Brand New College Magazine - The Tower Review - Launched

A brand new College magazine, The Tower Review, has just been launched. The magazine is designed to be an annual souvenir review of the previous academic year and will, we hope, be treasured by pupils and parents alike.

Some families will remember that The Tower used to be the College’s magazine which provided termly updates on life at school, before the advent of our fortnightly e-newsletter The Flagpole.

The magazine showcases term by term a whole host of activities, achievements and successes that our pupils from Year 7 to Upper Sixth were involved in over the course of 2017/18, and includes highlights such as Prize Giving, the Careers Fair and House Activities, such as Sports Day.  

2017/2018 had a lot to live up to following on from the glorious celebrations of the Golden Jubilee year.  It had its own challenges, with some of the heaviest snowfall in a long while, but there were many wonderful and memorable moments and plenty of achievements and successes to record.

To view a copy click here.

Hard copies are free of charge and will be available for collection by parents at a number of upcoming events including:

  • GCSE Drama Evening - Monday 4 March
  • Year 9 and 10 Academic Review Evening - Tuesday 5 March
  • DofE Award Evening - Thursday 7 March
  • Princethorpe - A Vision for the Future - Thursday 14 March
  • House University Challenge - Parents' Edition - Friday 22 March and
  • University and Apprenticeship Fair - Thursday 28 March

Copies will also be available from the Student Hub and the Uniform Shop.

Leavers of 2018 will be sent a hard copy in the post.

If you are unable to collect a copy and would like to receive a hard copy in the post please email with your name and address.

Five OPs Enjoy One Final DofE Expedition To The Palace

On Tuesday 26 February five Old Princethorpians were invited to St James’s Palace, London to be presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Charlie Rooney and Mollie Hughes (2017 Leavers) and Laura Baskerville, Erin Dunn-Morgan and Ben Haden (2018 Leavers) received their awards from former professional rugby player, now Welsh Director of Rugby, Cai Griffiths.

Also in attendance at the presentation was the Earl of Wessex, HRH Prince Edward, who spoke to the group about their experiences, and in particular the blood, sweat and tears of their expeditions. He was very engaging and genuinely interested in their stories and adventures.

It will have taken over five years for these young people to have earned their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, as they progressed through first Bronze and then Silver until they finally achieved the Gold Award.  Along the way they have volunteered, learned new skills, taken part in physical activity, and for the Gold undertaken a week long residential, as well as planning and completing self-sufficient expeditions.

Head of Outdoor Education, Will Bower, was delighted commenting, “Completing your Gold Duke of Edinburgh takes commitment and resolve, and the skills developed along the way benefit both the individual and their local community.  All of these young people showed dedication and perseverance and their final expedition to St James’s Palace is a well-deserved reward.”

Half Term Trip Spanish Cuenca Trip A Success On Many Levels

Sixteen brave Year 10 pupils gave up their half-term break to stay with host families in Cuenca and attend intensive Spanish classes at the True Spanish Experience (TSE). The weather certainly helped – cold and frosty mornings soon gave way to bright, warm sunshine and temperatures in the high teens. Cuenca is Spain’s third smallest city. Situated half-way between Madrid and Valencia, Cuenca is a mix of the old and new. The clifftop old town has UNESCO world heritage status and is famed for the ‘casas colgadas’, or hanging houses, which are home to the first abstract art museum in Spain. The cobbled streets, brightly coloured buildings and dramatic views over the gorges contrast with the modern new town down below. This provided Mr Darkes with plenty of photo opportunities!

Every morning pupils made their way to lessons for 9.30am. Some were lucky and were dropped off by their host family, others had to walk. The group was split into two classes with ‘profesores’ Rafa and Pablo. Pupils learnt about aspects of Spanish culture and key vocabulary to help prepare for the afternoon ‘experiencia’. For example, pupils practised language associated with Spanish food and mealtimes, devised their own recipes and then priced them up by visiting a greengrocer, butchers and fishmongers. Later that day they visited the Cuenca cookery school and made Spanish omelette and gazpacho manchego. Cookery tip – add mini cream-crackers to the soup and after 10 minutes they turn into pasta. ¡Qué rico!

Other highlights included a Flamenco lesson, an abstract art workshop, ‘churros con chocolate’ and a tour of the graffiti neighbourhood behind the school. All pupils received a certificate for their progress in Spanish and were complimented by TSE not only on their proficiency but also their positive attitudes to learning, especially during their own half-term holiday time. On the final day we visited the main sites in Madrid and got to see Picasso’s famous ‘Guernica’ as well as a doing spot of sunbathing in the Retiro Park.

