Summer Term 2015
Excellent Provisional GCSE Results
The Year 11 students have achieved some excellent provisional GCSE results. In a year group of 101, there was a 30% increase on last year in the number of A* grades, with an A* rate of 26%.
More than half the year group gained the highest grades with an impressive A*/A score of 54% and nearly 40% of the year group gained 8 A*/A or more. Twenty pupils gained 6A* or above with the following pupils gaining a tremendous 11 A*/A or more: Freddie Carew, Archie Fraser, Tobias Francis, George Hill, Rosie Hones, Francis Huntingford, Thomas Kennaugh, Hannah Le Gassick, Ennea Miller-Hunt, Caspar Montgomery, Harriet Nash, Tabitha Pring, Rosalie Sanders, Archie Stoneman, Francesca Thornton-Wood, Bethan Wesley and Toby Whitehead. 98% of pupils gained at least five A*-C grades.
The Head, Nicola Huggett said "I am truly delighted with these excellent GCSE results. They are the consequence of hard work and determination by a group of talented pupils and their teachers who have gone every extra mile to support them. At Blundell's we pride ourselves on being able to have it all – terrific academic results alongside an exciting programme of music, drama, sport and extra activities. Today's results really show that the busier our pupils are, the more they can achieve. I congratulate them on their results which will make the next step in their education with us all the more exciting."
A Level Results 2015
Blundell's is delighted to announce a strong set of provisional A level results. In a year group of 87 pupils, 41% of the results gained were A*/A, 69% achieved A*/B grades and 87% gained A* - C grades.
Almost a quarter of the year group achieved three grade As or better at A level, with 25 pupils getting at least one A* or higher and 29 (a third) achieving grades of AAB or higher. The pass rate was 99%.
Popular university destinations are Durham, Imperial College, Warwick, Reading, Bristol, Leeds and Manchester. Three pupils will go on to take Medicine next year; James Perring at Oxford University, Edward Nash at Cambridge University and Frank Thornton Wood at Imperial College, London.
Blundell's Head Nicola Huggett said, "These are a very good set of A level results which demonstrate all the hard work put in by our Year 13 pupils. Alongside their academic studies they have also been involved in a wide range of top level sporting and musical commitments whilst helping the school as a whole to raise more than £20,000 for charity this year alone. To have achieved such strong examination results is all the more commendable. I am thrilled for them and also for their teachers who have supported the pupils so well throughout their studies."
Blundell's Chemists at National Final
Congratulations to the team of Natalie Cotton, Bethany Squires and Chris Hamilton (all Year 12) who were awarded the runners up prize at the Royal Society of Chemistry's National Schools' Analyst Competition final. They qualified earlier this year by winning the regional round against some stiff competition from Exeter School, Kingswood Bath and Cheltenham Ladies College. The final was held at the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen where the Blundell's trio finished in second place against a pool of 20 other schools, all of whom had won their respective regional competitions.
Andy Mead, Head of Chemistry at Blundell's, said "This result is a fantastic achievement for the pupils who showed immense skill, application and, perhaps most importantly, teamwork to finish above the other 398 schools that entered the competition back in January. The Royal Society of Chemistry have recognised their achievement by awarding £600 to Blundell's Chemistry Department and £30 in Amazon vouchers and certificates to Natalie, Bethany and Chris."
STEM: Go4SET Competition
This year's two year 8 Go4SET teams entered their projects into the Big Bang SW Competition on 26th June at Exeter University. They spoke impressively about their projects to panels of judges from industry and their enthusiasm came across for all they had learned and put into practice. Both teams were highly praised and Team B won the Go4SET prize for Innovation, partly due to their thoughtful development of their project into a business plan! Thanks again for the expertise from the engineers from Mouchel and to the DT department especially Mr Bowden for all of their help with the models.
Team A: Orlagh Noone (Team Leader), Kata Lee, Sophia Marr, Oliver Squires, John Bishop, Luca Kemp and George Cochrane.
Working with Teacher: Mr Lodge and Engineers: Ben Axon and Morgan Cain
Team B: Oliver Leyshon (Team Leader), Seb Farrant, Zoe Labdon, Tom Greenfield, Alice Smith, Harry Charlesworth and Oscar Voysey.
Working with Teacher: Mrs Olive and Engineers: Emma Bazeley and Ross Whittall
Blundellians Entertain Residents at Margaret Allen House
Jack Armstrong-Williams, Emma Nelson and Ed Nash entertained the residents and members of the public for National Care Home Open Day at Margaret Allen House in Tiverton. The residents love music and some of the old well known songs led to a few sing-alongs! Jack played his saxophone, Emma sang and Ed accompanied Emma on piano and played some solo pieces.
Margaret Allen provided a cream tea and a very happy occasion was enjoyed by all.
Success at Manufacturing Awards
Congratulations to the three Blundell's pupils who were successful in North Devon Manufacturing Association's annual awards. In the Schools Technology Awards, Curtis Pitts was the winner in the 16 – 19 age category for his eco chicken feeder while Emily Beckett was highly commended for her dress made from veneers, kindly supplied by Mundy Veneer. In the 13 – 16 category, Charlie Mallinson was also commended for his upcycling project which re-used lever arch files for storage. At the award ceremony, which showcased the rich manufacturing culture in the area and some of the rising stars in engineering education, Curtis was presented with a glass trophy and £100 and Emily and Charlie received framed certificates.
