Latin Prayer – Autumn Term 2020

17th November 2020

Good morning everyone and welcome back from your Exeat Weekend. I know that a number of the full boarders stayed in and I would like to thank especially those members of staff who gave up their Exeat Weekend to look after you.

We are now into the second half of November and the term ends in just three and a half weeks-time. This week Years 8, 9 and 10 write end of term exams and the Year 12s will be writing their in-class assessments too. This is a good week to keep your heads down and to get on with your work. I think the weather forecast is likely to make that a little bit easier too.

We are of course also into the second week of the National Lockdown and last week the big news was that a vaccine is not far off. It again paints a contrasting picture of things being really difficult with rising cases on the one hand, but on the other, that there is also real cause for optimism. We will wait and see and whatever happens we will rise to the challenge and make the best of it.

I have spoken to many of you in the last few weeks about your experiences of the Coronavirus. I see the Monitors and Heads of Houses on a weekly basis, I have donuts every week to celebrate birthdays with pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9. I have supper at home with Year 9 boarders and I have breakfast with new Year 12 pupils on Wednesday mornings. Overall, I think I have a pretty good sense of your thoughts on many things.

I admire tremendously your resilience and pragmatism. I received an email over the weekend from someone who knows the school well and she described the feel of the school as upbeat and positive, but real. That is wonderful praise for you, and I recognise that too. Despite circumstances being far from ideal, you have kept working hard, contributing to everything that is going on and, as always, you have been excellent company.

I must of course also pay tribute to the staff who have also had to deal with numerous challenges and they, like you, also miss many of the more enjoyable things that we normally get to do this term. I am grateful to them for their professionalism and their genuine care for you and your well-being.
 
I think that is the fundamental X Factor that makes things work here at school: people really care. And that is what gives our community its strength. All I can ask of you for the remaining weeks of the term is that you continue to care for one another. Look out for each other, be gentle with one another and put the needs of others before your own.

I would like to thank the Monitors for their excellent work in last week’s Tolerance and Kindness Week and I know that their theme of inclusivity struck a chord with many of you. It is a good theme to carry forward with us too.

The Senior Monitors will be hosting the second School Council of the term at lunch time today. I understand that it is not possible for some year groups to be represented due to the current lunch time arrangements but I hope that all your views will be brought to the Council through your house representatives. Next week in Latin Prayer we will hear from the Senior Monitors what was discussed today. With your well-being at the forefront of our minds, those of you in Years 7 to 11 will be doing your AS Tracking assessments this week. Some of you may already have done them last week. AS Tracking stands for Affective Social Tracking and gives us an insight into your well-being. Just like we track your academic progress in the classroom, the AS Tracking assessment that we do every six months gives us a set of data that helps us to know when you need support from us.

We all have our ups and downs and that is a normal part of life, but where we can give you additional support, we would like to be able to do so. AS Tracking is not a personality profiling exercise where you get labelled or pigeon-holed as a particular type, it is just an insight into how you are getting on.

Please take it seriously and allow others around you to take it seriously too. Please also remember to take headphones and your phone or laptop along to your next tutor session so that you can do the short assessment.

Music

ABRSM Digital Performance Violin exams were held recently in the Music Department. Performance exams are an exciting new style of music examination which provides the opportunity for the candidate to create their own performance, featuring music that is special to them. They were digitally recorded and then uploaded to the ABRSM for assessment, thereby allowing exams to take place safely within the Covid-19 restrictions. This is the first time this type of exam has been taken here at Blundell’s School and I am pleased to report that Finnian Batsford passed his Grade 6 Violin with Merit and Delilah Tindall Gundry passed her Grade 5 Violin.

Accelerated Reader Programme

Congratulations to the following SH pupils for obtaining their termly target in Accelerated Reader.

Year 7

Illy Lane, Alfie Panter and Nathan Winchester

Year 8

Mollie Loveridge, Bea Morrison, Ed List, James Milne, Kit Stone, Ophelia Thorpe, Minna Duckworth Chad, Thomas Huang and Austin Lawrence

Gold Arts Award

Last year Blundell’s Art Department launched the Trinity Art Award – a range of unique creative qualifications that support young people to grow as Creative Artists and Leaders. Ranging from Bronze to Gold, students explore opportunities to extend their knowledge and develop skills in the Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Literature, Digital and Media and any combination of these art forms.

Throughout the lockdown, three Year 12 students who had started their Gold Award continued their activities remotely despite having to adapt to difficult circumstances and tight restrictions due to the pandemic. They are now the first in school to successfully be Awarded the Trinity Gold Award in the Arts. This Level three qualification is independently undertaken and supported by Mrs Williams, and also gains them a valuable 16 UCAS points towards University entrance. I am very pleased therefore to congratulate:

William Delafield Cook, Grace Dash and Gemma Carr

Equestrian

The equestrians were in action again in the NSEA Arena Eventing competition at Pontispool on Sunday 1st November. Matilda Kolowska finished 1st in the 1m/1.05m class and qualified for the Hickstead Championships next year. In the 80cm/85cm class the team of James Dawkins, Archie Guinness and Hattie Barnes finished 3rd, with clear rounds from James and Archie who were placed 6th and 9th respectively. Tess Grubb jumped a clear round in the 80 cm class, placing 10th individually.

Enrichment and Engagement

I was very pleased to hear that Daniel Pugsley and Oliver Hedley-Lewis have been doing some excellent work in producing a series of Careers Podcasts. Dan has been interviewing members of staff about their careers before teaching whilst Oli has been learning to use professional grade editing software to produce the interviews.

The first interview this term was with Mr Lambert who spoke about his time working as an aerospace engineer for Rolls-Royce. Up next was Mr Boswell from the Development Office, who spoke of the rigours and thrills of a career in the Army. Both interviews can be found on the Engagement and Enrichment website, under PSHE and Life Skills.

Up next is Mr Rochfort, on life as an actor. Do continue to check the website as interviews will continue to be added.

Year 11

All Year 11 pupils to go from here straight to the Old Gym for their Elevate Study Skills seminar which lasts for the whole of P1 and P2.

2nd November 2020

Good morning everyone.

On Saturday the Prime Minister announced that the country will return to a lockdown of sorts this Thursday and that it is due to remain in place until at least the 2nd of December. The good news is that schools will remain open, and also, that for the majority of us in the South West, the prevalence of Covid continues to be much lower than in many other parts of the country.

We can look at the situation in one of two ways: either we focus on what we cannot do and what we are missing out on or, alternatively, we focus on the many things we have to be grateful for – and, more importantly, what opportunities the current situation presents to us to try to do things differently; to learn valuable lessons, to pull together as a Blundell’s community and to really savour what it means to be a member of this school in the face of adversity.

Make no mistake, this is hard and, if we allow ourselves to, this could get us down, but I like to think that at Blundell’s we love a challenge. The real character of a person and an institution is revealed when under pressure. So, whilst we are under pressure, this is our time to shine and to show that we will make the most of the circumstances and that we will continue to learn and thrive. This is the time for us to look after each other and to look out for each other.

Today the Senior Leadership Team will again be meeting to discuss what this all means for our day to day activities but for now it is business as it has been since Half-Term. Please do continue to use the review@blundells.org to ask questions and to seek clarification. Of course, it remains very important that we stick to our routines and that we continue to work hard at our studies. With fewer distractions we should be able to crack on with schoolwork and a number of year groups will have exams and tests of various types in the next few weeks anyway.

The Russell

I thoroughly enjoyed watching many of the Russell Races on Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t quite muddy enough to feel like the real thing but the effort that people put in was very impressive. It was so good to see so many of you out there contributing to your houses and a big thank you to the teachers who supported the event and who marshalled on the course and helped at the start and finish.

Year 9 – Ruby Wetherall and Seb Linnit
Year 10 – Bella Peyton Jones and James Clarkson
Year 11 – Ilva Von Blanquet and Archie Guiness
Year 12 – Kieran Williams and Lottie Southgate
Year 13 – Holly Nugent and Jo Du Gay
 
Year 9 house winners were Petergate and NC
Year 10 house winners were FH and GH
Year 11 house winners were OH and GH
Year 12 house winners were FH and GH
Year 13 house winners were Petergate and NC

Out in front, with all the results taken forward into future Russell events, are OH and GH.

