Summer Term 2016
Another Year of Excellent GCSE Results
It is with great pleasure that Blundell's School announces another excellent set of GCSE results with more than a quarter of grades at A*, a position that equals the school's best ever results of last year. From a large and able group of pupils, once again more than half the grades were at A*/A Level and, in an improvement on last year, more than a third of the year group (31 pupils) gained at least eight A* and A grades. The pass rate was again well over 95%. The following pupils gained nine or more A*s: Imogen Cotton, Alfie Gardner, Megan Grant, Julia Huntingford, Will McIntyre, Bonnie Price, Kieran Smith and Samantha Unsworth-White. The top performing student, with an outstanding 12 A* grades, was Harry Olive.
The Head, Nicola Huggett said "I am truly delighted with this set of GCSE results which are a fitting reward for a terrific group of young people who know the value of hard work. The results demonstrate very clearly the excellent teaching and outstanding pastoral support that is in place to help every pupil achieve their full potential here at Blundell's. In the end, however, it is up to the pupils and I am very proud indeed of all they have achieved. There is no doubt that we focus on our academic dimension, as we should, but our pupils are involved in so many other areas too. Musically, on the sports field and in the arts they achieve at an equally high level and they richly deserve the exciting future that now lies ahead for them."
Strong A and AS Level Results
Pupils at Blundell's have achieved some very strong results in both A and AS Levels.
In the Upper Sixth (Year 13) of 97 pupils, 41% of the results gained were at A*/A with 23 pupils gaining 3 A grades or higher and over two thirds of all grades were between A* and B. The A Level pass rate was 99%. The Lower Sixth (Year 12) gained the best AS results ever at Blundell's: from a cohort of 107 pupils, one third of the pupils gained A grades with 75% of the grades at A-C and a 95% pass rate.
Many pupils have gained impressive results and places at top universities including Natalie Cotton who gained five A* grades to study Natural Sciences at Newnham, Cambridge and Eleanor Ansell who will join her there after achieving three A* grades to read Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Homerton College. Euan Friend, Christopher Hamilton and David Yung all gained at least 3 A* grades and Emily Combe, Ang Gao, Elizabeth Morris, Bethany Squires and Edward Taylor achieved A*, A*, A or better in their results. There has been a very high rate of acceptance for Blundell's students into their first choice of university; other popular destinations include Bath, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Manchester, while post A Level applicant Silvia Mills goes to St Hugh's College, Oxford to read Philosophy and Linguistics.
The Head Nicola Huggett said 'Once again I extend my warm and sincere congratulations to all our pupils in another year of excellent achievement. We are all so proud of them as they have worked extremely hard to achieve these results. These are all the more impressive as they continued to be involved in school life alongside their academic studies, such as taking part in sport and musical commitments throughout their final year. In addition to those going to university next month, several of our Upper Sixth have some interesting and prestigious opportunities in the work place lined up, including an apprenticeship with Jaguar Land Rover and a gap year working with Ove Arup.'
Pilbo Crazy Tie Day
Blundell's pupils put on the style by wearing colourful ties and scarves to raise funds for the Force Cancer charity. Pilbo Crazy Tie Day has become an annual event at the school, in memory of teacher Mr Jerry Pilbeam who was renowned for his whacky ties and whose favourite charity was Force. The pupils had to pay for the privilege of wearing their own clothes and their ties, which many of the younger pupils had created themselves in Art.
In what is believed to be a first for a Blundell's production, the Year 9 and 10 play Star Crossed was entirely devised by the pupils and the Drama department. It drew on the central themes of star-crossed lovers and ancient grudges from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but was set in the future. In this play, partners are matched by computer and first meet those selected for them under the watchful eyes of the Senator and the President and his wife, when they must perform a ritual dance. Complications arise when the Senator's son Reuben falls for Jessica, the girl selected to be the partner of Tyler, the President's son. Reuben and Jessica run away to live with the much-derided fugitives in the woods, hotly pursued by Tyler and his robot-like henchmen. It later emerges that Reuben is the son of two of the fugitives and tragedy ensues.
The young actors were excellent in a play that was moving, funny, chilling and romantic. As ever with Blundell's productions, the costumes and stage settings were wonderful, from the bleakness of the futuristic scenes (enhanced by some high tech wizardry), to the rustic woodland home of the fugitives.