Quiz (and a Speech) Raises Funds and Awareness
Isobel Phillips (Year 12) presented a cheque for £500 to Lisa Colcutt, Chairperson of Exeter Crohn's and Colitis committee, following a fundraising quiz in school which Izzy helped organise. Before the quiz, Izzy gave a very moving speech in Chapel about how ulcerative colitis had affected her since the age of 11; this galvanised those who took part to give generously. After the cheque handover, Lisa said 'C and C UK would like to thank Isobel for not only raising a substantial amount of money for the charity but also raising awareness. Isobel clearly has a lot of support to be able to talk in front of so many people about her illness; it is a difficult topic but she is a remarkable young lady.'
All Dressed Up for Tennis and Fundraising
Pupils in Years 7 and 8 dressed up in some wild outfits to play tennis – all in a good cause. SpongeBob, Princess and the Pea, bananas and Spider-Man were just a few of the amazing variety of outfits worn by the pupils who were taking part in the annual fundraising tennis tournament for Save the Children. The 108 pupils played a round robin format, with the winners of each group going on to compete in the semi-finals and finals, to be held later in the term, as will the Ladies, Mens and Mixed doubles tournaments. All entrants raise money for the charity and the School is hoping to beat last year's overall total of £2,400. Blundell's is one of the top schools for raising money in this national tournament.
Blundell's Show Jumping Team Win at Royal Windsor Horse Show
Bird Wood, Georgia Wood, Didi Eaton (all Year 10) and Polly Muirhead (Year 8) represented Blundell's at The Royal Windsor Show in the Inter-Schools Show Jumping competition. Thirty schools from all over the country competed in the contest in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Blundell's were the last team to jump of the afternoon, four hours after the first team to go had jumped round the testing course. Bird jumped first and blazed the trail with a fast clear followed by Georgia who jumped a textbook round, cutting every possible corner for another clear. After Polly had had the first fence down the pressure was on Didi, the last rider to jump of the day.
Spurred on by the vocal commentator and enthusiastic crowd, Didi knew she had to jump a fast clear to give the team a chance of being placed anweb
d pulled a foot perfect, faultless round out the bag to steal the first prize from Sherfield School, Hampshire, by two and a half seconds. Godolphin School were third and Cheltenham Ladies College were fourth.
Great Opportunity for Lola at Badminton
Lola Watt (Year 12) flew the flag for Blundell's at the Mitsubishi Grassroots Championships at Badminton Horse Trials after qualifying with wins at BE100 level and Regional Final. This was an exciting opportunity, as to compete in Badminton Park alongside the International Three Day Event is a dream for many amateur riders. Unfortunately, weather conditions were severe and her horse, Denys de la Mer (Dennis) found the relentless gale force winds with frequent driving rain stressful and she had to ride tactfully! Although this affected their dressage and show jumping performances, a nonetheless very good dressage score and fabulous storming cross-country round over a testing and true Championship course, resulted in a 20th placing from 83 starters.
This was an excellent result from Lola, one of the youngest in her class, who rode with great maturity in difficult conditions. It was a fantastic, unforgettable experience and Lola was very grateful for the help and support from Mrs Batting and her dressage trainer, Charlie Ward.
Ten Tors Success
The Blundell's Ten Tors teams had a very successful weekend, with two teams taking on the 35 mile hike and one the 45 mile hike. More than 2400 individuals aged 14 to 19 took part in the gruelling physical challenge hiking across Dartmoor and the Blundell's teams showed the skill and determination required to complete their particular routes, despite the pain and discomfort caused by carrying heavy packs long distances.
All three teams made use of every available hour of the day in order to get back to the finish line in Okehampton in the shortest possible time. First back was Blundell's 35B team arriving at 12 noon, captained by Will McIntyre with Imogen Cotton, Sophia Donne, Ross Harvie, Mantha Unsworth-White and Charlie Wickins. The 35A team of Harry Olive (captain), Jack Aldridge, Megan Grant, Julia Huntingford, George Pitts and Sam Taylor arrived just a few minutes later, having walked the same route but in the opposite direction.
The 45 mile team completed the event in a very respectable 23 hours of walking and was captained by Jethro Clark, with Ed Barlow, Oliver Hall-Tompkin, Ben Oliphant-Thompson, Jake Smith and Austin White (who, having trained with the team then withdrew due to Devizes - Westminster race commitments, but stepped in to replace an injured Finn Neusinger at short notice). In fact, with the distances between the checkpoints measured as the crow flies, having to avoid obstacles such as bogs, watercourses and protected bird nesting areas means that teams often end up walking up to 10% further and the 45 mile team's route was closer to 50 miles this year.
Doug Morrison, in charge of Ten Tors training at Blundell's, said: 'It is always a successful Ten Tors when all team members walk through the finish line as a complete team, as Blundell's did this year. All three demonstrated excellent team spirit, determination and navigation skills, especially in the hill fog of early Sunday morning. The event would not be possible without the organisation and co-ordination of the Army and we are very grateful to them for giving students the opportunity to take part in this challenge.'
Boys' Tennis on a Roll
The Hines Ogilvie Cup for boys' tennis was given by two survivors of the Second World War who made a pact to set up the fixture between their old schools, Blundell's and Clifton College, if they came out alive. That fixture is still going and the 1st team competed for it over the weekend in an away match; Blundell's, captained by Hector Pring and vice-captain Harry Michelmore, won 5-4 for only the second time in 11 years. The deciding rubber was secured by Paul Riegel and Ken Beattie who played brilliantly against all three opposition pairs. Blundell's won most of the other matches of the day against Clifton: 2nds won 8-1; 3rds lost 2-7; U16 won 8-1; U15 won 5-4.
