Letter From The Headmaster - August 2019

Welcome to the first Flagpole of the 2019-20 academic year and a special welcome to all parents new to the school. As I write, we are just finishing three very productive staff training days; these allow us to both prepare for the year ahead and also to focus on how we can deliver the best possible education to all the children in our care. One of our initiatives that we will be pushing across all years is ‘Language for Learning’; as you will be aware, there is a very strong link between pupils’ attainment in all subjects and their general reading. We will shortly be sending through more specific details as to how you can encourage your child’s independent reading at home and I hope you are able to support us with this.

Over the holidays we had well over a hundred pupils and staff safely return from the South Africa Sports Tour and the Music Tour to Vienna. These were rewarding, enjoyable and in many cases life-changing experiences and I thank the staff who gave up their precious holiday time to support our pupils.

You will be aware that each year we steadily develop our campus and improve our facilities. Although we had no major construction projects this summer, we have had a major upgrading of our ICT infrastructure and refurbished many areas of the campus.

Of course, towards the end of summer, the examination results loom large. As I expect you will be aware by now, we are delighted with the results achieved by our pupils a few weeks ago both at A-level and GSCE. We strive hard to ensure that each member of the College’s community makes the most of their own talents. Princethorpe is certainly not an examination factory - when pupils leave, they do so with so much more than an examination certificate - but we do take great pride in trying to ensure that all our pupils achieve the very best possible academic results.

At A-level, we had sixteen high fliers who achieved three or more A* or A grades including Daisy Vucevic and Amy Field, who each scored three A*s and one A grade, closely followed by Ed Bickerton who had two A*s and two grade As. Good luck to Ed who moves on to Bristol University to read Mathematics and to Daisy and Amy with their Oxbridge applications.

We wish all our leavers well for the next phase of their education and look forward to welcoming them back on Friday 22 November to the annual Prize Giving, which this year will be held in the Butterworth Hall at Warwick Arts Centre. I hope that many of you will be able to attend this special occasion - further details will be circulated in due course.

At GCSE we had our best results ever: 48% of all entries were graded the coveted 9, 8 or 7 grades (A* or A grades in old money) and a stunning 36 of our Year 11 pupils achieved eight or more 9, 8, 7 or A* or A grades. Overall 96% of the grades pupils received were A*-C or 9-4 grades.

Many pupils achieved incredible results with the highest individual achievements by Lauren Mason, Grace McGrory, James Gallagher, Alex Rejali and Prajeet Prabakaran, who all achieved an outstanding eleven or more grade 9s each!

We are of course delighted with the exceptionally high number of top grades, but are proud of all our pupils who have worked hard and done their very best.  Whilst academic results are important, we value their qualities of kindness, respect, determination and friendship.

As we look to the new academic year I thank, in advance, all parents for your support over the year ahead. At the first school assembly next week, I shall be talking about the importance of making a strong start and getting into good habits to ensure a successful year.

Again, I will be stressing the importance of getting a good night’s sleep, critical for the health and well-being of us all, but in particular teenagers. The evidence is that many are getting nowhere near the minimum of seven hours (eight is better) of proper regular sleep per night and that mobile phones and other electronic devices are quite often the main reason why. Of course, this can have a hugely detrimental effect on the child’s academic progress and social development.  I would urge all parents to discuss these issues with their children (from Year 7 right through to the Sixth Form) and do all you can to support healthy sleep routines at home.

Finally, I hope that you and your families have had a peaceful and happy summer and look forward to seeing you over the course of the year. 

With all best wishes

Ed Hester


Excellent Academic Results For Princethorpe’s A-Level Students

Princethorpe College is delighted to be celebrating another excellent set of A-level results. 94 students sat A-level examinations and completed the extended project qualification this summer.  30% have been awarded A* or A grades and over three-quarters of all grades received are A* to C. Impressively there are seventeen high fliers who achieved three or more A* or A grades.