Ten Tors

A good day on Dartmoor for the girls of Year 10 training for Ten Tors, the conditions were ideal: thick mist and driving rain throughout. The weather certainly tested our kit and resolve. The thick mist was a challenge with visibility down to 20 metres for the majority of the day. The girls did remarkably well in navigating the route and all should now have faith and trust in their compass, and the majority realised the importance of working out time, distance, and speed. Though the biggest lesson learnt was how important it is to have good kit. They should all be congratulated on the efforts and feel confident in their ability.

A big thank you to Mr Mycock and Miss Thomas for their support.

Equestrian

The equestrian team was well represented and successful at the Oliver Bonas National Schools County Show Jumping Championships 2020 and the 80 cm team have qualified for the NSEA Championships at Addington in March 2021.

The 70 cm team of Daisy Holdsworth), Jessica Rowcliffe, Isabella Joyner and Jemima Cameron all jumped clear rounds and the team finished 3rd. Jessica finished 8th overall and 7th for the County.

The 80 cm team of Jessica Rowcliffe, Lucy Squibb), Jasper Kolowski and Ruby Wetherall all jumped clear rounds and the team finished 2nd so qualify for the NSEA Championships at Addington in March 2021.

The 90 cm team of Mattie Kolowska, Molly Joyner, Ruby Wetherall and Lucy Squibb all jumped well, and the team finished 5th. Molly finished 6th and Mattie 8th in the County placings.

Cricket

Three of our cricketers, Joseph du’Gay, Harry Southgate and Seb Linnitt, have been selected for the Devon Emerging Player Programme. This is a great achievement as it means they have been identified as having the potential to go on and play professional cricket at the highest level.

In girls’ cricket, Millie Wivell and Lucy FitzHerbert in Y9 have been selected for the U15 Devon County Cricket squad.

Academics
School House – Accelerated Reader Programme

Well done to the following students in SH who have already achieved their termly target in Accelerated Reader. You will be awarded certificates in due course. Fantastic reading.

Year 7

Jasper Loveridge
Tom Acher
Heidi Robinson

Year 8

Will Maitland-Walker
Bella Smith
Delilah Tindall-Gundry
Rose Harrison
Daisy Holdsworth

Scarlett Walshe – Myrtle Moss Certificate of Excellence

Each year, the academy that awards the Speech and Drama examinations, also presents various awards of excellence to the students who achieve the highest grades worldwide in their specialism. Examinations are taken across the globe (from Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Spain, France, to name but a few) and I am delighted to announce that for the last academic year Scarlett Walshe has been awarded the Myrtle Moss Certificate of Excellence for Grade 6.

This is a huge accolade and a true testament to all the hard work and dedication she has brought to the department since joining in the lower sixth and is fully deserving of the award.

Harry List – Astronomy

As many of you will recall, Harry List has been working extremely hard in preparation of the International Astronomy Olympiad and last week we heard that he won a Silver Award. Before we all wonder what on earth went wrong to stop him from getting his customary Gold Award, let me put that into perspective.

Fifty countries get to enter teams of their very best scientists, and there were about 260 entries this year. Remember this is from across the entire world. The top 10% get Gold and the the next 15% get Silver. So Harry came in the top quarter of the field – so effectively somewhere between 25th and 60th in the world. That is an extraordinary achievement and I know that Harry put in an exceptional amount of hard work. Well done Harry – we are very, very proud of you. Could we give him a round of applause please?

Notices

Christmas Card competition - the winner will be used as the official 2020 Blundell's Christmas card. This will be printed and then sold to raise funds for the Blundell's charities. The theme is 'Winter at Blundell’s' and can take any form that can be reproduced by printing, so any drawing, painting, photograph will work but 3D cards with items that stick out will not. There is only have 2 weeks to get entries in and they should be given to Mrs Robinson by Monday 16th November.

On Wednesday the Blundell’s Garden hosts its Autumn Term Open Day. There are various events taking place throughout the day such as visits from Year 1 and the Tiverton in Bloom Committee but the main focus for the majority of Blundellians will be the Garden Café. This will be open at breaktime and at 3.30 pm for smoothies, hot chocolate and cakes and at lunchtime for home grown, home-made soup. You are all welcome to come along but please come for soup at your normal bubble lunchtime. You will also be able to make your own freshly pressed apple juice.

The Blundell’s Garden is situated behind Biology/Geography, the weather is due to be sunny but there is always a nice warm polytunnel if not.

Cash or contactless payment is accepted for the smoothies and hot chocolate (the soup is free). Details can be found on the posters round school and please see Mr Olive if you have any questions.

13+ Sport and 16+ Scholarships are happening this week. We have various Covid measures in place but please do what you can to make our guests feel welcome at school. Good luck to those of you in Year 8 and Year 11 who are involved.

The School Council will meet today at 12.45 pm in the Old Gym.

There is a lot happening in the world and the focus this week will be on the US Presidential elections. I am very mindful that there are not too many good news stories around at the moment but I found this video – which is about 3 and a half minutes long that I think should nudge us in the right direction. You may well have seen it already but the message is worth hearing again.

[ Video: THE GREAT REALISATION ]
 

26th October 2020

Good morning everyone and welcome back to the second half of the term. I hope that you have managed to have a good break and that you are well rested. We have a 6 week run into the Christmas holidays and in the absence of being able to do many of the things that we would like to be doing, it makes sense that we make our academic progress the key focus of this forthcoming period. The restrictions that are in place will not last forever – even though it feels like it is taking so long – but there will come a time where things are more relaxed, where we can socialise spontaneously and we can return to sport, music and drama as we used to be able to do. It will happen – but for now we need to grit our teeth and get on with things making the very best of the circumstances. The one aspect of our lives that is not compromised is our ability to get on with our studies and for that we can be very grateful.

I think it is important to recognise that these next two weeks are going to be a very vulnerable time for us as a school. When we returned to school in September the number of cases nationally was extremely low. The national picture is quite different and whilst cases in Devon remain comparatively low, many of you will be returning to school from a wide geographical range and so we are more vulnerable now then we were back at the start of term. What that means is that we need to be especially vigilant and we need to adhere to the regulations in place. Three things you must remember: HANDS – FACE – SPACE. Wash your hands regularly and use the sanitisers around school. Cover your face when you are in crowded places or when you are out-of-bubble. And keep your distance from people who are not in your bubble. Please also respect the one-way system around school and be sensitive to other people when you are in places like the Dining Hall and in houses. We very much hope that if everything goes to plan in the next two weeks that we will be able to relax things a little bit. But for now, HANDS – FACE – SPACE really, really matters. I know I can rely on you to act in the best interests of the community.

Remembrance

At the start of November, we usually have a very important service in our chapel to commemorate those who died in conflict. Remembrance Sunday would have fallen on the 8th of November this year and for those of you who have been part of the service in previous years you will know it is a very poignant and special occasion in our calendar. The chapel is packed and the CCF leads the ceremony supported by musicians, the Choir and the School Monitors. Many parents and Old Blundellians join us and the ceremony outside of chapel is witnessed by hundreds of passers-by. This year we won’t be able to have the service in school but we are going to make a recording of various aspects of the ceremony so that we can broadcast it to families in their homes and to boarders back in houses. We also know that there will be hundreds of Old Blundellians from all over the world who will be sharing in that with us in a way that they would never have been able to do before. Quite a bit of recording is happening this week so firstly, thank you to all of you who are involved in that and, secondly, if you are walking by chapel when they are filming please be very respectful of what is going on.

School Council

Next week on Monday the School Council will meet for the first time. The School Council represents the most important aspect of the pupil voice and the more seriously you take that forum the more influential and significant it will become. Normally, each house has a representative from each year group and the heads of houses in School House also join in – so in total there are about 30 members of the School Council. Please give careful consideration to the appointment of your house representatives and engage with them to represent your thoughts, concerns and ideas when they begin to meet on a regular basis in November.

Scholarships

Over the next little while we begin the Scholarship process. The 13+ sports scholarships happen now as do all the 16+ scholarships for academics, music, drama, art and sport. Good luck to all of you who are competing for awards – I wish you all the very best – and I also ask all of you to ensure that we give a very warm welcome to those pupils in Year 8 and Year 11 from other schools who will be competing for awards. As always, we want to attract the very best candidates from Prep Schools as well as those who want places in the Sixth Form. Many of you sitting in here will remember the process yourselves and you will know it can be quite a nerve wracking experience so please go out of your way to ensure that those prospective Blundellians feel welcome at school.

