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In the spring, the whole school participates in the (frankly bonkers) Russell – named for the eponymous Jack (of terrier fame and an OB) - a hotly contested cross-country race for which local landowners open their land. We had never seen quite such cheerfully muddy girls as the ones we met just back from a practice. Parents love the friendly and inclusive feel of the place, the lack of arrogance among the students and the resilience the school instils in them. Traditionally not the brightest star in the…

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Meet Blundell's School at the Independent Schools Show 2018, Stand 313

What the school says...

Blundell's was founded more than 400 years ago. We combine traditional values with the best of modern teaching methods, facilities and pastoral care. Academic excellence lies at the school's heart and we believe our strength is in the diversity of options which gives every pupil a chance to shine. Blundells also has a richly deserved reputation in sport, drama and music.

Equal importance is placed on pastoral care and developing the whole person: courtesy and good manners are deeply rooted in Blundellians and strong, supportive friendships ensure that community life at the school is richly rewarding. These qualities, together with the intellectual, physical and cultural interests they develop at Blundells, provide pupils with skills for life.
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What the parents say...

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2015 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Best performance by Girls taking Design & Technology Graphic Products at an English Independent School (GCSE)

2016 Good Schools Guide Awards

  • Best performance by Boys taking Office Technology at an English Independent School (GCSE Full Course)
  • Best performance by Girls taking Office Technology at an English Independent School (GCSE Full Course)
  • Best performance by Girls taking Design & Technology Graphic Products at an English Independent School (GCSE Full Course)

Other features

All-through school (for example 3-18 years). - An all-through school covers junior and senior education. It may start at 3 or 4, or later, and continue through to 16 or 18. Some all-through schools set exams at 11 or 13 that pupils must pass to move on.

Sports

Equestrian centre or equestrian team - school has own equestrian centre or an equestrian team.

What The Good Schools Guide says

Head

Since September 2018, Bart Wielenga, previously senior deputy head here. Degree in economics from the University of Natal in South Africa and postgrad qualification in human resource development from the Rand Afrikaans University in Johannesburg. Also taught at Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal and was a housemaster and head of economics at Wellington College before joining Blundell's in 2012.

Academic matters

Traditionally not the brightest star in the firmament of south west schools, but there’s a determination to make the school as academic as it is sporty. (‘They’ll have her work cut out,’ remarked one parent). Key appointments include a head of learning support, who is an ed psych, and a switched-on academic deputy from Wycombe Abbey, and there's now a proper tutor system, which has gone down well with parents. A level results are sound, with...

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Independent schools frequently offer IGCSEs or other qualifications alongside or as an alternative to GCSE. The DfE does not record performance data for these exams so independent school GCSE data is frequently misleading; parents should check the results with the schools.

Special Education Needs

There are about 150 pupils in the school with special needs of one sort or another, so we are very much aware that some children need special help and there is close liaison between the English department and other subject teachers. SpLD. pupils are tested informally in the Learning Support Department and given help by a highly experienced Learning Support teacher, or her assistant. This support usually takes place once or twice a week, by withdrawal. As it is a specialist individual requirement, there has to be a termly charge. Learning support staff report regularly on the progress of the, 80 or so, students they currently see. Work is centred on discovering what the individual's problem is and concentrating on it. Poor spelling is covered by repetitive work on basic rules, indifferent vocabulary by extension and slow reading by improvement of skills. Pupils are given support in subject areas where they are having problems. A great effort is made to spark imaginative writing. Dyslexics are encouraged to devise strategies to overcome difficulties of spelling and organising work. For some this may include the use of special filters or glasses as well as the use of techniques such as mind mapping or visualisation. Dyslexic diagnostic tests (Aston, Digit Span, etc.) at a simple level are given and referral made, where necessary, for full testing to enable students to claim extra time allowance in public examinations. Official testing is usually done by Dr Hornby from St. Luke’s, Exeter. Her certification is accepted by exam boards and tests are usually carried out in the Autumn. About twenty-five pupils are tested each year. In 2002 for the first time, the Boards agreed to accept just one certification for the student’s entire secondary career. (In Further Education, such certification often entitles students to IT equipment discounts.) There are no standard textbooks, as worksheets are prepared individually. However Hornsby's "Alpha to Omega", Butterworth's "Using the Oxford Dictionary" and The Sunday Times "Word Power" are helpful. Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Syndrome: it is very difficult to pinpoint or label problems as every child is different, but at Blundell’s we aim to ensure sympathetic treatment, individual support and a positive approach, focussing on the learning difference with its positives rather than any negative associations connected with a learning disability. It is not unusual for dyslexic pupils, with the full extra time allowance in exams, to gain the highest grades in both GCSE and A level examination. Above all, our students are taught to think of themselves as Blundellians, not as Dyslexics, developing confidence and expertise in as many areas as possible.

Condition Provision for in school
ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
Aspergers
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders Y
CReSTeD registered for Dyslexia
Dyscalculia
Dysgraphia
Dyslexia
Dyspraxia
English as an additional language (EAL)
Genetic
Has an entry in the Autism Services Directory
Has SEN unit or class
HI - Hearing Impairment
Hospital School
Mental health
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
MSI - Multi-Sensory Impairment
Natspec Specialist Colleges
OTH - Other Difficulty/Disability
Other SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
PD - Physical Disability
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty
SEMH - Social, Emotional and Mental Health
SLCN - Speech, Language and Communication
SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty
Special facilities for Visually Impaired
SpLD - Specific Learning Difficulty
VI - Visual Impairment

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