Mrs Winsley, the play's Director, said: 'The cast were incredibly patient with the process [of devising the play] and generous with their ideas. The result was a very collaborative project which we hope the audience - the very first to see this new play - enjoyed watching'.
Athletes at the South West Championships
Blundell's athletes represented Devon (one of six counties represented) in the South West Schools Championships recently. Trixie Nicholson and Lucy Walliker are now SW Champions, with Trixie taking a first in intermediate girls javelin (with a national entry standard throw of 38.98m) and Lucy was first in the Senior Girls high jump (with a personal best and national entry standard jump of 1.66m); she also took fourth place in the triple jump with a PB of 10.19m. Grace Francis jumped well to narrowly miss a new PB in the Inter Girls High Jump, Karl Still finished sixth in a very fast paced Senior Boys 1500m. Will Klinkenberg finished fifth in the Senior Boys Shot Putt, while Bertie Frankpitt finished 2nd in the Senior Boys 400m Hurdles.
Trixie and Lucy now go on to the English Schools Championships in Gateshead for the second year running.
Oscar Winner Wows Blundell's Pupils
Jenny Beavan, the Oscar winning costume designer, gave Blundell's pupils an inspirational talk when she was guest of honour at the Creative Arts dinner. Jenny has won two Oscars, most recently for designing the costumes for the film 'Mad Max: Fury Road', which also won her a BAFTA, and she has won Academy nominations for eight other films.
The senior pupils who were lucky enough to hear her speak were enthralled by her insights into the research, design and making of the costumes for 'Mad Max', when she drew on a range of sources from Nigerian Hyena Men to discarded plumbing tools. She showed the pupils that costume design was not just the result of a creative gift but also the product of an enormous amount of background work, that design for drama is all about the characters and the story-telling, not the clothes, and that to cope with any significant challenge, you have to split the task into bite-size chunks – useful advice for many careers.
Jenny was very interested in the pupils and was generous with her time and expertise, talking to students about the merits of working in the Arts and giving individual career advice.
Tennis for Save the Children
The fancy dress outfits took centre stage at the annual School House tennis tournament in aid of the Save the Children charity.
Sumo wrestlers, lobsters, horses and bacon and eggs were seen on the courts along with many other costumes.
All Year 7 and 8 students enjoyed the event and will now be busy collecting their sponsor money for this very worthwhile cause.
The Ten Tors Twenty
Twenty pupils from Years 10, 11 and 12 took part in the annual Ten Tors Expedition on Dartmoor over the weekend. Two teams of six took on the 35-mile challenge including an all-girls team - a first for the school in the event - and one team taking on 45 miles, while two pupils volunteered to walk with unknown team-mates in the 45-mile Scout group.
All three teams completed the challenge, with all the 45 mile challengers completing their distance by lunchtime on Sunday, to be awarded silver medals. The 35 mile teams also completed their distances but not without some trials and tribulations. The girls team suffered slow progress at times due to sore feet, but managed to dig deep and cross the finish line just before it closed at 5pm. The boys had an unfortunate detour half way through day one which caused them to walk several extra miles and one boy suffered an injury which resulted in his removal from the moor by helicopter. The remaining five were significantly behind schedule but nevertheless opted to keep going. Against all the odds (down to 5% chance of completing at one point according to the Army) they powered on through day two, completing their route just 15 minutes ahead of the girls' team. Both 35 mile teams were awarded bronze medals.
Blundell's Ten Tors coordinator Douglas Morrison said 'All the competitors are hugely deserving of their Ten Tors medals; they have trained hard and were determined and in good spirits throughout the weekend. We are very grateful to all the organisers and everyone who has supported the pupils in this challenge.'
Silver Medals are awarded to 45 Mile team captain Francis Huntingford and his team comprising of Dougal Glaisher, Luke Hedley-Dent, Annabel Sexton, Lucy Walker and Bethan Wesley and to Karl Still and George Watson who walked with Ipplepen Scouts. Bronze Medals are awarded to 35 Mile Girls team captain Julia Huntingford and her team comprising of Grace Francis, Emily Lowe, Bonnie Price, Tabitha Vause, Maddie Wright and the 35 mile Boys Team Captain Victor Mills and those from his team that completed the event comprising of Rory Bateman, Tommy Bouchier-Hayes, Will Hones and Will Spencer.
