Latin Prayer

Latin Prayer Spring Term 2020

Monday 20th January 2020

Good morning. Please sit down.

Last week most of you in Year 11 and 13 received your marks and relevant feedback from your mock exams. I want to address you primarily, but the message is just as important to the rest of the school.

I am very mindful that this can be a very stressful time for you. You have had your marks back from your mock exams and if you are in Year 13 you will have your offers in place. You might be worried that the marks you got are not good enough to make the offer that you would prefer. You may be feeling that you feel far from ready. You may also be feeling discouraged because you worked hard but you still found the papers difficult. You may be feeling like you’re not coping with the expectations and the pressure. That is stressful.

So firstly, a comment on the purpose of the mock exams. In my mind there are three key things:

  • They give you a framework and a reason to do some serious revision when you are about 80% through your syllabus. Without mock exams it is unlikely that you would invest the effort that you have.
  • They give you a good indication of what you can do and what you cannot yet do. That feedback at this stage is really critical. Knowing ‘where we are at’ is the starting point for taking action in order to get to where we want to be.
  • They give you a really good steer on what you need to do to improve. You, together with your teachers, will be able to map out a strategy to move you forward. That is also why we had the Year 13 parents evening last Friday and why we have the Year 11 one this coming Friday.

And remember too – every year it is the same. You are no different to the pupils who have gone before you who have used their mock exams as a strong base upon which to build.

But what about the anxiety and stress that you might be feeling. As I have said before, not all stress is bad stress. Stress can be destructive and harmful and if it gets to that point then do please ask for support. There is nothing wrong with asking for help – it is the mature thing to do. However, sometimes stress can be a very positive force if it drives you to better action. Remember that we are neurologically designed to react to a threat with a fight or flight mechanism. Our brains will respond to danger – or stress – either by running away or confronting it. So, if you are stressed out by schoolwork then the equivalent of flight is simply hiding or denying the position you are in. Staying in bed, opting out, and avoiding reality are all options open to you. However, the alternative is to use your anxiety to drive you to respond, to make some decisions, to harness your energy, to make the necessary adjustments, to work systematically and to learn from your mistakes.

You still have time to fine tune and your teachers are geared up to support you in the final months of your preparation. This is what we get paid the big bucks for – this is our bread and butter. We are here to help you and to support you.

So sometimes stress can be a very positive thing if it spurs us on to better action. 

Whilst we are on the academic side of things, I was delighted to hear that three of our Upper Sixth pupils have been offered places at Oxford University next year. We had 10 pupils invited for interview – and that in itself is already an outstanding achievement. To all of you who put yourselves through that tough process you have my admiration and respect. I hope you all found the process a very worthwhile one regardless of the outcome. The successful candidates were Coco Lu and Millie Davis both to read Chemistry and Orlagh Noone to read for a PPE – Philosophy. Politics and Economics.

Sport

Many of you will have been following Dom Bess’s progress in Port Elizabeth this last week. Dom was 1st XI cricket captain here a few years ago and is currently playing for England against South Africa. On Saturday took 5 wickets which, in test cricket, is an outstanding achievement. A few weeks ago we heard that Joe Hancock has been offered a place at the Darren Leaman Cricket Academy in Australia – the same Academy Dom attended when he left school. It is a great achievement by Joe and a wonderful opportunity for him to make his mark in the game.

This has been another tremendously busy week of sport and a particularly good one at that.

Hockey v Wellington School

1st XI had to battle hard to earn a victory over strong opposition. August Osterhage, Ed Carter and Oliver Lowe scored the goals. Ben Fitzherbert excelled on his 1st XI debut.

It looked like the 2nd XI were heading for defeat having squandered a number of chances, until we scored 3 goals in the last 5 minutes of the game. Goals came from Ed Swarbrick, Jojo Provis and Ben Wright.

The 3rd XI came back well having gone 0-2 down, to draw an evenly balanced game 2-2. James Bartlett and Freddie Labdon got their names on the scoresheet. Tom Baxter and Will Delafield-Cook were the stand-out players.

In other matches, the U14A recorded the biggest win of the day (8-0) while Tom Nicholson scored a hat-trick for the U15A as they won 3-0. 

