Latin Prayer - Autumn Term 2021

18th October 2021

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the last Latin Prayer of the first half of the term. Just three days and then you all get a very well-deserved break. I am mindful that for Upper Sixth Geographers, you will have to wait a little bit longer before your break and I wish you all the very best for your exam on Thursday.

I expect that some of you will have heard of the tragic death of Sir David Amess last week. Sir David was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Southend West in Essex and he was stabbed to death whilst meeting members of his constituency.

It did lead me to thinking: why would anyone want to be a politician? On the one hand you have politicians like Boris Johnson, our current Prime Minister, who has held the No.10 Downing Street office through Brexit and through the Covid pandemic. He has had an incredibly challenging time and day after day he gets abused on every imaginable media platform. For a moment, suspend your own judgement of whether you like or dislike Boris and set aside whether you are a Labour or Tory supporter. The reality is that the job has been relentless, difficult and complicated, and the reward for that is an equally relentless torrent of public abuse. Politicians are fair game. They need to be held accountable, after all! Why would anyone want to do that job?

And then, on the other end of the political spectrum, you have a man like Sir David Amess. He was 69 years old and was an MP for 38 years. By all accounts he was a very good representative of his constituency – you have to be to stay in office for that long. He was known to be enthusiastic, kind and humble. He had no ambition to become a minister and he fought for animal rights causes and against fuel poverty. By all accounts he was a good man. He was the father of five children and a devout Christian. And he was murdered by a member of his constituency. Why would anyone want to be a politician?

For a moment let us remember that the country needs brilliant men and women who are committed to serving the community and who are prepared to make difficult decisions for the long term good of the nation. The job is not easy. Every decision requires a trade-off. Do we tax more, which is unpopular, in order to spend more on education, which is necessary? Or do we tax less, which is popular, and have less to spend on education? It is a hard job, and we need men and women who are not only intelligent, thoughtful and wise, but we also want men and women who are ethical, compassionate, with a strong moral compass and the toughness to make the hard calls.

Leadership is hard. Public service requires commitment and sacrifice.

We need men and women of moral courage to step forward and we as a society need to be responsible and judicious in using our democratic privilege to put those kinds of people in power. And then we need to support them.

I hope that Blundell’s is the type of school that raises up men and women like that – people who have the compassion to serve, the courage to make decisions, and with the determination to succeed. It is much easier to sit back and to be critical of our leaders, it is much harder to stand up and to put yourself in the firing line – sometimes literally. I hope that you will be inspired by the example of good men like Sir David and that you will, in whatever capacity, choose to make a positive contribution to society.

SCHOOL COUNCIL

Jess and Chris are going to report back on some of the developments from the School Council meeting.

MUSIC

This week my primary focus is on music. On Friday we enjoyed a wonderful evening of music performed by our school orchestra. It has been some time since we have enjoyed a concert like that, and I was so pleased to see many pupils in the audience. I know the musicians appreciate it so much when you come to support them – and I hope that you were impressed by what you saw and heard.

First, the chamber orchestra performed Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens with exceptional poise and maturity. The 9 pupil soloists were outstanding in their skill and dexterity, first performing for the Prep School in the afternoon before the evening concert to an adult audience. They were then joined by the full orchestra in Smatena’s Vlatava which was a suitably rousing and expertly played piece. It was an absolute joy to witness and a reminder of just how impressive our school music is. The impressive results come as a consequence of extremely hard work and the pupils involved have put in many long hours after activities and sports practices. Their dedication and commitment to music-making of the highest quality is truly something that should inspire us all.

It is therefore appropriate that today we celebrate the achievements of three musicians who took a leading role on Friday night.

FULL COLOURS – Freya Marr

Freya Marr has taken a hugely active role in Choral music making at Blundell’s School since her arrival as a Music Scholar in Year 7. She sings in both the full choir, the Chamber Choir and in our elite 8-voice choir.

She has been involved in every major choral performance, including being in the choir that sang at Carnegie Hall, New York in February 2019. In the summer term of Year 12 she achieved her Grade 8 singing with distinction and this term Freya was awarded the offer of a Choral Scholarship at Worcester College, Oxford; recognition of her ability to shape lines musically and read with fluency and blend her voice superbly in any choral setting.

However, singing is only one small part of what Freya contributes to school music. As a violinist she led the orchestra in the performance of Smetana in the Carnival of the Animals concert and also featured as a solo violin in that concert, showing flair and class in her performance. As a grade 8 distinction violinist, what is unusual is that violin is not actually her first instrument. Freya is foremost a clarinettist, holding a third grade 8 distinction on that instrument, on which she is currently working on university-level diploma material. It was no surprise when she won the Blundell’s Performer of the Year in 2020, the only Year 11 to have ever achieved this.

Freya is also a truly delightful person and a fine ambassador to all musicians. She is thoroughly dependable and enthusiastic in rehearsals, passionate and self-assured and committed to everything she undertakes, whether that be music in the community or internally in school. Freya is fully deserving of Full Colours for Instrumental and Choral Music.

FULL COLOURS – Cosima Mundy

Cosima Mundy has an expressive playing in her music that can enrapture every audience member that hears her. On Friday night in Carnival of the Animals she performed the famous and daunting The Swan with such grace, elegance and poise that it truly was one of the highlights of the concert. Cosi has approached her music with emotional integrity ever since she joined us as a Music Scholar in Year 7, showing her talent at a young age as she won the School House Cup for Musical Performance in Year 8.

In her more senior years, Cosi has taken the chance to showcase her music where possible, including in Scholars’ Concerts and external concerts such as the ‘Time to Dance’ concert in Exeter Cathedral and it has been a great shame that we have not heard more of her musicality on the live stage due to the cancellation of concerts as Covid struck. Her online playing in the Telemann Octet and in the London Chamber Orchestra Quartet at least gave us a glimpse of her talents. Currently undertaking auditions for a music conservatoire place, she hopes to take her cello further and we wish her all the very best of luck in what will be a highly competitive field of the country’s finest musicians.

Cosi has also developed an incredible singing voice, and those who heard her in the summer concert will remember a spine-tingling vocal duet of remarkable intensity. A key member of the Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and Blundell’s 8 Choir, Cosi has partaken in the Carnegie Hall Concert, as well as the tour to Budapest and is always a joy to have at rehearsals, often helping younger cellists and singers hone their craft. She is fully deserving of her Full Colours for Instrumental and Choral Music.

FULL COLOURS – Hebe Stone

Hebe joined us in Year 9 as a Music Scholar and immediately threw herself into every musical opportunity available. She sings in all the choirs and is a key member of the Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and Blundell’s 8 Choir. She was a valued member of the Choir tours to Budapest and New York and made a wonderful contribution to the Carnegie Hall concert and continues to support and encourage all aspects of choral music at Blundell’s.

Hebe is best known as a musician for her instrumental skills and is an exceptionally talented flautist, currently working towards her university-level diploma. She has played the flute in amazing and flawless renditions of incredibly complex music over the years, and we were treated to a spectacular rendition of an Ian Clarke piece when she was the joint winner of the Blundell’s Performer of the Year last year. Those in attendance at the Carnival of the Animals concert on Friday and heard her rendition of Aviary will still be perplexed as to how it is possible to play so many notes on the flute and at such speed.

Hebe’s dedication to music is particularly impressive given how busy she is in other areas of the school. She never misses a rehearsal and is always attentive and fully committed at the end of her very long days. Her contributions to chamber music in the Telemann Octet, the London Chamber Orchestra outreach projects and in leading the senior flute group have inspired and developed the music of other Blundellians, and outside of school she has also performed in national music of the highest quality. Hebe’s passion and commitment to music will no doubt stay with her when she pursues a medical career after Blundell’s and in the meantime, we look forward to being the beneficiaries of some outstanding musical performances in the months to come. Hebe is a musician who without question merits the award of Full Colours for Instrumental and Choral Music.

Last week I presented a number of certificates to musicians but I missed out one because she is in School House and SH are not usually with us in Latin Prayer. I have especially asked Sophie Wiggans to join us in Big School today because it really is quite an achievement to get your Grade 6 for Viola in Year 8. Well done Sophie.

This week we will of course have house music. It is a tremendous occasion in our annual calendar and I know you will be looking forward to it very much. Could I ask you to ensure that you are on your best behaviour at the event? We will have many guests in the audience and we will be recording it so that we can send it out to parents and Old Blundellians at a later date, but your cooperation in making it a memorable event will be much appreciated.

