Great stories start here

Pre-Prep at Great Ballard is a glorious place for your child to take their first steps in formal education. Our classrooms open onto the beautiful courtyard and garden where the children play and grow together. With secret willow domes, climbing frames, sand pits and a vehicle track, there is an abundance of space for engaging and imaginative play.   


Children are taught by specialist teachers in classrooms that bubble with creativity and wonder. Our aim is to ignite children’s love for learning, encouraging them to grow into confident and independent individuals. From Reception to Year 2, daily Literacy and Numeracy lessons underpin our broad curriculum, providing firm foundations for a wider understanding of the world.

Small class sizes allow us to get to know every child and family and to map individual progress.
We believe that happy children learn best, which is why wellbeing sits at the heart of our curriculum and we have the highest aspirations for every child. From Reception onwards, our children’s learning is enhanced by specialist teaching in music, sport and Forest School.

Beyond the


Our Pre-Prep benefits from the school’s idyllic 30 acres of woodland and meadow and impressive facilities. Pre-Prep children can enjoy the school vegetable garden (and the chickens who live there!), den building and campfires on the hill and our heated swimming pool. They can cook, create, perform and experiment in our lab, our food technology room and our varied halls and studios.


Sport at Great Ballard is an important part of school life. From Reception, children will have weekly PE lessons with a specialist sports teacher. These are a fun introduction to the enjoyment of participation and team games and the first steps towards the varied opportunities and competitive matches our children enjoy from Year 3 onwards. All Pre-Prep pupils also benefit from weekly swimming lessons in our own heated swimming pool.

Extra-curricular activities

We can arrange individual music lessons with expert teachers and we offer a broad selection of after school clubs, ranging from art to STEAM and from gardening to football. We believe passionately that the broader their experience is in Pre-Prep, the better prepared they will be for life beyond.

Parent partnership

Looking after your whole family matters to us. We welcome parents and grandparents to feel part of the school, whether it’s watching a school play or simply enjoying one of our family activity mornings. We understand that the opportunity to feel part of the community and form friendships is important for the whole family.

Go Outdoors

Children from Nursery to Year 2 are always exploring -from playtimes, walks and sports to expeditions in the woods and to Forest School. Outdoor learning is an integral part of our whole school commitment to wellbeing and health and adventures outdoors help children develop resilience, self-esteem, collaboration and risk-taking.  

“Mud washes off. Experiences don’t!”


Wellbeing and pastoral care

Every child’s learning journey is anchored in empathy and kindness.

Our curriculum promotes healthy lifestyles, with sports and activities building good habits and the best mindsets for growth and wellbeing. Great Ballard is all about giving children the confidence to reach their potential and explore their ambitions and this journey begins at the earliest age.

Our school is built around a pastoral system in which form teachers and pastoral leaders look out for and champion your child. We seek to know and understand every pupil and to provide a consistent journey for each from Nursery to GCSE. Older students act as role models and mentors for those in our youngest age groups and the impact on both can be invigorating.

Next steps

The Great Ballard story begins in Nursery and goes all the way through to 16. We support our children with the gentle steps from one phase to the next. Ongoing assessment and cognitive data analysis allow us to track each pupil’s learning journey, confirm they are reaching their potential and ensure their needs continue to be met. The breadth of our students’ learning is never narrowed by a blinkered focus on entrance tests and exams and our pupils and families feel the benefits of that measured and nurturing approach. Communication between home and school is invaluable, regular and constructive throughout every stage and our renowned high standards of pastoral care never dip as our children take on new challenges and grow within our school. And we look after family members too and appreciate their loyalty. For every year that your children remain at Great Ballard (from Reception to Year 6), they will accrue a larger percentage loyalty discount which can be applied against fees from Year 7 upwards. The Great Ballard journey is an adventure and we want it to be as accessible as possible for everyone.

Pre-Prep staff

Sam Hird
Head of Pre-Prep
Steffi Wright
Year 2 Teacher
Rachael Stenning
Year 1 Teacher
Sally Brooks
Spencer Leclercq
PE Teacher
Yvonne Bar
Reception Teacher, Head of EYFS
Tom Anderson
Head of Adventure and Prep Pastoral Lead
Alison Bushnell
Mental Health Lead
Lisa Lyons
Head of Music
Jenna Morris
Nursery Lead
Dan Joseph
Pastoral Deputy
Ben Purgavie
Head of Sport
Katka Marconi
Nursury Practitioner
Charlotte Daborn
Nursury Practitioner
Maisie English
Nursury Practitioner

Need to know

When can I come and visit?
When can my child start?
While most children tend to join at the start of the academic year or new term, children can join us at any time, even mid-term. Once you have registered your child, they would be invited to attend a couple of taster days to allow them to experience a normal day at Great Ballard, get to know their peer group and be informally assessed in Numeracy, Literacy, Spelling and Reading. Following a successful taster day, we would then make the offer of a place and, providing all the paperwork is in place, your child could join us straight away.
What do the fees include?
What are the timings of the school day?
What wraparound care do you provide?
What is the 4H approach?
What uniform and equipment will my child need?
Do you run a school bus?
What if my child needs extra support?