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Charity begins at home – Headmaster’s Blog – Tuesday 11th October

October 11, 2016
Ballard School Charity Home

Charity begins at home

There has been much discussion of late in the Press about the possibility of new grammar schools around the country. It seems that this proposed Government policy was leaked early and has thus attracted much more attention that was intended. This has meant that aspects of the Green Paper (for discussion) on education have been somewhat overlooked until more recently. One issue in particular is once again raising concerns for independent schools: independent schools should ‘offer greater benefit to ordinary families …. both by adding extra capacity to the state sector – where we need good sponsors to help turn around under-performing schools – and by opening up their education to a wider range of pupils.’ Moreover, we are told that the biggest and most successful independent schools ‘should face exacting requirements’ and that smaller ones will be expected to contribute to staff sharing / professional development, the teaching of ‘minority subjects’, access to facilities and (depending on the ‘shape of the school’) sixth form scholarships.

2016.1.22 Simon Mann lecture

One of our Lecture Series events 

2016-5-11-yrleadership-day-collage

Year 5 leadership day with local schools

I am all for challenge and engagement with the maintained sector. At Ballard we have significant links with primary and secondary schools and often share our facilities (such as the Performing Arts Centre and the Astro), our staff (helping with interview techniques, for example, and engaging in the performing arts) and our site. We combine with maintained schools for our lecture series and in MFL exchanges. We are also part of various initiatives, sponsored initially by local secondary schools, to help with teacher training. Our bursaries and scholarships also allow a number of families to send their children to Ballard who might otherwise struggle to do so – to the benefit of all of our children and their parents. Community links through charities, music groups, the Rotary, the Lions’ Club and many others are extensive.

 

 

There was a time when some political parties looked to abolish independent schools. This threat seems to have gone and the attention in recent years has been focused on our charitable status – and thus on the financial means for our existence. I hear of little consideration of the fact that parents choosing independent schools are paying twice for education (through taxes and fees) and also that if we did not exist then this would add significant numbers of pupils to the state education system at a time when funds are tight and school places limited.

It is fine to have a healthy debate about education, selection, charitable status and funding, but let’s keep things in proportion and fair!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

For more information about our Charitable status – please visit our website.

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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