Letter From The Headmaster – Easter 2019

Our Calendar for Trinity Term 2019 will be in the post to you shortly. Please remember that any amendments to it will be found on the on-line calendar, accessed via the Parent Portal or the website.

As we come to the end of another incredibly busy term, I want to thank you for your continued support for the College. There are many highlights as always, but some that stand out for me are: the numerous successes on the sports field, the wonderful performance of Little Shop of Horrors; the tremendously enjoyable Oscars ceremony and  the mammoth effort by over seventy Sixth Form students and staff to raise money for Mary’s Meals by walking 24 or 40 miles over recent weekends. Donations are still coming in and we are hoping to raise over £10,000 with your continued support. We are incredibly proud to hold the UK school record for raising money for this wonderful charity.

As the current prefects and subject ambassadors step down I must, on behalf of the whole Princethorpe community, thank them for all they have done to make Princethorpe a better place. Lizzie and Tom have been wonderful heads of school and tremendous role models for us all. We thank them and all the outgoing prefects and ambassadors for their time, effort and dedication towards making Princethorpe a better place.

As for our new prefects, we congratulate them for being elected to their roles and ask that they remember there are many fine students who weren’t elected. They have been called upon to serve the school and we wish them all well for their term of office. My challenge to the new prefects is to work together as a team to really make a difference to the pupils at the College.

As you are aware, about 65% of parents completed a detailed questionnaire in the last term – many thanks to you all, this feedback is invaluable to us. We were pleased with the response on the most important pastoral and education questions.

My child is happy in school – 97% agreed or strongly agreed

My child is well looked after at school – 98% agreed or strongly agreed

My child is making good progress at school – 95% agreed or strongly agreed, and on the question, Would you recommend Princethorpe to your friends, 79% of parents said definitely and 16% said possibly.

Although very happy with the above statistics we are, of course, still concerned with the small percentage who are not happy; the Senior Leadership Team have read all of the individual comments that were made and we are using all this feedback to inform our planning and school development plan.

For the 50 specific questions asked, the average levels of high satisfaction were 87%; well above the 80% threshold ISI Inspectors use.

There were some noticeable areas where the satisfaction levels increased – E-safety education (98%), the school policy on mobile phone use (85%) and support and assistance available for parents (87%).

Areas which fell below the 80% threshold were quality of food, Sixth Form girls’ uniform, Parents Evenings, parking and transport. I will give you feedback on our plans to address these areas after the Easter holidays.

We are keen to continue to improve our communication with parents and will be trialling a new method of communicating rewards and conduct. Notifications will be sent to parents via an email should your child receive a reward or be involved with low level disruption during the school day. Can we ask that you discuss with your child any notifications concerning any negative behaviour and how they can improve in readiness for their next class. If you do receive a notification email regarding a low level disruption and wish to discuss it further, please contact the member of staff identified in the email or Mrs Sharpe directly. We are very keen to support our pupils in engaging with their learning in all lessons, and your support with this is gratefully received.

Over the Easter holiday, please can I ask you to check your child’s uniform; there were a few pupils who were looking a bit ragged or shabby toward the end of term. Children often grow quickly and the summer term is a good time to replace any damaged, missing or ill-fitting items. The list of expected uniform items can be found within the Information Booklet for Parents and Pupils.

We are now all ready for our holidays, but as we close the term, our thoughts turn to all those involved in GCSEs and A-levels; on either 15 or 22 August they will pick up an envelope with their results in. There is no doubt that the grades they achieve will inform the direction their lives will take in the future. I am sure that those parents who have children involved in public examinations will help to ensure they use the Easter holiday wisely to achieve a careful balance between work, rest and play.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Greg Hunter, our Assistant Head (Co-Curricular), who has been appointed to the role of Deputy Head at King’s School, Canterbury from September 2019. Greg has been a key member of our senior team for the past six years and has championed and taken our co-curricular offering at the College to new heights over his time in the role.

