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Citizens of the World – Headmaster’s Blog – 25th November 2015 – Ballard School

November 25, 2015

After over a year of planning, research and then implementation, Ballard School has been awarded the British Council’s prestigious International Schools’ Award in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom. Our head of Modern Foreign Languages, Mrs Prout, recently went to London to receive the Award which takes us through from 2015 to 2018.

2015.11 ISA International award

Mrs Prout receiving the ISA International Award in London, November 2015

In keeping with many schools, we have had foreign language exchanges for some time (in French, German and Spanish). Additionally, we have been supporting several overseas’ trips. These have included art trips to Venice and Florence, a Y6 residential trip to Normandy, the battlefield trip to northern France and visits further afield to India, New York and Morocco. In some ways there is nothing especially remarkable about these ventures unless it is considered they are being done by a school which doesn’t boast a sixth form. What is remarkable, however, is the way we have started to shape areas of our curriculum to be an ‘outward facing school’.

In Monday’s whole-school assembly, for example, we heard about the work successive Ballard pupils have been doing in Kenya over a 12-year period assisting with community projects (such as building toilet blocks in remote areas and erecting elephant-proof fences) and teaching primary school children. Just last term, moreover, as part of the British Council inspired Comenius Project, we hosted a week-long conference for pupils and staff from schools in Italy, Germany and Mallorca.

2015.11 British council ISA Int award 1

One of the aims of the British Council – image taken when in London, November 2015

The Comenius Project has been part of the school curriculum for the past three years and has seen studies done into European political systems, catering and ecology projects. The Pre-Prep looks at Chinese New Year whilst the Lower Prep has an India Day and also hosts a visit from Japanese students. Each Form in the senior part of the school has undertaken a study of a European country that is less well known in the UK – such as Estonia – and then made a presentation to other pupils about their findings.

Our recent tweet about our world map:

2015.11. world map outside HM office

I am very aware that we are a school located in a beautiful part of the country but without a significant amount of day-to-day contact with people of other cultures, backgrounds and faiths. As a TCK myself (a ‘third culture kid’ – someone born in one country, brought up in another and educated in yet another) I have come to value the importance of international understanding. We therefore take what opportunities we can to find out more about the world around us. This may take the form of regular ’in the news’ features in school displays and Form periods – even in the flying of a different country’s flag each day – but each ‘drop’ helps increase the ‘ocean’ of appreciation, tolerance and understanding of those different from ourselves. Setting aside awards, this is important in its own right.

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet @BallardSchool

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