Devon Hockey Trials

I understand that there are many pupils who will be travelling to Plymouth this week to participate in Devon Hockey trials. I am sure you will give a good account of yourselves and I look forward to hearing how you get on. Good luck and do us proud.

And finally, today it is my great pleasure to make two Full Colours Awards for Academics.

Full Academic Colours to Tom Yeadon

With an impressive academic profile, which boasts both an Academic and Music scholarship, Tom Yeadon is extremely talented, meticulous and motivated, and certainly one of the most capable students we have seen in recent years. Achieving Sixth Form Academic Status for his exceptional GCSE results, attaining all grade 9s, he is now on track to get 3 A*s at A level. He is intellectually versatile, passionate about learning, and he has taken every opportunity to broaden his experience and knowledge, with courses and wider research. Nationally, Tom has achieved numerous awards. In Chemistry, he was awarded a Gold in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge and, even when competing against the best Year 13 students in the country whilst in Year 12, obtained a Silver in the Chemistry Olympiad. His quiet unassuming demeanour hides an intense addiction for knowledge. With an analytical mind and a determination to reach a solution to any problem, his powers of analysis and problem-solving ability are both outstanding. A very talented biologist, he recently entered the Immerse Education 2021 Scholarship Programme essay competition; competing against students from around the world, he was selected to attend their very competitive summer programme. In addition, he was our only student to achieve a Gold in the Biology Olympiad. Diligent in his application and critical in his responses to theory and practical work, he has a naturally scientific view of the world. A project on how varying environmental conditions affect plant growth, was outstanding in its detail, research and referencing, and of undergraduate level quality. Outside the classroom, Tom plays two instruments and sings in the school choirs. A talented debater and public speaker, he has received many accolades, including Best Speaker. An academic role model, he willingly gives of his time to help tutor younger years, and volunteers and fundraises for charity. He has a Level 2 Award for Young Leaders and built skills for life and work while taking part in the National Citizen Service. He is successful in every challenge, leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of excellence. Tom has an extremely auspicious future ahead of him and is completely deserving of his Full Academic Colours.

Full Academic Colours to James Elderfield

With an innate intellectual curiosity, and a tenacious desire to develop deep understanding of his subjects, James Elderfield is a natural academic and an independent thinker. Having arrived at Blundell’s in Year 9 on an academic scholarship, James has developed an impressive academic profile, achieving Sixth Form Academic Status for his outstanding GCSE results, with a clean sweep of grade 9s; he is now expected to get 3 A*s at A level. James has a fantastic ability to use his wide-ranging knowledge from a breadth of subjects to be able to approach curiosities from a holistic viewpoint, unavailable to most pupils; this gives him a unique take on any challenge. He is the most talented classicist that we have had at Blundell’s for several years and as a linguist, renders fluent translations with an almost unreasonable effortlessness and great style. An excellent lateral thinker and a keen problem solver in Physics, as well as a standout ability to problem solving in Maths, James can unravel higher order problems, whilst identifying the most efficient method. James’ capability in science was clear when he won a Silver Award in the British Chemistry Olympiad 2020, written for the best Year 13 students. James’ curiosity, love of learning and willingness to challenge himself have shone throughout his time at Blundell’s. He completed the gruelling 35-mile Ten Tors Challenge and climbed Mount Toubkal during his Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition. In both events, he demonstrated both his ability to work in a team and his significant resilience to achieve his goals. James is a natural role model for other students, and he has been able to develop his leadership ability as a House Monitor and in the CCF. These characteristics, alongside his exceptional academic ability, means James is completely deserving of his Full Academic Colours.

 

12th October 2020

Good morning everyone. Please take your seats.

Review Meeting

On Thursday the review meeting met again to discuss various issues that had been raised. One topic that clearly has had a bit of discussion on your part is the change around in lunch times after Half Term. I appreciate that it is not ideal and in particular I understand that the Lower Sixth lose out as a result of the changes. Under normal circumstances you would have the opportunity of eating earliest and after half term you will be last. Circumstances are however far from normal so I do apologise but appeal to you to accept the decision with good grace and to consider it as part of our collective commitment to keeping things running as fairly and as smoothly as possible.

The other topic that was discussed was your sporting commitment – and for that matter – all commitments that you have outside of school. Many of you represent clubs and the county in different sports and we are very proud that you do so – often bringing great credit to the school. Of course, the more we mix outside of school the greater the risks that the virus will be brought into school. We have decided that we are happy to continue to support your external commitments but that you really do focus your minds on being as cautious and responsible as you can be when you are out of school and mixing in different groups. After Half Term we will reassess this depending on the national picture.

Speech and Drama

On Thursday 24th September 29 students took their speech and drama examinations. A number of examinations were taken across the board, from Acting, Devising and Reading for Performance, to Spoken English and EAL. Congratulations to all those who achieved this award and a special mention to the following who gained their medal grades:

For Acting with Distinction:

Kaira Hinchliffe, Jess Payne, Eloise Holmes, Cerys Squibb, Beth Holley for Grade 6
Erica Park Grade 7

Reading for Performance with Distinction:

David Case and James Case for Grade 6
Alex Coray Grade 8

Speech & Drama with Distinction:

Jemima Kite Grade 6
Molly Clayton & Alice Burnand Grade 7

Certificates and Medals with be awarded in House.

CCF

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Toby Peyton-Jones will be appointed as head of the CCF for this year. Mr Dawe has written the following citation which I am pleased to share with you:

Over recent years this cadet’s commitment and dedication to the Combined Cadet Force has been unfailing.

Progressing through the ranks to Cadets Sergeant Major, having completed the Basic and Advanced, Army Proficiency Certificates. Also proven to be an excellent shot, achieving First Class on all the cadet weapon systems.

Throughout his time in CCF he has developed his leadership qualities, adapting his style accordingly to each group or individual. Having completed the Junior Leaders ILM course he has recently passed his Btec Diploma in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community. These courses have without doubt shaped his leadership style, giving him the confidence to make decisions and formulate plans quickly.

This year has seen him support the senior cadets and more recently being actively involved in teaching and mentoring the junior cadets.
Over recent years he has balanced this commitment with Ten Tors training, canoeing, Academic studies and his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Therefore, for his commitment and dedication to the CCF, Toby Peyton Jones has justifiably been selected for the prestigious position of 'Head of Corps' for Blundell’s School Combined Cadet Force.

The following have been appointed as Cadet Sergeant Majors:

Molly Clayton
Honor Jones
Tom Murphy
Tom Baxter
James Elderfield

Basketball

A big thank you to Mr Lodge and Mr Baily for running a very successful house basketball competition on Saturday. Mr Lodge writes:
Some exciting games at house basketball today, including the first girls’ victory for house basketball.

Year 12 and Year13

OH faced current house basketball champions Petergate in a tense first match – despite some strong plays from OH, they just couldn’t convert the points and their defence was no match for the duo of Harry List (10 points) and Jialin Hong (8 points), who took the first win 21-5. In game two, a combined NC+GH team played exceptionally well together and took a historic victory over FH, winning by some margin at 17-8! Petergate went on to win the final against NC+GH by 22 points to 12, but there is no doubt that the girls will be back next year.”

Year 11

In the year 11 fixtures, a strong Petergate side beat both OH and FH, to take a clean sweep of this tournament in both age categories. Special mention should go to Will “LeBron” Saltmarsh for shot of the game – a backwards, no-looker double handed reverse alley-oop from between the legs – leading OH to finish in 2nd place by beating FH in the last game. Very well done to Petergate.

Football

On Saturday, the year 10 boys took part in an inter-house 5-a-side tournament. The boys plot into two mini tournaments with A’s and B’s having separate events. The matches were played in great spirits with both tournaments showing quality and commitment from all the teams, despite FH only turning up with 4 players per team. Both mini leagues were very tightly contested, in the A’s tournament, OH were the winners with 6 points, Petergate 5 points and FH 4 points. In the B’s Petergate were the overall winners with 7 points, with OH and FH both finishing on 4 points. The combined scores meant FH finished 3rd with 8 points, OH 2nd with 10 points and Petergate winning with 12 points.