Mrs Parsons did all the hard work organising the trip and ran a weekly lunchtime club for a term to help prepare the pupils. Mr Darkes and Mrs Keenan accompanied them and both agree that it is one of the best groups they have ever taken away. Pupils were thrown in at the deep end and showed excellent coping skills not just with their Spanish but also settling in to a new environment with complete strangers. And they walked a lot more than normal – 50 miles on average for the week!

Pupils commented:

‘I feel more confident speaking Spanish and gained a greater understanding of the Spanish culture.’

'It helps you to understand listening to Spanish better.’

‘It gives you a chance to practise speaking in real situations.’

‘It builds your confidence.’

‘I can face new situations and know that I will be ok.’

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Pupils And Parents Urged To Sign Up For University And Apprenticeship Fair

Building on the success of last year's Careers Fair, the Careers Team have organised a University and Apprenticeship Fair for Thursday 28 March from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

The fair, which is open to all students from Year 10 upwards and their parents, will showcase a wide range of universities, as well as employers who offer degree and advanced apprenticeships.

In particular, Lower Sixth students will benefit enormously from this event, and we would urge everyone to come along and bring parents or other family members to ensure that the most is made of this unique opportunity. 

Universities including Bristol, Birmingham, Loughborough, Warwick and Leeds; and employers including Jaguar Landrover, Rolls Royce, Deloitte and Accenture will be there.

There will also be a selection of informative talks during the evening covering a range of essential information. 

Refreshments will be provided.

Invitations to sign up for the Fair will be sent out via Evolve to all parents on Monday 4 March. Any queries please email the Careers team at

Jacqui Quinney
Head of Careers



Princethorpe’s U13 Netballers Sail Through To ISA Nationals

Princethorpe College’s U13 Netballers headed to Malvern St James on Thursday 14 February for the Independent Schools’ Association (ISA) U13 Regional Netball tournament.  They were facing stiff competition from across the region, but the girls were determined to put their weeks of dedicated training to good use and they did not disappoint.

Undefeated from the outset, the girls worked hard to bring the ball slickly down the court providing plenty of goal opportunities. Working well collectively the girls hardly missed a shot.

They won five fast-paced group stage matches against Malvern St James 13-1, St Edward's 13-0, Heathfield 14-1, Tettenhall 17-3 and Old Vicarage 17-2, to qualify for the semi-finals. There they played some super netball against Dodderhill to win comfortably 15-0. The final was against Twycross and the girls worked hard, passing and shooting well to win 12-3.

The team’s resilience and determination paid dividends, and their unbeaten-run sees them through to the Independent Schools’ National U13 Netball finals at Queen Ethelburgas’ College up in York on Saturday 16 March.

Comments PE Teacher, Hannah Carminati, “The girls played fantastic netball throughout the day. This season they have been working hard to gel as a team and their hard work ethic has allowed them to achieve success at the ISA Regionals. I am incredibly proud of the girls and I cannot wait to take them to York for the Nationals in March to highlight what Princethorpe Netball is all about.'

Playing in the team were: Madeleine Burgess, Lara Convey (Captain), Amelie Hancock, Abigail Hewson, Darcey Heritage, Charlotte Lewington, Julia Loftus,  Molly McGrory and Alice Whittaker.

Well done girls!

Spring Open Afternoon And Helpers Information

As the banner at the bottom of the drive proclaims the College's Spring Open Afternoon will take place on Sunday 24 March from 2.00pm to 5.00pm. All are welcome to visit the College and younger visitors are encouraged to participate in the many fun subject related activities around the various departments.

The Headmaster will address visitors during the afternoon and refreshments will be available.

Helpers Information

Over the past few years numbers attending our Open Events have grown considerably and we find that we need more and more Princethorpe pupils to help out in various departments - which they do brilliantly.

The various Heads of Departments will be approaching pupils direct for their assistance within departments.

Helpers who have requested lunch before Open Afternoon need to be at College for 12.00 noon (there is no charge), otherwise they need to be in school please by 1.30pm, in school uniform, and go directly to the department they are helping.

In order to avoid traffic congestion, we would ask that parents drop off their children by the bus bays at the top of the drive. Children can be collected at 5.15pm from the Pupils' Entrance in the playground.

Many thanks for everyone's help with Open Afternoon.

Teacher Faye Roberts And Her Amazing Sabbatical Year

Princethorpe's Head of Biology, Faye Roberts is on a sabbatical year and shares with us here the amazing experiences she has been having.