SPORT
Golf

The golf team have had a busy first half of term. Represented by captain Harry Edworthy and with regular contributions from Jack Whittaker, Freddie Bucknell, Max Mayor, Jack Palmer, Alex Karseras, Ewan Cragg and Sammy Broomhead the team have played in a number of competitions.

At the ISGA Singles we met Kings Taunton in the first round and despite Harry Edworthy winning his match we lost 1-2 and go into the plate competition. We will be playing Wellington School in the next round after Half Term.

In the West of England Independent Schools Championship Harry Edworthy shot the lowest round of the day and the team finished in 5th place. On the second day we had a good 3 – 2 win over Taunton School.

And then finally, in the HMC Foursomes we lost to King’s Taunton in what was a very close match with two of the three games going down to the 18th hole.

After Half Term we will be participating in a newly formed league and Milton Abbey will be our first opposition. Well done to Harry and his team and we wish them well for the second half of the term.

Netball

The U14 girls’ had an early season tournament in which they did really well, winning 2 and drawing one on the day. They ended up second overall which is good enough to take them through to the next round of the National Schools’ Competition.

Three girls have been selected for the East Devon U15 Netball Academy. Well done to Nyasha Kiea, Uttara Keeza and Matilda Renouef.

Hockey

We had a quieter Saturday on the hockey front with only a few fixtures against West Buckland. Our 2nd XI beat West Buckland 1st and our 3rd team beat their 2nd team, both by a single goal. Our U15 and U14 B teams played against their A teams, and both lost narrowly. It is always tough going up against another schools A teams, but you acquitted yourselves very well indeed. The 4th XI had a good 2 – 0 win against King’s Taunton.

The following have been selected for Devon Hockey.

U14 girls:
  • Bea Morrison
  • Daisy Doyle
  • Daisy Holdsworth
  • Edie Munro
  • Ellen Hill
  • Emma Scoble
  • Pippa Sproul
U15 girls:
  • Jemima Mitchell
  • Millie Wivell
  • Lucy Fitzherbert
U17 girls:
  • Shea Clark
  • Clem Bantock
  • Grace Jury
  • Georgia Scott-McDowall
  • Isobel Morrison
U14 boys:
  • Zach Rickford
  • Monty Charteris
  • Reuben Wielenga
  • Matthew McCollum
  • Dan Doyle
  • Freddie Cox
  • Alexander Toghill
  • Kit Stone
U15 boys:
  • Alexander Karseras
U17 boys:
  • Archie Guiness
  • Finn Rew
Rugby

Last week the 4th XV had a good win against Kingsley 1st XV. It is always good to be able to put out a 4th team and I hope you boys enjoyed that outing.

The block fixture was against Kingswood from Bath. We were aware that their senior teams were not that strong and so a weakened 1st XV travelled and enjoyed a comfortable win. The Kingswood age groups have enjoyed a very good season to date with their U14 A team having not conceded a try up till the time they met our U14s who blew them off the park with a very impressive 35 – 5 win. The U14Bs won by 5 tries to 4 and the rarely seen U14Cs also had an excellent win. The injury ravaged U16s played some very good rugby in parts and stayed competitive against a big and well drilled team. The reports from the U15 coaches was especially encouraging with Mr Moore and Mr Hayward reporting the best performances of the season despite both teams losing narrowly. A good block fixture to end the first half of the season. The U14s remain unbeaten, the U15s have grown stronger as the season has progressed, and the U16s will hopefully be somewhere closer to full strength after Half-Term.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Last Friday saw this term’s Garden Open Day. The autumn sunshine ensured that everyone who took part in activities or visited the Café enjoyed the delicious spread all the more. One of the highlights was the visit from Tiverton High Schools Head Boy and Girl and some of their Ambassadors who met with our Heads of School as well as Daisy Parker, Flo Cave, Jack Ramsay and Dan Pugsley. The group got on incredibly well and ended their very productive meeting with a tour of the school.

This term’s Open Day saw the first Inter House Scarecrow competition. An excellent late arrival from North Close and a brilliant ‘entry level’ scarecrow from Francis House joined a realistic Blundell’s blazer-wearing, pizza-holding scarecrow from Petergate. In the end the judges went with Old House in third place with a well-engineered pumpkin construction, and Harry Potter’s Dobby complete with sock from Gorton House in second. The winners were School House with a brilliant “Where’s that pesky mole?!” theme which caused most people on the day to think a Year 7 pupil had been half buried in the garden.

The prizes are £100.00, £50.00 and £25.00 for the winning Houses, which is to be spent on an environmental and sustainable project. Can I invite someone from OH, GH and SH to collect their prize.

Mr Olive would like to thank everyone who attended and particularly members of the newly formed Blundell’s Community Action Team who volunteered to run the café throughout the day.

It leaves me to wish you a very good rest over Half-Term and we look forward to seeing you back at school in November, and it won’t be long before we have the Christmas lights out again!

 

12th October 2021

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to a Tuesday Latin Prayer. I hope you enjoyed your day out yesterday and that you made the most of the lovely weather. I think we have another day or two to enjoy it before it gets a bit more miserable again. It has been so good to have a full and busy programme again, with sports fixtures, a concert later this week, and play rehearsals in full swing. I so enjoyed watching many of you involved in your matches and it really was a wonderful day of sport and activities.

These last few days have also seen a number of really important events in our school calendar. On Friday evening we had our Introduction to the Sixth Form evening which I hope Year 11s found to be a really useful and exciting exercise. We had a good number of pupils from outside the school who are considering Blundell’s for their Sixth Form. The ones I spoke to had a really good evening and were hugely impressed with the pupils on the various subject stands and they found you confident, passionate about your subjects, but also really thoughtful and warm.

On Saturday morning we had our Year 6 Guest Morning for Blundell’s Prep families who want to send their children into Year 7 next year. Although many of them know the Prep School well, they have not all had the chance to look around this part of the School. Thank you to the Year 8s who did the tour guiding in School House and thank you too to the Sixth Formers who were tour guides and those of you on the pupil panel.

And then finally, yesterday we hosted the 13+ sports scholarship assessment with 15 pupils from other schools joining our 15 for a very entertaining and competitive day of assessments. Again, many of you were involved in looking after the guests and I want to especially commend the Year 8s who took part for making our visitors so welcome. I interviewed all the external candidates and each of them said how you had made them feel so welcome.

This week there is another big marketing event happening and that is the filming of the new school video. We have two Old Blundellians shooting our new video and it will involve numerous pupils.

It is wonderful to know that there is such demand for places at Blundell’s – whether that be into Year 12, Year 9 or Year 7. It is exciting that our reputation is so good, and that people want to send their children here. I have said it before, but I will say it again, the best advert for our school is you. Every time visiting parents or pupils come, they notice your enthusiasm for the school and your genuine warmth and interest that you show in your dealings with them. They meet you and want their children to have what you have and to show what you show. I cannot help but be immensely proud of you on days like these.

I must also thank the staff who work so hard behind the scenes to make days like this happen. The Marketing and Admissions team, the catering team, teaching staff and, of course, our grounds and gardens teams who ensure that the school looks brilliant from the moment visitors drive into the school.

You may well wonder why we continue to put so much energy into our marketing if the school is full to bursting. Well the simple reason is that we want to attract the best pupils to Blundell’s. And when I talk about the best, I don’t just mean talented, I mean pupils who want to use their talents to the full, pupils who will make the most of every single opportunity that the school can offer them. Pupils who will make a contribution and who want to help make Blundell’s a better place to be.

A more sobering thought for some of you is that there are many pupils who would love to have the opportunity that you have and if you waste them, or fool around, or don’t fancy working hard, or who think it is okay to be unkind or to mess around, you need to know that there are better people out there who would love to have your place. With such demand for places, those of you not making the most of your time here need to look out because there are pupils hungrier than you who would love to take your place.

So, whilst we celebrate having a full school and many pupils wanting to come here, let it also be a warning to those of you who take this for granted.

SCHOOL COUNCIL

I am going to invite Jess and Chris up to update you on the outcomes from the most recent School Council meeting.