Full Colours for Hockey – Kitty Dart

Highly athletic, Kitty uses her pace to devastating effect on a hockey pitch and has done so for the 1st team during the last 3 seasons. She reaches passes that anyone else would have given up for dead and she frequently leaves even the most effective defender for dead, particularly if both are working from a standing start. Kitty shows excellent technical ability when receiving the ball in a forward-facing position, whether on her forehand or backhand side and this enables her to receive and carry without breaking her stride. She carries well, particularly on the right-hand side and this acceleration opens up the pitch, providing attacking options for her fellow forwards. Whilst Kitty may not score as many goals as she would like, it is frequently her attacking break that generates the opportunities for others.

Over the last 3 years Kitty’s game has continued to develop and she offers so much more than just raw pace. She is confident when eliminating opponents and her passing when playing in a deeper position shows vision and accuracy, combined with a superb judge of pace. When pressing the ball in defence, Kitty works resolutely, using her body position and judgement to help turnover the ball and launch another attack. Her work rate is outstanding and she has developed her ability to stop short corners effectively, again creating goal scoring opportunities for the team.

Kitty was a key component in our run to the Investec Plate Final last season and she was recently part of the ISCA Under 18 side who were crowned T2 National Champions.

Having achieved regional success in Athletics and been a member of the 1st Netball Squad for three years, Kitty will continue to make a tremendous contribution to school sport, beyond the Autumn term.

In recognition of her dedication and achievement Kitty Dart is fully deserving of full colours for hockey.

Full Colours for Hockey – Maddy Cotton

Maddy is the player that, quite simply, every coach wants on their team. She is utterly reliable, totally consistent and will work until the bitter end, with a never-say-die attitude. Maddy is a highly intelligent defender, with an exceptional ability to read the game. As our spare in a back 4, or as the central pivot in a back 3, Maddy frequently has to make the decision over when to step and when to hold; a decision she hardly ever gets wrong. She has an excellent eye for the ball and her acceleration to step ensures she is able to use her highly effective block tackle to win the ball cleanly. She is disciplined when marking and has developed her ability to marshall a defence in the 3 years she has played for the 1st team. She distributes the ball with accuracy and power and has a devastating hit, that can cut through an opposition who dares to leave space for Maddy to find.

When Maddy wins the ball, she shows strong elimination skills and a turn of pace that is frequently a surprise to opposition forwards, who she leaves standing. These breaks forward make her highly effective and coming from so deep make her incredibly hard to mark. She carries strongly and scans well to make a decisive pass to launch an attacking platform. Unfailingly modest, Maddy is always critical of her own ability but has developed her individual skills as a defender and in attacking and defending short corner routines.

Maddy played more minutes than any other outfield player in our run to the Investec Plate Final last season, testament to her high levels of fitness and her importance within the team. She represents ISCA at 2nd team level and was part of the Under 18 side who were recently crowned T2 National Champions.

As Head of School, Maddy continues to make a tremendous contribution to school life.

In recognition of her dedication and achievement Maddy Cotton is fully deserving of Full Colours for Hockey.

The 1st XI play Taunton in the first round of the cup tomorrow at 5pm and I am sure they would love to have your support – obviously whilst observing social distancing out of your bubble etc etc.

Gratitude

As we come to the end of the first half of term we have an awful lot to be grateful for. It is not difficult to become frustrated with the things we have not been able to do or to become despondent with the uncertainty that still lies ahead of us. But gratitude is a choice. It is one thing to feel thankful but it is another thing to decide to be grateful and it is the latter that I want to speak about briefly this morning. I believe that once we choose to be grateful, the feelings of gratitude and thankfulness often follow close behind.

Gratitude involves two specific dimensions that are well within our control. The first is to recognise what it is we ought to be grateful for and the second is acknowledging it. Assuming a grateful attitude requires some reflection and thought. Perhaps this morning we ought to think for a minute about those things for which we are grateful. And as your mind begin to process that perhaps we ought to think of those things and those people who make our lives better. We might think of things that people have done for us – or what they continue to do for us. Perhaps we can think of the amazing circumstances we find ourselves in: often circumstances which we have not earned ourselves but which have been granted to us by our good fortune. It may be a kind word or the hard work of others. It may even be gratitude for something more existential – like the air that we breathe or the autumn sunshine we enjoy and whether you have faith that there is a God for whose provision we are grateful or not, we sense that we ought to appreciate that fresh air and warm sunshine is life enhancing and we are glad for it.

It is with confidence that I know I can speak on behalf of the staff sitting on the stage and who are with you in your various venues that we are grateful for you. For your enthusiasm and can-do attitude, for your humour and good company and just for being young men and women who are determined to make the most of every opportunity our wonderful school has to offer us.

Whilst Blundell’s may be normal to us, it is not normal, it is an extraordinary place and the opportunities you have here are rare. The best way you can show your gratitude is to make the most of every minute of your time here and to ensure that everyone else is able to do the same.

So, despite the relative bleakness of the world around us and as the mood music around Britain becomes gloomier, I am determined that we continue to live lives that reflect our gratitude for the many blessings we enjoy. One side effect of being grateful – as opposed to moaning about things – is that you become much better company to be with so let’s all ensure that our actions over these next 3 days before we go off on half term recognise and acknowledge our gratitude.

I will close by thanking the staff – academic and support – for their extraordinary efforts to make school possible again and thank you to you all for making it all worthwhile for us. I hope you have a good break over half-term.

 

5th October 2020

Good morning everyone and welcome to Latin Prayer.

I want to begin today by congratulating Mr and Mrs Wheatley on their successful running of the London Marathon. Although the race was only run for professional athletes in London this year, thousands of runners ran their own 23mile course and yesterday, in wind and rain, Mr and Mrs Wheatley ran their marathon in just over 3 hours. Mr Wheatley’s time was 3 hours and 19 minutes and Mrs Wheatley finished just 19 minutes later. Under normal circumstances there would be thousands of people lining the streets to cheer the runners on so, in comparison, running on their own in the weather we had yesterday is an admirable achievement. If you see them hobbling around school today, please do congratulate them but for now can we give them a very big round of applause?

Mr and Mrs Wheatley ran the marathon to raise money for a charity called Phabkids and they raised £1,850. Well done to them.

Ten Tors

Another group of people who enjoyed the lovely outdoor weather yesterday were the Ten Tors teams and Mr Dawe reports:

Year 10 and 12 students have been out training for Ten Tors over the last week. Since last Sunday we completed two 35-mile team walks and one 45-mile team walk. The first 35-mile training walk consisted of GH and NC from year 10 and in glorious sunshine the girls did extremely well. Not often we say glorious sunshine during Ten Tors and for the next two walks – one on Field Day for the 45 mile teams and the other yesterday for the remaining 35 mile teams from P, FH and OH – normal service was restored, with atrocious conditions; visibility down to 50 metres and driving rain as Storm Alex pounded us. But all the groups managed to keep smiling and navigate to the finish, displaying the normal Blundell's grit we have become accustomed to. All have proved very capable and we look forward to further walks after half term.

Thank you, as always to Mr Dawe, for his oversight of the Ten Tors and also to Mr Mycock and Mr Morrison for their support over the past week. Great commitment by all of you out there yesterday!

The 2020 Williams Cup

Still on the theme of outdoor pursuits, I have a report from Mr Olive regarding this years’ Williams Cup. Those of you who were at Blundell’s for Year 9 will remember your weekend away at Wimbleball Lake for the Williams Cup, but current circumstances have not allowed that. The current Year 9’s were therefore not able to enjoy the sunny evenings or cold wet nights that so many of you will remember from your own experience.

Instead the usual challenges of axe throwing, archery and catapult building were based on Ten Acre on Field Day along with orienteering, various team challenges and mountain boarding for the first time.

The event was just as much the Inter House Competition as previous years. On the day GH were judged by the Instructors from Channel Adventure to be the most engaged House, winning a box of chocolates but the overall score are now in.

1st Gorton House - 1251
2nd Francis House - 1110
3rd Old House - 1028
4th Petergate - 979
5th North Close - 903

Well done to the GH Year 9’s.

The Williams Cup for Endeavor is awarded to the Year 9 who despite being out of their comfort zone showed great engagement with all the opportunities on offer and made the absolute most of taking part.

This year the Williams Cup for Endeavor goes to Larissa Bunn from GH.

Equestrian

Over the weekend a number of pupils participated in a NSEA competition and did very well.

The 80 cm team, consisting of Harry Clarkson, Ruby Wetherall, Tess Grubb and Lola Tremlett won the team event which was an outstanding achievement in really challenging conditions. It was Tess Grubb’s first outing in Blundell’s colours and she also achieved a very credible individual result in the 70 cm competition.