Blundell's Mock Election
Election fever gripped Blundell's School as students held their own mock election in the run-up to the real thing. The short campaign started with a hustings, when five students, standing as candidates for the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and UKIP parties, set out their policies to fellow students. This was followed by four days of vigorous discussions amongst the electorate, in and out of lessons, and excitement mounted on election day as candidates and their agents did some last minute campaigning. Queues formed at the polling station (the foyer of the school hall) with students from Year 7 (age 11) upwards keen to make their votes count; the final turnout was an impressive 89% of eligible voters.
Early forecasts from the pollsters indicated that the Labour candidate's entertaining speech at the hustings galvanised support, while the Green candidate's considered political rhetoric impressed several people. However, the candidate who polled the most votes, with just under 48% of the student vote, was the Conservative candidate, as voters opted for policies over entertainment.
Mrs Jo Francis, Head of Politics, said: 'The mock election has been a valuable learning experience for the pupils - it has prompted lots of discussion, particularly about the conflicting pressures of voting for personalities or voting for policies and how to make an informed decision about what is best for both them and the country.'
The percentage of student votes polled in the Blundell's mock election were Conservative: 47.91%; Labour: 27.19%; Green: 9.13%; Liberal Democrat: 8.56%; UKIP: 3.99%; spoiled votes: 3.22%.
Evensong in Bath Abbey
The Chamber Choir recently performed evensong in Bath Abbey. The service was wonderful and the choir sung with delightful musicality, performing Bruckner as an introit, a psalm, responses, an anthem by Whitbourn and harmonising the hymn. They were so impressive the abbey has asked the choir to return as the guest choir for a whole weekend of services next year. Dr Leaman would like to thank all the musicians involved for their hard work and dedication.
Blundell's is off to an excellent start in athletics this term. Seventy six pupils took part in the first match against Taunton School, King's Taunton and Wellington and won the match overall - winning all age groups apart from the Over 17 boys, where we were narrowly beaten by 14 pts by Taunton.
There were many notable performances including all the Year 9 boys; Karl Still (1500m), Will Klinkenberg (Shot) and Jacob Hung (Discus, Javelin)in the Under 17 boys; Arthur Friend (hurdles) and Ben Clarke (Javelin) in the Over 17 boys; Millie Eaton-Jones (300m), Grace Francis (HJ) and Trixie Nicholson (Javelin, Triple Jump) in the Under 16 girls; Alice Smith (400m, Javelin), Beth Reade (Shot), Lucy Walliker (High Jump), Millie Blackmore (800m) and Ruth Squires (1500m)in the Over 16 girls.
Spring Term 2015
We hope that the ever popular game of Monopoly will soon be available in a bespoke Blundell's version, when the streets, stations and utilities of London are replaced by sites at the Senior and Prep Schools. It's a chance to buy and own Big Field, Ondaatje Hall or your old boarding house – or at least while the game is in progress! Blundell's Monopoly should be available in September 2015 but please order by I May to secure your set. Each set costs £29.95 (with profits going to support projects at Blundell's) plus postage (UK £5.00, Europe £7.00, rest of the world £9.00); to order, please send your cheque with your name, address and contact details to the Development Office or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Artists in London
The Year 10 GCSE Art groups had an inspiring day visiting London art galleries at the end of spring term. At Tate Britain, each student selected individual works of Art and then gave a presentation on that work in the gallery to their group (and any other visitors who were there at the time). They also saw the 'Salt and Silver' exhibition, the first exhibition in Britain devoted to salted paper prints, one of the earliest forms of photography and a uniquely British invention. They then took a boat on the Thames to Tate Modern where they saw the powerful Arlene Dumas exhibition 'The Image as Burden.'
The French Front Pages
For La Semaine de la presse et des médias dans les écoles (the national week for press in school in France), the Year 9s studying French teamed up to create their own front page of a newspaper. In the light of what happened in January in Paris, the focus this year was freedom of speech. This was a good opportunity to discuss in class what makes a good and interesting newspaper and what our students felt that they needed to include in their work. In a very short time frame they worked extremely hard to produce excellent quality headlines and articles, in French, along with weather forecasts, adverts and even their own sudoku puzzles.
Canoeing and Rugby in the Easter Holidays
Blundell's Canoe team will be out on the water over Easter taking part in the Devizes to Westminster international canoe race, a 125 mile endurance challenge. The team, Francis Huntingford, Dougal Glaisher, Austin White, Laurenz Hoek, Olli Hall-Tomkin, Cormac Oliver, Jenny Mettam, Lola Watt and Tabi Unsworth-White, have been training for many weeks and recently competed in the Waterside Series, a set of four marathon canoe races which are recognised as the classic build up to the Devizes and Westminster race and in which both schools and national canoe clubs compete. The Blundell's team did exceptionally well, winning the School's Trophy for the series (the first time Blundell's has won the trophy), despite being up against some well-established school canoe clubs. Francis Huntingford and Dougal Glaisher also came third in the Junior Doubles class for the race series and were the overall fastest schools crew. Follow the progress of the team at the Devizes and Westminster race on our Twitter feed @BlundellsSchool.
Good luck also to two of Blundell's rugby players during the Easter holidays: Jack Maunder who is starting from the bench for the England U18s European Rugby Championship match against France and Will Klinkenberg who will be playing for the England U16 SW Division against Welsh Druids, France East and Scotland at the Wellington International Festival.
Rosslyn Park Rugby Sevens
The U13s, U16s and U18s Rugby Sevens teams all competed at Rosslyn Park last week in the world's largest school rugby tournament.
It was an exciting week with some excellent results. The U13s beat Gyfun from North Wales, drew with Stamford 24-24 and narrowly lost to Bishop Stortford High School. The U16s beat Bishop Stortford College, Wisbech Grammar School and Church Stretton School by convincing margins but then were well beaten by Wellington College. The U18s team did outstandingly well, beating Wellington School 45-5, Ashville College 33-0 and Wirral Grammar School 54-0 in the group stages. In the knock out, they beat Bradford Grammar 29-0 and in the quarter final stages they beat Epsom College 21-0. They finally just lost out 7-20 (though it had been 5 all at half time) to Stowe, who went on to win the final.