OUTDOOR PURSUITS

On Sunday not Field Day the 35 mile Ten Tors conducted their second hike across Dartmoor, the conditions were excellent at the start then deteriorated to clear blue skies. This posed a few further challenges as the groups could see the severity of the inclines at a distance, some chose to contour around and others the direct but steeper routes. The clear conditions did enable some excellent map to ground training and many of the Tors used during the event were identified. Though some found the pace a little challenging they all did extremely well and should be proud of their achievement. Next walk on the 7th November will the final walk this term.

ARKWRIGHT ENGINEERING SCHOLARSHIP

I would like to congratulate Oscar Winsley on his success in winning a prestigious Arkwright Scholarship. The Arkwright Engineering scholarships are awards which are challenging to attain. To secure a scholarship pupils will have shown a high level of scientific, mathematical and design ability. Oscar will now be linked with an Engineering firm who will help and support him in his studies both at A-level and University. From thousands of applicants only 400 pupils are successful each year, therefore, Oscar has proven himself to have fantastic engineering potential for the future.

DRAMA

The Year 13 A Level Drama students spent the day in the Ondaatje rehearsing for their practical devised exam. This exam will take place this Sunday evening. We wish them the best of luck for this.

And still on Drama,

Each year the academy that awards the Speech and Drama examinations present various awards of excellence to the students who achieve the highest grades, worldwide, in their specialism. I am delighted to announce that for the last academic year Myles Rattigan, who left in the summer, achieved The Sir Roger Moore Certificate of Excellence for Grade 8 Acting.

The Myrtle Moss Certificate of Excellence for Grade 6 Acting has been awarded to Ted Phillips. This is a huge accolade and a true testament to all the hard work and dedication he has brought to the department since joining in the lower sixth and is fully deserving of the award.

MUSIC

Certificates to be presented:

Grade 6
  • Finnian Batsford – Violin
  • Eric Gu – Flute
  • William Maitland-Walker – piano and trumpet
  • Toby Johnson – Trumpet
  • Amelia Mitchell – Violin
  • Sophie Wiggans – Viola
Grade 7
  • Archie Guinness – Trumpet
  • Chester Johnson – Classical Guitar
  • Wilf Sargent – Alto Saxophone
  • Guy Wiggans – Violin
Grade 8
  • Promise Lee – Oboe
  • Freya Marr – Singing and Violin
  • Eve Nugent – Flute
  • Harry Southgate – Drum Kit
  • Joshua Withey – Drum Kit

Good luck to the musicians involved in the concert on Friday. They will be performing Carnival of the Animals on Friday. I am looking forward to that very much.

SPORTS NEWS

Congratulations to the Kayak Racing Squad who raced in the South West Schools’ Championship on Sunday in Exeter. 23 crews representing 14 different schools took part. We had 6 pairs racing, in two teams. Our Open Team are to be congratulated for coming second in the Sprints and also in the Marathon race. I would like to present the Trophy to the Girls’ Team for coming first overall in the Sprint races and first in the Marathon. It was an excellent day’s racing, in front of quite a crowd on Exeter Quayside so well done to everyone involved. Could I ask Lilinka Jezkova and Connie Hayward-Smith to come up and collect the trophy?

RUGBY

We had a very good day of rugby against Taunton School and it was great to have the 1st XV play their first match on Big Field in some time. Taunton provided a good test but after soaking up some initial pressure we managed to string together some phases with forwards and backs working very well together to set up line breaks for Noah Fenton, Will Saltmarsh and Chris Dunstan.  In Mr Johnson’s words: “The side now understand why rugby is often referred to as the ultimate team game. They understand that a team will succeed through the collective and combined effort of everyone, and that each person plays their part.”

The Seconds recorded an identical 24 – 7 score line in a dominant performance with tries from Tom Hatton, Ollie Butler, Finn Muirhead and a try from halfway from Charlie Tempest. The 2rd XV won easily by 48 – 7 with Ewan Cragg and Lochy Cronkshaw scoring two apiece. Try of the day though came from Ferdinand Sass towards the end of the game.

Despite numerous injuries the U16As recorded a big 45-17 win. With many boys playing out of position, it was an ambitious performance with a special mention going to Jamie Stewart and Henry Simpson who both scored a number of tries.

In the return fixture from the previous week, Blundell’s U16B started off superbly against Taunton School, scoring a try in the opening exchanges. The match was exceptionally tight, with Taunton replying with two quick tries before half time and Blundell’s retaking the lead just after. The match was finely poised at 10-10 with only minutes remaining and two break away tries from nothing saw Taunton take the victory.

A much-improved performance saw the 15s compete admirably with a much larger Taunton side. They defended well as a team but unfortunately, they gave the ball up too cheaply on a few occasions leading to Taunton tries. Archie Oram-Evennett looked dangerous throughout and capped his performance with a fine try as Blundell’s lost 22-7.

An extremely competitive match with two evenly matched sides. The final score was 27-20, but Blundell’s spent most of the 2nd half camped in Taunton's half. Some excellent tries from YQ Leung and Matthew Wong and a great solo effort from Fin Backhouse. A much-improved performance and the best of the season to date.

The U14s carried on their winning start to the season by defeating Taunton School by 50-5. The boys played some great attacking rugby in summer like conditions. The forward pack carried tirelessly to create space for the backs to run in some outstanding tries. Monty Charteris was awarded player of the match but there were other stand out performances by Nicolas De Jager, William Ramsay and Tom Byrne.

Mr Saunders reports on School House rugby: After starting the season with just 16 Year 8 boys wishing to play contact rugby, we now have 24 boys wanting to play the full-on version. We took two teams of 12 down to Exeter. The more experienced team led by Archie Beszant produced a top-class performance with Rory Oram-Evennett, Patrick Taylor Ross, Matt Harrison and Tom Acher looking back to their best form.  Cyrus Tucker led from the front a less experienced group of players with some of the boys playing their first game of rugby. Jacky Chong continues to develop into a tough all-round player and Desmond Kan and Brandon Talbot are getting used to some of the more obscure rules of rugby.

I won’t always give such a detailed report on the rugby but as it was our first proper block fixture of the season, I thought we would make an exception.

HOCKEY

Another outstanding week for the girls’ hockey teams against Queen’s Taunton in which we didn’t lose a single fixture and we scored 30 goals for and conceded just 2.

  • 1st          W          7-0
  • 15A       W          4-0
  • 14A       W          10-0
  • 13A       W          5-0
  • 12A       W          3-1
  • 12B       D           1-1

Under 18 team played in round 2 of Tier 2 on Wednesday against Exeter School. It took a while for us to break through Exeter’s defences but eventually Mattie Kolowska did just that. However, a second goal was hard to come by and we had to wait until the 55th minute for the next. Saskia Lawrence broke the deadlock, before Ylva von Blanquet added 2 to give us a 4-0 win. Claire Behrend was superb. Next round v Taunton after Half-Term.

SWIMMING

Congratulations to Lewis Gow who competed in Tiverton Swimming Club Championships over 2 weekends - the second part just this last weekend. He competed 12 events, with all 12 races swum in personal best times, and getting 7 gold medals and 5 silver medals overall.  He’s picked up some county qualifying times for 2022.

ANNOUNCEMENTS
Blundell’s open Garden

The Autumn Term Garden Open Day is on Friday this week. There will be visits from Year 1, local NHS staff, the Tiverton High School Ambassadors (who are their School Monitors) and School House parents. Please remember to bring your House scarecrow to the garden by 16.00 on Thursday this week. Winners will be announced in the garden at 13.30.

The Café will be open to you all at break and lunchtime selling smoothies, hot chocolate, cakes and ice creams and free home-grown soup at lunch. If you would like to help, then please contact Mr Olive today.

Classics Announcement for classicists in Year 10 – 13

You are invited to join the Classics department for an exciting lecture this Thursday 14th October at 4pm in Ondaatje. The speaker is Dunstan Lowe, from the University of Kent and he is going to give a talk entitled:

"Where the Wild things Were: Lost Monsters in Homer's Odyssey and Virgil's Aeneid."

He is also going to talk to any of you who want to stay on afterwards about studying Classics at university. This should be interesting and useful for all those studying Classical Civilisation or Latin GCSE or A Level and anyone considering studying Classics at University. Any pupil from Year 10 upwards is welcome and we would encourage anyone with an interest in classical stories to join us; you do not have to be a member of the Classics Department. It will be live streamed in Ondaatje from 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm, with those who are interested then being able to stay on for the university discussion afterwards. Please excuse yourself from your normal Thursday activity if you wish to attend.