In other competitions Georgina Potter rode for Blundell’s for the first time and Cerys Squibb and Connie Haywood-Smith also competed with great credit in the 90cm event.

Although the hockey fixtures were cancelled this weekend, it gives me great pleasure this morning to make our first full colours award for hockey.

Full Colours for Hockey – Ellie Sproul

Showing an ability to read the game with a maturity beyond her years, Ellie has been a stalwart of the 1st team for the past 3 years. As a midfielder or screen, she demonstrates excellent positional awareness in both attack and defence. On the ball Ellie carries positively and shows a highly effective instinct on when to pass and when to carry. Her one-on-one elimination skills are outstanding, whether the ball is on the floor or in the air and she uses her body to shield the ball and help retain possession under pressure. Ellie has a deceptive change of pace and can make incisive passes, whether on her forehand or backhand side. In defence, Ellie is quite simply always there. She has learned to act as the free player when we play with a back 3 and her movement to ensure she is always on line to goal is very good. Tenacious in the tackle, she remains low and mobile, consistently channelling players into a position where she can win the ball. Ellie’s fitness is outstanding, and she will work with intensity and commitment no matter what the phase of the game.

Ellie’s performances were instrumental in our run to the Investec Plate Final last season and her decision making when electing whether to break through and attack or hold in defence, were key in the matches during the latter stages of the competition.

Ellie is a member of the ISCA 1st team squad and has played National League Division One – the equivalent of Championship level rugby or football - and was recently part of the ISCA Under 18 side who were crowned T2 National Champions. She has also represented Blundell’s at the Under 16 Indoor National finals, in addition to being part of England Hockey’s Junior Regional Performance Centres.

As Captain of the 1st team this year, Ellie has already shown an ability to support younger players and take responsibility for penalty corners within a game. She responds well to feedback and is determined to improve every aspect of her game.

In recognition of her commitment and achievement Ellie Sproul is fully deserving of Full Colours for Hockey.

Arkwright Scholarships

David and James Case have both been awarded Arkwright Engineering Scholarships. These scholarships are very competitive and notoriously difficult to win and, in most years, we only have one recipient. To have two candidates is a great achievement but to have two from one family is exceptional. Well done to both David and James.

Sustainability Committee

The following is from Mrs Taylor-Ross:

The Sustainability Committee is an important forum for the student voice to be heard, working very closely with academic and support staff to improve and hold our community to account for our footprint on the planet. If you would like to be involved with the Sustainability Committee, either as a committee member, or as a Supporter (where you can feed ideas in and receive regular updates) please contact Mrs Taylor-Ross. The school is committed to do all we can to reduce our negative impact, and to continuing to search for improvements in the way we do things, as individuals, in our Houses, and as a whole School. The first job of the Committee this year is to collate and update us all on the many activities that have been carried out over the summer, for example by the Bursary and in the kitchens, before looking at priorities for the school going forward.

Photography

I am very pleased to announce the winners of the Summer Photography Competition. The theme of the Competition was Summer and there is a staff, senior-student and junior-student winner.

Staff winner: Mr Bowley with an exceptional image of a sunset over a lighthouse in Burnham on Sea

Senior Student winner: Harry Edworthy with an image of a bright green Porsche on a beach

Junior Student winner: Roan B G. Hillacre-Richards with an incredible image of an elephant emerging from the trees.

Roan is due to join us in Petergate in Year 9 but he is still awaiting his visa in Nairobi – well done to him and we look forward to welcoming him here in due course. The prints should be on display in the corridor to the Dining Hall so I hope you will have chance to see them. Prizes will be distributed in due course.

Review

Thank you for the ongoing feedback to the review committee. After Half Term we will be swapping the lunch sessions around for the second and third sittings. It will not affect School House or the Upper Sixth but if you are currently in the second sitting at 12:40 you will now go to the later sitting, and those of you getting lunch in the third sitting at 13:20, you will go to the earlier session – after Half Term.

One of the main ways in which we try to keep everyone safe in school is by ensuring good ventilation in buildings. Up till now we have had doors and windows open as much as possible but as things get colder and more miserable, we will have to give that some further thoughts. However, you can anticipate that it will be a bit chillier in lessons than you would be used to so please do wear an additional layer of clothing. If you want to wear a jumper please make sure that it is a school jumper, but you may wear a coat over, not instead of, your blazer. Please could we ask that your coat is dark in colour without big labels or bright colours.

A big thank you to Miss Isdell-Carpenter and Dr Ratcliffe for their work in organising the Introduction to the Sixth Form event on Friday. Thank you too to the teachers who were available to talk to you about A-Level choices. I hope you Year 11’s found that a worthwhile occasion.

A reminder that the DIET COMMITTEE will be meeting on Thursday afternoon. If you have any thoughts or feedback regarding catering at school, please feed those back to your house representatives before Thursday. That meeting is chaired by Mr Berrow but is attended by Mr Edwards, our catering manager, so it is a very good opportunity to have your ideas heard.

And finally, from me, because we were unable to host an Open Day here as planned on the 19th of September, we will be holding a Virtual Open Day on Saturday morning. The advantage of doing it this way is that hundreds of people can join from all over the world, so if you have friends or families who may be interested or you just want them to see more of the school, please encourage them to sign up via the school’s website. A big thank you to Mr Smart and Mr Nadolski for all the hours of work that has gone into work for that – and also to those of you who have contributed to that event.

 

30th September 2020

Good morning everyone. It is a slightly unusual time for Latin Prayer but we thought that with Field Day on Monday and house photos yesterday, it was still worth having a Latin Prayer even if it is in the middle of the week. We’ll keep it short so that you can get to your first lesson as quickly as possible.

Today we have two weeks left until Half-Term. It has all gone so quickly and it feels like we have only just arrived back at school. At one point we discussed having a two-week Half-Term but that was only going to happen if we felt there was a major disruption at school due to a Covid outbreak. It seems like we have ridden out the sore throats and snotty noses that seemed to strike a week or two ago and I very much hope we will stay in good health for these last two weeks.

I hope you all enjoyed the change of scenery on Monday. The range of activities that were organised for you was quite remarkable given the circumstances so a really big thank you to Mr Dawe in particular but to all the teachers who organised and led different things on Monday. I have seen photographs of surfing, mountain biking, the Year 12 challenge day, the Year 8 trip to Dartington and various other things. If you have not thanked the staff who took you, please do take the opportunity to do so when you see them next.

Mr Olive has said that the results from the Williams Cup will be announced next Monday. We didn’t get out to Wimbleball Lake this year but from what I saw the Year 9s had a good day on 10-acre field.

It sounds like many of you in Year 13 made good use of the day to get work done on your UCAS and I will add my support to everything you have already heard from your teachers that it is a good thing to get your UCAS in early. It is one of those things that will hang over you until it is done and, also, it is really quite uplifting when you begin to get yours offers. So, if you’re dragging your heels, get on with it.

I was very pleased to be able to watch quite a bit of the senior girls’ hockey matches on Saturday afternoon. There were some very hard-fought games but it was just lovely to be out playing competitive sport again. Well done to the 3rd XI on their good win – Mr Shrimpton will be eyeing out an unbeaten season no doubt and especially well done to the 1st XI who, after leading 2 – 0, seemed to run out of steam in the 2nd half and were level 2 – 2 until Katie Finchett scored the winner just before the end of the game. Considering that was our first game it was an excellent outcome. Overall we played 8, won 5, drew 2 and lost 1. Lizzie Elderfield and Shea Clark scored 2 goals each in the U16A’s 4 – 0 win and the U15A’s also had an excellent 2 – 0 win but Mr Mead’s nomination for team of the week were the U14A’s who won their game 4 – 2 and who have a number of girls who played their first match for Blundell’s – and in Miss Harris they also have a coach who had her first match at Blundell’s. Well done to the Year 9 girls.

There was plenty of other sport happening on Saturday too with the Year 9 boys enjoying a 5-a-side football competition which FH narrowly won from OH. The Year 10 boys finished off the series of athletics events with FH victorious but in the Year 11 event it was OH who won and to keep it all fairly spread out, Petergate won the Year 9 competition.

The Year 11 boys had the last swimming gala of the season in what must be the latest recorded swimming event at Blundell’s with OH dominating the event.