STEM: Engineering Education Scheme Assessment
On Thursday 26th March the EES team of Austin White, Jonathan Bell, Keefa Watson, Ed Taylor and Matt Baughan took their project to Plymouth University to be assessed. They made a 15 minute presentation to a panel of judges from industry and then were assessed by others at their display stand including the CREST assessor. The judges were impressed with their team work and presentation skills and all spoke with enthusiasm and confidence about their project. The team were awarded their EES certificates and they should also achieve Gold CREST awards which are UCAS recognised and only awarded for the highest of quality STEM project work. Well done to the team and thank you to Tim Puttick from TDK Lambda UK, this is the third year that TDK have been our company partners and we are grateful for their time and support.
The Spring Concert
A capacity audience enjoyed the wonderful Spring Concert at Blundell's in which more than 200 pupils from the Senior and Prep Schools took part. The first half of the concert took place in Big School and included music from the orchestra, the Soul and Big Bands, solos, quartets, quintets, sextets and choirs. All the performance were fantastic but special mention must be made of the combined orchestras playing Handel's Hornpipe which saw the Prep School and School House musicians playing alongside Senior pupils and the massed ensemble when all performers took to the stage for 'The Best Day of My Life' and were joined by a procession of military drummers. The second part of the concert was in the Chapel when choirs and soloists sang various pieces (including GH's Jess Harvie's composition), with a particular highlight being Fauré's Requiem.
Spanish Play, ¡Fuera!
Onatti Productions Ltd returned for a third time this term to perform a Spanish play for Year 9. Most of Year 9 attended, even those who are not studying Spanish, since it was a great opportunity for a cultural experience of both theatre and a foreign language on our own doorstep. The play was about a fractious relationship between Raquel and her little brother Oscar; a theme many of the audience were already familiar with! Audience participation was called for again and Archie Morris (who studies French and German) coped very well with the instructions and questions thrown at him in Spanish. Oz Kilbride and Ellen Trigger also nobly participated in the play – helping Oscar to move Raquel's bedroom around. Despite only studying Spanish for two terms, the students were able to follow the gist of what was going on, as well as picking up some new vocabulary and expressions to use in the classroom.
STEM: Year 9s at the National Science & Engineering Competition Finals
A team of five year 9 students presented their Go4SET engineering project at the NSEC finals at the Big Bang Fair at the NEC Birmingham this week. The pupils Rory Bateman, Marcus Lloyd, Jack Olive, Ed Olsen and Will Spencer did a great job talking to judges, guests, school pupils, teachers and representatives from industry about their project, visitors across the two days were estimated at 40,000. The team were put through from the Exeter heat of Big Bang and made up only 10% of entries across the country to be invited to the final. The team also had a chance to enjoy many of the interactive company stands and attend lectures on innovative Science, Engineering and Technology. They even managed to get a selfie with gadget show presenter Jason Bradbury who was presenting at the award ceremony and a celebrity judge. The boys were great ambassadors for the school and had a truly memorable experience attending this prestigious event.
STEM: Year 8 Go4SET Launch
Wednesday the 5th March was the Go4SET project launch at Flybe Training Academy Exeter. This year Blundell's are entering two teams of seven working again with Mouchel for the third year running. This successful partnership saw Blundell's and Mouchel walk away from the assessors with 4 prizes last year! The pupils enjoyed the day and had talks from an Aeronautical engineer and a practice evacuation from a plane with the cabin staff training team. They were also set a team challenge to build the highest and most stable helipad which they set about with great enthusiasm. The pupils asked great questions throughout the day and are looking forward to getting stuck into the project during the summer term.
In the UK Year 10 Maths Team Challenge competition recently held at the Met Office in Exeter, the Blundell's team of Bonnie Price, Imogen Cotton, Cecilia Cheng and Korn Nganthavee beat off some strong opposition (including Exeter School, Maynard, King's College and Queen's College amongst others) to finish third out of 26 South West Schools, only three points behind the winning team. The Blundell's team won the award for the team that showed the best teamwork.
Rugby sevens, netball, hockey, football... and the Russell
There have been some great results on the sports field recently, as well as in the fields around Blundell's during the Russell! Congratulations to the Under 16s rugby sevens who won the plate at the Canford tournament and to the Under 15s who won their round in the Exeter and District sevens tournament to go through to the Devon finals.
In netball, the 1st VII won 24-10 against the Maynard and the 2nd VII against both Maynard and Millfield (27-15), while the U14C team also had an excellent game against Millfield winning by 15 goals to 7. Amber Robertshaw was named 'Player of the Match' by the opposition.
In hockey, the 2nd and 3rd XIs were successful against King's Taunton, with scores of 3-0 (two from Ben Oliphant-Thompson and one from Alex Kilbride) and 1-0 (Finn Neusinger) respectively. The first XI football team had an outstanding match against a strong Wellington team winning 3-0.
