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School History

Great Ballard School was founded in 1924 by Ivor Poole, a choral scholar from King’s College Cambridge, and was based initially in New Milton Hampshire.

When it was established, there were 20 boys and it was the aim of Mr Poole to run a school that was different to the traditional perception of a boarding school where education was provided in a caring environment and everyone was treated fairly. The school motto, “Vincit qui se vincit” which means “He conquers who conquers himself” was established then and is still as relevant today.

In 1932, a new headmaster, Vernon Peek, took over from Ivor Poole and after only two years he retired and was in turn succeeded by Norman Knight. Mr Knight became Head in 1934 and stayed in the post until 1961.


With the onset of the Second World War, the school premises were commandeered by the Canadian forces so  Mr Knight had to find a new home.  A temporary solution was found when we were welcomed at Clayesmore School, Dorset in 1940 before a move was made later in the year to Stowell Park in Gloucestershire where the school remained until 1947. Lord and Lady Vestey who owned Stowell Park, kindly moved out into one of the farmhouses on the estate for the duration of the war and Great Ballard moved in.  After the war, Lord and Lady Vestey were ready to move back into Stowell Park, so Great Ballard School was on the move again.

In 1947 Norman Knight thought he had found the ideal solution at Cordwalles, Camberley, Surrey, where the Queen had done her ATS training, so the school moved and enjoyed their new home surrounded by countryside.   However, in 1960, Camberley Council took over some adjoining land to build houses and the school was to lose its country feeling. As this had always been part of the ethos of the school since its foundation in 1924, another move was sought.

This final move took place in March 1961 to Eartham. Eartham House became the home of Great Ballard School and is still its home today upholding the original ethos and values started back in 1924 by Ivor Poole. One important change to the school is that it is no longer just a boarding school for boys, it offers day and boarding opportunities for both boys and girls with all children being given the same opportunities

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