On Monday evening a Westlake XI played against the Tiverton Men’s Hockey team in a very early pre-season game here at school. We battled gamely but lost 4 – 1 with Ollie Lowe and Tom Reynolds playing especially well, with Ollie scoring our only goal.

Last week I forgot to mention the European Day of Languages but a big thank you to Mr Lecharpentier for the work he put into organising that including an event down in the garden and a themed lunch in the dining hall.

Speaking of the school garden, Mr Olive has asked me to tell you that the Garden Café will be open over the remainder of the week. Listen carefully to hear where your year group gets a turn:

The Blundell’s Garden Café is open again this week.

a. Year 13: Wednesday (today) at breaktime, 10.30
b. Year 11 and 12: Wednesday (today) at 4pm
c. Year 10: Thursday at breaktime, 10.30
d. Open to all: Friday at 4pm
e. Staff are welcome at any time.
f. Smoothies, hot chocolate and tray bakes are on the menu from 50p to £2.00

Conclusion

One of the first Latin Prayer’s I did last term – I think I was probably down in the garden for that episode – I spoke about habit forming. Quite specifically, I spoke about how a 1% improvement led to us becoming 50% better at something in 6 weeks. Well we’re approaching the end of week 5 so what habits are getting ingrained now. The point about habits is that once they are entrenched – good or bad – we continue to do them without thinking. Perhaps you are like that with facemasks – you no longer even have to think about putting it on anymore. The one-way system around school is another thing you may not even notice so much now that you’ve been doing it for weeks. Good habits make us more efficient and leaves us with more working memory – more attention – for more challenging tasks. So keep looking to adopt and learn new good habits.

There is another angle on the matter though. It feels like in those first few weeks we were so happy to be back and concentrating so hard on getting things right, that we managed to be on excellent behaviour and we were behaving really well. Now that the novelty of being back at school has worn off and you don’t have to concentrate so hard on keeping to the rules, some of you seem to have dropped your guard a little bit and you have not covered yourselves in glory.

It is a good time to remind you that poor behaviour will not be tolerated. Especially behaviour that makes other people – fellow pupils or staff – miserable and also behaviour that disrupts the learning opportunities of those around you. If you are sliding into that type of behaviour stop it today. There is no place for it here and expect us to challenge you if you get it wrong.

We are all here to make the most of the wonderful opportunity we have to be at Blundell’s so think very carefully about doing things that jeopardises your future at the school. We desperately want you to get things right but be warned that if you make bad choices that there will be consequences. The type of things that could result in you being excluded from school are things like persistent and malicious bullying, keeping or using drugs at school, having sex at school, theft and deliberate and repeated refusal to follow the school rules.

The best way you can show your appreciation for being at a school like this is by doing your best in the classroom and by contributing to the happiness and well-being of the people around you. Generally we get these things right and that is why we have such a thriving community and a school of which we can all be proud. Because of that it is our joint responsibility to be intolerant of bad behaviour and we should all champion the best qualities and characteristics in our community. The bar is set very high – we expect good things from you.

 

21st September 2020

Good morning everyone, please sit down. One of the things that I did over the lockdown was to get an online subscription to The Times newspaper. Not being able to go to the stores and with a bit of extra time on my hands I really enjoyed being able to browse through the articles in a leisurely manner. One slightly destructive habit I have got myself into is that I tend to read the comments at the end of the article. In the hard copy of the paper you obviously don’t get the comments but online anyone with an opinion can share it with the world. And they do. And it gets my blood pressure up with clockwork consistency – which I appreciate is unnecessary. Perhaps I do it to remind myself that I am a pretty decent and reasonable human being.

Yesterday there was an article in The Sunday Times by one of my favourite journalists and authors, a chap called Matthew Syed, who himself was an Olympic Table Tennis player. He is first and foremost a sports writer but his opinion pieces are more frequent and he has some really excellent ideas. Yesterday he wrote about how we need to get used to living with uncertainty and I thought that was something very relevant to us today. There are so many things we do not yet know: like how long restrictions will stay in place, when we can play sport as normal, when a vaccine will be available and what will happen with public exams.

He made two points really. Firstly, that uncertainty is okay. We live in an age where we have so much information at our fingertips that we sometimes imagine that all that knowledge and information gives us control over a situation. Currently we do not know the answers and we do not have all the information and that is unnerving and unsettling. That is understandable too but we need to accept that we cannot control everything. Our own experience at school over these past 6 months is that when we pull together and we think hard about how we are going to do things, we generally come up with good solutions and answers. You can take confidence from your own experiences over these past 6 months: not always easy but you have come through well. You have much to be proud of.

His second point was that we need to be cautious about expressing too much certainty. I get so wound up by the comments at the end of the articles because they tend to start with the word ‘obviously’ as if the answers are obvious to them and anyone who doesn’t see it like them is wrong and probably stupid. That kind of attitude is divisive and destructive. Guard against certainty in the face of so much uncertainty. Keep an open mind. By all means, express an opinion, but have the humility to understand that you do not have all the answers. Be open to the ideas of others and accept that we may not know it all. That makes for a far more constructive and enlightening – and kinder – environment.

Exciting news

I am very pleased to be able to start Latin Prayer today by congratulating Mr and Mrs Barnsbrook on the arrival of their son who they have called Otis. I am sure it won’t be long before he is introduced to the Old House boys, but please could we give them a round of applause.

Review

Thank you for your ongoing submissions to the Review Committee. We meet on Thursday evenings and this last week the main topic of conversation was a return to competitive sports fixtures with teams from outside the school. We have deliberately been cautious in that regard and I am aware that some schools have been playing block fixtures against other schools from the start of term. I am very pleased we haven’t as it has given us a chance to assess the situation and, to be honest, we’ve had a great time with more relaxed Saturdays over the past few weeks.

Whilst we remain cautious about big block fixtures, this week we will begin to play some competitive sport again. On Wednesday the 1st XI cricket team play against the MCC. I cannot remember a cricket match ever having been played at school in September but nonetheless this is a terrific opportunity for the boys to get some cricket in the late summer. Good luck to the team and I hope many of you will take the opportunity to watch some of that game on Wednesday afternoon.

At the end of the week, the girls will have a series of fixtures with Taunton School. This has been very carefully thought through and we will play according to the guidelines given to us by England Hockey. The games have also been spread out with regards to timing so please be assured that every precaution will be taken to keep you and your coaches safe. Parents who come to watch will be asked to watch from outside the astros on the grassy banks rather than in the space between the pitches.

Academics

I am sure that the year 11s and 13s are pleased that the exams are out the way. Well done for the effort you made and enjoy getting back into a good routine again this week.

A few months ago, Tom Yeadon, in Year 13, entered an essay competition for a chance to win a scholarship and place on the Oxbridge Summer 2-week course to be held in July 2021. He entered an essay in to the “biology” topic, under the title “To what extent is human behaviour genetically determined?” Last week he received an email, informing him that out of the tens of thousands of applicants across the world, he has won a place! Very well done, Tom!

The Garden Café

A big thank you to Mr Olive and the Community Partnership team for hosting an excellent opening to the Blundell’s Garden Café. The Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils were the first clients and the smoothies and flapjacks were very much appreciated. I’m not so sure about the curly kale smoothie to be honest, and I gather sales in that flavour were a bit slow, but the rest seemed to be pretty popular. Do look out for the next opening.

Saturday sports

Saturday saw another busy and varied day of sports. There was athletics, swimming, hockey and cricket on offer and the reports from staff again highlighted your enthusiasm and engagement. A big thank you again to Miss Youngs for organising another enjoyable swimming gala and this time it was the turn of the Year 7s and the Year 10s.

On Saturday morning, it was the Year 7 Swimming Gala. Though it must have been a very nerve-wracking event for the new Year 7s, they approached this gala with enthusiasm and determination, and it was good to see so many swimmers keen to represent their respective houses. The standard of swimming was very high indeed and there was also a lot of individual effort with several swimmers having to 'double up' in relays to help their teams - it was a gala where determination and resilience were certainly most visible. Congratulations to all those who took part - they should all be very proud of themselves and their effort!