Sixth Form Learn About Ski Instructor Opportunities
A number of Year 13 students enjoyed finding out about ski instructor courses at an excellent evening hosted by Ski le Gap. The company, now owned by an Old Blundellian family, introduced the students to the range of courses available and the opportunities these can provide for a year out, university vacations and in the future.
Training for Ten Tors and D of E
The Year 10 and 12 pupils training for the Ten Tors Challenge in three weeks' time spent three days at the end of the Easter holiday in the Brecon Beacons undertaking their final training preparations for the event. As always, those remaining in the selection process gave their all to try and secure their place on the team, battling long days, poor visibility at times, cold nights and snow on some peaks. The group were joined by five Year 11s undertaking their Silver Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition which they all completed successfully following much the same routes at the Ten Tors challengers. All pupils showed real grit, particularly when it came to climbing Pen y Fan on the last day despite being in discomfort from sore feet and fatigue.
Choir Tour to Vienna
The choir enjoyed a five-day tour in Vienna during the Easter holidays. They were based in the magnificent St. Peterskirche where they gave an acappella concert, as well as morning Eucharist and an afternoon concert. The choir also sang at an Easter Sunday service in Dornbach and were welcomed into this ancient community with exceptional hospitality. They also had the chance to sing at the Vienna State Opera. The tour was fantastic for so many reasons: amazing music making in wonderful surroundings, friendship and camaraderie, great sight-seeing, the opportunity to hear excellent live music and also a huge amount of laughter and fun.
Blundell's Crew Wins the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Marathon
Congratulations to the two Blundell's crews who successfully took part in the 2016 Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon over the Easter weekend. Bethan Wesley and Tabitha Pring were competing in the junior doubles for the first time and Francis Huntingford and Dougal Glaisher for the second time. The race is 125 miles long and has 77 portages; it is a severe test of skill, physical and mental stamina and, this year, the competitors had to contend with some extremely difficult weather conditions.
The 2016 Junior Doubles race was dominated by two crews - one from Fowey River Canoe Club, a club which has won the event for the last three years, and the Blundell's crew of Francis and Dougal. This was an incredibly close fought race, with only 28 seconds separating the boats after 15 hours and 103 miles of paddling. Due to gale force winds gusting up to 70mph in London on Easter Monday, the decision was made to shorten the event slightly and end the race at Teddington, with Francis and Dougal taking the first place position.
This is an extraordinary achievement and is the first time that any school crew has won the Junior DW since 2010 and the best performance by some way from a Blundell's crew. The two members of the Fowey Club crew have raced for Great Britain internationally, as well as winning national racing events. Francis and Dougal's success in racing this crew easily places them amongst the best U18 marathon paddlers in the country.
Spring Term 2016
Excellent Play by U16 Hockey Team
The Under 16 girls' hockey team are amongst the top in the country having come fourth in the national championships at Olympic Park.
Their first match was a tough one against Cranleigh, who were the eventual winners of the championships. Blundell's lost 5-0 but came back fighting for the second match of the day when they won 3-1 against Wellingborough, with goals from Sparkle Menzies, Grace Francis and Millie Attwell.
The first game of day two was a must win for Blundell's in order to progress to the 3rd/4th place match and it was against Framlingham, the team Blundell's drew with last year. It was a close encounter but Blundell's managed to get a 1-0 lead and maintain it until the final whistle. Then there was a waiting game to see which team they would play for the placing; it was King's Bruton - the team Blundell's played in the Wet finals The girls' weren't able to get the win they deserved but played excellently and were unlucky not to get a better result than the 2-0 win to King's.
The U16 squad were Felicity Charlesworth, Bella Slade, Millie Eaton-Jones, George Pitts, Hanna Detering, Tabitha Vause, Amelia Low, Emily Lowe, Mantha Unsworth-White, Millie Attwell, Didi Eaton, Grace Francis, Sparkle Menzies, Trixie Nicholson and Gracie Belcher. All were outstanding throughout and a credit to themselves and the School.