Ed Hester, Headmaster said, “These students have worked so hard and we are incredibly proud of their achievements. We were particularly pleased that in addition to their A-levels, this year over half the cohort completed the extended project qualification, which is so highly respected by universities and employers alike. It was also lovely to receive amazing feedback from the A-level Art moderators who were bowled over by the quality of the artwork by all our six A* A-level art students.”

Ed Hester, continued, “We are thrilled that our students have achieved such good grades but also, more importantly, that the overwhelming majority have been accepted to study at their university of choice or on their chosen apprenticeship scheme. We have had another great year and today’s results show that the hard work of both students and staff has been rewarded. We are proud of their academic achievements, but these students have many other fine qualities: kindness, respect and a strong sense of right and wrong, which will be tremendously important for them as they move on to the next phase of their lives. We congratulate them all on their success and wish them the very best for the future”.

Princethorpe College Celebrates Its Best Ever GCSE Results

Princethorpe College is celebrating its best ever GCSE results. From a cohort of 127 pupils almost half (48%) of all entries were graded the coveted 9, 8 or 7 grades and 36 of its Year 11 pupils (28%) achieved eight or more 9, 8 or 7 grades.

There were many exceptional personal achievements, with stand-out performances from Grace McGrory, James Gallagher, Lauren Mason, Alex Rejali and Prajeet Prabakaran, who all achieved an outstanding eleven or more grade 9s.

Princethorpe pupils performed well in all the core subjects, but the College is again delighted with its English results - this year 62% of pupils achieved 9, 8 or 7 grades - and the standard of Art was again commended by the examination board moderators, with 72% being graded 9 or 8.

Overall 96% of the grades achieved were A* - C or 9 - 4 grades.

Headmaster, Ed Hester said, “I would like to congratulate all of our Year 11 pupils. I am delighted with the excellent results they have achieved across the board; it is a privilege to be amongst so many happy pupils this morning and marvellous to be able to celebrate such success. We are of course delighted with the exceptionally high number of top grades, but we are proud of all our pupils who have worked hard and done their very best. Whilst their results are important, this year group have also demonstrated many fine qualities worth celebrating, such as kindness, respect, determination and friendship.”

He continued, “All credit goes to our pupils and staff for their commitment and hard work. The College goes from strength to strength and we look forward to welcoming the vast majority of this cohort back into our successful Sixth Form for the next stage of their education.”


Development Team Welcomes Council Leader Visit To Discuss Commonwealth Games

On Tuesday 20 August Princethorpe’s Development Team welcomed Birmingham City Council Leader, Councillor Ian Ward, to the College for a tour and discussion about how we can support and get involved with the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games, estimated to be costing approximately £778 million, is the biggest budget sporting event since London 2012 and will see 71 nations competing over 11 days.

On his visit Ian Ward toured the school and grounds, taking in the Sports Centre, Orchard, the all-weather sports surface and the rugby pitches. Accompanied on the tour by Liz Griffin, Chair of Trustees, Bursar Eddie Tolcher, Assistant Head (Development) Alex Darkes and Development Director Chris Lee, Ian got to see Princethorpe in the sunshine and was very impressed at the number and quality of sporting facilities at Princethorpe.

We’re hopeful that the college can be involved with the Commonwealth Games, perhaps as a training ground for one or more of the many visiting teams during the summer holidays in 2022.

Ed Hester, Headmaster of Princethorpe College, said:

“The Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022 is the biggest sporting event since London 2012 and it is happening on our doorstep. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Princethorpe to get involved and showcase our brilliant facilities, grounds and hospitality.

“I’m grateful to Ian Ward for taking time out of his busy schedule to come and see what Princethorpe has to offer. We think Princethorpe could potentially offer a wonderful experience to visiting athletes to train, but it’s also a once-in-generation opportunity for the College to be involved in such a high-profile sports event.