As ever, Blundellians showed huge determination, courage and support for each other and their Houses in the Russell run. The winners were as follows:
- SH: Boy Jack Swain; Girl Polly Muirhead
- Boys' Cumulative House Points Cup: Old House
- Girls' Cumulative House Points Cup: Gorton House
- Junior Girls House Team (Years 9 & 10): Gorton House
- Junior Boys House Team (Years 9 & 10): Old House
- Senior Girls House Team (Y11-13): Gorton House
- Senior Boys House Team (Y11-13): Petergate
- First Junior Boy (Years 9 & 10): Will McIntyre
- First Junior Girl (Years 9 & 10): Bird Wood and Serena Mundy
- Second Senior Girl (Y11-13) Tabby Pring
- First Senior Girl (Y11-13): Zara Cameron
- Second in the Russell (Senior Boys Y11-13): Karl Still
- First in Open Russell (Senior Boys Y11-13) Jake Smith
- Berry Barker Balance Cup: Hatty Nash
All in a (Field) Day
Field Day was action packed with visits to Oxford and Exeter universities, trips to the Eden Project and Longleat, the Ten Tors teams on Dartmoor, some of the CCF on Woodbury Common and others with the Royal Marines at School and lots of community service going on – including tree planting at Knightshayes, gardening at Margaret Allen House and canal clearing: all this in rain, hail, snow and sometimes even sunshine. There were also some revision sessions and project work going on.
While most of the Blundell's students were out and about, the School welcomed pupils from six local primary schools. They worked with the Modern Languages and History Departments on a French song and learning about the Battle of Agincourt, archery and the symbolism of heraldry, helped out by some of the Lower Sixth.
The World's Gone French!
Onatti Productions Ltd returned to School last week with a play especially designed for younger students of French, performed in both French and English. Years 5 and 6 from the Prep School joined Years 7 and 8 in Big School to watch a performance of 'The World's gone French' in which Nathan discovers that everyone, including his family, have all suddenly become fluent in French just after Nathan's mum gives him a jigsaw with a map of the world, but all the French speaking countries are missing. The students were called upon to go up and help Nathan solve the puzzle and communicate with the French speakers he came across. As always, the performance was very well received and the pupils enjoyed getting the opportunity to ask the actors some questions (in French and English!) afterwards.
Ka-pow as Bugsy Malone Comes to Blundell's
The gangsters took over Ondaatje Hall when School House presented 'Bugsy Malone', the play set in Chicago during the prohibition era. There were some terrific performances from the cast who had worked very hard on developing their accents and mobster characters. They played to packed audiences on both nights and were assisted by older pupils behind the scenes and front of house.
Red Roses Raise Funds
The North Close girls once again sold red roses for Valentine's Day and worked very hard to sell 500 roses, raising £380 for their chosen charity, the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.
Hockey: U14 Girl's Team at the National Finals
The U14 Girls' Hockey team finished what has been a very successful season with a superb result at the Girls' National Hockey Finals last week. The finals took place at the new home of England Hockey in London's Olympic park and provided the most amazing arena for the girls to play in.
The girls had a tough group but with a win against Repton, a magnificent achievement itself, and two draws against Cranleigh and Framlingham they finished second and qualified for the 3rd and 4th place playoff. Here they met The Grammar School at Leeds who they beat 1-0 to finish the tournament as the 3rd placed team in the country and remained unbeaten throughout. A magnificent achievement.
The team were inspired by their fantastic captain Millie Atwell who was superb throughout the tournament, scoring in three goals from midfield. She was backed up by excellent team performances and all involved can be very proud of their accomplishment.
The House Music Competition saw some extremely ambitious and admirable sets, with pupils showing their excellent musicality as well as their team skills. The whole evening provided superb entertainment and was extremely well adjudicated by Dr Andrew Fisher, film and television composer and lecturer at Southampton University. Congratulations to Gorton House, who won the House Shout and Petergate House who won the overall competition.
Performances can be watched on YouTube.
Saxophone Quintet Success
Congratulations to the Blundell's Saxophone Quintet who made it through the heats to qualify for the semi-final of the National Chamber Music Festival organised by Pro Corda. This is a wonderful achievement and showcases the strength in depth of musicians at Blundell's. Well done to Becky, Zoe, Natalie, Cai (year 12) and Jack (year 9).
Blundell's can be extremely proud of Emma Nelson and Rosalie Sanders who competed in the final of the Taunton Young Singer of the Year on Sunday 8th February. They both presented a 15 minute programme and sang exceptionally well. Emma was awarded third prize which was an excellent achievement, especially considering the winner was from Wells Cathedral School. Many congratulations to both girls.
Orchestral Charity Fundraiser
Beccy Brinkley and Judit Lam (both in Year 12) took part in a scratch orchestra of 290 and choir of 260 to raise money for Cancer Research, with the musicians playing together for the first time that morning. There was a wide variety of music, from Beethoven 5th and Verdi's Grand March from Aida to Yesterday and Summer Nights. The total raised was more than £10,000, a staggering sum and eclipsing even the amazing line up of 46 clarinets, 52 flutes, 54 violins, 10 oboes and 16 trumpets. Congratulations to both for giving up their time to support such a worthwhile cause.
Hockey Finals for U14 Team
The U14 Girls' Hockey XI defeated the Queens School, Chester this week to reach the national finals (one of eight teams) which are to be played later this month at London's Olympic Park.
After finishing second in the West of England tournament in November, Blundell's were drawn against Queen's (second in the North of England tournament) in a play-off match. Blundell's were drawn as the away team and therefore had to make the five hour journey to Cheshire. After a significant delay to the start time due to a frozen pitch, the girls eventually began and initially struggled to find their rhythm due to the awkward surface. A superb individual effort from Captain Millie Atwell broke the deadlock and the score was 1-0 at half time with both teams having had chances to score. In the second half, Blundell's controlled the game and although they conceded, goals from Rebecca Hamilton and Beatrix Nicholson meant that Blundell's won an exciting close game 3-2.