Success for Young Enterprise Team at Trade Show
Congratulations to Blundell's Young Enterprise team who won the accolade of Most Successful Business at the Exeter Young Enterprise Trade Show at Darts Farm. The team were competing against six other schools and were showcasing their Otzi pens, made of copper and already proving very popular amongst pupils at Blundell's. The team looked really professional and were engaging and knowledgeable about their product. The judges were very impressed by the boys and the stand and gave them great feedback. In addition to being awarded first place, they and another team were invited to sell their products at Darts Farm. The team are now looking forward to the final of the competition in May.
Fun and Learning on Field Day
Blundell's welcomed pupils from six primary schools in the Culm Valley for a Classics Day. The Year 6 pupils found out about the life of a Roman soldier from author Ben Kane (renowned for The Forgotten Legion, Spartacus and Hannibal book series), made mosaics based on a design at Pompeii and acted in a Greek play, 'The Frogs' by Aristophanes. The schools taking part were Burlescombe, Clyst Hydon, Culmstock, Kentisbeare, Plymtree and Webber's, Holcombe Rogus. It was one of a number of joint initiatives between Blundell's and the Culm Valley Small Schools Association.
The event took place on Field Day and, while some sixth formers were involved in the Classics Day, other Blundellians were occupied in many different activities in school and further afield: in Bristol, Bath and Dartmoor, carrying out work in the local community including picking up litter, cleaning up graffiti and carrying out visitor surveys, fishing, studying, team building, rope climbing, orienteering and much more.
Valentine's Day Roses for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust
In what has become a tradition, Year 12 girls in North Close House once again organised selling red roses in time for Valentine's Day to raise funds for charity. This year, they raised more than £390 for their charity of the year, the Devon Air Ambulance Trust, and will be raising more funds at other events.
Last year, pupils at Blundell's raised around £20,000 for local, national and international charities. One of the main focuses at present is to raise enough money to buy an elephant to deliver books to people living in remote villages along the Mekong Delta in Laos, as part of the school's ongoing work with the charity Community Learning International.
Blundell's Chemists on Top
Congratulations to Yuli Lu, Francis Huntingford and Toby Whitehead who represented the school at the Royal Society of Chemistry's Schools' Analyst Competition for the West region and won. They had some tough competition including Exeter School, Bristol Grammar School and Cheltenham Ladies College. This is a great achievement for the Blundell's team and for the Chemistry Department, as it is the second successive year that the school has won this event.
They now go on to represent the West of England at the national finals, to be held at the University of Keele in June, when they'll be competing against 18 other schools from around the country for a Challenge Shield – and are hoping to do as well, if not better, than last year's Blundell's team who were second in the national competition. At the final, they are required to undertake various practical tasks based on problems relevant to industrial or social needs. The tasks are judged on skill, understanding and accuracy and are intended to promote team work and safety in the laboratory.
In the Lambs National Rugby Squad
Congratulations to Charlie Wilder, Ben Oliphant-Thompson and Arthur Friend who have been selected to play for the prestigious U18 Independent Schools LAMBS national squad. Together with Euan Friend, the boys were part of the South squad and have been through a long selection process culminating in a superb North vs. South game which the South squad won. Unfortunately, Euan was injured for this (but was there to support his team mates) which precluded him from final selection for the national squad, when 36 boys were selected from the North and South teams. There is only one other school that has more than two representatives in the national squad.
Charlie, Ben and Arthur will now have the chance to demonstrate their abilities over the next three months in a number of tough fixtures; the national squad are due to play Irish Exiles, RFU Midlands, Saracens and Worcester Warriors amongst others. Ed Saunders, Head of Rugby, said 'This is a tremendous opportunity for these three very good players to develop their skills and, most importantly, have fun and enjoy the matches they play in.'
The Lambs exists to create openings for boys to showcase their rugby skills at a representative level when they have been unable to do so due to other commitments or lack of selection opportunities. The freedom to express talent, unfettered by league results and structured 'coaching', leads to a style of play which excites players, their parents and supporters of the game. The Independent Schools RFC was set up to promote traditional rugby values and a 'Corinthian' spirit, playing unreserved 'heads up' running rugby in a fast and expansive style, which is player rather than coach-led.