The College has many wonderful staff and continually invests in staff training and development. Greg’s promotion and that of other senior colleagues, Chris McCullough and Kenny Owen, who are also leaving to become deputy heads is testament to the quality of our staff and to the leadership skills and professional qualities we value so highly here.

Finally, I wish everyone a happy Easter. We send our best wishes to all, but particularly to those who have only one more term left before they leave the College. Please do also keep in your thoughts and prayers all members of the Princethorpe family who are ill or in need of our support.

E D Hester

Exciting Opportunity In The Foundation Development Office

An exciting opportunity has arisen in the Foundation Development Office for a suitably qualified person to join the team as Development Director, to lead and progress the momentum achieved over the past three years, including the recently launched Science Campaign.

Since 2016 the Foundation has been very fortunate indeed in having benefitted from the outstanding service of Rachel Hadley-Leonard, Foundation Development Director. Sadly Rachel is moving on to take on fresh challenges and to spend more time with her family.

We now seek to appoint a suitably qualified professional to join the department. The person appointed is likely to have either a fund-raising, marketing, sales or a similar background and to understand the core elements of Development. The key elements of the role are to match the passions of donors with the needs and aspirations of the organisation, in order to realise a range of projects

Rachel (pictured far right), together with Alex Darkes, our Assistant Head (Development), supported by Loretta Curtis, Development Assistant, and Catherine Rogers, Database Assistant, has very successfully established the Development Office, formulated our strategy and embedded a culture of giving across the Foundation. Their initiatives include a bursary campaign, regular giving and the recently launched Capital Campaign, in support of the new Science Centre.

We are tremendously grateful to Rachel for all her hard work, inspiration and good humour and for putting the Foundation's fundraising efforts on such a sure footing for the future.

If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in the role, more information is available here, the deadline for applications is Monday 29 April and interviews will be held on Tuesday 7 May.

Inauguration Ceremony Welcomes New Princethorpe Prefect Body

The new Princethorpe College Prefect Body for 2019-2020 was formally inaugurated into their roles in an emotional ceremony on the last afternoon of the Lent Term, Wednesday 10 April. Parents and friends of the new prefects were invited to College for a celebratory buffet lunch before joining the afternoon’s formal ceremony.  The outgoing Head Boy, Tom Warne, and Head Girl, Elizabeth Carr, gave a poignant speech reflecting on their year in office and time at Princethorpe before wishing the new Prefect Body well, and handing over the keys of office.  The 2019-2020 Prefects smartly attired in their blue prefect uniform for the first time, spoke to the gathered audience of pupils about their hopes for their new roles.

The roles of office are:

Head Girl
Leah Dunkley

Head Boy
Jack Bent

Deputy Head Girls
Amy Gribben
Hannah Porter

Deputy Head Boys
Matthew Walker
Samuel Whittaker

Pastoral Prefects
Katherine Duigan
Madison Downey
Gabriella Proietti Tocca
Sophie Mitchell
Samuel Wycherley

House Captains:
- Sophie Caris and James Crabtree
Benet - Caitlin McBride and Dominic Turner-Burr
Fisher - Isobel Smith and William Cooper-Harris
More - Katherine Shorten and Oscar Phillips

Social Prefects
Scarlet Gladwin and Amy Gordon

Charity Prefect
Ciara Hancox

Chaplaincy Prefects
Joseph Connelly and Louise Way

Junior Chaplaincy Prefects
     Thomas Bucknall – Year 7 – Austin
     Freddie Hadley – Year 7 – More
     Zoe Shayler – Year 8 - Benet

Academic Prefects
Hannah Owens
Millie Hainge
Rajpreet Birdi
Alys Hemmings

Marketing and Communications Prefect
Lara Vohrah

Games Prefects
Ellen Bucknall and Caitlin Parris
Callum Cooke and Sion Murphy

The College wishes good luck to the new prefect body for the year ahead and extends warm thanks to the outgoing prefects, they have given great service and we wish them all the best for their upcoming exams and future endeavours.

