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Making a difference – Headmaster’s Blog – Wednesday 10th May 2017

May 10, 2017
Making a difference Ballard School

Making a difference

Ballard School annual formal dinner for senior prefects

We have just had our annual formal dinner for the Senior Prefects – attended by their Form Tutors and other senior teachers. As ever, the school caterers excelled themselves and produced a three-course meal fit for a top quality restaurant. The pupils dressed smartly and the meal is structured to give them a ‘taste’ of a formal occasion complete with a traditional grace, the Loyal Toast and speeches from the Deputy Head Boy and Girl with a reply by one of the Y11 Form Tutors.

Ballard School senior prefects dinner

Ready for their formal dinner as senior prefects 2016-17.

The speech by Mr Andy Marshall, Senior Teacher and a Y11 Form Tutor, focussed on ‘the hidden curriculum’ which is so important in a school like Ballard. In a world which is going through a population explosion and at the same time exerting pressures on young people like never before, he urged us to hold on to traditional values – the so-called ‘soft skills’ – which not only set our pupils apart from many but which are so important for the wider world.

Mr Marshall urged us all to consider how we can best make a difference in our immediate environments and from there out into the world like ripples on a lake – or, as Mother Theresa once said;

to remember that the ocean is made up of individual drops of water and thus each is invaluable and precious.

‘Soft skills’ include being able to hold a conversation with those who are older than you or whom you have just met. They embrace good manners, clear speech, looking people in the eye and giving a firm handshake. Politeness, respect and taking care over our appearance all can make a positive impact beyond our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances.

We were encouraged, too, not to be afraid of ‘trial and error’, of making a mistake, admitting a wrong doing and then moving on humbler, wiser and more determined than ever to ‘get it right’ next time. Our young people are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone in speaking before an audience (as our Deputies did so well at the dinner), in trying a new activity and in seizing a fresh opportunity. GCSE results are clearly vitally important but they are not an exclusive passport to success and worth in life.

In listening to the speeches at the dinner I was reminded of something written by an unknown monk in 1100 AD:

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realise that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Our dinner ended with the School toast: ‘In novitate sensus’ (the school motto – ‘by the renewing of you mind’) followed by the now familiar declaration: ‘Once a Ballardian, always a Ballardian’! Let’s now go on and make a difference in our family, our locality, our nation – and so on to the world!

Alastair Reid (Headmaster)

For more information on our PSHE curriculum, do see our blog from May 2016.

We tweet from @BallardSchool 

Ballard School is an independent, private co-educational school in New Milton, Hampshire, 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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