HISTORY has been made at Blundell's School with the appointment of a female headteacher for the first time in its 400-year history.
For much of its existence the Tiverton school was a boy's only institution, only admitting the first girls in 1975 and then admitting girls at age 13 from 1993 onwards.
The new head, who will replace the outgoing Ian Davenport, is Nicola Huggett, who is currently deputy head at Downe House School in Newbury, a top girls independent school whose former pupils include Kate Middleton, now HRH the Duchess of Cambridge.
In a letter to parents, Chairman of Governors Cedric Clapp said they had chosen the new head following a "rigorous interview process".
His letter continued: "As expected we had an excellent field of candidates all of whom recognised Blundell's as a first-class school that had flourished under Ian's headship."
As well as teaching politics, Mrs Huggett has specific responsibility for pastoral needs at her current school, including discipline as well as the management of the academic departments.
Mrs Huggett was educated at Marlborough College before reading politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University.
After leaving university she began a career in advertising with J Walter Thompson Ltd but moved into teaching in 1994. From 1996 to 2007 she taught politics and history at Haileybury, a co-educational boarding school with 760 pupils where she was a resident houseparent for eight years. She was appointed as head of boarding for her final two years at Haileybury.
Mrs Huggett moved to her current position five years ago. She has a keen love of music and in the sporting arena, she has competed in the London Marathon and played club hockey, was captain of her college boat club and president of the Oxford University Riding Club in 1990. As a talented rider, she competed in international three-day events in 1994.
She is married to Spencer and they have four children.
Nicola will begin the headship at Blundell's in January, at the start of the spring term.
In the interim period Second Master Randall Thane will take on the role of head for the autumn term.
Mr Davenport has been head for eight years.
The letter states: "I know that Nicola and Spencer are keen to build on what Ian and [his wife] Kate have created at Blundell's and will continue the wonderful work they have done."
The school has a reputation for continuity in leadership, when she takes up the post Mrs Huggett will become only the eighth head since the Second World War.