Latin Prayer

Latin Prayer Autumn Term 2019

Monday 16th September 2019

Good morning everyone. Please take your seats. Good morning to School House in Ondaatje as well. I hope all our new Year 7’s are settling in well. This week you will be moving round to your lessons on your own so it is a good time to remind you for the need to be very careful when crossing the road. For all of us it is worth remembering that the road is, for many people, all they know about Blundell’s. The impression they form is – fairly or not – judged entirely by what they see of us when they drive by. So many of you are brilliant at thanking motorists when you cross the road – please keep doing that.

I hope you all enjoyed the sunshine over the weekend and that you had a bit of a breather. The weather is set fair for the next few days so we will make the most of it. Those of you in the Lower Sixth may not have particularly fond memories of your Williams Cup in Year 9 because, if I remember correctly, it rained hard pretty much the entire weekend that you were there. Yesterday evening I was very pleased to be able to join the Year 9’s at Wimbleball Lake as they began their team building exercises. We work really hard to ensure that we learn to get along and that we integrate pupils who join us in Year 9 in a way that they quickly feel part of the family.

What struck me yesterday evening was the sense of warmth and inclusivity shown by all the pupils there. It felt like everyone was trying to be considerate and kind and going out of their way to make sure people were included. It was a pleasure to be up there with them.

I know that is sounds a bit of a cliché but being a caring school matters. And not just being caring to the people you like and call your friends, but showing a genuine compassion and concern for people you don’t know very well, or even people you don’t naturally get along with. I always say to people that one of the best things of being at a school like this is that you have to learn to get along with a wide variety of people. You may not be best mates with everyone but you have to learn to get along. That is an immensely important life skill.

SPORT

It was my great privilege to walk around the grounds on Saturday to watch the hockey and rugby fixtures against Canford. There were some great hockey results with the highlight being a very good win for our u14A girls’ team. I didn’t see any of the game but Mr Bucknell tells me that the girls played extremely well and that we look like a real force in that age group. The boys’ fixtures were very tight across the board with the U15A’s scoring a big win and the U14A’s scraping a win at the death. Many of the other games were very very close, some going our way and some not. The 1st XV lost narrowly and the 2nd XV won equally narrowly. I did end up watching all of the U16A’s second half and I must say that I was hugely impressed and proud of the boys who played on Big Field on Saturday. At half time we were 7 – 17 down against a team that looked physically bigger and faster than us and it looked like we might lose heavily. A try soon after half time brought us back into the game and Dan Hamilton-Strong’s fine solo effort from the half way put us ahead. In the end we lost by a score but the intensity, camaraderie and sheer determination made me very proud of those boys.

I hear too that the Blundell’s Bulls basketball team had an excellent first fixture against Millfield and were unfortunate not to come away with a win.

MUSIC

On Friday evening there was an Organ Concert in Chapel which celebrated the music of Peter Hurford – one of our old Blundellians who died in the past year. Christopher Hamilton who was our Senior Monitor a few years ago performed and led the evening and it was lovely to be able to sit and enjoy music in that remarkable venue. Perhaps we don’t always appreciate it but our Chapel is a really wonderful place. Thank you to all of you for your excellent contribution to yesterday’s Harvest Festival – the service was very good and much enjoyed by our visiting parents – and the lunch was also outstanding. I think many of your parents left knowing that you are blessed to have the lives we do at this school.

The choir performed yesterday as well as on Friday evening but for many of our musicians that was just a typical weekend. For those of you who do not frequent concerts you do not always realise just how dedicated and how good many of our musicians are. Today I would like to congratulate Jess Whitehead on her appointment as Captain of Music for the year. Last week when I handed out certificates for music Jess was away so I will also take the opportunity to give Jess her Grade 8 for Singing. We have decided to appoint a Captain of Music because we feel that we need you to have someone to go to with regards to music. If at any time you want to talk to a pupil rather than a music teacher about anything related to the musical provision at the school, please do seek her out. Across the school we intend to give more leadership opportunities for pupils to have an input into how things are run at school and I am very pleased that Jess has stepped up to take on this responsibility.

COLOURS

For pupils new to the school one of my most privileged roles as Head is that I get to present Colours awards to pupils in Year 13 who have excelled in a particular area or field. Colours can be won for a variety of things but part of the criteria is that the pupil who wears a Colours blazer must uphold the values that are associated with someone honoured by the school in this way. With the blazer comes an understanding that you are an ambassador for the school and that people will look to you to be a fine example. So while the Colours blazer is a reward for things achieved, it also comes with a burden of responsibility.

I am delighted today to make the first Colours award of the year and, as has been the case in recent years, the first Colours blazer will go to someone for academic excellence and endeavour. In the coming weeks more awards will be made in music, drama, sport and other disciplines but today we start for that area of school life which we all participate in: academic studies.

MILLIE DAVIS

Exceptional, outstanding, thoughtful and methodical are just a few words to describe Millie Davis. Her quest for knowledge spans well beyond that of grade chasing; she endeavours to understand and help the world around us. With an intellectual capacity to absorb complex theories with ease and reproduce them in written work with clarity and insight, her achievements have been significant.

Following her outstanding GCSE results, where she achieved eight 9s and two A*s, she is now on track for three A*s and an A at A level. Millie is highly motivated and has undertaken independent research in order to further her understanding, often studying concepts to a level of detail far beyond the scope of her courses. For example, her independent research article on the mystery of anaesthesia, in biology, was exceptional.

Millie was awarded both the Chemistry and Biology subject prizes at the end of Year 12 and she has been equally successful in competitions outside Blundell’s. She was presented with Gold awards in the recent Biology Challenge and the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge.

Pursuing her interests, she has spent a day in the Life Sciences Institute at Exeter University, three days shadowing medical statisticians, and two days observing at a London hospital, specialising in researching heart and lung disease. She has participated in public speaking events, including the Rotary Youth Speaks. Her self-motivation is without fault and she finds time amongst her studies to attend lectures, sing and play the piano.

Millie is a generous and focused student, unfailingly willing to help others in any way she can. She offers her time to tutor students in Chemistry, Maths and Biology. Modest and an excellent ambassador for the school, she represents the student body with confidence, professionalism and energy.

Millie has a positive outlook on life that is infectious, and she is rarely without a smile. This constructive approach not only serves her well academically, but means she relishes meeting any challenges head-on. Her independent study skills and razor sharp intellect, coupled with her gentle humility, make her an outstanding academic, with significant career prospects in science, and she is absolutely deserving of her Full Academic Colours.

Bart Wielenga
The Head