwackers summer camp poster

G’Day mates – welcome to ‘Ballard down under’!

Our ‘bushwackers’ had a ‘ripper’ time as part of their two day adventure ‘down under’.All the activities were Australian themed; from baking anzac biscuits, making kangaroo purses to building dens and ‘camping out’ in the outback.

Ballard School summer camps Australian theme

A montage of our Australian ‘Ballard Bushwackers’

Everyone enjoyed trying Vegemite sandwiches and making and decorating their own cork hats. Crocodile and shark spoons finished off the activity day in style – they all had a ‘snappy’ time!

Ballard School Crocodile Shark

Fun with crockie and sharkie in Australia!

Bushcraft

Our outdoor summer activity camps in New Milton continued this week in the woods. Our bushcraft crew set up camp in our woods for a three day course for basic bushcraft skills.

Ballard School New Milton woods bushcraft skills

If you go down to the woods today…

The first thing that greeted our photographer was a roaring fire, complete with a whittled stick to hang a kettle on! Some of the bushcrafters were busy creating their master sticks, complete with nicks and gouges particularly for hanging useful objects over a fire. Some of the adventure loving kids were perhaps thinking of using them as ‘weapons’ in their den building section.

Another area of the woods was cornered off and being used to construct a den to ‘defend against the enemy’ (their camp being the other side of the woods). All told our bushcraft explorers had a fantastic time – all washed down with camp-side hot chocolate. Perhaps they’d hidden the marshmallows when our photographer came, we will never know!

 Fun with Fabric

Wednesday saw the start of ‘fun with fabric’. Our crafty creators have the opportunity to make purses with felt in colours they have chosen, with complementary buttons and trimmings. Great British Sewing Bee hear we come! In the afternoon they will be making their own cushion covers!

Tennis

Our tennis course found itself inside on Tuesday due to the British August weather. A game of coordination, speed, recall and reaction times was in full swing when this photo was taken!

Ballard School Tennis

And run… scattering left, right and behind the tennis nets in this game!

Ballard Camps continue next week on our creative theme with, among others, Junk Modelling, Fun with Fabric and Jewelry making.

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

 

End of term offerings – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 3rd August 2016

August 3, 2016
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End of term offerings

I was amazed to read in the recent Press the following snippet: Ellen Widdup in the East Anglian Daily Times looks at the end of term gifts given to teachers, highlighting a study showing that British teachers receive end of term gifts worth around £77m, each individual’s being worth £300 on average when the school year concludes. It may be that I am a very unpopular schoolmaster but the thought that £300 is the average makes me feel that I am doing a great deal to pull down this ‘average’ figure – and this again makes me wonder what the upper end of the scale is like!

When I was a Head in India I was occasionally offered the use of a holiday home in Goa or access to a flat in Mumbai enroute to the airport. I never took up the former but occasionally did accept help with the latter from an existing parent (never a prospective one – there were all sorts of potential inducements from parents desperate to secure places for their children) if this meant an opportunity to catch up with a parent who rarely made it to our remotely located school. On some occasions it also enabled a meeting with a prospective parent who couldn’t easily visit the school.

I certainly appreciate the odd bottle of wine at Christmas, even a tin of biscuits (more easily shared with the prefects who visit my office than the wine!). The best gifts, however, are the ones which don’t cost a thing – a least not in a monetary sense. These are the notes, cards and letters of appreciation in which something of the young person’s view of school is shared. Currently in my office I have a super photo from the Year 11 leavers of 2015 taken at their Prom and gifted by the then Head Boy. I also have a large poster of Narnia, also gifted by leavers, and in fond (?) memory of the many assemblies based around CS Lewis’ fabled land!

2016.8.2 HM blog Headboy card

Year 11 Ballard School leavers of 2015 taken at their Prom and gifted by the then Head Boy

 

An article in the Independent back in May seems to me to be the perfect antidote to this article about expensive gifts to teachers. This article, by correspondent Catherine Ball, reflects on the loss of her entire set of wedding gifts: the company that she created her list with, WrapIt, went into administration at the start of the credit crunch and she received nothing! She then writes: ‘Since I married, I’ve been to weddings where the bride and groom have asked their guests for thoughtful gestures instead of toasters or envelopes stuffed full of cash, and I think they may be on to something. One friend asked guests for their favourite recipe to be added to a scrapbook, while another asked people to contribute a pearl of wisdom. By not asking for extravagant presents, these couples have ended up with something far more precious and long-lasting than anything my gift list could have brought me…’

Rehendi_Suite_Deck_(Service) blog

A beach hut in Bali… or the Maldives perhaps?!

So, whilst I am sure I’d love that loan of a beach house in Bali or the hot air balloon ride across the Nile, I know I will value all the more the heart-felt letter, photo or card from the appreciative pupil or parent – and this certainly won’t cost anyone £300!

