The Princethorpe Foundation Shortlisted For Two Awards

The Princethorpe Foundation is thrilled to have been shortlisted in two categories in the Independent School of the Year Awards.  The Foundation’s senior school, Princethorpe College, has been shortlisted for Independent School of the Year - Student Careers Programme.  Whilst Foundation junior school, Crackley Hall, has been shortlisted for the coveted Independent Prep School of the Year.  They were both selected ahead of hundreds of independent schools from across the country who had entered the awards.

The Awards Scheme is in its inaugural year and has been introduced to celebrate the independent education sector, showcase excellence in student experience and recognise the varied and imaginative way in which independent schools prepare young people for their future lives. 

Ed Hester, Headmaster at Princethorpe College, comments, “We are delighted that the Awards committee have recognised our Foundation schools.  Our dedicated staff are committed to providing the very best experience for our pupils, supporting them as they grow into confident, resilient young people.  This is a testament to the hard work they do every day and we are very proud to have been shortlisted.”

Further information on the awards is available here.

Exceptionally High Levels Of Interest In September 2019 Entry To The College

Registrations for September 2019 entry to the College are at an all time high. Entrance Exams for Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 entry will take place on Saturday 10 November with over 300 children taking the exams, supported by a large number of staff and Sixth Formers. 

Comments, Melanie Butler, Assistant Head, Marketing and Admissions, "We have had a huge response in terms of registrations by last Friday's deadline and are looking at our biggest ever entrance exam session. We are still accepting registrations, but parents should be advised that the Saturday session is now full and we will be looking at an additional session on the Monday to accommodate everyone. It's very important to us that the children have a good experience on the day so we will have to manage numbers carefully."

Any outstanding registration forms should be submitted as soon as possible.
For more information on admissions please contact the Registrar, Mrs Vanessa Rooney on 01926 634201 or email

Lower Sixth Develop Leadership And Initiative At Marle Hall

Lower Sixth enjoyed a fabulous few days at Marle Hall last weekend.  The three day trip from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 October offered students the chance to develop leadership and initiative skills, personal resilience and gave them the opportunity to bond together as a group.

Sixth Form student Hannah Owens, who joined Princethorpe at the beginning of this term, described the experience.

After a long coach journey from Princethorpe, Lower Sixth arrived at Marle Hall in Llandudno in North Wales. We were immediately thrown into a myriad of team activities in small groups such as crossing the (very hypothetical) radioactive swamp with only a few planks, walking blindfolded around a field with only non-verbal communication and contorting ourselves into inhuman shapes to traverse the climbing wall. In the evening we settled in our dorms and enjoyed, albeit tiredly, the tea and cake offered in the common room.

The second day my group drove, against the beautiful backdrop of Snowdonia, to a slate mine where, after an exhausting trek, we were rewarded with a breathtaking view - and a forty metre drop to abseil from. In the afternoon we climbed on natural rock and learnt with the help of our dedicated instructors how to belay and tie the relevant knots. We had to very quickly learn to work as a team, otherwise someone would have ended up falling from a rather unfortunate height!

Back at Marle Hall in the evening, we learnt about the activities the other groups had done; scrambling up a mountain, canoeing, and for some, falling into a bog. Before the outdoor evening activities, some of the more eager Strictly fans gathered in the common room to catch the last hour with the at-best-spotty internet connection. Afterwards, we broke into smaller groups to try to beat the fastest time on the infamous Wall; a feat that required moving a whole team across a low wooden wall using only a few wobbly holds and a lot of stretching for the more vertically challenged among us…

With gale force winds imminent on the final day, we rushed out to Holyhead, Anglesey to go coasteering. Despite our coats, wetsuits, buoyancy aids and skins, we still were completely frozen by the buffeting wind! Scrambling out of the sea with a large swell and scrambling around that coastline has been, I think, among one of the most challenging things I have done. However, the satisfaction and sense of achievement from successfully throwing myself in the sea from a sixteen or seventeen-foot height far overcame the fact I couldn’t feel my toes… Once back in the minibus we drank hot chocolate while our fingers gradually regained feeling. In the afternoon we then packed up and, after dinner and thanking the staff of Marle Hall for such a lovely trip, headed off to the coaches for the drive back to Princethorpe.

It was an absolutely wonderful trip, and despite the fact that we were all hobbling around on Monday morning, I would highly recommend it! Thank you also to all the Princethorpe staff who braved the twin terrors; the weather of north Wales and the Lower Sixth!

