The Head, Bart Wielenga in the school garden


This blog is intended to give an insight into daily life at Blundell's as seen through the eyes of its Head.

With fortnightly updates on new initiatives, themed days and general observations, it will give current and prospective parents some idea as to what goes on behind the scenes at this thriving co-educational school. 


Summer 2021

1. Character Education

This year, for the first time, we have introduced a timetabled lesson called ‘Character’ for our Year 9 pupils. Through the year pupils participate in a carousel that has three components: service, well-being, and character. The idea is that all pupils have an opportunity to reflect on and think about those elements in a structured manner. By ringfencing time in the busy school schedule communicates that they are important to us.

The intrinsic message is that education is more than the certificates we get after writing exams. A great education is one that cannot be effectively assessed or evaluated at the end of GCSE’s or A-Levels. Arguably, the true judgement of education can only occur many years, perhaps decades, after the formal end of a pupils’ days at school.

The evidence of an outstanding education must be evidenced in the actions and attitudes of the pupils as they live out their lives: as partners, as parents, as friends, as members of the community, as colleagues, as employers, as employees, as human beings.

There is a valid debate about whether character can be taught. There is a lot to be said about character being a by-product of experience and that it is not something acquired in the classroom. I agree with that in principle, but I would argue that the development of character can be enhanced and guided through a formal and structured ‘character education’. I believe that character can be intentionally affected over time and that is the starting assumption in this process.

In the next few weeks I want to share with you some of the conversations I have been having with groups of our Year 9 pupils when we have discussed character and I hope that their thoughts and reflections will stimulate your own reflections on this fascinating and important aspect of education.


Blundell's Preparatory School,
Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4NA
Tel 01884 252393   Email


Blundell's School,
Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4DN
Tel 01884 252543   Email
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Registered Office: Blundell's Road, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4DT. Registered Charity, No. 1081249.