College Choir Performs At D-Day 80 Commemorations At Kenilworth Castle

Princethorpe College’s Choir joined choirs from local Kenilworth primary schools at Kenilworth Castle on the evening of Thursday 6 June to help commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Held in the grounds of the castle, the evening's event saw 16 pupils from the College’s Choir, sing a selection of popular war time songs, alongside the choirs of St John's Primary and Priors Field Primary. The evening also included an atmospheric Piper (formerly of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards), moving readings and poems, the ringing of church bells and finally the reading of the proclamation and the lighting of a beacon on the Strong Tower.

Over 600 people attended in beautiful weather to experience a poignant but enjoyable evening for all.

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Year 10 Geography Field Trip Explores Shrewsbury And Carding Mill Valley

Year 10 Geography pupils took part in a two-day field trip this week to support the fieldwork questions in their Physical and Human Geography IGCSE. They visited Preston Montford, one of the Field Studies Council’s specialist outdoor centres.

Pupils spent one day exploring human geography topics, investigating the impact of changing economic structure on quality of life in two rural villages - Minsterley and Bishop’s Castle. They then spent a day investigating physical geography topics in the Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton. There they surveyed the river, undertaking width, depth and velocity measurements investigating how river channel characteristics change with distance downstream.

Helen Baker, Head of Geography, said, “Preston Montford is an excellent location for carrying out fieldwork and pupils’ engagement and conduct was exemplary. We had a very busy two days with a variety of landscapes and weather! The trip has given pupils a variety of techniques, skills and data which will be analysed and evaluated in preparation for their final IGCSE exams.”  

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Four Year 10 Pupils Awarded Gold In The Junior Physics Challenge

This year, 46 Year 10 Triple Science pupils competed in the British Physics Olympiad Junior Challenge, an online competition where pupils answer multiple-choice questions across two quizzes. The Junior Physics Challenge is designed to engage and stretch pupils by offering a range of problems to solve. It allows pupils to apply their curriculum knowledge of physics practically, to the real world, while taking part in a challenge at a national level. It is the first opportunity GCSE pupils have to participate in a British Physics Olympiad event.

Princethorpe’s pupils' results were excellent, so a huge well done to all who took part. Particular congratulations go to Amber Sandhu, Bella Pinder, Ajunee Gill and Josh Gorbutt who all achieved a Gold certificate. Pupils at the College were also awarded 13 Silver and 29 Bronze certificates.

Dan Lee, Head of Physics, said, "Congratulations to all the participants, it was great to see our Year 10 pupils engaging so well with the Junior Physics Challenge. I hope they enjoyed taking part and are encouraged to do more Physics!"

Princethorpe Brings Home The ISA Trophy And The Wigley Cup

Princethorpe College was once again delighted to host the National Schools and Riding Clubs Two-Day Event. Run in conjunction with Stoneleigh Riding Club, nearly 200 competitors took part in the two-day competition, over the weekend 25 to 26 May, one of only a few ‘long format’ events open to schools and riding clubs in the UK. It included dressage and show-jumping on the Saturday and roads and tracks, steeplechase and cross-country on the Sunday.

This was the ninth year the College has hosted the event on the Princethorpe estate, and the course looked magnificent against the backdrop of the Princethorpe Tower. It included classes at 70cm, 80cm, 90cm and 100cm. Returning once again and causing much excitement was the challenging permanent cross-country water jump generously built by one of the event’s main sponsors, The Wigley Group.

Princethorpe College had riders competing at all heights and representation from Foundation Prep School, Crackley Hall, too. In the 100cm class Rosie Moreton finished in 1st place in both the Schools and ISA events riding Espresso III, while Lizzie Nichols was 4th in the Schools’ event and 3rd in the ISA class on Supreme Ambition.

In the 90cm class, Lizzie Nichols had another excellent round this time on Tickety Boo to finish 4th in the Schools’ competition and 3rd in the ISA event. Then the Glover sisters, Emily and Sophie, rode two good rounds to finish in 7th and 8th individually. Together, the three girls earned their Princethorpe Montargis team overall 1st place in the Schools’ competition and also in the ISA class.

In the 80cm event, Sam Grindal had an excellent round on Alekto M to finish individually 2nd overall in the Schools’ competition and 1st in the ISA class. Jessica Belcher was 10th on Hendir Phoebe’s William.

Then in the 70cm class, Princethorpe had a bumper crop of entries, boding well for the future of the school’s teams. Sophie Gambling rode Cloonagh Star to 5th overall, and 2nd in the ISA class, Darcey from Crackley Hall was 8th on her pony Court Chester, Isla Chadwick came 11th on Running Bear and Charlotte Nichols 12th on Birtley Royal Guardsman. In a very competitive field, Princethorpe’s Team Cloisters were worthy winners of the ISA Trophy and the Wigley Cup.