Football v Clifton

The first team suffered the first loss of the season, succumbing to a quality Clifton XI.  A fine solo effort from Ahmad Daggash combined with strong performances from captain George McIntyre and Jack Burnand were not enough but it was a valiant effort. 

It was great to have 4 senior teams out and the 2nd XI had a good afternoon playing in a triangular tournament that included Llandaff from Cardiff and Clifton. Co-captains Tobin Barker and Joe Horsey were stand our performers along with Tom Putt and Jack Curry.

The 3rd XI and 4th XI were put to the sword by more experienced competition but I understand that Henry Harris was excellent in goal and Ibrahim Khan worked tirelessly for the 3rd’s. Captain Misha Pemberthy did all in his might to keep the 4th XI spirits up and Boris Fung was secure in goal in what was an entertaining match.

Netball

Our netball teams continue to impress in the early weeks of the season and after a very big win for the 1sts on Wednesday against King’s Taunton we came up against the County Champions Taunton School on Saturday. Despite a slow start we made Taunton sweat for their win and we put up an outstanding fight to win by just a few goals. Lottie Southgate received a special commendation for her performance after having been drafted in as injury cover at the last moment.

I was particularly pleased to hear that the U15A’s and B’s both had very good wins against King’s Taunton during the week with the A’s winning a great match 21 – 20.

Taunton School are County Champions in the U18’s, U16’s and U14’s so it really was a tough fixture but we still came away with some very good wins with the U14B and U13C teams both coming out on top. Well done to all the netball teams for an outstanding week.

Equestrian

I was very pleased to hear that we had 17 pupils representing the school at Bicton this weekend with pupils from Year 6 to Year 12 participating. We have successfully qualified for Hickstead in May with teams in the 90 and 1m classes with Molly Clayton also qualifying in the individual category. Besides the 90cm and 1m teams winning their categories the individual highlights included a 5th place for James Dawkins in the 70cm event, a 2nd and 4th place for Molly Clayton and Mattie Kolowski in the 90cm event and a 4th place for Archie Guinness in the 1m event.

Cross Country

In very wet conditions underfoot, Harry List and Kieran Williams competed at the Devon Schools Cross Country Championships at Stover on Saturday. Harry finished 15th in a fast-paced Senior Boys race and Kieran was 25th in the Inter Boys.

Basketball

Full Colours for Basketball: Oscar Choy

If there is one phrase that sums up Oscar Choy, it is “never give up”. Captaining the Blundell's Bulls has been Oscar’s dream since he arrived at the school - and now in his final year, he has made the absolute most of every opportunity to contribute to their success. Even 14 points down, with 5 minutes to go, Oscar would bring the team together and excitedly discuss the positives, motivating the squad to get back on the court and back into the game. On two occasions this term, he has captained his team from a losing position to a victory in the final minutes. After winning his final game, he brought both schools together for a team talk after the game, praising their efforts. He is regularly seen staying hours after practice, coaching and developing the younger players - he demonstrates outstanding leadership, skill and has an organic love for basketball.

This year has been a year of 'firsts': the first time that the Blundell's Bulls has included players as young as Year 10 right through to Year 13. It has been the first time the team has included over 22 players in total. It has also been the first squad composed of both male and female players. It seems only fitting then, that in managing these "firsts" so well as their captain, that Oscar Choy is fully deserving of the first ever Full Colours for Basketball.

Music

I have several certificates to award for music today:

Anna Burrell – Diploma (singing)

Amelia Kelly-Slogrove – Diploma (singing)

Laura Smith – Grade 8 (violin)

Jess Whitehead – Grade 8 (violin)

Lucie Spencer – Grade 7 (drum kit)

Maria Wiggans – Grade 7 (cello)

Freya Marr – Grade 6 (singing)

Drama

Full Colours for Drama: Harry Charlesworth

When asked what makes a good actor, Dame Judi Dench said "I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself."  This is a combination epitomised by Harry Charlesworth. Despite his undeniable talent for playing characters full of self-importance, pomp and bluster, in reality the performer behind the character is anything but. Harry has always thrown himself at every role with a rare combination of fearless energy and natural humility. His enthusiasm has earned him some of Ondaatje's most memorable roles over the years from Fat Sam in Bugsy Malone, to Lord Loam in The Admirable Crichton to Mr Fezziwig in our recent production of A Christmas Carol. Harry brings a fabulous energy to every production he is in and perhaps most memorably in Twelfth Night last year. As Sir Toby Belch, he burst onto stage as a loveable rogue and commanded the audience's attention if not their sympathies. Harry might make it look easy, but performing comedy well is much harder than it might appear on stage. Timing is key and Harry is accomplished at knowing when to deliver a line for optimal comic effect. When you add in to the mix the additional challenge of Shakespeare's language, Harry's achievement is even more impressive.

