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Great Ballard - Pupils stimulated by inspiring environment

Great BallardStunning countryside surrounds Great Ballard School, nestled on the edge of South Downs National Park with commanding views. Isle of Wight is visible on the horizon, Chichester Cathedral spire a landmark in the distance.

Academically pupils excel, with strong focus on core subjects examined at Common Entrance and Scholarship Levels. Modern IT suite is used by every age group from nursery to Year 8, across all subjects. Excellent paperless science labs edged with individual workstations for practical lessons, the central area resembles a lecture theatre for pupils to listen and present their findings.

But the charm of this small independent school, with 20 acres to be enjoyed by its 160 children aged from 2 to 13, is how boiler-suit clad children make the most of their idyllic setting. They race out at breaktimes to wander in woods, climb trees, play games whether in sunshine or beneath grey skies. Boys find a ball from somewhere and girls hop over the cracks in the patio, proving such simple childhood pleasures survive in our modern age.

So seriously has the school taken their need for a rural setting that Great Ballard has moved several times since its foundation in 1924, leaving its purpose-built campus in Camberley in 1961 when surrounding countryside was threatened with development.

Now happily settled into Eartham House, a grand building with its own rich history and Blue Plaques to prove it, school life continues under its motto, which loosely translates as ‘Doing your best to be your best’. Ornate fireplaces and carvings are complemented by colourful displays of students’ artwork, showing off the talents of gifted youngsters who have been worthy winners of scholarships.

New headmaster Richard Morgan joined the school in September 2013. He said: “I am delighted and excited to be the new Head of Great Ballard – a school that seeks to nurture well mannered, self confident children in a stunning rural environment and through a genuinely all round education where academic achievement and quality of character are valued equally highly.”

Outdoor tradition

Forest school is just one way of combining learning with fun. Launched in May 2013, it has built on Great Ballard’s already strong outdoor tradition. Formal lessons can be experienced in the grounds along with hands-on activities like whittling, campfire cooking and creating a mud hut. Inspiration is drawn daily from the natural environment for art, poetry and performance projects. Alice in Wonderland was put on as a promenade through the grounds, using the woods, fields and even the swimming pool to stage the tale. A Midsummer Night’s Dream was also performed by students in the open air. Three school cats stalk the flowerbeds.

Music is an important part of daily life and children are encouraged to learn a musical instrument. Choirs are well supported and the Carol Concert at Boxgrove Priory is a highlight of the school year.

Team sports are played on fields high above the main building, a perfect setting on a summer’s day for a game of cricket or rounders, as well as athletics. Astroturf pitch, tennis courts and large indoor hall provide year-round facilities, along with the covered swimming pool. Football coaching is supported by Brighton and Hove Albion. Excellent teas provided by the school chef, much loved by staff and pupils alike for his home-cooked creations.

All pupils achieve entry to their chosen senior school, many with scholarships. Great Ballard works with children and their families to identify the best path for each individual. Close ties between staff and parents emphasise the feeling of family, and past-pupils are now returning to enrol the next generation. Fundraising efforts for local charities add to that sense of a village school, being part of the surrounding community.

Close ties between staff and parents emphasise the feeling of family, and past-pupils are now returning to enrol the next generation. 

Nursery takes children from two and younger children love to play in the safety of their own garden, pulling weeds and watching herbs and fruit grow before finally getting a taste. Opportunity for all younger children to use facilities in the main school. Interactions between age groups allows them to comfortably progress through to the prep school.

Flexible boarding along with breakfast and after school clubs are offered to help working parents. Homely dormitories with four or five beds can be used by full time boarders as well as day pupils with a need or desire to stay overnight.

Overseas students are welcomed for short visits as well as longer stays, whether to offer a taste of England in a small friendly community, or as larger groups with teachers. Recent visits have included groups from Europe and China. These experiences enrich the school for both visitors and local pupils.

Great Ballard is a private limited company and instead of governors has management and advisory boards who ensure highest standards are maintained while keeping the ethos intact.

Giving children a life-long love of learning is what Great Ballard is about, and when school life is such fun, it is bound to succeed.


Note from the Head

Great Ballard is an independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 2 to 13. It is situated in the magnificent Eartham House set in 20 acres of idyllic parkland just 5 miles from Chichester.

Our children enjoy a vibrant and genuinely all round education that is exciting, challenging and stimulating. Academic study is central to what we do and we expect all our pupils to adopt a healthy work ethic, but we also believe that to truly educate we must celebrate the creative, physical, and spiritual, as much as the intellectual.

Our aim is to nurture happy, accomplished, and well rounded children. We value self confidence, but not arrogance, and applaud gentleness and humility. We appreciate unaffected good manners and embrace traditional values. We respect individuality and recognise success, but most essentially quality of character is regarded equally as highly as achievement.

We understand that parents have a choice of a number of independent schools in West Sussex, and each is unique. How do you know if Great Ballard is right for you? We think the only way to assess what we're all about is to come and see us. We are confident you will be able to appreciate how much we care about each and every one of our children and their individual needs. Our classes are small so we can give everyone the attention they deserve.

Meanwhile, we hope these pages give you an insight into our school and its beautiful setting. We are incredibly fortunate to be nestled in the heart of the South Downs National Park with extensive grounds where our children play and learn about nature. Our woodlands and grounds provide a unique extended classroom for all.

Richard Morgan

Events calendar

Event name: Open Day
When: Saturday, 10th May 2014
Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm
Location: Eartham, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0LR

Testimonials

“I really enjoyed talking with her, she was both knowledgeable and imaginative. All in the department were extremely impressed by her work. They praised her enthusiasm for the subject and her abundance of imagination and creative ability."
Head at Senior School commenting on one of our Scholars.

“The atmosphere is warm but also one of progression and achievement."
Parent commenting about Great Ballard at Reunion.

“It opened me up to a wide range of activities and interests and through that I have found my strengths and talents.”
Ex pupil commenting on their experience at Great Ballard.

School details

Address: Eartham, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0LR
Phone: 01243 814 236
Head: Richard Morgan
Founded:
Pupils: Boys: 92, Girls: 68 (flexi, weekly, full boarding)
Ages: 2-13
Website: www.greatballard.co.uk
Email: office@greatballard.co.uk
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus

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