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Passion and performance – Headmaster’s Blog – Ballard School

September 16, 2013

Passion and performance

Artsmark Gold?

We recently had a visit from the ‘Artsmark’ assessor (representing the Arts Council and also Trinity College, London) as part of our application to move up from ‘Artsmark’ to ‘Artsmark Gold’. The assessor said she was impressed by the staff, pupils and facilities! Whilst we won’t know the outcome of the assessment for up to 8 weeks it was encouraging to hear her evaluation of all that we do here in the Performing and the Visual Arts. As she said, ‘I can see that a major driver to your holistic emphasis at Ballard lies with the Arts’.

Our strengths were listed as a lack of complacency amongst staff (they are always looking to press on creatively); the maturity of our pupils (‘more like sixth formers’); the passion of staff and pupils; the breadth of opportunity offered; the manner in which we nurture talent; and, specialist teaching right the way down to Pre-Prep. All of this was gratifying to hear but I was also pleased to note her pointers for further improvement and enhancement.  Ballard must not stand still!

Areas for further development included a greater use of partnerships outside of school, the establishment of the Arts Award (already underway) and the provision of more leadership opportunities for our young people within the Performing and Visual Arts.  We will act on these recommendations.  We will be taking our Senior Musical in February into the community and already there is excitement in Dance and Music about the Arts Award being set up here. The latter will help to ‘codify’ and ‘certificate’ much of what we already do.

Just after the assessor left, there was a reminder of the positive force of the arts demonstrated by the energy and creativity of our Y11 GCSE musicians in our first lunch time recital of the term  when playing their own compositions.  A rather wet and dull day brought vibrantly to life!


Alastair Reid


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