TAKE A SEAT

On Friday, before the concert, we are hosting a reception for all those people who donated money for the black chairs you are sitting on. I am sure that you will agree that they are much more comfortable than the red ones, but we do need to look after them. On the back of the black chairs there are little plaques with the name of the donor on it. Please do not pick at them or tear them off. We will try to ensure that they are secured before the reception on Friday, but I am asking for your help in not damaging the chairs or the plaques unnecessarily.

 

4th October 2021

Good morning, everyone, please take your seats.

To begin with, a huge congratulations to Mr and Mrs Wheatley who ran the London Marathon yesterday. Mr Wheatley finished in just under 3 hours and Mrs Wheatley in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Do wish them well when you see them hobbling around school but for now, let’s give them a round of applause.

I would also like to wish Mr and Mrs Moore well after the arrival of their second child, India, last week. Let’s give them a round of applause too and we look forward to meeting India in due course.

I want to spend a moment talking to you about mobile phone etiquette. The policy at school is what we refer to as an ‘invisibility policy’. What that means is that you can have phones on you, but we don’t want to see them. On the whole, many of you are pretty good about that rule but far too many of you – a growing number – seem to be walking around campus watching your screens. Until now, we have asked nicely and hoped that you will cooperate. If you refuse to listen, then we will have to put measures in place to enforce the rules. If you do not want a stricter set of rules, then you all need to help in stopping people from walking around with their phones out. I categorically do not want stricter rules – but if you get it wrong you will leave us little choice. This is your corporate responsibility, and you need to decide collectively what culture you want at school. Today the School Council is going to discuss the matter and will advise us as to how we move this forward. I get the impression from pupils who I have spoken to that you do not want a culture where everyone is on their phones all the time – you have told me you like the interpersonal relationships we have and that we do not want a school where people hide behind their phones. That includes at break times and I would be sad to hear of pupils going back to house to spend 25 minutes on their phones in between lessons. Could I urge you to collectively take responsibility for this and to create the culture you want with regards to phones.

I appreciate that sometimes you will want to check your phone as you move around campus between lessons. That is fine, but if you need to check your phone, pull over out of the traffic, stand still, check your phone, put it away, and then move on. We do not want to see people walking and looking at their phones. I hope that is clear and I also hope that the School Council will have a meaningful conversation as to how we might tighten up on things in this regard.

As best we can we want to have rules that we all agree on and that make sense to us. Rules that make sense and that help us to live well together in our society. The School Council is an excellent forum at which you can debate rules and raise them with us.

OUTDOOR PURSUITS

The Ten Tors 45 Mile teams started their training on Sunday and Dartmoor did not let us down this week with mixed conditions and though we managed to keep ahead of the rain until lunchtime, the downpours arrived and at times were so heavy they reduced visibility to 20 metres. The conditions tested the best waterproof brands on the market and Archie Guinness's plan of wearing marigolds a clear indication that 'we all learn in different ways'. Though atrocious conditions the team's spirits remained high, and they navigated the 18 kilometres with ease. Showing early on they have what it takes to take on the gruelling 45-mile challenge.

RUGBY

The U13s had a busy week with three fixtures against Uffculme, Truro and Taunton. At U13 level there are quite a few boys who have not played any rugby and so some teams play contact and others play touch. With so much being said about the safety elements of the game I am really excited and pleased that there is an alternative to the full contact game that will continue to be enjoyable for many who are new to the game and that for those who want to play contact that is still available too. Whichever version you were playing, Mr Saunders tells me that the skill levels are improving and that he was very pleased with the performance of the teams.

Although there were not many fixtures on Saturday, Angus Rackham and Charlie Tomlinson were both mentioned in the despatches from the U16B match against Taunton. Clearly the weather played a part in a tight match, but we came out with a well-deserved win and special mentions go to Eric Thissen and Andrew Lin for some excellent line breaks.

The U15Bs also had a good win at Taunton with special mentions going to Mattias Baum, Harry and Charlie Cracknell, Elliot Butterfield, Harry Parker-Swift and Fin Backhouse.

HOCKEY

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the 1st XI in action against King’s Taunton. The girls twice fought back from a goal down but in the end won convincingly by 4 goals to 2. I imagine that Lydia and her team will reflect on a match in which they made life quite hard for themselves in the first half, but they can be very proud of the way they kept playing and ultimately won well.

I was delighted to hear that the U14 team were crowned Devon champions on Wednesday with a 2-1 win away at Exeter in the Tier 1 Devon Final. This is the first time in a few years we have secured this title and we now go on to the West of England tournament in November.

Following the excellent results against Bristol Grammar School last week, the girls’ hockey teams continued their good form in their matches against King’s Taunton. We played seven, won 4, drew 2 and lost just the 1. The U14As put their hands up for team of the week with an excellent 5 – 2 win although Mrs Klinkenberg’s U12As ran them close with a come from behind 3 – 2 win against Millfield. Having been 2 – 0 down at half time, the girls played their hearts out and Emma Scoble scored a second half hattrick to secure a memorable result.

ACADEMIC

Miss Mercer shared some very good news with me and I am pleased to announce that Jess Kaia has achieved the prize of Senior Runner Up in the Wimbledon Bookfest Young Writers Competition. Alongside a certificate and the prize of a book, Jess has had her story published in a book of work celebrating the young writers who entered the competition. Well done Jess.

Full Colours – Eva Gu

A true scholar, with the rare qualities of exceptional intellect and utmost humility, Eva is a model student. She is incisive, meticulous, and rigorous, drawing upon an outstanding inner strength to maintain excellence. She is an exceptional mathematician, an extremely intelligent and intensely thorough chemist, and a talented musician, with the ability to excel, regardless of the complexity or skill set needed. She is never satisfied until she has complete grasp of a concept, often going beyond the specification to further her knowledge.

Her aptitude in her subjects has been clearly recognised through her dedication and achievement in competitions outside of school: she has obtained a Gold Award for the Senior Maths Challenge; a Bronze Award for the British Olympiad paper and a Gold Award in the L6th Chemistry Challenge. Inspired by ‘Logicomix’ to write about Bertrand Russell, focusing on his contribution in logicism and set theory, she entered a national essay competition and was selected for the Immerse summer camp at Cambridge University.

An active member across all aspects of school life, including: the school orchestra, where she plays in the first violins; the swimming team, where she has competed in County gala relays; and the basketball team, she is an ebullient and determined individual, who remains modest and personable to the core. These characteristics, alongside exceptional academic ability, mean Eva is completely deserving of her Full Academic Colours.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vaccinations – a reminder that flu and Covid jabs are happening today. They will start later this morning for those of you whose parents have signed the consent forms. It will cause a bit of disruption but please do all you can to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

School Council – as mentioned earlier, the School Council will be meeting at lunch time today. Along with the issue of mobile phones, I know that the Monitors have a full agenda of things to discuss with you and we will hear from Jess and Chris again in Latin Prayer next week.
A reminder from Mr Olive that there is a meeting in B5 at 13.15 today for those Y12 and 13 interested in the Blundell’s Action Teams. Further details will follow for the rest of school and how you can be involved in the future.

The Autumn Term Blundell’s Garden Open Day is in a couple of weeks on Friday 15th October. Mr Olive would like to remind you that his year there is an inter House Scarecrow Competition. Details are on display in your Houses or please see him for further details. Scarecrows are to be displayed in the garden and judged on the Garden Open Day.

All staff and pupils Year 9-13 are invited to participate in our first Fireside Chat for the year at Blundell’s House 7:15pm this Friday 8th October. These are informal events where we get to talk with someone about their lives. This Friday our guest is Ben Howitt, a vet with a vision. Pupils with an interest in veterinary science, general animal wellbeing, starting up a charity or the Galapagos Islands might find him particularly interesting.

School Photo – on Friday we have our full school photo. Please make sure that you are smartly turned out for that. Whole school photos end up on the wall in the corridor between my office and School House and Old Blundellians often come there to look for themselves in the old photos. One day it may be you showing your family your photo – so it’s worth looking the part!