Results:

  • 1st - Amory - 38 points
  • 2nd - Mayfield - 36 points
  • 3rd - Gornhay - 25 points
  • 4th - Beale - 21 points

Year 10 Girls:

  • 1st: GH
  • 2nd: NC

Boys:

  • 1st: Petergate
  • 2nd: FH
  • 3rd: OH
Monitors

Now that the exams are out of the way, our Monitors assume their roles in earnest this week and in your year group assemblies over the next few weeks we will be introducing the team to you. I know that the Monitors will be well known to the majority of pupils in the senior school but I appreciate that with so many new pupils in the school there will be quite a few of you who do not know who the monitors are, especially in the younger years. It is important that pupils know who the monitors are as they are both your representatives as well as being people you can go to for advice or help.

I am going to hand over to Joe and Maddy to say a few words to you.

The Week Ahead

Tuesday – The first Blundell’s Association event of the year happens on Tuesday with a Tour of the School Gardens with Mr Flower, our Head Gardener. The Blundell’s Association is an organisation set up for the benefit of your parents and many social events happen on a regular basis. Obviously there is not as much we can currently do with the restrictions in place but an outdoor tour around the school is one we can do safely. So, if you see a group of parents out and about on Tuesday you will know what they are here for.

Wednesday – On Wednesday the Year 8s have the Steve Mault Project Exhibition. To those of you higher up the school you will remember that as the School House Project or the Summer Project. We have named it after Steve Mault who was a Maths Teacher here and who died last year after a long illness. Mr Mault was the person behind the Roots and Wings Programme and he also initiated the Project that allows Year 7 pupils to make a project of their choosing to present in the first few weeks of Year 8. Unfortunately, this year the exhibition will not be open to parents but I am sure many staff will come around to take a look at your creations.

 

14th September 2020

Good morning everyone. I hope you have enjoyed the good weather over the weekend – I think we’re in for a few more days of sunshine in the days ahead.

This week our Year 11 and 13’ write a series of practice exams. These were the ones you would have written late in the Summer Term and we felt that you needed to have the opportunity to go through the revision and the practice of writing the exams at least once before January. If you were to revise for an exam for the first time early in 2021 then you would be revising almost 15 months-worth of work at once – now I hope that you will have been forced to create a good set of notes and to mentally prepare yourself for exam-writing. This week will also give you a taste of what exams are like and there is no question that practice and rehearsal will give you experience that will help you in the end. I appreciate that it is not much fun – but it is good and it is the right thing to do. This is all part of a process and as I have said to you often before, we are not so much worried about the outcomes of these exams but we do want you to make the most of the opportunity.

Feedback from Review Meeting
  • Chapel only one year group in at a time. Pay attention to whether you are therefore Week A or Week B.
  • There was a request for the Gym to be made available again and Mr Saunders will be addressing this with senior pupils this week. Please remember to use the review@blundells.org  email address if you have questions or suggestions that you would like to raise.
Sport on Saturday
Swimming

The Year 12 Swimming Gala took place on a glorious sunny, warm afternoon on Saturday. It was well supported with four of the five houses supplying two teams per event - it was great to see so many pupils prepared to represent their house, regardless of their ability in the water! There was a very happy and supportive atmosphere on poolside and it was lovely to see so many of the pupils really engaging and enjoying the event.

RESULTS:

The Girls' Houses tied!

The victorious Boys' House was Petergate, who won by just one point over OH with FH placed third.

Athletics

The Year 11s enjoyed an afternoon of athletics. I have not heard any results yet but I know there were some excellent individual achievements and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the relays at the end of the afternoon.

Football

On Saturday the Year 13 boys took part in a five-a-side competition. They played a mini league with each match lasting 5 minutes before a playoff semi-final and final. The competition was played in great spirit, with ‘Kazakhstan’, ‘the bathtub boys’, ‘This is America’ and ‘FH’ making the semi-finals. The final was a tense match between ‘FH’ and ‘This is America’, the latter were dominant throughout the game but could not convert their chances. With a 0-0 score line at full time, the match went to an additional three minutes. Despite controlling possession, ‘This is America’ conceded directly from a Hal Baker corner in the final minute to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The winners were ‘FH’ who should be praised for their tenacity throughout and undoubtedly saved by Luca Craven-Frankpitt’s goalkeeping. Special thanks to Dr Balsdon and Mr Naylor for their excellent refereeing.

The girls also had a football tournament and Mr Holman asked me to thank those of you who participated for your fantastic attitude and effort throughout the afternoon.

Cricket

In perfect cricket weather there was plenty of action on Big Field and Mayfield on Saturday. Although the cricket was not of the highest standard (mainly the Year 10s), house cricket proved popular with the boys. The Year 9 event was won by Petergate and the Year 10 competition was won by FH. It was great to see some pupils playing their first games of cricket and I certainly hope it was an enjoyable occasion for all of you.

The Year 7s had a fun softball game, while the Year 8s enjoyed a game on Big Field.

THANK YOU to all the staff for their tremendous enthusiasm and commitment to the cause. I think it was a great day out and it seems people really enjoyed themselves.

Speech and Drama

A number of pupils took their Speech and Drama exams remotely over the Summer. Certificates will be delivered to you via your houses. Congratulations to the following on their outstanding achievements:

  • Henry Squires – Grade 2 Speech & Drama with Distinction
  • Leo Brookman – Grade 2 Speech & Drama with Distinction
  • Daisy Parker – Grade 5 Speech & Drama with Distinction
  • Ash Richardson – Grade 5 Speech & Drama with Distinction
  • Guy Brown – Grade 5 Acting with Distinction
  • Eve Nugent – Grade 6 Verse Speaking with Distinction
  • Ben Wright – Grade 6 Acting with Distinction
  • Scarlett Walshe – Grade 6 Acting with Distinction
  • Misha Pemberthy – Grade 7 Acting with Distinction
Music

This week some of the music programme restarts and I would like to thank Dr Leaman and the music department for the deep thought and hard work that has gone into making that possible.

Full Colours for Music: Laura Smith

Every once in a while, a musician comes along who inspires and leads in every aspect of their music making. Such a pupil is valuable beyond words to the complexities of a Music Department and helps other pupils in the school get the very most out of their music making. Laura Smith is one such pupil and she has made an immeasurable contribution to music at Blundell’s since she joined us from the prep school in Year 7.

Not only has Laura earned her Grade 8 Distinction in violin, she is also a Grade 8 standard singer and a very fine pianist. She has been a lynchpin in every classical ensemble in the school and has been such a wonderful role model over the years, often licking her elders into shape in Orchestra, String Orchestra, Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and other vocal and instrumental ensembles. She has taken leading roles in Carol Services and Spring Concerts, played beautiful solos in Scholars’ Concerts and seized every opportunity available. She was also involved in the London Chamber Orchestra project when she was in Year 8, performing in Cadogan Hall in London, as well as being part of the Chamber Choir when they reached the final of the National Choral Competition and sang in London’s Festival Theatre. And, of course, she was key to the success of the concert in Carnegie Hall in New York.

Last year she helped and led Gorton House to success in the House Music competition and outside of school she has always been an ambassador of the highest integrity to Blundell’s and music-making. Musical, dedicated, passionate and loyal, Laura is, without a shadow of a doubt, fully deserving of her Full Colours for Instrumental and Choral music.

School Garden – From Mr Olive

Mr Olive would like to thank all those who responded to his message about Community Partnerships last week in Latin Prayer. There are now 25 members of the Blundell’s Community Partnerships Team ready and keen to lead, organise and run a range of events over the coming months.

Their first venture is to open the Garden Café this coming Wednesday and they would like to invite Year 9 to come along at morning break at 10.30 am and SH after Roots and Wings from 4.00 pm to 4.30 pm. A selection of Smoothies will be available. Each one costs £1.50 and all proceeds will be split between covering costs, further development of the Café and local charities. In time the Garden Café will be open at various times throughout the week for you all to use and enjoy.

School Monitors

Usually we would have appointed our School Monitors just after Half-Term in the Summer Term and the Heads of School would have been announced at Speech Day. It is, today, my great pleasure to announce the School Monitors for this academic year and these pupils will take up their responsibilities from today.

I met with each of them individually on Saturday to invite them to become Monitors and in our conversation I made it very clear that for each one I have appointed them not for a specific skillset or for what they are capable of – they have been chosen as flagbearers for what we stand for as a school. I believe that they have the character that I believe symbolises what it means to be a Blundellian. I have given them license to use this honour which we now bestow on them, to make the school a better place. I know that if they live out the values that I believe them to possess that this school will be a better place for it.