Alex Darkes, Princethorpe’s equestrian event organiser, said, “The College was delighted to welcome school and riding club competitors to the Princethorpe estate. It was great to see such a strong presence of school participants, many of whom had travelled long distances to take part in the competition. It was also wonderful to welcome OP competitors including, Tori Jones, Katherine Morton (nee Brett) and Harriet Boyd. Our thanks go to members of Stoneleigh Riding Club, the events key sponsors The Wigley Group, our Grounds and Estates Teams and all the volunteers, without whom we would have been unable to stage such a busy event.”

Congratulations to all the riders who took part.

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Court Room Debates Support Year 10s Revision In RS

Back before half term, Ms Tallis’ Year 10s worked incredibly hard perfecting their skills of critical analysis and evaluation in preparation for their internal exams. She was so impressed with their work that she shared photos with the Flagpole and submitted examples for inclusion in the next Pinnacle.

One of her pupils, Ajunee, summarised what the class had been doing in their lessons:

“During our RS lessons over the last few weeks, our class 10RX1, have been partaking in debates/court room style arguments focused on the topics needed to know for our summer exam. This way of revising was an extremely useful and efficient way of allowing the class to think critically about these questions and develop the skills to form logical arguments with a team of people. For example, we debated the statement, ‘God has absolute power’. Before the argument, we got into the roles of lawyers, witnesses, the jury, and the judge, making sure everyone was taking part and getting involved to enhance their learning. Although it was not a perfect court room, everyone had a chance to make their opinion heard and challenge each other’s statements.

Through this exercise we learned how to shift our perspective and look at an argument both ways, acknowledge the advantages and disadvantages of it; to the point where these skills become second nature. This is important as not only does analysing the pros and cons of a statement help with in-person debates, but it also supports our learning in writing a 15-mark essay question, which will be given to us in an exam. To reach the top bands we must analyse both sides of the argument and create a strong, balanced essay. I believe the debates in class allow us to do this more efficiently and thoroughly.

We have also been taught to use the 'TRADEC' approach, which has benefited our writing skills as a class, as over time we have been able to evaluate our points more precisely, allowing for our argument to flow and come across more confidently to the examiner, ensuring we will get top marks in the exam.

Overall, both the 'TRADEC 15-mark exam structure' and the court room style debates have developed our capabilities and allowed us to go into the exams more confident of our skills to write a compelling, valid essay.”


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Super Haul Of Medals At The ISA Midlands Athletics

Princethorpe is celebrating after finishing first overall and bringing home a huge haul of medals from the Independent Schools Association’s (ISA) Midlands Track and Field Athletics.

The event took place at the Saffron Lane Athletics Track in Leicester on Friday 17 May with College athletes joining competitors from 30 schools across the Midlands region all aiming to quality for the National Finals that later in June.

In a dominant display, Princethorpe’s medal haul included 25 Gold Medals, 14 Silvers and 7 Bronzes, helping the College to score more that double the points of any other team on the day. In addition to winning the overall competition, all the teams also placed first.

Foundation Director of Sport, Lee Cassell, was delighted commenting, “A huge well done to all of our athletes for an excellent performance. They responded so well to the competition they faced. We are looking forward to hearing who has been selected to compete at the Nationals.”

Latest OP Newsletter Just Published

Just before half term we published the latest issue of The Old Princethorpian, the Princethorpe Foundation’s termly alumni e-newsletter for past pupils, staff and parents. If you haven’t seen it yet then you can find it here:

The newsletter aims to keep our alumni in touch with each other and news, developments and events across the Foundation. It includes the latest Foundation and College news, and plenty of news and updates from OPs across the decades.

Although our OP Summer Supper Reunion is now fully booked, there are plenty of other opportunities to visit Princethorpe. Full details can be found in the Events section on Princethorpe Connect here:

We hope everyone enjoys reading the newsletter and finding out what is going on in the alumni community. Please do share it with any alumni you know.



Princethorpe’s Smallholding Project: Where We Are And What’s Next

We are excited to share an update on the Smallholding Project, a venture that’s close to many of our hearts here at Princethorpe College. Since we kicked off our fundraising appeal, we’ve made great strides toward our goal, and it’s all thanks to the incredible support from our community.

Our Progress So Far
We’ve raised over £30,000 towards our £50,000 target so far. It's fantastic to see such enthusiasm and commitment from everyone. Reaching our total funding goal is crucial as these funds are needed to start setting up everything from the ground up.

Still in the Planning Phase
Right now, we’re deep in the planning stages. We're working out all the finer details to make sure that when the time comes, every aspect of the smallholding - from the types of crops we’ll plant to the educational programmes we’ll offer - will be perfectly laid out. We’re collaborating with experts in agriculture and education to ensure our plans are not only robust but also truly beneficial for our pupils and the wider community.

What’s Next?
Our next big step is to hit our fundraising target so we can move from planning to doing. We're still reaching out for support and every little bit helps - whether it’s a donation, spreading the word, or later on, lending a hand on the ground.