Worth Writing About
Tilda Huntingford and Luca Kemp (both Year 9) are area finalists in the Royal Mail Young Letter Writer Competition. The challenge was to write a letter applying for their dream job; Luca wrote about becoming a survival expert and Tilda applied for a fundraiser and awareness officer role for a charity in Zambia. The Royal Mail received nearly 100,000 entries so for their letters to have been chosen is a fantastic achievement and they have each won £40 in vouchers and £40 for the school. Luca and Tilda are two of only four in their age group in the South West region going through to the next stage when a panel of judges, including the TV presenter Helen Skelton, will select the area and overall winners.
Four Successful Oxbridge Applications
Congratulations to the four pupils who have been offered places at Oxford and Cambridge universities. Ben Ames has an offer to read Earth Sciences at Exeter College, Oxford and Silvia Mills (Post A level applicant) to read Philosophy and Linguistics at St Hugh's College, Oxford, while Natalie Cotton and Eleanor Ansell have both had offers from Cambridge – Natalie to read Natural Sciences at Newnham and Eleanor to read Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at Homerton College.
The Head, Nicola Huggett, said 'This is a terrific achievement by Ben, Silvia, Natalie and Eleanor and they have worked incredibly hard for these much deserved offers. We are very proud of them and of all nine pupils who were interviewed for places at Oxford or Cambridge. Blundell's has now had twelve successful applications to Oxbridge in the last three years and this is a tribute to everyone – families, teachers, tutors and our Oxbridge coordinators – who have supported the pupils while they have studied here.'
Autumn Term 2015
The girls in Year 12 of Gorton House sold a record number of 1,400 candy canes, raising £740 for the Crisis At Christmas charity. Pupils and staff buy the canes to wish their friends and colleagues a Happy Christmas and write a label with a message. The GH girls then turned parts of the GH private side into a production line as, in a great team effort, they tied labels onto the canes, which were then given out at lunchtime to the lucky recipients.
Crisis at Christmas and also MIND were the beneficiaries of another fundraising initiative, when pupils throughout the school put on their best Christmas jumpers and paid for the privilege.
Both pupils and residents had fun when music students in Years 11, 12 and 13 went to Margaret Allen House care home in Tiverton and performed several musical items on piano and in song. Many of the residents joined in with the last song 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'. The pupils enjoyed performing as the much as the residents enjoyed listening. Blundell's students regularly visit the home to play games and work on projects with residents.
Year 11 Employability Event
All students completed a day of employer assessment exercises including: presentation skills, body language, how to sell yourself, mock interviews and a music festival team presentation. The overwhelming response from all students was a day well spent! The information and skills learnt on the day will now be useful in taking forward to source and complete a work experience placement post GCSE's. Congratulations to the students for looking so smart and really engaging with the event.
Congratulations to Blundell's Canoe Club who had a very successful time at the National Schools Kayak Championships, especially Francis Huntingford and Dougal Glaisher who won both the Kayak Sprint and the Kayak Marathon. The Canoe Club took six boats to the championships which were held on the River Thames at Wokingham and comprised of a Sprint Regatta over distances of 200m and 500m and a 15 kilometre Marathon race. The teams included our first ever girls' team of Jenny Mettam, Julia Huntingford, Bethan Wesley, Tabby Pring, Eve Neusinger and George Pitts.
There was some great racing from all the boats; Laurenz Hoek and Joe White fought a highly competitive marathon race to take 4th place overall and Francis and Dougal saw off tough competition from Bryanston and Cranleigh to win the Sprint and the Marathon. In the past twelve months, the pair have been the fastest school crew in the Waterside series, the fastest school crew in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Marathon, and are now National School Champions in both Kayak Sprint and Kayak Marathon.
SH Bake and Buy for Charity
Hockey: The U14 Team are Devon Champions!
Blundell's U14 hockey team have been crowned Devon champions after winning all their matches at the county championship without conceding a goal. They follow in the footsteps of the U16 team who pulled off the same feat last month.
The U14s beat Kingsbridge, King's Ottery, Plymouth and Shebbear to top their group, then won a hard-fought semi-final 1-0 against West Buckland School, before making sure of the victory with a convincing 3-0 win over Exeter School. The result owed much to the strength and depth of the whole squad (with no fewer than six different goal scorers during the day), but Betty Stone deserves particular mention for her hard work in midfield and netting seven of the team's 14 goals. They now go on to the West regional finals at Clifton College later this month.