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Princethorpe Celebrates National Poetry Day

Princethorpe’s poets joined in the celebration of all things poetical on National Poetry Day.   Held this year on Thursday 4 October, the College Library and English department marked the day with a series of different events that encouraged pupils to express themselves in verse, rhyme and iambic pentameter.  They included poetry readings, poetry challenges and even a poetry competition.

College Librarian Celia Scott, commented, “National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires children and adults to discover, enjoy and share poetry.  Poetry can unlock imagination and help children be creative.  Everyone was invited to join in and have a little bit of poetry fun.”

For the poetry competition pupils were invited to submit poems on the subject of ‘Change’ - this year’s theme.  Two winners were selected from all the entries and congratulations go to Year 7 Jemima Teeton for her beautifully illustrated poem, The World Today, and Year 9 Amelie Friess for her delightful poem entitled Dream.

Princethorpe College Invaded By Roman Centurions Again!

The Romans returned to Princethorpe on Tuesday 9 October, armed with swords and scutums (shields) and ready to do battle. It was Year 7 Roman Day, a day when every pupil in the year enjoys lessons full of tales of blood and gore, as they learn about the Roman invasion and settlement of Britain.

The Centurions’ passion and knowledge of the period was vividly dramatised as the two men, dressed in full legionnaire’s costume, brought to life the strategic tactics and organisation of the Roman fighting machine. With replica costumes and equipment based on real archaeological finds the sessions complimented the lessons Year 7 have been studying in History this half term.

Lucky class ‘volunteers’ dressed up in full body armour and attempted to carry a soldier’s kit, as Roman Tours expert, Centurion Occratius Maximi Gittus, accompanied by Titus Didius Felix, captivated the new recruits with graphic stories of life in the Roman Army and fascinating facts about all things Roman.

Frankie was just one of the lucky pupils who donned the Roman Tunica, Lorica (armour) and Galea (helmet) and then picked up his soldier’s kit and prepared to march.  Frankie and his classmates were also treated to lessons in sword skills and battle tactics from the greatest army of the time.

Peter Bucknall, Head of History at Princethorpe College said, “Year 7 always enjoy coming face to face with a Roman Centurion.  Their visit has, as always, left pupils buzzing with excitement and curiosity and keen to find out more, it was a lot of fun and a fantastic day’s learning for all who took part.”

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Princethorpe Development Office – You Are Making A Difference!

Just over two years after establishing the Development Office, we are pleased to report that the generosity of our Princethorpe community has enabled us to begin benefitting less fortunate pupils, whose lives are changing through their attendance at the College.

The Development Office has received over one hundred individual donations to date, and at least a quarter of these are regular, monthly donations, which allow us to plan ahead and benefit children into the future. Several children now attend the College who would otherwise have been unable to benefit from all that Princethorpe has to offer, and two have been wholly funded by the Fund.

We plan to continue the 50 + 10 Bursary Fund, through both regular giving and single gifts, but in addition, our efforts will soon be turning towards securing funding for our new science building which will benefit not only the sciences, but all subject areas across the curriculum, particularly Geography and Economics and Business Studies

The Science Campaign will be Princethorpe College’s first large-scale capital campaign. We believe our pupils deserve science facilities which offer cutting edge, state-of-the-art technology which will inspire future generations of Princethorpe scientists, engineers, researchers, chemists, marine biologists and doctors. Whilst the Foundation is committed to this project, we will be launching a fundraising programme in 2019, and all Princethorpians will have the opportunity to join our efforts, with some exciting, fun, and rewarding ways to get involved.

The Development Office welcomes support of any kind, and if you would like to know more about how to support us in the meantime, please click here. Our new online giving platform, Virgin Money Giving, is a quick, easy way to donate, however we would also love to speak with you about ways in which you can support us.

We are particularly interested in hearing from Princethorpians who have contacts in the scientific world and who may be interested in discussing fundraising, corporate involvement and developing our networks in this field. Please do get in touch with our Development Director, Rachel at

We would like to thank all those who have supported us both financially and otherwise.

Residential Proves Princethorpe’s Year 7 Are Great Pioneers

Our Year 7 Princethorpe Pioneers returned happy, exhausted and more than a little muddy from their residential trip to the Pioneer Centre at Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. They had all grown in confidence having approached new challenges with determination and enthusiasm and enjoyed a memorable three days of organised activities.

We took 110 pupils on the three-day programme that included caving, climbing, abseiling and zip wire, high ropes, archery, raft building and last but not least the challenge course. The group also got to participate in a nerve testing tropical reptile experience, enjoyed a Friday night disco and a Saturday night sing song around the camp fire.

