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End of term Christmas message from the Head

December 13, 2013

carol2012cI have just had the privilege of assisting with an inspection of another independent school which is similar to ours in profile and ethos. As well as being a useful exercise in picking up ideas for our own School, it has served to remind me of another privilege: being part of a School which quite rightly prides itself on its ‘all roundedness’.

Ballard has just achieved a significant accolade in being awarded Artsmark Gold. This quite rightly celebrates all we are doing in the performing and visual arts. All roundedness, of course, means so much more. The Comenius Project (arranged by the British Council) saw a group of Y8s enjoy a cultural visit to Germany for a week with the prospect of additional trips to Italy and Majorca to come. At half-term we had an art group in Cornwall working with a local artist and another Ballard party in Morocco (do see the ‘blogs’ on the website for photos). Yet another group were battling the elements on a Duke of Edinburgh silver trek in Devon and, more recently, we had a team successfully competing in the IAPS sailing regatta. The U16 rugby team (our 1st XV) demolished an impressive Clayesmore side and our girls’ hockey sides have enjoyed considering success at all levels.

There’s more to holistic education than lots of activities, sport, drama and trips. I have been impressed this term with the leadership qualities, care and fine role modeling displayed by the Prefects (both Junior and Senior). There has also been an increased interest in charitable support (as seen through visits to a local care home and the Houses embracing their own charities). The School Christian Union, Xplore, has been challenging many to think about spiritual matters and in PSHE there has been a heightened sense of thoughtful debate over ‘whole life’ issues. Each and every area has contributed to academic progress and endeavour at all levels of the school as we aspire towards one of our pivotal ‘pupil outcomes’ – the desire to see Ballard pupils leave as responsible, positive and reflective citizens. As one Y11 pupil put it in a personal statement: ‘You can go to a school but unless you contribute to the school you can never be part of the school. I feel like I am part of Ballard and always will be’. This, then, is the Gold standard. As this is the end of term, my very best wishes for a peaceful, happy Christmas and a great new year.

Alastair Reid

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