Alastair Reid (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

Heritage Open Day 2016 – an invite to visit Ballard School

August 2, 2016
Ballard School Spring 2016

Ballard School and Heritage Open Days

Ballard School is situated on land bought by the Ubsdell family in the early 1900s. They were an American family but with their roots in England and Hampshire, notably Winchester and Southampton.

Our main school building was the original L shaped ‘Arts and Crafts’ inspired house. This is where our main reception, chapel, Junior Library, Headmaster’s Study, school offices and some classrooms are today.

 

 

Many of the original features of ‘Great Ballard House’ (the name now used for the Great Ballard School near Chichester) are still in situ and, for the most part, in their original condition and setting.

Heritage Open Days – some background

Ballard School Heritage Open Days tours 2016

Heritage Open Days is England’s biggest festival of history and culture involving over 40,000 volunteers. Every year over four days in September, thousands of events across the country invite you in to explore local treasures of every age, style and function. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE!

https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/about

Ballard School Heritage Open Days Treasure your treasures

One of our staff attended the national Heritage Open Day launch, held at RIBA in London

This year, for the first time, 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.

Ballard School Fireplaces Arts and Crafts

A snapshot of our interiors with original features – Ballard School

On Saturday 10th September we are running small guided tours (pre-booked only). These will run at 09.30am, 10.15am, 11.00am and 11.145am.

For pre-booked tours, please contact Alix Stockwell – alix.stockwell@ballardschool.co.uk

Other HOD events in our area

Ballard School Heritage Open Days new forest

Heritage Open Days in our area – come and visit us on 10th September 2016

Cadland Gardens – taken from their website this brief summary talks about the Capability Brown gardens which are rarely open, but will be as part of Heritage Open Days.

Exquisitely sited by Capability Brown to take advantage of the breathtaking views across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight, Cadland’s gardens are his smallest surviving pleasure ground.  It is a miniature landscape garden with a circular belt walk,  broad vistas, intimate peeps out to sea, the delights of scent and foliage and the play of light and shade on the grass. Plants available prior to 1760, roses, myrtles and cistus, scent the air.  18th century gardens were designed to create a different sensation at each turn of the path and to enliven the spirit with the Beauty of Nature.

http://www.cadland.co.uk/heritage-open-day

 

Cadland are part of the associated Calshot Castle, Fawley Church/Waterside Heritage, and Lepe Beach Heritage Open Days on the same day.

 

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

 

Lessons in life – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 27th July 2016

July 27, 2016
2016.4.22 yr 6 stainedglass butterflies PM blog

Lessons in life

As part of my holiday reading, I have been tackling a book by the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, called “A survival guide for life”. A significant theme in the book, with plenty of autobiographical insight, is around the topic of ‘failure’. He quotes from Winston Churchill frequently (‘Never, never, never give up’) and stresses the importance of learning from our difficulties and setbacks. As a former SAS reservist who broke his back in a freefall accident in Zambia (and came within a whisker of being paralysed for life), Bear Grylls knows what it means to overcome disappointment and hardship. He also knows what it means to face difficulties himself rather than look for someone else to intervene and protect you at all times from any sense of failure. That’s not to say he doesn’t feel it’s not important for us to help others but simply that we do well to face our fears, to embrace risk and to grow through adversity.

Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls on the set of Discovery Bear Grylls: Breaking Point – Mexico

A recent ‘Times’ newspaper has an article featuring Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How to Raise an Adult”, which addresses ways parents can give young adults life skills. She calls for a reduction in well-meaning over-involvement. She urges parents to teach youngsters critical thinking; encourage them to find a mentor that is not their parent; and refrain from giving them money.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5771/22695336375_e0f3bb9a65_b.jpg

Julie Lythcott-Haims on TED Talks

As a parent of three children myself, and a schoolmaster of thirty-six years’ experience, I know how difficult it can be not to step in and ‘take the hit’ for those we love or care for deeply. Clearly there is a balance to be achieved and a sensible approach where risk becomes irresponsibly dangerous and freedom slips into recklessness but I do understand what Bear Grylls and Julie Lythcott-Haims view as ‘well-meaning over involvement’. I have seen it in the way a few parents just won’t let go and trust those who are caring, sensible, professionals with years of experience in taking school trips (for example) and do know how to deal with the inevitable upsets over sleeping arrangements or in how to arrange groups for activities! There is pain involved and upset and whilst no-one wishes this to be so, there is much to be learnt from coming through such disappointments, even aggravations, and (with the right mind set) then to emerge more strongly and resilient.

I make mistakes all the time but seek to embrace these as best I can so that they are indeed ‘lessons in life’ rather than to be regarded as ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ which can cause resentment, undue criticism and may even stunt growth and maturity.

Alastair Reid (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

 

IMAGES: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwpkommunikacio/16500422742

 

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