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Ballard School – Headmaster’s Blog – 25 September – Educational Investment

September 25, 2015

In an article in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ last week (18/9/15), Judith Woods in her column lauds the fact that she is saving money

Alastair Reid Headmaster Ballard School New Milton Hampshire

Alastair Reid
Headmaster Ballard School New Milton Hampshire

for nice summer holidays by not paying school fees. Her article begins by citing ‘a new study’ which reportedly reveals that state school pupils do better than their privately educated peers when they reach university by gaining more first-class degrees. The article concludes: ‘Not investing in their education could be the best investment I’ll ever make’.

I have to say that I am pleased to note the ‘could’ in her conclusion as it indicates an element of doubt in her decision. Education, even university education, is not simply about first class degrees and (dare I say it) A and A* grades. No doubt there are more state school educated graduates with firsts – there are more of them in any case – and how do we define ‘state school educated’? My three children, for example, all attended a Scottish primary school before moving to the independent sector when I moved schools. Moreover, many of those classified as ‘independent school’ pupils in the various rugby world cup squads were actually in the state sector until they won prestigious sixth-form sports’ scholarships to a private school.

Time and time again parents tell me that they choose Ballard School for its all-round emphasis and holistic appeal. They want well-educated young people academically but they also want children who try a range of opportunities, are challenged to go beyond the norm, who thrive in small classes, have a myriad of leadership possibilities and whose teachers know them well. I am not denying that these features can also be true for pupils educated in the maintained sector but all too frequently their typically larger environments, the shorter school day and the national curriculum-driven agendas in many such schools squeezes out opportunity for pupils. Our parents sacrifice a great deal and choose to pay fees to send their children here and we delight in the chance to work in partnership with them to secure the very best in every area of school life and to turn out well-rounded and positive citizens. Most of our Y11 leavers eventually go on to university and we frequently receive reports of their successes, endeavours and fine outcomes – including first class degrees. They are applauded by university dons for getting stuck in and contributing to wider university life and often show maturity and responsibility beyond their years. These attributes are, of course, difficult to measure but they are no less important for all that.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster) @BallardSchool

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