Introduction to the Sixth Form evening – on Friday we have our Introduction to the Sixth Form evening. It is an opportunity for those of you in Year 11 to explore your subject options for A-Level and gives you a chance to speak to different teachers about their subjects. We are also expecting a number of parents and pupils who are considering joining us for the Sixth Form. Please do all you can to make them feel welcome and do help them out if they appear unsure of where they are going.

 

27th September 2021

Good morning, everyone, please take your seats. I have a huge amount to report on today which is a reflection of just how busy the last week has been. I have very much enjoyed being out and about over the weekend and I cannot tell you how good it is to see such a busy programme of events that you are involved with. Of course, none of these things happen without considerable effort from many different people so as we go through the different things today, we will be mindful of the time and effort that has gone in to making them all possible. Let’s crack on...

On Saturday we had our first Open Day in two years, and we had just over 50 families come to visit us. Interest in the school is incredibly high and people came from all over England to see the school and to get an experience of it first-hand. The Open Day starts with my presentation, and I try to give visitors an impression of what life at school is like. However, without exception the experience becomes meaningful for them when they meet you and they realise that the nice things I tell them about you are actually true! Parents invariably return from their tour around school genuinely impressed and quite moved by your enthusiasm, sincerity and friendliness and for many of them it is their experience with you that helps them to choose Blundell’s for their children. I watched many of you as you walked around school and I can only say how proud I was of how you conducted yourselves. Well done and thank you. Well done, especially, to Kabir, Fleur, Arby and Freddie who sat on the pupil panel and answered parents questions at the end. You all did very well. It is a big occasion for our Marketing and Admissions Department and I would like to congratulate them on a very successful day.

Yesterday was another busy day and again many staff contributed to make it happen. I enjoyed popping in at the end of the Reichwald Fives cup where I was pleased to make the presentations at the end of the day. The event pairs up current Blundell’s pupils with an Old Blundellian in a Doubles competition. It was great to see some new pupils have their first competitive matches and it was, as always very well supported. I would like to thank Mr Hedley-Dent, who used to be an Art teacher here, for his efforts as well as Mr Moore who is our master in charge of Fives. I often commend you for your commitment to the school, but I want to mention Mr Moore who travelled to Truro on Saturday with the U15As and then spent all day today at the Fives and many of you will also be aware that Mrs Moore is expecting their second child any day now. So a big thank you to Mr Moore for his efforts and the U15A boys might be mindful of that when they next run out onto the pitch to represent the school.

And then yesterday I spent much of my day visiting our horse riders at Pontispool where our first One Day Event in a number of years took place. There were almost 200 competitors taking part and there was an excellent representation of Blundell’s in the field. I have not yet received all the results so hope to be able to share those with you next week. I would like to thank Mrs Charlesworth and Mrs Fallon for the months and months of preparation that went into that as well as Mrs Roffe-Silvester who supported the event in raising sponsorship through the Development Office. It is an extraordinary event with dozens and dozens of volunteers, many who are parents here, without whom this would not be able to take place. Not only is it a terrific event for our riders, but it also is a wonderful reflection of the type of community we are.

I have not yet mentioned the more routine things that have happened over the weekend but before I get to the sports results, I would like to invite Jess and Chris to report back on last week’s first School Council meeting.

SCHOOL COUNCIL – Report from Chris/Jess
OUTDOOR PURSUITS

As is often the case, I am going to report back first on some outdoor pursuits from the past week. As always, I have received a report from Mr Dawe which I am pleased to share with you.

It was great to take the Williams Cup back to Wimbleball Lake this year. We arrived mid-afternoon and quickly started with tutor lead activities and House Charters. As those of you who have been on the Williams Cup, the first afternoon is dedicated to tutor group activities and I was pleased to judge the competition in which groups were asked to create a contest of sorts for everyone to compete in.

But winning the Tutor group challenge was not due providing the judges with cookies, this tutor group used their House name as a mnemonic to remember their House Charter and the winners of the Tutor Group competition was Miss Harris from Gorton House, well done to those and all the tutor groups for their efforts. Next was the night hunt, we changed it a little this year which proved to be more competitive, and valuable points were won, which tipped the balance, with the winners from that going on to win the Williams Cup.

Day 2 saw a series of outdoor activities, including Paddle Boarding, Rafting, Catapult Building, Archery and Axe Throwing, all of which contributed to the overall score. FH were particularly impressive in the axe throwing getting the highest score ever since the event started.

Before I announce the Cup winners there is a separate award, the 'Endeavour Cup' which is given to the student for who this environment is well out of their comfort zone, but despite this, found the courage to continue to commit and contribute to the House team. This award could have gone to a number of students but this year the winner of the' Endeavour Cup' is Matilda Stoneman from GH.

The competition for the cup this year was extremely close. 6 points covered all five Houses:

  • 5th Old House
  • 4th Francis House
  • 3rd Petergate
  • 2nd Gorton House
  • Winners North Close

Ten Tors 35-mile training got off to a great start on Sunday, and though with a few students missing due to leave weekend the 16 that attended proved very capable on the first walk. The conditions were less than ideal at the start with clear skies and excellent visibility, but this changed by lunch time with thick fog and drizzle for a few hours which tested the groups navigation. The students coped very well with the conditions, they show great navigational ability and learnt several new techniques on how to relocate. Emergency procedures and river crossing techniques were practiced in the unlikely event they are needed. Stand out navigators for the day, Ed Harris, Ollie Humphery, Sam Bradley, Freddie Bucknell and Charlie Roger. The whole group should be congratulated on their commitment and hopefully are looking forward to their next walk in a few weeks. Thanks to Mr Mycock for assisting and walking with one of the groups.

ACADEMIC

The MFL department entered students in a translation competition last June organised by the University of Oxford. Amelia Churcher participated in the inaugural year of the Anthea Bell Prize competition and her translation on the Tour de France received a commendation. Students from all over the UK took part in this competition and this is a fantastic achievement from Amelia.

SPORT
Rugby v Truro and King’s, Taunton

The 1st XV match against Truro was a positive experience, with more members of the senior squad getting the opportunity to represent the school at 1st XV level. Partly because of new combinations being tried, a journey in the bus and players trying to play champagne rugby before we had earned the right to, the first half was a frustrating affair. As our pattern of play improved so did the performance and crucially the enjoyment level. The side ended the day with a greater appreciation of what is needed to make progress at this level.

I enjoyed watching a variety of matches here. The pick of them was the performance of the U14A team who had a very comprehensive win against Truro. They also had a good warm up match against Kingsmead in the middle of the week and the early signs are that we have a very well balanced and accomplished Year 9 group of rugby players with a great blend of new pupils joining the stalwarts who have come through the ranks in School House. On this occasion it was Alex Blake-Pead who was nominated as Man of the Match.

The 2nd XV had a last-minute match arranged against King’s Taunton and won well on Big Field. It was a very accomplished effort from the team after the tough start last week and it gave a good indication of the depth in our senior rugby this year.

I was especially pleased to hear of the success of the U14 Bs who had a record win against a hospitable King’s, Taunton team. Mr Candler reports that “the unforgiving, wide and dusty pitch suited our expansive and flamboyant attack; the score ended up many (many) tries to none.” Mr Candler nominated Harper Flinton as the impact player of the day.

Full Colours: Rugby – Henry Webb

As is often the case, the first Colours awards of the season are often made to the captains of the respective sports, and I am very pleased today to make the first Colours awards of the year. Before I read the situation it is worth taking a minute to explain the significance of the Colours Blazer to new pupils. Colours are awarded to pupils in the Upper Sixth for excellence in attainment in a particular discipline as well as their leadership and all-round contribution to their field. The award allows recipients to wear the coveted stripy blazer which you will soon see around school again. We expect that the wearer does so with pride and with the knowledge and understanding that they wear it as much as a reflection of their commitment and ability as they do as a representative of the school and of their field. It is an honour that is not to be taken lightly and it is correctly held in high esteem.

Covid restrictions meant that many players did not get the opportunity to shine in their Lower Sixth year at Blundell’s and are having to squeeze two years of development into a single season. It therefore takes a special character to really stand out, so soon in the process. Fortunately, Henry Webb is just such a personality.

