Inspection Reports

The school is regularly inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) who are the body approved by the Secretary of State for Education for schools who are members of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and ISI is also approved to inspect the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

ISI inspection report – November 2017

Summary of feedback


Ballard School is given the highest possible grade at every level!

Rated ‘Excellent’ by the Independent Schools Inspectorate

EYFS rated ‘Outstsanding’ by the ISI in conjunction with OFSTED


The whole school, from Nursery and Early Years (Kindergarten and Reception) through to Year 11, was visited by a team of seven inspectors over a three-day period towards the end of November 2017. The final report can be found on this page as a PDF file.  What follows is a very brief and simple summary: please see the full report (see for a comprehensive account.

Regulatory Compliance Inspection (RCI): there are no judgements made in this area but there is a thorough and detailed inspection in accordance with the regulations of the Department of Education (DfE) and the Independent Schools Council (ISC). In every single area the School is compliant and there are no requirements for further action.  (See pages 5-7 of the Report.)

The quality and standards of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS): the School is a registered setting with Ofsted and so our youngest pupils within Pre-Prep are scrutinised separately and judged according to Ofsted’s four-point scale; outstanding, good, requires improvement, inadequate   (See pages 8-10 of the Report.)

Download the reports

The Full Report of the Whole School

The main school was last inspected in November 2017 with the report issued in January 2018.

"The school is successful in its aim to provide education that extends beyond the purely academic."

Whole school report January 2018

"Generous levels of staffing ensure that standards of care are high and that each child follows a personalised learning programme."

EYFS January 2018

In all 5 areas the EYFS is judged as being OUTSTANDING (the highest grade)


  • Overall effectiveness: the quality and standards of the early years’ provision – ‘a supportive and caring environment for learning, putting children first’
  • Effectiveness of leadership and management – ‘generous levels of staffing…rigorous monitoring of academic standards…a very high level of pastoral care…parents expressed their overwhelming support for the setting…’
  • Quality of teaching, learning and assessment – ‘high expectations for each child are fully met…excellent communication…role modelling by older children…’
  • Personal development, behaviour and welfare – ‘…a calm and purposeful working atmosphere…a fresh and exciting environment…gentle and cooperative behaviour…’
  • Outcomes for children – ‘…many exceed age-related expectations…good social skills…happy to play independently…’

Recommendation for improvement: provide further opportunities to celebrate diversity across the curriculum [school comment: since the inspection, a great deal has already been done – we shall develop further opportunities]

Educational Quality Inspection (EQI): this focuses on the quality of the whole school’s work and focuses on two key outcomes (as below). The ISI terminology for judgements is different from that of Ofsted but remains a four-point scale: excellent, good, sound or unsatisfactory.  (See pages 11-16 of the Report.)


In each area of focus the School is judged to be EXCELLENT (the highest grade)


The quality of the pupils’ academic and other achievements is excellent.

  • Pupils engage actively in accessing the wide range of learning opportunities that is made available to them within and beyond the classroom.
  • Pupils have high levels of oral communication and presentation skills; they express their ideas and opinions clearly, coherently and with good humour.
  • In music, drama, art and sport the pupils show outstanding levels of achievement strongly aided by the multitude of opportunities available to them.
  • In some areas of the academic curriculum, the progress of more able pupils is slower when feedback is limited or challenges lack full rigour.


The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent.

  • Pupils are reflective, set high expectations of themselves and display confidence and resilience.
  • Pupils eagerly and willingly give of their time and energy to help others within the community, especially those younger than themselves.
  • Pupils appreciate the needs of others less fortunate than themselves and engage enthusiastically in charitable endeavours, both locally and internationally.
  • Pupils display high levels of respect and empathy towards their peers and all members of the school community.

Recommendation for improvement: enable all pupils, particularly the more able, to identify the next steps in their learning by sharing best practice regarding target setting and feedback.


Concluding comments

Finally, I want to say that it’s a tremendous privilege working within the Ballard Family and it’s a joy to read in the report how much the inspectors recognised the outstanding qualities of our young people. Many quotations stand out but the following seems to me to be a very appropriate summary:

Whatever their starting point, pupils develop confidence and become determined to give their best. They feel positive about themselves and their places within the school community. Pupils are reflective and have high levels of self-esteem and empathy.