“We’re very proud of sport at Princethorpe and if the College can be involved with the Commonwealth Games, we would welcome the opportunity.”

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said:

“I’ve had a fantastic visit to Princethorpe College and it’s great that the school are taking the initiative and wanting to get involved with the Commonwealth Games.

“Princethorpe College clearly has a great sporting heritage and sport is at the centre of school life for staff and pupils.

“They have some wonderful facilities and beautiful grounds and I’m sure visiting teams would be very impressed to visit here as part of their Commonwealth Games experience.

“I am very keen that the Commonwealth Games benefits not just Birmingham, but the wider West Midlands region, and I’m very grateful that so many of the regions’ schools are starting to engage and get excited about the games.”

The images show Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, Liz Griffin, Chair of Trustees, Alex Darkes, Assistant Head - Development, Eddie Tolcher - Foundation Bursar and Chris Lee - Foundation Development Director.

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Launching My School Portal: Keeping Parents Informed 24/7

Over the last few months we have been working to transform the way we communicate with parents and manage important information about our pupils and students.  This has involved the implementation of a new, secure, web based communication and parental information system, My School Portal, which we are delighted to announce has now been launched.

Through My School Portal parents and guardians now have secure, 24-hour access to personalised data for their children via one user name and password.

From one intuitive, simple to use dashboard, parents can access communications, reports, attendance, timetables and sports fixtures from their phone, tablet or desktop device. Importantly, moving all personal data to a restricted user-only portal ensures that only the right people see the right information.

The portal can be accessed on any device at, and current parents will have received an email this week detailing how to access the portal and guidance on making the most of its numerous features.   If you have yet to access the portal, please click here for full instructions.  Here you can access a selection of short videos which explain how each feature of the Portal works.

We are very excited about this new investment and the prospect of enhancing engagement with parents and keeping them even better informed about their children's progress, as well as developments within the school.

Countdown To Entrance Exams For 2020 Entry Begins

With just ten weeks to go, the countdown to the College's Entrance Exams for admission in September 2020 has begun. This year the exams for Year 7 to 10 entry will take place on Saturday 9 November from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Our friendly Admissions Team have been kept busy over the summer accepting registrations from prospective parents.  The deadline for registration is Friday 4 October, to enable the seeking of references from junior schools.

There are plenty of opportunities for prospective pupils and their parents to visit the College before the Entrance Exams, including our Open Morning on Thursday 26 September from 10.30am to 12.30pm, when pupil tour guides will be available to show visitors around the school.

The College will also be hosting Taster Days for children in Years 6, 7 and 8 (as of September 2019).  For more information please contact the Admissions Team on 01926 634262.

Comments Melanie Butler, Assistant Head, Marketing, Admissions and Communications, "Parents and pupils still have plenty of time to prepare and opportunities to visit the College in the run up to the exams.  The results will be out at the end of November, making for an exam-free Christmas holiday, which has got to be good news."

If you have any queries relating to admissions please feel free to email the Registrars at or call them on 01926 634201.

A Warm Welcome To New College Staff

Princethorpe College is welcoming plenty of new faces this Michaelmas Term, as in addition to its new pupils the school also has a number of new staff members starting.

Pictured here on their Induction Day at the beginning of the week, they bring a wealth of new experience to the school and we extend a warm welcome to them all.

Joining the College at the start of the term are:

Carlos Gane - Head of Physics

Abi Adams - Teacher of Politics and History

Ellie Callan - Teacher of PE and Games

Sarah Duran - Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages, Second in MFL

Nicola Jones - Teacher of Religious Studies

Meg O’Gorman - Teacher of Religious Studies

Dominic Phelps - Teacher of History and Politics

Leanne Rickart - Teacher of Mathematics, Second in Maths

Theo Scoutas - Teacher of Mathematics

Tom Walton - Teacher of Design Technology (Resistant Materials)