After months of research and planning and more importantly the fantastic support of Princethorpe College to grant me a sabbatical year from work, I headed off to Heathrow as everyone else set about their September inset days. I started with four months in Nepal volunteering with the charity Street Child. They initially started their work there in response to the devastating 2015 earthquake, the aftermath of which is still very apparent in many regions of the country. The focus now is more on developing education programmes with marginalised communities including the Musahar in the south of the country and the families that come with all their children into the valleys, from the mountains to work in brick factories. I spent a lot of my time helping to develop the curriculums and plan lessons to be translated into local dialects and delivered by the social workers who were being trained in the local communities. 

Nepal is a fascinating country to visit full of culture, heritage and bustling chaotic streets and markets. I went to Lumbini the birth place of Buddha and of course the mighty Himalaya which are just breath-taking. A week-long trip across the Tibetan plateau ended with one of my highlights so far which was spending the night at base camp for Mt Chomolungma (Everest) at 5200m altitude. The skies were clear and perfect views of Everest for sunrise and sunset was really something quite special. A trip to Bhutan, where the focus is GNH (Gross National Happiness) not GDP was also a highlight and a hike up to the amazing Tiger’s Nest Monastery which is built into the mountainside on a sheer cliff.            

I am currently in rural Malawi living on the lakeside with no electricity like the majority of Malawians, but am lucky to have a little bit of solar power and a water pump on site, which is not a long walk away like most people in the village. I have no need for an alarm clock as a troop of monkeys like to come and chase each other over my roof in the morning. I am teaching Biology and Chemistry at a secondary school to classes of up to 88 pupils with just a blackboard and chalk and support the teachers at several other schools in the area, sharing ideas and planning, when I visit. I also help at a village library with adult literacy and additional Saturday classes for older students who want to get back into school, once they have saved up enough money to pay the fees. I am yet to try eating the lake flies, which you see in big swarms when they hatch over the lake, they’re quite delicious I’m told, but not sure I’m convinced, maybe I’ll go for the roasted termites first! 

My plans for the rest of the year include; travel to the Seychelles archipelago and the mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho; a month in Ethiopia, including visits to the 12th century rock churches of Lalibela and one of the lowest and hottest places on earth the Danakil Depression.  As well as two months in South Africa training to be a Safari Guide.

I truly believe that travel and opening your eyes to the rest of the world is such an important part of education and life-long learning and would encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and do something that challenges them whatever it may be. 

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14 Runners Qualify For National ISA Cross Country Championships

14 Princethorpe runners have qualified for the National ISA Cross Country Championships after competing in the Midlands regional competition at Bedstone College, Shropshire in the first week of February.

Princethorpe College runners have a tradition of success at this competition, many have competed at Bedstone before, so hopes were high as the College’s runners battled to place in the top ten and qualify for the National competition.

Both the U13 Girls' and Boys' teams ran well and with so many College pupils finishing in the top 20, both Princethorpe teams bagged the top spot and the team trophy for their age group. Qualifying for the Nationals for the U13 Girls were Kate Pomerleau, Grace Darcy and Julia Loftus who ran determinedly to finish in 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. For the U13 Boys Zac Johnson, Oscar Reynolds and Ollie Farquharson also qualified after finishing 6th, 7th and 8th.

For the U15 Boys George Dunkley had an excellent run to finish 3rd and qualify and all the U15 Girls came home in the top 10. Molly Minshull had an outstanding race taking 1st place and the gold medal, she was followed over the line by a sea of Princethorpe red vests as Evie Phillips finished 2nd, Eve Howard 8th, Erin Darcy 9th and Lucia Bell 10th. All these girls qualify for the Nationals too.

The U18 Boys team ran superbly with the Crowfoot twins in excellent form, Will finished 1st and brother Tom 2nd, both qualify for the Nationals, and with a solid team performance the U18 Boys also claimed first position and the team trophy for their age group.

Head of Outdoor Education/PE Teacher, Will Bower, said, “It was a fantastic team performance and I am delighted with the results. You never quite know what you’re going to get with cross country as conditions can be difficult, but today we had red vest after red vest crossing the line; our runners took on the arduous terrain and did very well.”

Our qualifying runners will now compete in the ISA National Cross Country championships that will take place at Rugby School later in the spring on Saturday 30 March 2019.

Congratulations and good luck also go to Molly Minshull who has been selected to represent the Midlands in the English Schools Cross Country Cup that takes place in mid March in Leeds.

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Lauren Mason Invited To Join New York Academy Of Sciences 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures Programme

Year 11 pupil, Lauren Mason, has been invited to join the New York Academy of Sciences 2019 cohort of 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures – an innovative initiative designed to engage young women interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM), and advance their pursuit of STEM careers through a programme of mentoring, study and 21st-century skills development.

Lauren has been a part of their Junior Academy programme for the last few years and won her place on the 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures initiative after impressing the admissions committee with her deep passion for STEM. 

