BALLARD School prides itself on turning out well-rounded and polite young men and women.

The New Forest independent school’s holistic approach means its students are offered the widest range of opportunities possible.

And head teacher Alastair Reid firmly believes that good performance in the classroom will follow if youngsters are offered a wide range of extra-curricular activities.

Mr Reid has been at the helm for more than three years and the school has the highest GCSE results of all non-selective schools in the area.

But Mr Reid said the results reflect just one side of the school.

“We emphasise all-roundedness,” he said. “We have recently opened our international-size Astroturf hockey pitch, we put on around six major performing arts productions every year and students also enjoy our swimming pool, tennis courts and sports hall.

“We are very keen on music and art and are also involved in sailing, Duke of Edinburgh Awards and have many links in the local community.”

Ballard often opens up its facilities to state schools and shares links with local secondary schools including Highcliffe and Arnewood.

Its school council also chooses local and overseas charities to support every year.

The school is divided into three sections. Pre-prep takes children from around 18 months to year 2, Prep School is from Year 3 to Year 8 and Senior School for Years 9, 10 and 11. There is no sixth form.

“We do not have a sixth form here because there is already very good provision in the area” said Mr Reid. “Our students go on to a range of schools and colleges including Brockenhurst, local secondary school sixth forms and grammar schools.”

The school is set in beautiful grounds on the outskirts of New Milton and offers a fleet of coaches and minibuses to ferry children from an area roughly covering the New Forest, Wimborne, Waterside, Ringwood, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Lymington. There are around 500 students in the school.

Ballard in its present form has existed since 1995 when the former Edinburgh House and Fernhill Manor schools merged. It offers bursaries and scholarships.

One of the school’s most popular attributes is its small classes with between 12 and a maximum of 20 in a class. It currently has a waiting list for Year 9 to Year 11.