Although he is perhaps best known to most of us for his comic roles, Harry has also earned the respect of the Drama Department  as an actor capable of turning his hand to more serious roles, as shown recently with his strong performance of the fearsome Old Joe in A Christmas Carol. In his academic Drama studies, Harry brings a seemingly inexhaustible positivity to group work and when creating his own theatre, he draws on his perceptive understanding of how to bring a story from the page to the stage.

Despite his onstage successes, Harry has always remained utterly unpretentious and gracious. He grasps advice and direction with both hands and uses it to refine and hone his performance skills. Never one to turn to histrionics, his level-headed focus in rehearsals sets a fine example to others. It is for these reasons and for his significant contribution to the Drama Department over the last 7 years that Harry is thoroughly deserving of his Full Colours for Drama.

Announcements

Work Experience

Every student in Year 12 had to give a presentation to their Futures Class and were judged on the overall value of their placement, their presentation skills and the quality of the information provided.

We are grateful to the Year 12 students who presented to Year 11 at the end of last term. We hope the Year 11 students have been inspired as they choose placements themselves for the summer of 2020. We know work experience is a really valuable opportunity to learn employability skills, to help make   A-Level choices, and to find out what they do and don’t enjoy in different workplace settings. Students have gone on to be offered full time employment, University scholarships as well as decide they never want to return to that kind of company again, which is just as valuable!

So the prizes for the best presentations went to:

  • 3rd place – Megan Benson for her placements with a recruitment firm and with the NHS
  • 2nd place – Anya Newman for her placement with a GP as she continues to prepare for a medicine at university
  • 1st place – Tom Yeadon for his presentation on his time with KPMG, the accounting firm.

There were also commendations for Mia Butterfield (Graduate Recruitment), Molly Clayton (Mental Health NHS), Laura Smith (Medicine) and Will Bucknell (Architecture).

Netball

A reminder that netball club for Y7-10 starts this Monday 1-1.45pm in the sports hall with the new netball coach Mrs Cox. Email Mrs Payne if you are attending to go on the early lunch list.

FOB’s Café

I am very pleased to see that the FOB’s Café is being well used. The catering staff tell me that in one day over 80 mugs were used. That is excellent to hear. There has been a request from the catering department that pupils do leave their mugs on the counter when they leave – and also that you don’t take double shots of hot chocolate. Remember that this really is your space, but it is also yours to look after.

Peru

Mr Olive would like all those of you who went to Peru last summer to remain behind for a few minutes after today’s Latin Prayer.

Preloved Clothes Sale

Thanks so much for all the donation so far.  Many more of you have said that you have items to bring in, so this is just a reminder to bring in tomorrow if possible.  We would also appreciate hangers. The sale takes place in the FOB’s Café on Wednesday between 3.00 pm and 5.00 pm. All items are priced between 50p and £5.

13+ Scholarships

This week sees the 13+ scholarships for Drama, Art, Music and Academics. A number of visitors will be in the school for that along with a number of Year 8’s. Good luck to all of you who are participating.

Spirit of Blundell's

I was pleased to receive to nominations for the Spirit of Blundell’s award. Both pupils are to be commended for their excellent proactive attitude in very different but equally admirable ways. Sav Regan drew our attention to the dreadful fires in Australia with her presentation in chapel and with her fundraising efforts. There will be a movie night on Thursday in Ondaatje at 7.00 pm and the movie you voted for was Grown Ups. Please do support that event. All this was entirely her own initiative in what has already been a busy time for her.

In School House Freddie Bucknell received a nomination for the tenacious and enthusiastic manner in which he continues to support his teammates in their sports despite not being able to play himself. Freddie broke his leg in a rugby match last season and although he would clearly much prefer to be playing, he is nonetheless continuing to be an excellent teammate from the touchline. Well done to both of you.

Bart Wielenga
The Head