As part of the programme, Lauren will participate in one-to-one mentoring from real scientists and engineers, take coursework modules focusing on skills such as leadership, communication, and critical thinking and have the opportunity to network with peers and female STEM professionals.

To celebrate her acceptance into 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures programme, Lauren has also been accepted as a Young Member of the New York Academy of Sciences.  The Young Members are an incredibly diverse group of innovators, explorers and problem-solvers, united by a shared curiosity about the universe and a strong commitment to changing the world through STEM. 

Ed Hester, Headmaster, commented, “It is fantastic to see Lauren’s passion and excellence in the realm of STEM recognised on an international level, we know she will make the most of this wonderful opportunity to further her knowledge and skills.”

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Old Princethorpian E-newsletter Out Now!

Click here to access the thirtieth issue of the Old Princethorpian which was published on Friday 15 February.

This issue includes the latest OP, College and Foundation news and events plus plenty of 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 May please email by early May.

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

Chloe Comes Second In Regional Futurechef Final

Many congratulations to Year 8 pupil Chloe O’Carroll-Bailey who came second in the Coventry and Warwickshire Springboard Futurechef Regional Final that took place, just before half term, on Monday 11 February at Coventry College’s Henley Campus.

Food and Nutrition Teacher, Jacqui Scott, commented, “Chloe did brilliantly coming second by only three points. The judges were absolutely blown away by the dishes Chloe produced, all saying that they couldn’t cook like her at 13 years-old and that many chefs twice her age would struggle to match her skill. One judge, the national winner from 2017, has even offered to arrange for Chloe to have some experience in the kitchen at the award-winning Mallory Court Hotel.”

There were four contestants in the final including Chloe, they had all come through two previous rounds, a school heat and a local final to reach the regional final.  The aspiring chefs all prepared a main course and a dessert.  Chloe cooked a ballotine of chicken with a prune, apple and shallot confit and served it with baby roasted potatoes, French beans wrapped in courgettes and a cream and cider sauce.   Her dessert was a melting middle chocolate fondant with orange crisps and clementine cream, finished with toasted pistachios.

At the event Chief Judge George Outhwaite, from the Hilton Birmingham Metropole said: “The quality of today’s dishes was exceptional and I’ve seen some really high standards, the competition seems to get better every year”.

Many congratulations Chloe you clearly have the makings of a master chef.

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A School Day, But Not As We Know It  

On Tuesday 12 February, 34 pupils from across the Princethorpe Foundation travelled to the National Space Centre in Leicester to take part in a simulated space mission called Rendezvous with a Comet. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based adventure took place in the Challenger Learning Centre, one of only two educational space mission simulators outside North America.

For the mission pupils took on the roles of navigation experts, medical officers, data officers, scientists and engineers; the Year 6 and 7 pupils worked as a team to plot a successful course to rendezvous with Comet Enke as it streaked across the solar system, and then launched a probe to collect scientific data.

The first task was to construct the space probe before then plotting the correct intercept course but what seemed at first to be a routine exploration was soon filled with exciting challenges and emergencies along the way. Giving concise instructions, documenting the research and analysing data enabled pupils to maintain the safety of their team in space and ultimately accomplish a successful mission. And how exciting it was to discover that they had chanced upon a much rarer comet than Comet Enke. The new comet was so rare that no living human being had ever before observed it, so pupils got to name it! Our cross-phase pupils voted on the name Comet CCP to ensure that Crackley, Crescent and Princethorpe were equal partners in this extra-terrestrial mission.

The teams got a heroes’ welcome home when they returned to Mission Control safely. Da Vinci Co-ordinator, Mrs Pascoe-Williams commented, “It was another excellent mission – I was impressed with how well the pupils from our three schools worked together. The atmosphere was fantastic and the enthusiasm boundless, all in all it was a great opportunity for cross-curricular learning. Well done everyone!”

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Valentine’s Flowers Help Beat Heartbreak Forever

Individual red and white carnations were hand delivered by Sixth Formers to classrooms across Princethorpe College on Thursday 14 February, all in celebration of St Valentine’s Day.

In the preceding weeks Princethorpe’s Sixth Form students had been busy promoting their charity fundraiser in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Late on Wednesday afternoon, Princethorpe’s very own Cupids, began preparing the flowers, delicately wrapping and handwriting personal messages for the anonymous gifts, before beginning their surprise deliveries. There were red carnations for that very special someone and white carnations as a thank you to a great friend.

This year there were over 115 lucky recipients and the Sixth Formers raised £230, and thanks to a generous donor buying the flowers, all of funds will be donated to help the British Heart Foundation ‘Beat heartbreak forever’.

We hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day everyone.