Great Ballard - Pupils stimulated by inspiring environment

Stunning 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 1/2 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.

Headmaster Richard Evans joined the school in September 2015. 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 Evans


“The quality of pupils’ learning and achievement is excellent”
ISI Inspection 2015

“Teachers’ genuine, caring approach is appreciated and recognised by pupils and parents”
ISI Inspection 2015

“Boarders are confident, articulate, well mannered and extremely well looked after, provision and care is excellent”
ISI Inspection 2015

School news

19th Feb 2019
Children at Great Ballard School have been celebrating Chinese New Year. Two groups of children - all the way from Beijing and Shenzhen in mainland China have been showing Great Ballard Pupils how they celebrate Chinese New Year. To ring in the Year of the Pig they have enjoyed a lunch of ... more
12th Dec 2018
Great Ballard School children, from the youngest to the oldest, staff and parents have taken part in their annual fundraising event: ‘The Reindeer Run’, in aid of St Wilfrid’s Hospice, in Chichester. After gathering in sponsorship the runners donned antlers and limbered up to take on a ... more
12th Oct 2018
As part of their Armistice commemorations, former pupil, Captain Nick Cooke-Priest OBE has unveiled a Royal British Legion ‘Tommy’ at Great Ballard School. Captain Cooke-Priest also spoke to Great Ballard pupils, parents and staff in a special assembly to mark the occasion and to remind pupils ... more
12th Oct 2018
Great Ballard School has, once again, hosted the world-famous Stradivarius Piano Trio. Great Ballard School has, once again, hosted the world-famous Stradivarius Piano Trio. Headmaster, Richard Evans, said: “Music is such an important part of life here at Great Ballard and so to be able ... more
12th Oct 2018
Great Ballard School is proud to have won another Green Business Award. After winning the Arun Business Award for Green Business of the year Great Ballard has now won the Southern Regional Green Business of the year award. Great Ballard School is proud to have won another Green Business ... more
21st Jun 2018
Great Ballard Form 8 Leavers are celebrating their exam success this week with a raft of excellent results across the board. Great Ballard Form 8 Leavers are celebrating their exam success this week with a raft of excellent results across the board. Each student taking their Common Entrance ... more
31st May 2018
This term, Great Ballard School has launched its iSpace Wellbeing programme as a ‘pioneering school’. iSpace is a new and ever-developing mental health and wellbeing educational programme for children aged 4-11 which is delivered in PSHE lessons. The importance of children’s mental health ... more
16th May 2018
Last week, the nursery children of Great Ballard School ventured out to Claremont Lodge Nursing Home. The children and residents painted pots and planted sunflower seeds together in an afternoon of sunshine, smiles and fun. Great Ballard School and Claremont Lodge have enjoyed spending time ... more
10th May 2018
Great Ballard School in Eartham, near Chichester, has been awarded the Green Award in the Chichester Observer Business Awards 2018. Great Ballard School is based in the South Downs National Park and being ‘green’ is a way of life for the pupils and staff. Winning the award over the weekend ... more
7th Feb 2018
7+ and 11+ scholarships for entry in September 2018 for Academic, Music, Sport, Drama and Art are now open. Great Ballard was rated 'EXCELLENT' in its latest ISI Inspection Report. Boarding and day opportunities are available here in our wonderful setting in the South Downs National ... more
18th Dec 2017
Merry Christmas from all at Great Ballard. [embed][/embed]
7th Dec 2017
Following another exciting year of growth and in a bid to expand our brand awareness as a leading independent private school in West Sussex, the Great Ballard School team were thrilled to receive the prestigious Business Marketing and Promotions Award at the Arun Business Partnership Awards ... more
7th Dec 2017
Some of the Early Years pupils (Nursery and Reception) at Great Ballard School were fortunate enough to be invited to visit Claremont Lodge Nursing Home in Fontwell last Friday for an afternoon of crafts and conversation. The children love an opportunity to travel in the minibus with ... more
20th Oct 2017
Pupils and parents were thrilled when the Stradivarius Piano Trio came and performed two concerts at Great Ballard School.  The musicians are all world class and played piano, violin and cello with the violin being a rare Stradivarius.   In the afternoon, the children were entranced by their ... more
18th Jul 2017
This year, the top Academic Scholarship to Hurstpierpoint was awarded to Saoirse Osborne with an impressive set of A* results across English, Maths, Science, French, Geography and History. Saoirse has been at Great Ballard since she started school and Richard Evans, Headmaster said that he ... more
18th Jul 2017
Form 5 pupils from Great Ballard School had an exciting day at the RSPB Reserve at Pulborough Brooks with the Education Officer and volunteers, where they had an opportunity to carry out practical field work. This involved pond dipping, the use of sweep nets, data loggers, viewers, and ... more
8th Mar 2017
On Thursday 2nd March, Great Ballard hosted a unique event for local parents and grandparents looking for the right senior school for their children and grandchildren. Proving a great success not only with parents, but also with children and senior school agencies, this event was well ... more
22nd Feb 2017
Great Ballard School will be hosting an Independent Senior Schools’ Fair on Thursday 2nd March from 6.30pm-9pm. This unique event is open to all local parents, or grandparents who have children or grandchildren still at junior or prep schools. A friendly and informative occasion for both ... more
17th Feb 2017
Could your child qualify for a Great Ballard Scholarship Programme? We are in search of exceptional talent to fill our limited scholarship places. With our small class sizes and leading facilities, we aim to foster and promote excellence to help children who show extreme promise to reach ... more
16th Dec 2016
The Nursery and Pre-Prep at Great Ballard School put on a wonderfully entertaining show at yesterday’s Nativity ‘The Donkey Seller’. There were many donkeys, sheep, camels, angels, shepherds, kings and more. We were treated to numerous catchy songs, intentional laugh out loud moments and a ... more
11th Nov 2016
On a glorious autumn morning, Great Ballard School held their annual Remembrance Service in St Margaret’s Church, the local parish church adjoining the school grounds. The service was attended by parents, staff and pupils and was very moving. As well as remembering all the old pupils ... more
5th Oct 2016
The Pre-Prep parents and children have all pulled together magnificently to donate food and toiletries to the Stone Pillow charity. This charity does a fantastic job of supporting homeless people in Chichester and always needs as much support as we can give them. Our service was led by ... more
4th Oct 2016
Great Ballard School has thanked everyone who attended the recent Macmillan Coffee Morning. Many friends and families of Great Ballard came along, bought cakes, drank tea and coffee and chatted to their heart’s content. The schools has thanked all who donated cakes and helped to raise at ... more
28th Jul 2016
Captain Nick Cooke-Priest OBE returned to Great Ballard School for the annual speech day. As a former pupil of the school in the 1980s, he was delighted to accept the invitation to address this year’s pupils, parents and teachers and present prizes to children for sporting, academic and ... more

School details

Address: Eartham, Chichester, West Sussex PO18 0LR
Phone: 01243 814 236
Head: Richard Evans
Founded: 1924
Pupils: Boys: 92, Girls: 68 (flexi, weekly, full boarding)
Ages: 2 1/2 -13
Prospectus: Request a Prospectus


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