They tested their nerves as they climbed the big wall, swooped down the zip wire and explored the depths of the caving systems with only a little light on their helmets to see by.

They developed leadership and team building skills as they built rafts to sail on the pond, and despite the mud all jumped in for a splash around in the cold. Then, the very brave overcame their fears as they got ‘hands on’ with snakes and lizards in a tropical animal session.

Deputy Head – Pastoral, Beth Sharpe said, “This was a fantastic opportunity for our Year 7 pupils to bond together as a year group. They had an amazing time and were really supportive of one another as they worked together. They showed resilience and initiative and I know they have come back into school with new friends and better able to work together as a team.”

The Pioneer Centre is a superb purpose built activity holiday centre situated in stunning countryside on the edge of the Wyre Forest. Our pupils were a credit to themselves and to the school, the Pioneer staff commented on how well behaved they had been.

A huge well done to all our Year 7 Pioneers and a big thank you to all of the staff who supported the weekend it was another remarkable, although wet and muddy, residential!

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Sixth Formers Take On The Ready, Steady, Cook Challenge

Princethorpe’s Sixth Form students certainly won’t be starving when they go off to university, if the plates of risotto that were served up for the College’s latest inter-house competition are anything to go by!  House Activites Leader, Jessica Newborough heaped praised upon all the students who had so quickly and slickly delivered a mouth-watering, perfect plate of food in under 20 minutes.

What was once prime time television, Ready Steady Cook, is now an annual inter-house College competition.  Held this year on Tuesday 2 October, the teams of Sixth Formers enthusiastically took part in what proved to be a hotly contested challenge, serving up mouth-wateringly creamy creations in the Food Technology suite.

The students were presented with a set of ingredients, instructions and the challenge to produce a risotto in 20 minutes.  What’s more they had to cook, clean and tidy their work station before presenting their dish.  The plates of food were judged on four criteria - taste, texture, appearance and creativity.

The kitchen was a hive of activity with knives chopping, spoons stirring and pans gently bubbling as the House teams went to work.  Onlookers encouraged from the side as the judges, Jessica Newborough, Gil Cowlishaw and Jacqui Scott surveyed the proceedings.

The finished plates of food were lined up along the table and under the watchful eyes of the competitors and their supporters the judges carefully taste-tested the dishes, deliberating long and hard before finally ordering the plates, à la ‘Bake Off’, in order of preference.

The final results were very close with just five points separating all the Houses.  First place went to Fisher, closely followed by More, Benet and Austin.  Well done Fisher who produced a superb example of the traditional norther Italian rice dish.  It was another marvellous House competition.

Huge thanks to all of the competitors for their enthusiastic efforts, to Jacqui Scott for keeping order in the kitchen and to our judges who clearly enjoyed the bonanza or four free lunches.

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Princethorpe’s Porridge Pots Support World Porridge Day

More than 100 Princethorpe College pupils and staff have once again supported World Porridge Day, raising money for the Scottish charity Mary’s Meals. Championed by Sixth Form students and Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Mr Rod Isaacs, pupils have participated in a posse of Scottish and porridge fundraising fun so far, raising over £200 which will be used to support an ongoing feeding programme at Makalanga Primary School in Malawi.

For World Porridge Day Princethorpe pupils were invited to dig deep at break time and, instead of buying their usual mid-morning snack, purchase the traditional Scottish breakfast, a pot of porridge, from the College refectory. In return for a small donation they could opt for either a simple plain porridge or a deluxe, extra special, with toppings of their choice.

The Scottish theme continued at lunchtime on the school fields where only the brave participated in the William Wallace Welly Wanging Challenge. Pupils and staff paid for the privilege, the honour of their house and Highland fudge and shortbread, in an attempt to break the College record. This year the winning throw came from Benet House’s Ben Haden, OP and Teaching Assistant, whose Welly Wang reached a whopping 32.50m. Final House standings placed 1st Benet, 2nd More, 3rd Austin and 4th Fisher.  Well done to all the pupils who participated.

Sixth Form Charity Prefect, Christie Wukics, dressed as a Scottish Wild Man, roamed the campus with his accompanying bears, Alex James, Natasha Rejali and Caitlin Scully, chivvying fellow pupils into donating their pennies.

Rod Isaacs explained, “We have had a lot of fun and laughter today, but more importantly our pupils know that all our fundraising is changing people’s lives.  Princethorpe’s porridge pots help pupils understand the vital role that porridge plays in feeding projects to address the issue of child hunger across the globe.”

