What it’s like
Founded and endowed in 1604 at the sole charge of the estate of Peter
Blundell, clothier of Tiverton, by Sir John Popham. In 1882 it moved to the
outskirts of Tiverton, on a fine estate of 80 acres of beautiful gardens,
playing fields and other grounds. Its pleasant and well-equipped buildings
provide good facilities and comfortable accommodation. The school maintains a
Christian tradition and Anglican practice; all pupils are expected to attend
weekday morning chapel and the school service on Sundays. Exclusively a boys
school until 1976, when it first accepted girls to the sixth form, it became
fully co-educational in 1993. There is a large sixth form and a staff:pupil
ratio of about 1:9. Academic standards are high and examination results good.
The school has always been strong in music and its music centre provides
excellent facilities. Drama is also very strong and there is much dramatic
activity (and two theatres). Art, crafts and technology are also flourishing
fields of work and study. A wide variety of sports and games is available and
standards are high. Many clubs and activities cater for most conceivable
interests. There is a large CCF and other activities include climbing, canoeing,
abseiling, flying, sailing and expeditions on Dartmoor and Exmoor. There is an
unusually big commitment to local community service.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Age range 11–18, 553 pupils, 173 day (106 boys, 67 girls),
268 weekly-boarding (170 boys, 98 girls), 112 boarding (71 boys, 41 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 11, 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own exam
used; for sixth-form entry, 5 GCSEs at least grade C (preferably grade B in
sixth-form subjects). All special skills are welcome; so is the all-rounder. No
religious requirements. 15+% of intakes at 11 and 16 from state schools. Feeder
schools include Forres Sandle, King's Hall, Mount House, St John's (Sidmouth),
St Michael's (Tavistock), St Peter's (Lympstone).
Scholarships, bursaries & extras 22–25 pa scholarships, value 10%–50%
fees: 12 academic, 6 all-rounder, 2 art, 1 drama, 4 music (plus small awards at
11 13 and 16). Special reductions for siblings, armed forces; 20% reductions for
pupils over 13 from the local area. Parents not expected to buy textbooks.
Parents 30% live within 30 miles, 10% live overseas.
Head & staff
Headmaster: Jonathan Leigh, in post from 1991. Educated at Eton and
Cambridge University (history). Previously Second Master, Head of History and
Housemaster at Cranleigh.
Teaching staff: 55 full time, 4 part time. Annual turnover 5%.
GCSE: On average 80 pupils in upper fifth; 95% gain at least grade C in
8+ subjects. Average GCSE score 61 (60 over 3 years).
A-levels: 80 in upper sixth: 5% pass in 4+ subjects, 90% in 3, 5% in 2
subjects. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 325.
University & college entrance 96% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course (25% after a gap year), 5% to Oxbridge. 5% took courses in
medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 25% in science & engineering, 5% in
law, 25% in humanities & social sciences, 5% in art & design, 30% in business
related subjects. Others typically go straight in to commerce or the military.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 22 AS-level subjects, 18 A-level.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS-level, 3 at A-level;
in addition, wide range of general studies courses (AS-level additional option).
30% take science A-levels; 45% arts/humanities; 25% both. Key skills taught to a
Vocational: Work experience available.
Special provision: Tuition for dyslexics and EFL available.
Languages: French, Spanish and German offered to GCSE, AS and A-level.
Links with schools and exchanges arranged. European students regularly in sixth
ICT: 40 PCs with internet access plus computers in all departments.
Music: Over 50% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams
taken. Some 12 musical groups including 2 orchestras, 3 choirs, big band,
chamber music groups, pop groups.
Drama: Drama offered and GCSE and A-level may be taken. Some pupils are
involved in school productions and majority in house/other productions.
Art & design: On average, 35 take GCSE, 2 AS-level, 15 A-level. Design,
pottery, photography, history of art, sculpture also offered. Recent pupil now
photographer for National Trust, another a promo editor for Carlton TV.
Sport & activities
Sport: Rugby, cricket compulsory for boys; hockey for girls (up to 16).
Optional: fives, squash, hockey, football, fencing, judo, athletics,
cross-country, tennis, swimming, basketball, shooting, netball, sailing,
canoeing, golf, badminton, archery. GCSE, A-level, RLSS exams may be taken. 2
test cricketers in recent years; 4 recent England rugby players. Present pupils
represent county at rugby, cricket, squash, hockey, athletics; region at
athletics, basketball, fives, judo, fencing.
Activities: CCF and community service optional. Up to 30 clubs, eg
astronomy, music, Blundell’s Action (to help the community), sailing, debating,
literary, chess, French, history etc.
Uniform: School uniform worn throughout, except in houses.
Houses & prefects: Competitive houses – 1 junior (11–13 year olds), 4
boarding boy, 2 boarding girl, 1 day girl. Monitors, head boy and girl, head of
house and house monitors, appointed by Headmaster after consultation with
monitors, housemasters etc.
Religion: Daily service for whole school; 6 Sunday services per term.
Social: Debates, general knowledge competitions, musical events etc with
local schools. Exchanges; links with schools in Canada, Australia, Berlin, South
Africa, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia and Holland; regular trips to France,
Holland, Germany, Russia, Czech Republic; travel bursaries available for
development of international understanding. Pupils allowed to bring own bike to
school. Meals self-service (staff always present). School tuck and tailor’s
shop. No tobacco allowed.
Discipline Pupils failing to produce homework once can expect
appropriate admonition; those connected with cannabis would expect to leave;
repeated smoking and illegal drinking also lead to expulsion.
Boarding 30% have own study bedroom, 50% share (with 1–3); 20% are in
dormitories of 4–6. Houses of approx 55; new pre-university house for upper
sixth. 2 resident qualified nurses; doctor visits daily. Central dining room.
Pupils can provide and cook own food. Exeats at half-term plus 2 weekends (Sat
4pm – Sun 9pm). Visits to local town allowed at all ages at housemaster’s
Alumni association is run by E R Crowe, c/o the School.
Former pupils Lord Stokes; Michael Mates MP; Sir John Gray; Richard
Sharp; Clem Thomas; Vic Marks; Hugh Morris; Peter Hurford; Paul Levi; General
Sir John Hackett; Christopher Ondaatje; Richard Handover.