Throughout his time at Blundell’s, Henry has been the mainstay of each rugby age grade that he has represented. A solid defender, and an aggressive attacker with ball in hand. No matter the stature or size of the person opposite, Henry will use every sinew to drive an opponent back or run by him. His willingness, in fact, eagerness to place his body on the line and win a much-needed turnover for his team is inspirational and much appreciated.
Henry has worked tirelessly to improve all aspects of his game since joining in Year 9 and has always been one of the most regular attenders of the extra sessions that are provided, whether it is fitness, or kicking development, or even helping out with a lineout practice! His determination to place the team’s interest ahead of his own personal achievement is outstanding and one of the reasons why he was an obvious choice to be this season’s captain. He never seeks the glory and is often the player cajoling and encouraging others to just give that little bit more. There is a quiet determination that means he is respected and followed.

Henry has always maintained the highest standards of performance, attitude and application, whether on baked hard or quagmire pitches, in winning teams or those facing defeat, he maintains his effort and endeavour throughout.

Most importantly he is a player who values the ethos and spirit of the game of rugby, which is something that carries huge weight and creditability within the wider rugby community and will mean Henry will always be welcomed, wherever his rugby journey takes him.

Girls’ Hockey v Bristol Grammar School

Mr Mead reports that we had one of our most successful block fixtures against Bristol Grammar School ever with 6 wins out of 8 matches with a draw and a 0-1 loss being the only blemishes in what was an exceptional day.

I was especially pleased to hear that the U15s fought out a well-deserved win especially after the tough results they had last week. By reputation, the BGS U15s are a strong outfit so for both the A and B team to come away with wins was an excellent achievement.

The senior teams continue to show very good early season from with a 3 – 1 win for the firsts and a 2 – 0 win for the seconds. The 3rds and 4ths traded 1 – 0 score lines but both games were of a very good standard.

Full Colours: Hockey – Lydia Weston

Composed on the ball, Lydia Weston has been a consistent presence in the 1st team for the past 3 years. She reads the game effectively and in midfield is uses this ability to decide when to step and when to hold when the team are defending. Being equally comfortable in Midfield or at Half Back, Lydia has a strong open stick tackle which enables her to win the ball when she challenges an opponent. She is happy playing in a range of formations and her ability to mark tightly can be seen during different phases of the game.

Lydia carries the ball confidently, looking to run on angles to enable team mates to get ahead. Her awareness of the need to offer a pass, particularly as the team transition out of defence, is excellent and she is able to receive the ball and retain possession under huge amounts of pressure. When space is allowed, she has developed her ability to receive the ball with feet facing forwards, before using her pace to drive on an angle and help to launch a quick attack, whether out wide or through the middle of the pitch.

At set plays, Lydia is highly effective. In attacking corners, she can inject with pace and accuracy, but is equally at home trapping the ball cleanly for a drag flick or strike off the top. She runs one with speed and awareness and is always ready to respond to second phase attacks.

Lydia has represented ISCA at both junior and adult level, this year being part of the Under 18 side that narrowly lost the semi finals of the National Tier 1 competition. Lydia is Captaining the 1st team this season, in addition to having played 1st team Netball and Tennis.

In recognition of her commitment and achievement Lydia Weston is awarded Full Colours for Hockey.

Full Colours: Hockey – Hebe Stone

Hebe Stone has represented the 1st team at Blundell’s for three years and during this time has been an important component of the team, whether in matches or training sessions.

As a defender Hebe is tenacious in her approach. She commits fully to every tackle, adopting a strong body position to ensure that she comes out with the ball. She has good positional sense and can play effectively at either full back or half back. Her distribution is excellent, and she is able to transfer the ball around the back with increasing pace and accuracy. She is equally happy passing the ball into midfield, and then she is able to readjust her position to ensure that she is supporting the ball carrier. Hebe can carry the ball positively and, after winning it in a challenge, is able to use either angles of running or little lifts to break through opposition lines, helping to launch a team attack. Hebe works extremely hard off the ball to ensure that she marks effectively, always challenging the receipt by her opposite number. She Is not afraid to put her body on the line and is beginning to use additional strategies to make life difficult for opposing forwards. Hebe is able to deliver a strong pass for deflections on attacking corners, whilst also being confident on the post in defending corners.

Hebe’s communication is very good and she can frequently be heard on the pitch calling players to mark or praising her team mates for a good pass or the effort they have put in. This positive support has already been appreciated by the team, as Hebe acts in a Vice Captain capacity.

In addition to her hockey, Hebe is a key component of the 1st VII Netball, an impressive academic and fully involved in all aspects of the musical life of the school.

In recognition of her achievements, Hebe Stone receives Full Colours for Hockey.

Basketball

I was delighted to receive a report from Mr Lodge telling me of the promising start that the Blundell’s Bulls basketball has had to the season. He writes: “In basketball, the Blundell’s Bulls faced Well’s Cathedral in their first league game of the season, and the Bulls dominated on the court to win by some margin, leading 53-24 at full time. Captain Sidney Chan demonstrated outstanding leadership on the court, and new shooter Chris Jiang displayed extraordinary talent in scoring 23 points (with some baskets warranting impressed nods from both the away crowd and the opposing coaches!).”

Swimming

Rose Harrison took participated in part 1 of the Tiverton Swimming Club Championships last weekend. Rose won all her events and achieved some personal bests too winning the

  • 1st 100mtr Individual Medley
  • 1st 100mtr Backstroke
  • 1st 50mtr Backstroke
  • 1st 50mtr Breaststroke

Well done, Rose.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Evensong on Wednesday

AS Tracking for Years 8 – 11

HMC Conference

 

20th September 2021

Good morning, everyone, do please take your seats.

I hope you have had a good weekend. I imagine that those of you in Year 11 and 13 will feel a weight has been lifted from your shoulders now that the exams are out of the way. Remember that this is all part of the process of helping you prepare and to become effective in your studies, so learn the lessons that need to be learnt, and build on the momentum that this has created for you.

I was fortunate to be able to join the Year 9 pupils at Wimbleball Reservoir yesterday evening where they were enjoying their Williams Cup experience. Many of you will have your own memories of your time there in Year 9 – the weather hasn’t always been as kind as it has been this weekend and they are making the most of it.

Well done to the Year 7s who contributed so well to yesterday’s Harvest Chapel Service – I thought your choir piece was amazing, especially considering you had only had two rehearsals.

It was a shame that we couldn’t have more of you in chapel yesterday as we would normally have for a Harvest Service but the theme of Reverend Hunt’s talk is a good one for me to share with you today. Harvest was traditionally the occasion when all the crops had been gathered and when people would gather to give thanks to God for the harvest. The theme is therefore one of gratitude and appreciation.

Gratitude is not just something we do occasionally, it is a state of being. It is an attitude. It is an understanding that we are blessed, that we are fortunate. Our gratitude spills over into action in the way that we treat each other, in the words that we use and in the effort that we put in. being grateful is meaningless unless it is also evident in our words and actions. If we are grateful for something or someone, how does that translate into something meaningful?

There is little point in saying that we are grateful if it is not backed by actions that reflect that gratitude. Perhaps you can think about how your actions reflect your levels of gratitude.

The opposite of gratitude is complacency and entitlement. It is taking things for granted or assuming that something is our right. Guard against complacency and entitlement. Do not be afraid to show your gratitude in your words and actions.

When it comes to your sport, your studies, your music and art and drama, you don’t aim to be average. You aim to be as good as you can be. You aim to be excellent. When it comes to being grateful and showing your gratitude, don’t aim to be average there either.

SPORTS RESULTS

It was great to be out and about watching hockey and rugby on Saturday afternoon. I watched the first half of the U16A game on Big Field in what was an outstanding game. Eventually we lost 24 – 32 but I imagine it is one our Year 11 boys will feel they could have, and possibly should have won.

I also enjoyed watching a bit of the U15A match and from what I saw, we were our own worst enemies and Millfield capitalised on our mistakes. We played some excellent rugby in phases, but the opposition were ruthless in making the most of the gifts we gave them.

The U15 A and B girls had two excellent matches and the Bs went down by a goal to nil in a very tight game. The As lost by a few goals but managed to score three themselves. Taunton were excellent in putting away their chances, but the game ebbed and flowed beautifully, and we certainly had plenty of opportunities.