The team were: Betty Stone, Sophie Clough, Rosie Baker, Zoe Labdon, Grace Labdon, Milly Curtis, Rebecca Hamilton, Amber Sharp, Maddie Cotton, Zoe Dare, Mattie Hudson, Hannah Kidner, Mia Butterfield, Tara Hayes-Pankhurst and Savannah Regan.
In other hockey news, the U16s, having won the Devon championship, go through to the West finals, after being runners-up in the West preliminary matches having won against Canford (3-2) and Budehaven (7-0) and losing (just) to Millfield (2-1).
Great Achievements by the Equestrians at NSEA Championships
The Blundell's equestrians are once again UK national champions, having won the Jumping with Style (Arena Eventing) open class at the NSEA championship at Addington for the third year running – an unheard of achievement in this competition. Blundell's fielded two teams to defend the title; both teams were placed in the top ten and the team of Lola Watt, Will Smith, Eleanor Ansell and Polly Muirhead took the title.
The NSEA's National Jumping with Style and Show Jumping finals were highly competitive with more than 1900 entries and an average of 40 schools per class; Blundellians qualified for 43 different entries. Amongst the other successes at the event were Eleanor Ansell's 8th place and Lola Watt's national runner-up position following a beautiful clear round in the Jumping with Style 1.10m class open to the top 20 individuals; the team of Georgia Wood, Didi Eaton, Polly Muirhead and Lola Watt gaining 6th place in the elite 1.10 show jumping, with some of the team jumping this height for the first time; and the Junior Jumping with Style teams who performed very well, just missing out on top ten placings, with special mention to Finn Muirhead who was the highest placed individual in three different classes. The success of the Blundell's equestrians across all competitions in the South West was further recognised at a presentation where they won the Regional Points League.
Rugby: Champions Trophy and NatWest Cup
Following their 26-7 win against Barnard Castle School in the quarter final of the RFU Under 18 Schools Champions Trophy, the 1st XV will be travelling to Epsom College for the semi-final next month. The team have also won against Monmouth School 31 -7 in Round 2 and Canford School 19-11 in Round 1 of the Champions Trophy, which is a 32 school knockout competition. The 1st XV are having a great season so far in other matches too – they are unbeaten to date, with other notable matches against Bryanston which they won 23-8, King's College Taunton (61-5) and Bristol Grammar School (44-10).
Meanwhile, the U15As won their NatWest Cup draw against QE Crediton 69-5 with eight of the Blundell's side scoring, most notably Will Kennaugh on loan from the U14s scoring four and Tommy Bouchier-Hayes and Jake le Gassick scoring a brace each. They went on to beat Canford later in the week 63-19, with all players contributing to the win. There have been some great wins for all the Blundell's rugby teams this season; please see the Rugby page for more results.
Inspirational speaker at Arts dinner
Emphasising the importance of the Arts in education was the aim of the inaugural English, History and Politics sixth form dinner, held in Big School. The more students are exposed to individuals who have studied the Arts, the more likely they are to follow suit, so the speaker for the evening was an inspiration. Richard Speight is a Communications Manager at the pan-European foreign policy think tank European Council on Foreign Relations and had previously worked for the Fabian Society, for a regeneration charity, an MEP and MP and studied History at Trinity College, Cambridge. His informative and entertaining talk focused on both his experiences and the Arts in general and inspired many questions from the students. If there is one message that the students could have taken away with them, it was to study what they love at university.
County Championship win for U16s Hockey team
Congratulations to the U16 girls' Hockey team who are now Devon County Champions. They played three group matches, winning them 6-0 against Colyton School, 6-0 against Holsworthy Community College and 3-0 against South Dartmoor Community College and then advanced to the semi-final where they played West Buckland School, winning 3-0. In the final, they played South Dartmoor again where the team once again won by 3-0. In all, the girls scored 21 goals and conceded none! They played extremely well and improved throughout the afternoon and were ably led by Captain Millie Eaton-Jones and Vice-Captain Georgie Pitts.
The U16s will travel to Canford on the 11th November for the West preliminary matches.
Year 8 present their Diploma projects
The Year 8s put on a fantastic display of their Diploma projects at an evening for parents and friends. They carried out the projects during the summer holidays with a brief to choose something that would interest them and that they would enjoy doing. The results were an outstanding array of projects on a wide range of subjects and in different media, from a handmade driftwood chair and a dress, to computer presentations, photography and art.