The squad of 14 (Imi Hamilton-Green, Niamh Wright, Tabi Vause, Amelia Low, Serena Mundy, Emily Lowe, Grace Francis, Beatrix Nicholson, Sparkle Menzies, Kinna Yewdall, Maddie Wright, Sophie Clough, Rebecca Hamilton, and Captain Millie Atwell) all contributed to the team's success and were superb ambassadors for the School on and off the field.
Restorative Justice Play, 'Crying for You'
Year 13 Drama students have devised an exam piece on Restorative Justice which they are performing to prisoners at HMP Channings Wood this week. The students – Cameron Falinski, Luke Ricketts and Rory Thomas – have researched the subject extensively over the past few months, looking at past cases and interviewing a prisoner who is currently on the Restorative Justice programme.
The hard-hitting play 'Crying for You' follows the story of 14 year old Jacob White who is murdered in a London park by Michael Stevens, a boy from a rival school. Jacob's grieving father Graham is given the opportunity to meet his son's murderer in prison to explain the impact that the event has had on his life. The meeting, facilitated by Restorative Justice practitioner Simon Hughes, shows the dramatic moment when these three men come face to face.
The performance will be shown to prisoners who are currently serving their sentences on The Recovery Community at HMP Channings Wood. Following the performance, the prisoners will have an opportunity to take part in a workshop run by Restorative Justice partnership project Make Amends from Torbay.
The boys have already performed the piece in the school's Ondaatje theatre, when members of the audience were asked to complete a short questionnaire about their views on Restorative Justice which the students will use in their written coursework. Clarissa Slade has also been involved in researching the subject and designed the set.
Blundell's Artistic Director of Drama James Rochfort said: 'Drama should be engaging and entertaining. But sometimes it should have the capability to actually change people's lives for the better. These young actors have an opportunity to really make the prisoners reflect on their own situation and genuinely affect them in a positive way. As a school we feel privileged and proud to be taking part in this incredibly exciting performance.'
Rugby: In the Squad
William Klinkenberg, Blundell's U16 No. 8, has been selected for the England U16 South West Divisional Squad after representing Devon U16 last term. He recently attended the England Divisional Festival weekend held at Moulton College, Northampton. Unfortunately due to bad weather the Festival matches were not played however, all four divisional squads will attend two further training camps in March before they move on to play in the Wellington International Festival in April. From these events, an England U16 side to take on Wales will be selected. Will has recently joined the Devon DPP programme and is hoping to proceed through the academy set up in the future.
Music Theatre Competition Success
Congratulations to Imi Sanders-Dutton (Year 11) who won the prize for the most promising young performer aged between 14 and 16 in the Taunton Young Music Theatre Competition. She performed with an amazing sense of accomplishment and maturity and fully deserved this recognition. The competition was adjudicated by Benjamin Costello, a freelance musical director and singing coach who teaches a diverse range of musical genres, in particular musical theatre and vocal music, and has worked throughout the UK and overseas.
The French Play
Onatti Theatre productions made a welcome return to Blundell's and this year performed 'Erreur d'Identité' for Year 9 in Big School. The play was performed by two native speakers who underwent numerous costume changes in order to portray several different characters in this hilarious play about mistaken identity and set in a rundown hotel in rural France The students were called upon to participate, with Katherine Walton and Ed Olsen both getting up on stage to help out the characters. The students very much appreciated the opportunity to hear French being spoken in context and they found the experience very entertaining.
Oxbridge Success for Academic High Flyers
Congratulations to the four pupils who have been offered places at Oxford and Cambridge universities. Run Zhao has an offer to read Mathematics at Churchill College, Cambridge, Ed Nash an offer to read Medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Ben Charles has an offer to read Law at Keble College, Oxford and James Perring to read Medicine at St Catherine's College, Oxford.
A total of 13 pupils applied to Oxbridge, of which nine gained interviews across a range of subjects. The Head, Nicola Huggett said, "Ben, James, Edward and Run have worked incredibly hard and richly deserve these offers. To have four successful entrants for another successive year is a reflection of how seriously we take academic aspiration at Blundell's. There is huge competition for places at these universities with more than 34,000 applying for around 6,600 undergraduate places at the two universities in 2013, so even to be able to put forward an application and to gain an interview is a significant achievement. All nine pupils who were interviewed deserve congratulations. We are very proud of them and they are a great credit to the school. I would also like to pay tribute to the teachers, tutors, mentors and families who have supported these pupils whilst they have been studying here."
Chemists Through to Final of National Competition
Talented Year 12 chemists will be representing the West at a national competition later this year, having just won the regional heat. The team of Chris Hamilton, Natalie Cotton and Beth Squires finished first in the Western Regional heat of the Royal Society of Chemistry's Schools' Analyst competition, ahead of schools such as Exeter, Cheltenham Ladies College and Kingswood, Bath.
They will now go on to the national finals at Aberdeen University in June to compete against schools representing the seven other regions, when they'll be required to undertake various practical analytical tasks based on problems relevant to industrial or social needs. These are judged for skill, understanding and accuracy and are intended to promote team work and safety in the laboratory.
On the Ski Slopes
Blundell's performed amazingly at the Independent Ski and Snowboard Championships in Les Deux Alpes during the Christmas holidays. Led impressively by captain Dan Thorne, Blundell's first team, which also included Lori Burian, Bella Slade, Ben Clarke, Freddie Carew and Simeon Kunzi, managed an incredible second place out of 29 teams from 12 schools in all three events: Giant Slalom, Slalom and Parallel Slalom. Notable performances came from Bella Slade who won the Girls Giant Slalom and came second in the Slalom and Lori Burian, who recorded the third fastest Giant Slalom time from 180 competitors. There were also courageous efforts from several students learning to ski for the first time and who gained ESF qualifications. Most pleasing were the glowing reports from ski instructors, organisers and visiting parents on how well the Blundell's students acquitted themselves both on and off the slopes.