Longstanding School Bus Driver Stan Retires

Pupils from Princethorpe College welcomed longstanding school bus driver Stan Griffin of Catteralls Coaches into assembly on Wednesday 10 April, the final day of the Lent term. Pupils wanted to thank Stan who is retiring, for his dedication in driving many of them to and from school.

Stan clearly loves what he does as he has been driving Princethorpe College school buses for over 30 years; in fact, over that time, he has driven generations of children to the school.

The presentation was organised by four Year 11 pupils, Louis Coleby, Will Marshall, George Ward and Matt Wills, who wanted to show their appreciation.   

The presentation was kept a surprise and Stan was clearly delighted to be invited up on stage to receive his retirement gift – a flying lesson.

After the presentation, there was just time for a quick photo with some of his regular passengers, next to his bus, before Stan drove the S5 home for the final time.

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Luke Daniel Caps For Great Britain U19 American Football Team

Sixth Former, and Pastoral Prefect, Luke Daniel has made College history by becoming the first Princethorpe pupil to earn an international cap playing American Football for Great Britain.

Luke’s footballing career began just two years ago when he started training with the Etone Jaguars Amercian Football Academy in Nuneaton.  After only one season, Luke was selected to train with Great Britain’s development squad.  From an initial 100 players he made the cut to a roster of 55 and after a long haul of training days all over the country, Luke was selected to play Right Guard on the Offensive Line for Great Britain U19s in the International Federation of American Football’s European Championships qualifier against Norway.

Saturday 30 March will be a day that will live long in Luke’s memory.  After walking out onto the pitch at the John Charles Stadium in Leeds he said, “It was a huge honour to put on a Great Britain shirt and represent my country.  A real dream come true!”

Sadly, despite all the hard work and huge aspirations, Great Britain lost the game, but the Great Britain development programme continues and Luke is hoping to pull on the team shirt again in the future.  For now it is back to League Football and preparations for the British American Football U19s National Championships in August.

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Year 7 Fascinated By Famous Author Frank Cottrell-Boyce

On International Children’s Book Day, Tuesday 2 April, and as part of Stratford Literary Festival’s Schools Week, Princethorpe College was delighted to welcome into school award-winning author and screenwriter, Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

Frank’s first children’s book, Millions, won the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and was made into a film by Danny Boyle.  His latest book Runaway Robot has just been published and his book Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth is being made into a film by DreamWorks. Frank was the official scriptwriter for the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics and is also a judge for BBC Radio 2’s 500 Words, a short-story writing competition for children aged five to 13 years.

During a magical afternoon, Frank spoke to Year 7 pupils, discussing the inspiration behind his books, such as Millions, Cosmic and The Astounding Broccoli Boy.  He shared stories from his childhood, read excerpts from his favourite books and answered a host of questions from an enthusiastic audience. He explained how the shared experience of a book can make you feel better, how stories can transport you and how he likes writing comedy because he likes to make people laugh.

Frank Cottrell-Boyce was clearly delighted with his appreciative audience and after his talk happily signed copies of his books for the children.

School Librarian, Celia Scott, commented, “We were honoured to have Frank visit Princethorpe, he was so engaging, Year 7 were mesmerised by his stories and bursting with questions.  Our thanks go to both Frank and to the Stratford Literary Festival who organised Frank’s visit as part of their special Schools Week.”

V&A Textiles Trip Was Amazing

On Friday 5 April, 17 pupils visited the world's leading museum of Art and Design, the V&A in London, to participate in a bespoke fashion and textiles workshop.  The Year 10 and Year 12 pupils are studying Textiles at GCSE and A-level and will shortly begin work on the non-examined assessment projects that they are required to complete as part of their course-work.

Led by Higher Education visiting lecturer Juliana Sissons, a noted knitwear designer in her own right, the workshop was an excellent introduction to the current climate in the fashion industry and explored themes of sustainability, responsibility and zero-waste approaches. Taking inspiration from the museum’s exhibitions pupils were encouraged to develop their own creative thinking and making skills.