There are of course many of you in all year groups who have strong values too and I want you to live them out as best you can as well – and your contribution is no less valuable or meaningful – but to this group in particular I have challenged them to lead out of who they are in order to enrich our community.

It gives me great pleasure to announce the Monitors for 2020. I am not going to ask them to come up on stage today but in the coming weeks I hope to introduce them to you properly by making use of the various year group assemblies that we have. After I have announced the list I would ask you to join me in congratulating them.

The Heads of School are Maddie Cotton and Joe du’Gay.

The Deputy Heads of School will be Honor Jones, Mariia Karpova, Will Bucknell and Misha Pemberthy.

The School Monitors are Zoe Dare, Holly Nugent, Laura Smith and Mia Butterfield and, on the boys’ side, Duncan Johnson-Ferguson, Toby Peyton-Jones, Ed Carter and Harry List.

Well done to all of you.

 

7th September 2020

Welcome back everyone and I hope you enjoyed a bit of a breather after the first few days back. I quite like the fact that the first week is so short: it gives us a chance to catch up with our friends. To welcome new pupils, and just to get used to things again. It means we can start this second week properly and this week I anticipate we will quickly get back into our routines again.

This week in Latin Prayer will be a bit shorter as, of course, there is not that much to report back on from the past week. However, there is one slot that for the next few weeks I will feed back to you on as a regular first item.

As we explained last week, there are heaps of regulations around the school that we need to be mindful of. One-way systems, dining hall timings, facemasks etc etc. I invited you to use the review@blundells.org email address to ask questions and to make some suggestions. Usually, the Senior Leadership Team will meet on Thursday evening to discuss the things that have come into that email account. On this occasion we met on Saturday to see if there were any more immediate changes that we could make in response to the questions that were raised:

A question was asked about whether there could be a bit more leeway for pupils within a bubble to visit each other’s dormitories and for day pupils to go into boarders’ rooms when they were invited to do so. Houseparents will clarify this a bit more depending on your individual house layout but in principle we think that is very sensible. So thank you for that question and the answer is ‘yes, you can mix more in your houses within your bubbles.’ It is a good example of a practical question where we have started off cautiously but where we are happy to be a bit more relaxed once we see how things go.

There has been a question about musicians being able to use the music school to practice before and after school and that is one I hope to find a resolution to in the next few days with Dr Leaman.

And finally, I’m afraid that we cannot provide cushions for every pupil in chapel. Thanks for asking though.

I hope that you have found the policy around facemasks to be an appropriately light touch but I must remind you that clearly, sharing facemasks is not a sensible thing to do.

Please keep using the review@blundells.org

It was so good to see so many of you engaged in sport on Saturday afternoon. I would like to thank all those staff who helped to organise and run what was a really excellent afternoon of games. Well done to all of you for the enthusiastic manner in which you got stuck in.

I do have one sporting announcement to make and that is to congratulate Ellie Sproul, Alice Lamb, Kitty Dart, Maddy Cotton along with OB Betty Stone who helped ISCA U18s to beat Beeston Hockey Club 3-2 in the U18 T2 National Club Finals. This was last year’s competition - they played that final in Nottingham yesterday.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

Mr Olive is going to speak to you about his role in community partnerships and how you can get involved.

ACADEMIC

I wanted to take the opportunity today to congratulate the following pupils in Year 12 who have earned academic status following the GCSE results over the Summer. Academic Status gives recognition to pupils who have achieved a grade average over 8. They are the following and they include 5 new pupils to the school:

Henry Albery
Monty Bailey-Skinner
Alice Burnand
David Case
James Case
Isabella Dalton-Morgan
Evie Dod
Eva Gu
Kaira Hinchliffe
Lilinka Jezkova
Molly Joyner
Lucy Kite
Tilly Landray
Izzy Leyshon
Molly Macleod
Freya Marr
Anna Maunder
Max Mayor
Kabir Mehra
Eve Nugent
Bailey Oram
Jess Payne
Lottie Southgate
Hebe Stone
Betty Zeng

CHEMISTRY

Mr Mead has asked me to make some announcement for Chemistry:

During the Summer Term the Year 8 pupils took part in an extra-curricular project looking at the wonders of space. The following pupils won the following awards after nominations from their various subject teachers:

Jenny Donald – Flight Director – for consistently high attainment across all disciplines
Mandy Chong – Ground Controller – for consistently high effort across all disciplines
Eric Gu – flight Dynamic Officer – for creativity and thinking out of the box
Nico Whyte – Spacecraft Communicator – for outstanding achievement

They can collect their prizes and certificates from Mr Mead.

And still on Chemistry…

During the summer term our U6 Chemists took part in the Lower Sixth Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. This competition aims to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry, and provides an excellent experience for anyone considering taking their studies further. Set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists, it is designed to be accessible to Year 12 students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourage them to think about science in the way they would at university.

There were a total of 6387 entries into this year's competition. A total of 40 students won Roentgenium awards (0.6%), 541 students won Gold awards (Top 9%), 1110 students won Silver awards (Top 25%) and 2198 students won Copper awards (Top 60%).

Students at Blundell’s won the following awards:

First Name Surname Award
Harry Dawson Copper
Emma Edwards Copper
James Elderfield Copper
Duncan Johnson-Ferguson Copper
Hugo Li Copper
Thomas Murphy Copper
Harry Perring Copper
Laura Smith Copper
Ben Thornton-Wood Copper
Stephen Wass Copper
Erica Park Silver
Thomas Yeadon Gold
Harry List Roentgenium
ACADEMIC FULL COLOURS to HARRY LIST

Harry is the most talented academic we have had at Blundell’s for a considerable number of years. He is a man who backs his ability with an impressive work ethic and this has resulted in his achieving at the highest national levels in a wide range of subjects. It might be easy to forget that, at Harry’s academic level, the complexity of the problems demand discipline, hard work and staying power to solve. As an observer, it might be easy to think that it was just something that someone like Harry would find easy. This is not the case; he works exceptionally hard in order to prepare himself for the next challenge. He trains with the focus and determination of an elite athlete preparing themselves for the highest levels of competition.

Harry’s academic achievements are national in their standard. He is competing with the very best in the country and frequently with students two or three years older than himself. While age is not necessarily an advantage, the experience that it brings certainly is, making his achievements all the more impressive.

Winning a top Gold award in the Physics Olympiad led to an invitation to the second round as one of the top 50 physicists in the country. It also meant that he was invited to take part in the British Astronomy and Astrophysics Olympiad competition. An impressive score here resulted in an invitation to the BAAO training camp for the very best in Great Britain. Harry’s intellect and ability meant that he became the youngest of the four selected from the camp to represent the UK at the international competition in Columbia. The others were all Year 13 while Harry was then in Year 12. He has spent much of the summer training to represent his country although Covid means that the competition has moved online.

His path in Chemistry has been similar. A top gold in the first round of the Olympiad led to an invitation to another training camp and a place as a reserve for the UK Chemistry Olympiad team. This places him in the top six chemists in the country. Again, this achievement while a year younger than those against whom he was competing.

Harry’s Mathematics is not weak either. Round 2 of the Maths Olympiad placed him in the top twenty mathematicians in the UK and his fast mathematical problem solving skills led to second place in the Bebras Computational Thinking National final in Oxford last year.

To sum up, this remarkable young man has won national competitions which have placed him in the top two Sixth Formers in a branch of mathematics, in the top six British Chemists and the top four Astrophysicists. All this while in the Lower Sixth. We wish him the very best as he represents his country later this month.

It would be easy for such an intellect to become arrogant, but Harry is untainted by any trace of this. He is unassuming about his achievements, modest in success, and generous in his support of others. He wears his considerable intellect lightly and remains patient while preparing for the A levels whose standards he has already far exceeded.

If the achievements already listed were not enough, he won the Boys’ Russell last year and is an outstanding swimmer described by Miss Youngs as “just phenomenal”. Helpful with the team, he trains hard and undertakes the toughest events. His performance in the relay vs King’s Taunton pulled Blundell’s to victory despite the team having been half a length behind when Harry entered the water.

It is very clear that Harry is exceptional and fully deserving of the first Full Colours of the year for his intellect, tenacity and character. Many would be extremely proud to have accomplished just one of his achievements of the last three years.

I will announce Monitors next week.

Year 13 to stay behind to meet with Mr Baily.

NEWS & EVENTS


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