Autumn Term 2014
Fantastic Performances of 'Lorna Doone'
Blundell's school play 'Lorna Doone' was seen by capacity audiences and received standing ovations when it was performed by talented actors in Years 11 – 13. The production was based on the book written by R D Blackmore, who attended the school from 1837 and who set early parts of the book at Blundell's, as the scene of hero John Ridd's schooldays. It is the first time that the school has performed this epic drama and was chosen to celebrate the first 25 years of the school's purpose-built theatre, Ondaatje Hall. Amongst the guests at the gala reception on the final night of the play were pupils and staff who had been involved in the very first performance at the theatre.
The play tells the story of John's love for Lorna Doone, one of the notorious Doone clan of Exmoor, against a backdrop of the Monmouth rebellion in the 17th century. In addition to the acting roles, pupils designed the lighting and set and took on the role of assistant stage managers. The play was directed by James Rochfort, the school's resident professional actor, whose theatre credits include the National Theatre's Olivier award-winning All My Sons and leading roles on television including 'EastEnders', 'Lewis' and the title role in Channel 4's 'Snowdon and Margaret'.
Young Singer of the Year Finalists
Congratulations to Emma Nelson of the Upper Sixth and Rosalie Saunders of Year 11 who have both qualified for the final of the Taunton Young Singer of the Year. This is a competition open to anyone within a 50 mile radius of Taunton and they were competing against singers from Wells Cathedral School. They were two of only five to be selected and have as such done the school very proud. As part of the competition, Emma and Rosalie had to offer two or three contrasting pieces, including one song in a foreign language and this preliminary round featured a universally high standard or performance. The final of the competition will be held in February.
Congratulations to the Blundell's team who won the regional round of the Senior UK Team Maths Challenge against 19 other schools and with 100% of all answers correct (for the first time ever in this local round by any team). The team, Run Cong Zhao, Lori Burian, Beth Squires and JK Song, will now take part in the National finals in February. This is the second year running that Blundell's mathematicians have reached the final of this prestigious competition, organised by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust.
Hardcopy or #Hashtag? event at the Houses of Parliament
Two Blundell's pupils recently spent the afternoon at the Houses of Parliament pitching their ideas on how digital technology can be used to increase youth engagement with Parliament. Isaac Hydleman and Pippa Vos (both Year 13) were selected to represent Blundell's at the Hardcopy or #Hashtag? event, organised by the Political Studies Association following a workshop in Exeter, one of a series throughout the country held by the association.
The afternoon in Westminster started with students from 15 schools and youth groups from around the UK displaying posters of their ideas, while a panel of experts and audience members had the opportunity to question them on their proposals. In a field dominated by a variety of very similar ideas for apps to inform and engage young people, Isaac's idea for direct public scrutiny of narrowly defeated bills and input into the legislative process through social media really stood out, and he spoke confidently for the minute he was allocated. Aileen Walker (panel member and Director of Public Engagement for Parliament) was particularly interested in his proposal, and he answered her questions convincingly. In the audience vote, Isaac's idea was the runner up in his group and, together with all the proposals, will be presented to the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy. The winning idea was to use established vloggers to spread political messages through YouTube.
Devon Champions and Hockey Victories
Congratulations to the U14 girls' Hockey team who are now Devon Champions, having won the County Tournament. Captained by Millie Atwell, the team were superb throughout, winning all their matches and scoring 16 goals. They now go on to represent the school in the U14 West of England Championships.
The weekend also saw some other great results on the Hockey field against King's College, Taunton, with the 1st XI winning 1-0, the 2nd XI 3-0 (goals from Lucy Walliker, Frankie Thornton-Wood and Ellie McPherson)and, in their first win of the season, a 2-0 victory for the 4th XI (goals from Rosie Hones and Kiera McMaster). The winning streak against King's continued with the U15 As, when an excellent team performance saw them winning comfortably by 5-0 (goals by Mantha Unsworth-White, Bella Slade and Fenella Mably).
Great Results for Blundell's Equestrians
Blundell's equestrians have retained the coveted title of Arena Eventing champions at the recent National Schools Equestrian Association championships. The team of Will Smith, Ed Barlow, Archie Hare and Didi Eaton were competing against 19 other teams in the championships, which were held at Addington Manor in Buckinghamshire. The team all rode extremely well, with Will Smith being one of only four competitors to have a clear round, to take the title and win rugs, sashes and many other prizes. This is the second year running that Blundell's has won this class, but with a different team.
There were great results in other classes, with the Blundell's team of Ed Barlow, Archie Hare, Georgia Wood and Didi Eaton competing in the County Show Jumping Championships against 25 other teams and coming second; Ed Barlow, Archie Hare, Didi Eaton and Polly Muirhead taking 3rd place in the Intermediate 95cm Arena Eventing Championships and Archie Hare, Ed Barlow, Georgia Wood and Polly Muirhead taking 4th place after an exciting jump off in the Intermediate 95cm Show Jumping Championships.
For details of all the Blundell's results at Addington please see the Riding page.
Engineering Education Scheme - Company Visit
On 5th November this year's Yr 12 team visited TDK-Lambda UK in Ilfracombe for their company visit. After an interesting and detailed tour of the site the team had the chance to discuss their initial ideas for the design brief with engineer Tim Puttick. The EES project is to investigate and create ideas for transferring hot and cold air between two different working areas of the factory (one too hot and one too cold) so that the employees have a better working environment and the company is able to reduce their energy consumption in air-conditioning and heating. The team of Austin White, Keefa Watson, Ed Taylor, Jonathan Bell and Matt Baughan are already investigating lots of different ideas in order to try to meet the brief. They will consolidate them at the residential at Plymouth University later this term. Thanks to Tim and TDK-Lambda this is the third year that they have partnered Blundell's in this excellent scheme run by the Engineering Development Trust.