It was always going to be a tough opening round of matches for the boys against Millfield and after a very successful few years where we have had the upper hand at 1st XV level, on Saturday we came unstuck against a very well drilled outfit. The 2nd XV had a close game and were down by 2 points at half time before Millfield put a bit of distance between us. The 4th XV played against Taunton and Mr Hamilton tells me that from a size perspective it was like a team of 15 scrum halves playing against a team of front row forwards. A brave display saw us losing 5 – 24.

In the hockey, the 1st and 2nd XIs put in excellent performances winning 3 – 1 and 4 – 1 respectively against highly rated Taunton. A goal from Claire Behrend in her first outing for the school along with goals from Mattie Kolowska and Ylva von Blanquet gave us a very good win to get the campaign up and running.

The win of the day and the team of the weekend must go to the U14As who played their first match as a team together. They beat Taunton by 8 goals to nil. An excellent achievement with Pippa Sproul the stand-out performer.

I enjoyed catching the end of the U13 festival that was hosted here at Blundell’s and the girls played some excellent hockey in a competitive tournament. I was pleased to watch them get a very good 2 – 0 win against Wellington in their last game.

Earlier in the week the U12s had an excellent 6 – 1 win against Taunton to follow up on their gold medals at the Millfield tournament a few days earlier.

Well done to all of you who represented the school this weekend. It has been such a long time since we had a Saturday afternoon like that. I hope you enjoyed it and I can assure you that parents and staff alike loved watching and supporting you.

Good luck to the U16s who play in the first round of the cup competition later this week.

Athletics

Meg Hamilton-Strong finished 4th in the Senior Girls Heptathlon at the English Schools Athletics. Having been in 6th place overnight, a Personal Best in her Javelin, plus solid performances in the Long Jump and in a tactical 800m helped her to a total of 4397 points.

In conjunction with two other Devon Girls, Meg was also part of the Devon team who won the National title, setting a new Championship Record.

Kayaking

Some members of the kayak squad travelled to Gloucester yesterday for their first regional Hasler race. Special mention must go to Merete Lux and Grace Page for competing in a four-mile race on their fourth time in a boat. John Wrightson and Barny Hull are also new starters, coming an impressive third in their class. Connie Haywood Smith will be promoted to a higher division after winning her class easily, and James Case and Lilinka Jezkova did excellently in their first race to come third, in Division 7. I am pleased to announce that Lily and James are the Kayak Squad Captains for the year and have already been enormously helpful to support the new paddlers.

Equestrian

Over the summer Molly Joyner and Hattie Barnes were selected to represent the southwest U18 British Eventing team competing at the international championships at Bishops Burton. Molly and Hattie both achieved a double clear and finished in the top half of about 100 competitors.

Next weekend is the Blundell’s One Day Event – the first one we have hosted for a few years – at Pontispool. Good luck to all of you involved with that and I look forward to seeing many of you in action.

Academic Status

We have 35 pupils in Year 12 this year who have been awarded academic status for scoring an average of an 8 (equivalent to an A*) or higher across their GCSEs, including seven with all 9s.

  • Eva Bennett
  • Harry Bouchier-Hayes
  • Harry Cartwright
  • Sidney Chan
  • Ben Coen
  • Fin Cope
  • Benedict Cornford
  • Lochy Cronkshaw
  • Troy Dos Santos
  • Lizzie Elderfield
  • Sophia Fields
  • Ben FitzHerbert
  • Archie Guinness
  • Louis Hinchliffe
  • Elizabeth Honey
  • Isabel Humphery
  • Grace Jury
  • Evie Knight Bruce
  • Carrie Li
  • Harrison Linnitt
  • James List
  • Rainer Lu
  • Tom Nicholson
  • Alice Patterson
  • Finn Rew
  • Ash Richardson
  • Wilf Sargent
  • Maya Schiffer
  • Lucie Spencer
  • Ting, Marcus
  • Ylva Von Blanquet
  • Dominic Wielenga
  • Oscar Winsley
  • Joshua Withey
  • Eren Yildiz
ANNOUNCEMENTS
International Pupil Event

A big thank you to Mrs Hadley for running last week’s International Pupil Event. I thought it was a lovely occasion and well done to all of you who took part. Do look out for future events.

Open Day

The School’s main Open Day happens this coming Saturday. We are expecting a considerable number of families on site. It is a significant occasion so please be mindful of that and do all that you can in supporting the success of that event.

Garden Café

The Garden Café is open this week at breaktime on Friday for smoothies, hot chocolate and tray bakes. To celebrate the European Day of Languages there will also be pain au chocolat and croissant on the menu!

If you would like to help run the café on Friday and throughout the term please get in touch with Mr Olive.

School Council

The first School Council of the year happens today at lunch time and will be hosted by the Senior Monitors. I hope that they will be able to report back to you in Latin Prayer next week. If you have matters for them to consider, please do communicate those with your house reps.

Individual Portrait Photographs

Individual Portrait Photographs will be taken on Thursday. Your houseparents have more information but this is an early reminder to look smart for the occasion on Thursday.

 

13th September 2021

Good morning, everyone, please take your seats. I hope you had a good weekend and that you feel that last week was enough to break the ice and get you started on a good footing. Good luck to all of you in Year 11 and 13 writing exams this week. Focus on your processes: things like time management, reading the question carefully and structuring your answers as you have been taught to do. Embrace the opportunity to consolidate your learning and to consolidate your exam technique. All being well, at the end of the week, you will be able to bank a very important investment in your academic progress.

Real Hero

I wonder how many of you watched the incredible US Open tennis final between the 18-year-old Emma Raducanu and 19-year old Leylah Fernandez. What a brilliant tennis match between two teenagers who played fearless tennis. It was so good to watch and wonderful to have a first British female winner of the US Open for more than 50 years.

There is so much to admire in Emma Raducanu. When you heard her addressing the 25,000 strong crowd in the stadium, she could have been the girl next door. Everything about her seemed normal – just decent, modest, polite and friendly. Certainly not a rock and roll prima donna we so often see in the limelight. There is no question that this famous win will put her in the spotlight and we all hope that she will be able to maintain that wonderfully graceful and calm persona that she displayed at this championship.

It is in stark contrast to the celebrity culture we so often see in the press and on social media. People who have become famous for no other reason that they have managed to become famous. Often no-one really knows what they are famous for – but we know who they are, and perhaps what they wear, who they are going out with and what their favourite brands are.

In a recent survey, thousands of teenagers were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up. An overwhelming number of responders replied that they wanted to be famous. They didn’t specify what they wanted to be famous for – just being famous was the desired end goal. The means to getting there was unimportant. The end justified the means.

I would like to think that the culture at Blundell’s is one that admires achievement a great deal more than we admire fame. Achievement like what we saw with Raducanu is built on dedication and discipline, on personal sacrifice and commitment. It is based on skill and training and being tough on herself. If she is famous for her achievements than good for her – but she is famous for the most admirable of qualities.

I would also like to think that at Blundell’s we have a healthy scepticism about people who are famous for nothing in particular. Love Island and other reality shows seem to produce celebrities who are famous for the absence of any discernible values and shows seem to be designed to reward outrageously shallow behaviour.

Thank goodness for people like Emma Raducanu who remind us, what real heroes look like. The other lovely thing about her is that she is a British hero with a Romanian father and a Chinese mother. That also represents something that should celebrate in this country – whoever you are, wherever you come from, with hard work, humility, passion, and commitment, we can achieve amazing things.

I have a whole lot of things to catch up on from things that happened at the end of last term or over the holidays, so bear with me as we work our way through it all.

Outdoor Pursuits

During a turbulent year, even being on the wide-open spaces of Dartmoor proved challenging and as a result the Ten Tors event was cancelled. As a school we had already decided to run our own event, fortunately the Ten Tors organisers made these events possible, and they have recognised all those taking part by awarding them with medals and certificates for completing a virtual Ten Tors. Parameters were set with no camping and distances for each event calculated for a single day walk. 25 Kilometres for the 35-mile teams and 30 Kilometres for the 45-mile teams in a single day. This could have been completed anywhere, walking the streets or even laps around school. But with Dartmoor on our doorstep and to ensure the students felt the event was credible, demanding and a worthy achievement, challenging routes were identified across Dartmoor.

The 45-mile teams had the better weather and completed an arduous route from Postbridge to the Dartmoor Inn via Okehampton. This was a particularly challenging route and they all coped with the terrain and navigated extremely well.