Kayley Arkesden - Learning Support Assistant

Megan Owen - Graduate Sports Coach and Teaching Assistant

Lily Dyble - Teaching Assistant

Fleur Street - Teaching Assistant

Charlotte Hancock - Foundation Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator

Sally Ritchie - School Nurse

Three trainee teachers will also be starting at the College this term:

Lucy Butler - Trainee Teacher (Geography)

Sophie Jones - Trainee Teacher (Mathematics)

Charlotte Verleure - Trainee Teacher (MFL)

Welcome To Andrew Williams - Holroyd Howe’s New General Manager

Holroyd Howe have appointed a new General Manager, Andrew Williams, to lead their catering teams and oversee catering at both Princethorpe College and Crackley Hall School.

Andrew has a strong background in food and beverages for the hotel and hospitality industries, having previously worked for the St John’s Hotel in Solihull and for the Marriott and Accor hotel chains.  He is married with two daughters and describes his family as sporty, telling us he enjoys his cycling and running, which is probably a good thing for someone surrounded by all that tempting food all day. 

With barely a week passing without there being some additional catering function at the College or at Crackley Hall, Andrew will not only manage the day to day feeding of the five thousand, but also all of the additional extras that will surely make his job both varied and rewarding.

Andrew shared with us that pupils have new menus to look forward to for the Michaelmas term and that Holroyd Howe will be celebrating British Food Fortnight which starts on Saturday 21 September, when they will be championing all sorts of foods grown across the UK.

We’re delighted to welcome Andrew to the Princethorpe Foundation and wish him the very best of luck in his new role.

Fr Teddy O'Brien MSC Invites You To The Heritage Open Days At St Anne's Catholic Church, Wappenbury, CV33 9DW

Friday 13 September to Sunday 22 September from 9.00am - 5.00pm

St Anne’s church sits on a large fortified Iron Age settlement dating back to approximately 700BC known as the Wappenbury camp, the river Leam forming part of its defences.

An early Catholic directory mentions a Catholic Mission at Wappenbury in 1734 and therefore this implies that there was Catholic activity in the 1600s.

The first Diocesan records of the Mission start in 1744 with a record of baptisms. The priest at this time and recorded at Wappenbury was Fr W Walmsley OSF, 1744-1768.

The small chapel built by Lord Clifford is reliably assumed to be the current Sanctuary. The new chapel was built and completed in 1849 extending from the north side of the old Clifford chapel and opened by Bishop Nicholas Wiseman and dedicated to the Mother of Our Lady, St Anne. The church was the first Catholic parish church to be built in the diocese since the reformation.

The incumbent priest of St Anne’s would offer Mass for the nuns at St Mary’s Priory, which is now Princethorpe College.

St Anne’s was completely renovated and refurbished between January and September 2014. The re-dedication of St Anne’s took place on Saturday 18 June 2016. 

The church will be open from Friday 13 September to Sunday 22 September from 9.00am - 5.00pm. Refreshments will be served on Saturday 21 September between 10.00am and 12noon and on Sunday 22 September between 10.00am and 1.00pm.

For further information about the parish of St Anne's please click here

The church is five minutes drive from Princethorpe College - we would be delighted to see you!


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Celebration Of Mass At Our Lady of the Angels' Chapel, Princethorpe College

Fr Teddy O'Brien MSC and the parishioners of St Anne's R C Church, Wappenbury, would like to remind everyone that the usual 10.15am Mass will resume in the Chapel at the College on Sunday 1 September.

Please note: On Sunday 8 September the parish will be participating in the annual Wappenbury Walk from the College to St Anne's, Wappenbury. The walkers will leave the College at 10.15am (there will be no 10.15am Mass in the Chapel) and make their way across the fields to St Anne's to celebrate Mass at 11.30am followed by light refreshments.

There will be a Mass celebrated at St Anne's as usual at 8.30am. 

For further information about the parish of St Anne's, the weekly newsletter and parish diary please click here


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