Safer driving tips and tales from The Stig
Ben Collins, aka The Stig from his role on BBC TV's Top Gear programme, returned to his old school to give current sixth formers a talk on Safer Driving. Ben, who attended Blundell's from 1988 to 1993, looked back to when he first learned to drive and used his experiences as a champion racing driver and stunt driving expert to give students an entertaining and very informative talk on reading the road and anticipating what is coming to stay safe. Several of the sixth formers stayed to chat with him and were able to hold the famous white helmet he wore as The Stig, the mysterious driver who, for eight years, kept 500 million viewers guessing as to his identify.
Later in the evening, he entertained parents and friends of the school with tales of coaching celebrities such as Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz around the racetrack as The Stig and racing against Formula One World Champions such as Jenson Button and Nigel Mansell. Ben is now famous in his own right as a bestselling author and TV presenter and his most recent book, How to Drive, was very popular with the audience, who queued for a long time to have their copies signed.
It's a crime scene!
The Science Department and Big School turned into a Crime Scene Investigation site when Year 7s from Hazlegrove, St Peter's Prep, Mount Kelly Prep, Exeter Cathedral School and the Downs School came to Blundell's to discover the perpetrator of a 'murder'. Working with 6th form scientists, they followed a series of practical clues to find the evidence. Great fun was had by all - not least at lunch where baked brains (cauliflower cheese), slow cooked human flesh (pulled pork with crackling) and other delights were on the menu.
Great rugby results
Blundell's rugby teams achieved some excellent results over the weekend. The 1st XV played some exciting rugby to beat King's Taunton 61-5, which propelled them into the Top Ten of the Daily Mail Trophy. With precision and commitment, the 1st XV ran in a total of 11 tries.
Meanwhile, in an entertaining the game, the 2nd XV beat King's by 69-0 with a hat trick of tries from Freddie King and the Under 14As continued their good run of form with a 39-22 home win over King's; man of the match was Harry Charlesworth. Playing against West Buckland, the U13As put together a focused, and determined, full match performance to win 36-12, while the U12As won 10-5, in affair but competitive match. Tries scorers were Jo Provis and Freddie Labdon and the whole squad tackled and ran well.
Blundellians have been busy presenting the results of their fundraising to various charities. The North Close monitors presented a cheque for £548 to Rosey Oakes of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust; the money was raised through the sale of Valentine's red roses and through a collection taken at the NC chapel service. CCF members Bonnie Price and Cormac Oliver, Head of Corps, also presented a cheque recently to Julian Chidgey of Age UK – the money was raised by Bonnie and other pupils undertaking their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, which is carried out through the CCF. The school raised more than £20,000 for various charities last year through sponsorship, events and activities.
Blundell's School is deeply saddened to record the sudden death of James Bullock, who has been a Governor of the School since 2009 and an OB Club Committee Member since 2012. He has been a huge supporter of Blundell's for a number of years in many different ways. This has been a shock to the whole Blundell's community and indeed the significance of this loss is difficult to quantify.
James attended Blundell's from 1981 to 1986 when he was in Petergate House, then read Law at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (Law Tripos BA Hons 1989), going on to the College of Law at Guildford (Frist Class Hons 1990). In his career, he was most recently a partner in Pinsent Mason LLP, an International Law firm, where he specialised in Contentious Tax and was the Head of the Litigation and Compliance Practice Group.
As a Governor at Blundell's, James was the Chairman of Governance Committee and on the Finance & General Purposes Committee. His wise counsel, enthusiasm and company will be much missed by the School and all who knew him.
See the release from his law firm Pinsent Masons' website here.
Funeral Service: Monday 28th September 2015 at 10.30am at the St Stanislaus Catholic Church, Dulverton, Somerset, TA22 9HB; followed by cremation at Taunton Crematorium. The wake will be at The Castle Hotel in Taunton. All enquiries c/o Anthony James Funeral Director, Wiveliscombe, TA4 2TB, 01984 624149.
The School has opened a book of condolence which will be passed to James' family. Contributions to this book can be sent to the Head's PA at the School by post or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blundell's will be holding a memorial service for James on Friday 27th November at 11.15am in the School Chapel. All are welcome. If you would like to come, please let us know via email on email@example.com.