World Porridge Day, held annually on 10 October, is a fundraising event organised by Mary’s Meals in aid of starving children in the developing world. The charity provides daily meals in a place of learning addressing both the immediate needs of hungry children whilst encouraging them to go to school where they can gain an education that, in the future, can help them out of poverty. Through their school feeding programmes in 14 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean they feed over 1.3 million children every year. It costs just £13.90 to feed a child for a year.

As part of the College’s ongoing support for Mary’s Meals and Makalanga School in Malawi the College is planning an expedition to visit the area in 2020.  The trip will be open to pupils currently in Years 10-12 and next week on Thursday 18 October from 7.00pm to 8.30pm there will be an information evening for interested pupils and their parents.

You can find out more about Princethorpe’s fundraising for Makalanga or make a donation here.  

Princethorpe Cemetery War Memorial Restoration

Princethorpe Cemetery war memorial is benefitting from a grant of £3,750, towards the total cost of £6,000, from the Grants for War Memorials scheme supported by the First World War Memorials Programme and Historic England.  The grant will enable the war memorial to be deconstructed, allow the corpus and plaque to be cleaned and preserved, provide a new oak cross and cover the re-instating of the surrounding mound, which signifies Calvary.

Work is already underway and will be completed by early November.  All Princethorpians and villagers within the parish who have any contact with Princethorpe Cemetery are invited to attend the re-dedication ceremony at 11.00am following the 10.00am Mass in Our Lady of the Angels’ Chapel, Princethorpe College on Remembrance Sunday, 11 November 2018.

Frances Moreton, Director, War Memorials Trust said, “War memorials are a tangible connection to our shared past creating a link between the fallen and today. It is vital we ensure all our war memorials are in the best possible condition for their age and the charity is delighted to support this project. The centenary of World War 1 is a wonderful opportunity for local communities across the country to protect and conserve their war memorials. If anyone knows of any other war memorials in need of help please contact us.”

Fr Teddy O'Brien MSC added, “As Parish Priest responsible for the cemetery and the war memorial in it, I am delighted and grateful to receive this grant from the War Memorial Trust. This makes possible the restoration of the memorial in time for a
re-dedication ceremony at 11.00am on 11 November 2018. This ceremony will mirror that which was composed for the dedication of the memorial in 1922 and will serve as a reminder of the values that underpinned the erection of the memorial in the first place.”

Please visit the St Anne's, Wappenbury website click here to learn more about the restoration project.

Images are attributed to John O'Kelly, parishioner of St Anne's, Wappenbury with Our Lady of the Angels' Chapel, Princethorpe College.

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St Mary’s Priory Reunion For Very Special Old Princethorpians (VSOPs)

On Saturday 22 September we were delighted to welcome to the College some ‘old girls’ from St Mary’s Priory, known to us as ‘Very Special Old Princethorpians (VSOPs).

The informal get-together, allowed for plenty of time to chat, reminisce and to look around the College and see how it has changed over the last sixty or seventy years.

The day started with coffee and pastries, and a chance to catch up with friends and make new acquaintances. Our archivist, Janette Ratcliffe had set up a fascinating display of memorabilia, stretching over many decades, and our VSOPs took great delight in browsing through old exercise books, photographs and ‘Peeps’ school magazines.

We were overwhelmed by the warmth shown towards the College, and it was lovely to spend time with our ‘old girls’, hearing memories of their school days here. For us, it was a further opportunity to cement friendships and to learn more about the history of the place which we all love so much.

After a delicious buffet lunch and a short welcome from our Headmaster, Ed Hester, we were able to offer our guests the chance to see the new Princethorpe College film click here to hear about exciting new developments at the College, and watch the Making a Difference Bursary Fund video which can be found here click here. If you would like to know any more about the 'Making a Difference' campaign, please click here to our website.

Next, came a tour of the College taking in the original chapel, now a library, and ending in the chapel for a short service given by Father Teddy O’Brien, MSC. Following the service, our guests were treated to afternoon tea, and a final chance to look at the archives, speak with current members of staff and exchange farewells.

We look forward to welcoming back the St Mary’s Priory girls in 2020 and a date will be published shortly.

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Old Princethorpian E-newsletter Out Now!

Click here to access the twenty ninth issue of the Old Princethorpian which was published on Friday 5 October.

This issue includes the latest OP and Foundation news plus plenty of news and updates from OPs across the decades.

If you are an OP or know an OP who would like to share their news or pictures with us for the next issue due out in mid February please email by early February

If you would like to be added to the distribution list please email Old Princethorpians' Secretary Melanie Butler.