Textiles Teacher, Miranda Porter, commented, “It was a brilliant day and Juliana was amazing.  Our pupils learned so much, the workshop involved lots of group work and encouraged creativity and exploring through making.  She continued, “It was a great start to their final projects and we even managed to squeeze in a few of the exhibitions.”

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Popular Singing Teacher Abigail Leaves the Foundation For A New Calling

At the end of March Princethorpe College and Crackley Hall School said goodbye to popular singing teacher Abigail Rhodes. Abigail had worked for the Foundation since September 2012 successfully teaching and mentoring pupils and staff through a range of classical and musical theatre examinations.  In her latest set of examinations both of her Grade 8 students (Juliette Carter and Alexis Draper) gained the highest level of achievement, Distinction.  Abigail has even risen to the challenge of teaching Headmaster, Ed Hester and Deputy Head - Academic, Dr Michael Reddish to sing.

Abigail has always had a strong Christian faith and leaves us to pursue a new career or rather a calling as a vicar, having been in training for some months she will be ordained by the Church of England in June.

The fabulous relationship that Abigail has always had with pupils and staff as well as her professional dedication to supporting each and every one along their own musical journey has always been clearly evident so we have no doubt she will be successful in her new role.

Both music departments will miss Abigail tremendously and we all wish her well.

Lent Celebration Lunch Recognises Pupils’ Contributions And Achievements

The termly Celebration of Achievement Lunch recognises pupils from across the College for contributions, commitments and achievements.  This Lent Term, 42 pupils from across the year groups were nominated by members of staff and invited to the College Roundhouse by Assistant Head (Co-Curricular), Mr Greg Hunter, for an informal, celebratory buffet lunch.

All of the pupils had risen to the challenge of the College’s ethos; they had done their best in many different ways, both in and outside of school.  Some had been nominated for academic perseverance; others invited along for their contribution to sport or drama; a number for voluntary work and some for their contributions to their House.

Mr Hunter congratulated every one of them and thanked them for the many ways that they enrich College life.  As was perhaps to be expected, the pupils seemed surprised by the attention they received and were modest when praised for the commitment, motivation and tenacity of their efforts - all qualities that the Celebration of Achievement Lunch recognises and rewards.

Congratulations go to all of the following pupils, the College is very proud of you:

From Year 7: Seb Bainbridge, Amaanya Bose, Rafferty Bucke, Albert Jackson-Bettles and Finley Shields

From Year 8: Tahlia Collis-Smith, Amy Hogg, Tilly Houghton, Tom Lomas and James Robinson

From Year 9: Alex Allison, Neve Badman, Ed Foster, Rupert Hatton, Mia Johnson, Bowen Kent, Izzy Kuzemko, James MacLean and Olivia Underhill

From Year 10: Oscar Blunsom-Washbrook, Greg Burford, Jack Collins, William Hallard, Daniel Hogg, Archie Houghton, Mary Lomas, Amelia Simpson and Mason Winterburn

From Year 11: Angela Hill, Lauren Mason, Grace McGrory, Joe Rose, Oli Thomas and Emelia Tubb

From Lower Sixth: Adam Darr, Hasan Darr, Amy Gordon and Hannah Owens

From Upper Sixth: Georgia Astley, Lilli Draper, Meg Jones and Cara Wallis

Bishop Of Birmingham Celebrates Confirmation Eucharist

On Friday 22 March, Princethorpe College was delighted to welcome the Right Reverend William Kenny, CP Auxiliary Bishop Of Birmingham, to Our Lady of the Angels' Chapel where he celebrated the Confirmation Eucharist accompanied and assisted by the Reverend Father Teddy O’Brien MSC and the Reverend Father Alan Whelan MSC.

Together the Parish and College communities presented 19 Confirmandi for Confirmation.

After the service, Bishop William joined the newly confirmed and their families for refreshments and a slice of confirmation cake in the Sixth Form Atrium.

Many congratulations to all those who received the Sacrament of Confirmation to strengthen them on their faith journey.