Non-Financial Support
A huge thank you to those who’ve offered support in non-financial ways. Your offers to help with materials, time, and expertise have been as crucial as monetary donations. We will be reaching out to discuss how you can get involved as we get closer to our fundraising goal.

How You Can Help
If you’re as excited as we are about giving our young people this hands-on learning experience, please consider getting involved. Every contribution, no matter the size, is valuable and very much appreciated. The donation form for the Smallholding Project can be found here.

Thank You
We promise to keep you updated. With your continued support, we can make the Smallholding Project not just a plan on paper, but a real, vibrant place for our pupils and community to learn and grow. Thank you to everyone who’s gotten us this far. Let’s keep the momentum going!

For more information on the project or to discuss possible support, please contact Steve Kowal, Development Director, at

Preserving A Musical Legacy: The Restoration Of Princethorpe’s Historic Binns Organ

In the heart of Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Princethorpe College stands a musical masterpiece - the Princethorpe Binns Organ. This magnificent instrument, built and installed in 1901 by James J Binns of the Bramley Organ Works, Leeds, has been a cornerstone of our chapel’s heritage and an irreplaceable part of our community's cultural fabric.

A Rich History
The Princethorpe Binns Organ was purchased for £1,199-1s-3d, a significant sum at the time, reflecting the quality and craftsmanship of this exceptional instrument. The original correspondence between Peter Paul Pugin and Sister Procurator of the Priory provides a fascinating insight into its construction and the challenges faced during its installation. Notably, the console was moved to the gallery in 1908 to make way for a statue of St Peter, showcasing the evolving needs and priorities of our chapel over the years.

Challenges and Restoration Efforts
Throughout its history, the organ has seen several modifications and repairs. A 3-phase electric blower was installed in 1953, and significant cleaning and maintenance work was carried out by Hugh Page in the early 1980s. More recently, the rank of tuba pipes was added as part of our Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2017.

Despite these efforts, the organ bellows now require urgent attention. Re-leathering the bellows, a task that involves removing and replacing the worn leather, is a complex and costly process. This restoration is essential to address the splits and leaks that have developed over time and ensure the organ remains playable and reliable.

The Importance of Preservation
Princethorpe’s Binns Organ is more than just a musical instrument; it is a piece of our national heritage. Registered on the National Pipe Organ Register, it is recognised for its historical significance and exceptional craftsmanship. The organ's unique voice and character have inspired countless performances and have been a central part of our annual Hugh Page Memorial Organ Recital, a tribute to the man who dedicated his life to its care.

Supporting the Restoration
We are deeply committed to preserving this extraordinary instrument, but we cannot do it alone. The restoration project relies on the generosity of our community, alumni, and friends. Every contribution, no matter the size, brings us closer to our goal. By supporting the Princethorpe Organ Restoration Fund, you are helping to ensure that the rich, resonant tones of the Binns Organ continue to inspire and uplift our community for years to come.

Join Us in Preserving Our Heritage
We invite you to join us in this important endeavour. Together, we can preserve the Princethorpe Binns' organ and the rich musical legacy it represents.

Our online donation form can be found here.

For more information on the organ’s history and our restoration efforts, please visit the National Pipe Organ Register here. Thank you for being a part of this vital project and for helping us keep the music alive.

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The Foundation's Annual Fund

What is the Annual Fund?
As we approach the end of the academic year, I wanted to take a moment to highlight an important initiative across The Foundation: the Annual Fund.

Supporting Our Pupils: The Purpose of the Annual Fund
The Annual Fund is a critical component of our school's commitment to ensuring that every pupil has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their financial circumstances. This fund is exclusively dedicated to two vital programs: the Annual Fund Bursary and the Annual Fund Hardship Fund.

The Annual Fund Bursary
The Annual Fund Bursary is designed to provide financial assistance to pupils who might not otherwise be able to afford our school's tuition. This bursary ensures that deserving pupils, who demonstrate both academic potential and financial need, can benefit from the exceptional education and community spirit our school offers. By supporting this bursary, you help open doors for talented pupils, enriching our school community with diverse perspectives and talents.

The Annual Fund Hardship Fund
Life is unpredictable, and sometimes families face unexpected financial challenges. The Annual Fund Hardship Fund is there to support families who find themselves in sudden financial distress. Whether it's due to a job loss, medical emergency, or other unforeseen circumstances, this fund provides temporary relief to help pupils continue their education without interruption. Your contributions to this fund ensure that our pupils can stay focused on their studies, even when their families face difficulties.

How You Can Help
Your support is crucial to the success of these programs. Contributions to the Annual Fund, no matter the size, make a significant impact. Together, we can ensure that every pupil has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their financial background.

Find out more and donate to the Annual Fund here.

We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of our community; alumni, current families and friends. Your donations not only provide immediate financial assistance but also demonstrate a shared commitment to our school’s values and mission.

Thank you for considering a gift to the Annual Fund. Your support helps create a more inclusive and supportive school environment for all our pupils.

Warm regards,

Steve Kowal
Development Director