Music-Making for Charity
Musicians at Blundell's were recently joined by renowned saxophonist Simon Allen for a charity concert which raised funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Simon has appeared at major UK venues, played live with singers such as Robbie Williams, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney and on the 2014 Strictly Come Dancing tour. He visited Blundell's to give a Masterclass to the school's Big Band and Soul Band and then featured in the concert during the evening; it was his choice that the £312 raised was donated to Macmillan. Musical Director Dr Oliver Leaman and some band members are shown ready to present the cheque to the charity.
GH Fundraise for Help for Heroes
The girls in Gorton House raised more than £370 for Help for Heroes through a cake sale and collections taken at the end of their play. Bonnie Price held a Bake Sale which brought in £62, while the play 'Seven worst break-ups of all time', directed by Sophie Bateman, raised £315. Two cheques were handed over to Dave Hart, who was injured in Afghanistan, but Help for Heroes helped him retrain as a teacher and he now teaches at Tiverton High School.
Blundell's recently hosted a Crime Scene Investigation day for Y7 pupils from Blundell's and invited schools. Their aim was to use pieces of evidence to work out who had killed Mr Frubert Thomas Chu (commonly known as Fru. T. Chu), a food critic for The Blundellian Times.
Divided into teams and ably assisted by 6th form volunteers, the pupils undertook a series of experiments throughout the day, including stomach content analysis, flame tests and blood droplet analysis in the morning, followed by circuitry, chromatography and blood residue tests in the afternoon.
At lunch the pupils were treated to a suitably gruesome meal which included a menu claiming to be 'slow cooked human flesh' and 'baked brains', with chocolate covered insects and meal worms to finish. They also had the opportunity to make a necklace using their own DNA.
At the end of the day, the name of the culprit was confirmed and pupils were given an Evidence bag containing a fingerprinting kit, themed sweets and the mug shot photographs that had been taken upon their arrival.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day and a few pupils even left Blundell's still wearing their white coveralls in order to, quote, make their friends jealous!
Careers: 'Jobs for the Girls'
A Surgeon, Police Chief Superintendent, Neurorobotics Researcher, Architect and Director, Software Test Analyst and Optometrist were just some of the careers that the Year 9's heard about at the annual Jobs for the Girls event in Exeter.
Listening to the talks and making the most of the opportunities to develop their networking skills the girls came away inspired by the evening.
Rugby Year 8 Masterclass
Three Year 8 pupils were lucky enough to attend a masterclass with Rob Baxter, the Head Coach at Exeter Chiefs RFC, recently. Theo Rees, Joe Hancock and Joe Horsey toured the changing rooms and gym at the Sandy Park stadium before taking part in the coaching session with players from other schools. Although the other players were from Years 10 – 12, the three Blundell's boys more than held their own in all the drills against the bigger boys and came away with some great ideas to use in their school matches.
The event was organised by Westerly BMW.
First Race for Greenpower Team
The Greenpower team of Max Berry, James Pike, Elliot Cole, Lars Fricke and Alex Thomas, led by Mr Bowden, had a great day at the first Greenpower race at Castle Combe on Sunday. Greenpower is a national school's race competition for electric powered single-seater cars where schools design and make their own cars, and then race them on renowned circuits around the country, with the finals held at Goodwood.
The Blundell's racer had an incident free outing and completed all three 90 minute sessions without a hiccup and considerably improved throughout the day. All of the team members drove in the races and quickly learned the layout of the new track. Lars Fricke posted the quickest lap time of all of the Blundell's drivers completing a lap in 5 minutes 18 seconds. We were very competitive with all the other schools, some of which have been racing and developing their cars for five or more years. The hard work that the Greenpower team have put into the car over the last year really showed and we were presented with the trophy for best newcomer. The overall results for the day have placed us around 125th in the national rankings with around 300 teams competing. The development of the car will continue in activities sessions and we hope to start work on our new chassis design for the next race series which starts in April next year.
Careers Lunch with John Lewis
Two representatives from the John Lewis branch in Exeter gave a great insight into the opportunities available across the partnership and what they look for in their potential partners. Delivers excellent service, makes things happen, takes pride in ownership, works together, develops self and others and open and adapts to change were the six most important qualities they identified.
Work experience, apprenticeships at 16 and 18 and graduate opportunities were explained and it was interesting to hear that after 25 years of service a partner is eligible for six months paid leave!
Careers Lunch: Starting your own business
Lewis Steer, OB, gave an excellent presentation to Year 9 and above on the business 'Lily Warne Wool' jointly run by Lewis and his Mum. The inspiration for the business derives from a family member who was a sheep farmer at the turn of the 19th century, breeding sheep and turning the fleeces into wonderful garments.
Passion, a story, making use of social media and hard work were the top tips for success. Lewis will next be visiting Blundell's for the Property and Agriculture event on Tuesday 7th October.
The Tatler Guide
For the second year running, Blundell's has made it into Tatler's guide to the top Prep and Public Schools in the UK (one of only 21 in the South-West and Wales section and the only school in Devon to do so). The report begins 'We are properly excited about Blundell's, with its pink sandstone buildings and handsome clock tower.' It goes on to describe the school as a wonderfully unstuffy place with a dynamic head, as academically broad church and as the kind of school where it's Ok to take a risk and give something a try. The report follows a visit to Blundell's by a Tatler journalist earlier in the year.