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Keep on knitting! – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 28th September 2016

September 28, 2016
Ballard School Knitting Blog Craft

Keep on knitting!

I was very interested to note the following report in the National Press this week: Kathleen Kerridge in ‘the Guardian’ calls for self-sufficiency to be taught in schools in a bid to “relearn the skills we’re losing.” She suggests that “in a time when more and more families are feeling the pinch,” lessons in areas such as knitting, sewing, growing vegetables and making bread could be a benefit. She says of such skills: “one day we will need them, and there’ll be no one left to teach us.”

I am all for retaining the ‘lost arts’ and promoting the use of our hands where possible to develop craft skills. We have had a knitting club in the activities’ programme several times over the past three years and currently have a very popular jewellery club.

Ballard Schoo Jewelry Sewing

Our Summer Camps included ‘Fun with Fabric’ and Jewelry making clubs

Yesterday I watched a STEM activity (science, technology, engineering and maths) start the process of creating a trefoil boat by cutting off the end of a canoe in preparation for a complete re-modelling.

Ballard School STEM Canoe

A STEM activity – creating a trefoil boat by cutting off the end of a canoe

At more simple and traditional levels, it has been great to see an upsurge in the popularity of table tennis, spinning tops and, in the summer months, skipping games. As most people know, Ballard is a school which allows its children to climb trees (and, occasionally, fall out of them – but carefully, of course), to play conkers, to get hands dirty and boots wet maintaining the water garden. We have a chicken club and also a Pre-Prep vegetable plot. We are doing what we can to learn some skills necessary for self-sufficiency!



One of our most popular activities is cookery club. This is always over-subscribed and it’s good to note that it is both cooking and baking skills which are tried and tested along with simple food preparation techniques. Several enterprising pupils who are fund-raising for charity and school trips (such as Kenya 2017) are also making fudge, brownies and cakes weekly to sell to their peers.



On a different but related level, we feel it’s also important to teach and to model good manners (friendly greetings in the corridors, opening doors, standing up for visitors and adults), healthy habits of not just saying ‘thank you’ for a special trip but of writing (yes, handwriting) a card or letter to show appreciation. We have reintroduced ‘grace’ at meals this term as a way of pausing and reflecting, to give thanks to our catering staff, to those who grow and prepare our food and to thank God for His provision. Good habits, manners and skills such as these are the basis for a happy, supportive and pastorally-aware society which we are also in danger of losing if we don’t practise and promote more regularly.

Ballard School Headmaster Summer 2016

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

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