The 35-mile teams had a similar route planned but the weather conditions were extremely poor which resulted in the groups completing a backup route. Again, a similar challenging route though closer to escape routes off the moor in case of an emergency. With visibility down to 20 metres at times, driving rain and a change of route due to stream which had turn into a raging river, the groups navigated and overcame the conditions well and although their grit and determination was tested at times, they all proved very worthy recipients of the Ten Tors medal.

Today I am pleased to award the Silver medals to the members of the 45-mile teams: Oliver Butler, James Case, Will Cave, Amos Curtis, Thomas Labdon, Max Mayor, Eve Nugent, Ed Swarbrick and Bea Tanner.

The Bronze medals will be awarded to the members of the 35-mile team in their houses but they include: Hector Banton, Toby Butler, Freya Gillard, Oliver Hedley-Lewis, Barnaby Hull, Amelia Mitchell, Isobel Morrison, Jack Ramsey, Guy Wiggans and Jasper Winsley.

Ten Tors is one of the most challenging tests of character and endurance available to Blundellians. The process of preparing for the real event is tough and requires commitment, but if you ask any of those pupils who were named earlier whether it was worthwhile, I am confident that I can guarantee a positive response from every single one. I commend it to you, and I hope many of you will consider doing it.

Shooting

During the summer term Blundell's continued its now established success in the National Shooting Competition conducted by the West Kent Rifle League, our pupils competed against adults and students nationwide, so their success in this competition is excellent and a clear indication of their shooting ability. The following students won their league and have been awarded winners medals:

Medal winners were:-

Larissa Bunn. Emily Jury. Demelza Short. Taylor Saltmarsh. Matilda Hill. Harry Clarkson. Harry Benson. Owain Cowie. Alex White. Archie Beszant. Austin Lawrence. John Wrightson. Benji Hudson. Elliott Butterfield. Anna Helbig.

Sports Results
Hockey

On Thursday afternoon, the U14A girls' hockey team travelled to Exeter School to play in a friendly preseason game. With little time to warm up due to traffic, the Blundell's girls were fast to attack from the first whistle. Exeter fought back in what was a very busy first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Ruby Lane broke the deadlock by hitting a lifted ball into the back of the net. Following this, Bea Morrison scored Blundell's 2nd goal from a penalty stroke, taking the score to 2-0. In the final quarter, Exeter worked the ball past us to take the final score to a very respectable 2-2. Exeter awarded new NC pupil, Pippa Sproul, the player of the match. Highlighting her furious work rate and strength when carrying the ball. A very promising start to the season for a talented group of players.

The U12A Hockey Team travelled to Millfield to play in a triangular match v All Hallows and Millfield Prep. In their first game, after a slow start they began to make progress with their attacking play which then led to some exciting goals, and they eventually won 7-0. In their second game they had to really work hard. They created some great attacking opportunities almost scoring in the first half. In the second half the girls really had to defend, Millfield had had a match break and had slightly more energy as the game continued. Fortunately, some brilliant defending along with numerous fantastic saves by Viola Duckworth-Chad meant the match ended in a draw. This meant that we won the mini tournament and brought home the gold medals!

Music

I am very pleased today to award certificates to pupils who have achieved Grade 6 or above in various music exams:

Lochy Cronkshaw – Grade 6 Drum Kit
Archie Guinness – Grade 6 Trumpet
Elizabeth Honey – Grade 6 Singing
Tomma Channon – Grade 7 Flute
Tomma Channon – Grade 7 Singing
Elizabeth Honey – Grade 7 Piano
Wilf Sargent – Grade 7 Alto Saxophone

The following pupils received certificates which will be presented when the whole school is present for Latin Prayer:

Finn Batsford – Grade 6 Violin
William Maitland-Walker – Grade 6 Piano
William Maitland-Walker – Grade 6 Trumpet
Guy Wiggans – Grade 7 Violin
Harry Southgate – Grade 8 Drum Kit

Academics
Chemistry

During the summer term our best Lower 6th Chemists took part in the Lower Sixth Cambridge Chemistry Challenge. The 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.

This year, some of our best year 11’s (now year 12’s) joined last Year’s Year 12’s to take up the challenge and taught themselves the Year 1 specification independently to access the paper. There were some remarkable results!

First Name Surname Award Year
Lottie Southgate Copper 13
Anna Maunder Copper 13
Louis Hinchliffe Silver 12
Alice Burnand Silver 13
David Case Silver 13
Issy Leyshon Silver 13
Josh Withey Silver 12
Eva Gu Gold 13
James List Gold 12

Staying with Chemistry…

Harry List – who left last year – won through to gain a place in the UK Chemistry Olympiad Team. He worked most of June and July, learning the majority of Year 1 and 2 University Chemistry with online lessons from university lecturers. As an added bonus he had to learn 2 x 900-page textbooks!

With international travel restrictions still in place over the summer, the team was unable to travel to Japan to join the competition. Instead, they went to Warwick University for the last week in July for final preparations and to sit the three 5-hour long assessments, remotely, on consecutive days.

In early August he was notified that he had been awarded a Gold medal, which placed him in the top 10% of the 320 pupils competing from around the world. He came 29th overall. The UK team got 2 golds and a silver; one of their best results they have ever had.

And sticking to the theme of the List family, last term Edward List (Y9) qualified for both the Intermediate and Junior maths Olympiads. He achieved a Gold medal and book prize in both events, an outstanding achievement as this is awarded to the top 50 scorers worldwide out of 2000 entries. Well-done, Ed!

The maths department will run the UK Maths challenge for all year groups again this year.

Trinity Art Award

Alice Burnand successfully completed her Gold Award in the Arts from Trinity London, at the end of last term. Tackling new Creative skills, organising Art workshops with the Prep school students, and researching practitioners in the Arts; Alice collected evidence from her investigations and has secured the Award and a valuable 16 UCAS points towards her University applications. Not an easy task in the context of such a disrupted year. Alice, please come up and get your certificate.

The Art Award can be taken at Bronze, Silver or Gold level and is open to any pupils who would like to develop or explore opportunities in Art further. If you would like to find out more, I am certain that Mrs Armstrong-Williams would be very pleased to hear from you.

A reminder from Mr Yule that the Travel Photography Competition is now open, and entries are invited from the school community. One entry is allowed per pupil and should be sent to Mr Yule’s email on jmy@blundells.org. There are always generous prizes to be won and there are three separate categories: junior, senior and staff.

Announcements

I want to share with you some changes in roles amongst the staff so that you know who is responsible for what. Mr Frappart takes over from Mr Wheatley as Head of Design and Technology. Mr Wheatley continues in his role as Academic Head of Year for years 9 to 11.

Mrs Robinson takes over the Curriculum Manager role from Mr Morrison. This role has various responsibilities attached to it but most significantly it is about setting the school timetable. I would like to thank Mr Morrison for his many years of dedication to an incredibly complex and time-consuming role.

Mrs Jones is the new Head of PSHE and takes over from Mrs Taylor-Ross who left at the end of last year. Mrs Jones has already put together a series of lectures for different year groups and she will lead a team of teachers who deliver the PSHE programme across the school. If you have thoughts on what should be included in the programme or have suggestions as to how we could improve our current offering, I am sure that Mrs Jones will be pleased to hear from you.

And finally, Mrs Winsley, who is already a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Head of Drama, takes on a newly created role as Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity. She will be working alongside pupils and staff to promote EDI at Blundell’s so do look out for those initiatives in the next few months.

We would like to get the School Council up and running again as soon as possible. Last year the Council meetings were difficult to hold due to the COVID lunch time structure. Now that we are back into a more regular routine we would like to get going again. The School Council is chaired by the Heads of School and is designed to allow you to raise your issues, to make proposals, to ask questions and to challenge the status quo. It is intended to be a representative body that takes into account the opinions of pupils from School House to Westlake. I encourage you to get involved either as a representative or in supporting those in your house who are reps.

That’s it for today. Good luck with the exams and have a very good week.

NEWS & EVENTS


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Blundell's Preparatory School,
Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4NA
Tel 01884 252393   Email prep@blundells.org


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Senior

Blundell's School,
Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4DN
Tel 01884 252543   Email main-office@blundells.org
© Blundell's School, 2019. Company limited by guarantee, registered in England, No. 4016403. 
Registered Office: Blundell's Road, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 4DT. Registered Charity, No. 1081249.