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Hidden gems – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 21st September 2016

September 21, 2016
Ballard School New Milton Hidden Gems

Hidden gems

I still occasionally hear people say that Ballard School is the ‘best kept secret in Hampshire’. I know what they mean – it’s only when you venture past our signage and down the drive that you realise what an extensive site we have and a wealth of opportunity to go with it. However, I usually also greet such a remark with both a wry smile (we have done a lot to make ourselves better known over the past few years) and a sense of excitement.

At a recent Assembly I challenged the school, pupils and staff, to investigate why the metal rivets on the door into the Main House are so prominent. This may seems like an obscure question to pose but it partly disguises a hidden gem! I could have asked a similar question about the many fine fireplaces in our 1904-5 building (Great Ballard House), all of which also proudly emphasise their workmanship.

Ballard School New Milton door arts and crafts

What’s behind the door at Ballard School?

The answer, of course, is that the Main House is an ‘Arts and Crafts’ influenced building and the (at present) unknown architect was keen to allow the many craftsmen involved in its construction to show off their skill and care by giving a ‘hint’ as to how things had been made. The fine designs on the doors, windows and fireplaces all serve to draw the attention to exquisite craftsmanship even though much of the work involved is necessarily hidden.

And so it is with the Ballard School of today. We do not seek to be a boastful school (and are occasionally admonished for not ‘blowing our trumpet more’) but we do delight in the successes of our young people both in school and outside. Indeed, it’s often the involvement, challenge and participation they have in sports’ clubs, drama groups and uniformed associations outside of the school, somewhat hidden from us at times, that enables them to throw themselves fully into the life of the school and so to excel here, too. In assemblies we rejoice in the achievements of our pupils (and sometimes staff, too) in charity events, ski races, horse riding events, large scale musicals and in county and regional sports’ teams, all of which take place outside of normal school hours. We can take up some of these, of course, within curriculum time – and also stretch the day and occasionally into the weekend to facilitate this – but it’s a delight to encourage such wide interests and opportunities.

In the same way that a pearl grows in a clam, hidden and unobserved until ready to gleam, pupils at Ballard are nurtured through home, their locality and in their school environment. Hidden, possibly, but certainly gems!

Ballard School Best School New Milton Hampshire

It’s been said Ballard School is the ‘best kept secret in Hampshire’

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

We tweet from @BallardSchool

Ballard School is a non-selective, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire (on the Dorset/Hampshire border), providing an outstanding level of education for nursery to GCSE. With small class sizes and proven academic excellence, we strive to nurture the academic potential of all students. Learn more about our academic programmes, pastoral care, facilities and school ethos by visiting our website or by requesting a prospectus here

IMAGE: By Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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