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Big Questions? – Headmaster’s Blog -Wednesday 3rd February 2016 – Ballard School

February 3, 2016

Big Questions?

One of the greatest opportunities I have as a Headmaster is, from time to time, meeting pupils for an interview. I know that pupils perhaps find these a little scary but, I trust, that they also find the experience helpful and rewarding. I certainly do!

Scholarship Interviews

Recently I have been undertaking the interviews for scholarship candidates and later in the year I will see those who have applied to be senior prefects. Each Year 8 pupil also has an ‘exit interview’ with me in the Summer Term as they prepare for the senior school during which I discuss their aspirations, hopes and goals for the future.

These various interviews involve ‘big questions’:

What does the School expect of a scholar?

Why would you make a good prefect?

What GCSEs do you need for that future career or course? 

I try my best to advise, guide, encourage and challenge and from time to time I am also made to stop and think!

Quizzing the quizmaster

In the scholar interviews I usually conclude by asking the candidate if he or she has a question for me. Some ask for clarification about the assessments and a few have a question about Ballard, especially if they are an external candidate. This year I was asked:

What’s it like being a Headmaster?

Which part of which continent would you divide so as to keep warring countries apart? 

If you had one wish regarding the world, what would it be?

I expect that not a few of these (and other) questions were provoked by the ‘reflective spaces’ which were on at the same time as the scholarship interviews. Part of this was a space for ‘big questions’ and we had some very challenging ones (see an earlier blog).

2016.1.26 RS  big questions quote

One of the ‘Big Questions’ asked during our ‘Reflective Spaces’ event – January 2016

My replies to the three questions above were (in order)

‘varied, worrying, enjoyable and stimulating’

‘the Indian sub-continent’ and

‘a better sharing of resources, not least food’

None of my responses were earth-shattering but it was good for the interviewer, on these occasions, to be challenged by the interviewees!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)


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