When your child joins our Prep School in Year 3 (aged 7) our first priority is to give them everything they need to make friends and feel secure, so they can continue to learn with complete confidence. Small class sizes are the norm and each pupil receives individual attention and works according to a tailored curriculum. Our stunning location and facilities mean we can offer so much.
Education is about more than just what can be learned in a classroom and here there are so many great opportunities for our pupils. We believe in inspiring children to explore beyond the confines of the curriculum and our dedicated, specialist teachers bring subjects to life. They offer broad and balanced learning opportunities, founded on a strong academic core but also catering for individual interests and passions. Our Prep School pupils enjoy weekly lessons in English, Maths, Science, History, Geography, Religious Studies, Modern Foreign Languages (French/Spanish), Computer Science, Music, Drama, Art, Design & Technology, PE and Games.
"We see unique potential in all our children and support them to become the very best versions of themselves and not just pale imitations of someone else."
Small class sizes, and engaged and empathetic staff, ensure we know every child and family well. Alongside ongoing teacher assessment, we use standardised testing to monitor each pupil's potential and progress, allowing us to understand their expected levels of achievement and to put support in place to ensure their best outcomes. Our excellent Learning Support department produces individual learning programmes and pupil passports to support those with learning needs, while our “Go Beyond” scholarship programme provides stretch and a tailored programme for those identified as gifted and talented.
Form tutors maintain regular informal contact with every parent and our subject specialist teachers are all available to discuss children’s progress at our more formal Parents’ Evenings. Parents receive attainment and effort grades every half term, plus a full written report at the end of the academic year. Pupils also receive ongoing reports on the 4H core skills, helping them to identify their learning style and their strengths beyond the traditional classroom and culminating in the awarding of a 4H Diploma at the end of Year 6.
Prep school pupils pursue excellence in both team and individual sports and they make use of the school pool and our idyllic 30 acre site. Children from Year 3 onwards have weekly sports lessons and competitive fixtures and every child will be given the opportunity to represent the school. This is very important to us and helps all children to develop a love and appreciation of different sports, which we hope will remain with them into adult life. Fixtures are published in advance in our termly calendar and parents are welcome to come and support. It is our ambition that every student leaves GB enjoying sport and recognising the role that physical exercise can play in shaping healthy, happy lives.
Our Prep School pupils all work towards our unique 4H diploma. This challenges them to develop skills based on curiosity and problem solving; teamwork and communication; self-awareness, empathy and reflection; resilience and self-care. They are encouraged to use these skills to tackle issues within the school and wider community and take part in a range of charity and entrepreneurial projects.
We can arrange individual music and drama lessons with specialist teachers during the school day. Every pupil is given the opportunity to present and perform and we recognise the importance of public speaking. We hold regular poetry reading competitions and informal musical concerts; pupils organise and run assemblies, play an active role on a variety of school councils and are encouraged to present their ideas to their class, the school and the wider community. School productions for every age group are a highlight of the calendar and parents and families are warmly welcomed to attend.
Throughout these years, pupils engage with our Learning2Learn programme, which teaches them how to maintain a positive attitude and a growth mindset when confronted with learning challenges, as well as focusing on study and presentation skills. Chromebooks are used throughout the School to enrich the curriculum and pupils from Year 5 upwards take their own device to every lesson. We use G Suite and online learning programmes, to enhance lessons and to prepare our pupils for their further education and the workplace. Digital literacy and online safety are taught through Computer Science lessons and our PSHE programme.
Our varied activities programme runs at the end of our school day as well as in some break times. Pupils can select from a wide range of opportunities including STEM club, musical theatre, coding, art, choir, gardening, swimming and Agents for Change. We also have regular school trips to enhance our curriculum, spanning the local area, London and beyond.
We continue to prioritise the importance of the outside environment during the Prep school years. Through our well-established outdoor learning programme, children build self-esteem and learn about the natural world, whilst developing skills in team-building and cooperation, risk management and project planning. Stepping out of the classroom gives access to a range of real-world learning experiences and provides opportunities to develop skills for life. Our beautiful rural location provides the perfect backdrop for our hands on outdoor curriculum.
We know that happy children make better learners. Our outstanding pastoral care supports each child individually throughout their time here. Our school is a happy, safe and caring environment which teaches kindness, empathy, independence, resilience and personal wellbeing as part of the curriculum.
Pupils are looked after by a form tutor but also choose their own adult "champion". Their champion will be there to support them all the way through until the end of Year 8, when they will be replaced by an academic mentor. Wellbeing sessions are built into our timetable and teach children strategies for managing their own mental and physical wellness.
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.