Princethorpe Falls Silent In Remembrance

On Friday 8 November, at 11.00am, the College community gathered together to silently reflect on the bravery and the selfless sacrifice made by so many of our country's service men and women.

This year’s Remembrance service was, as always, held on the Friday before Remembrance Sunday, outside on a cold and windy school playground. Headmaster, Ed Hester’s opening prayer was followed a thought provoking reading by Jack Neale before Head Boy, Jack Bent, solemnly read out the list of the Princethorpe fallen.  Then College trumpeters, Year 8 pupil, Chloe Hurworth and, Year 7, Cara Ridd confidently sounded the soft, melancholic and mournful notes of the Last Post.

The two-minute silence offered all a time for reflection, a shared moment to remember those who have given their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today. A wreath was hung at the Pupils’ Entrance by former naval officer, RS Teacher, Mr Cyprian Vella and Commanding Officer, Air Cadet 84 Squadron, Kevin Fairhurst.

The College community then sung the hymn Abide With Me before a final prayer for peace, by Mrs Beth Sharpe, Deputy Head Pastoral, brought the proceedings to a thoughtful close.

College Prepares For Entrance Examinations

The College is preparing itself for this year's Entrance Exams session which takes place tomorrow, Saturday 9 November, when some 280 children will sit the exams across four age groups. 

Comments Melanie Butler, Assistant Head - Marketing, Admissions and Communications, "This year we have had particularly high levels of interest and, following a successful Open Morning in September and Year 6 Taster Days, the registrations have continued to flow in. We know that positive recommendations from current families will have played a large part in this success."

"We wish all the candidates the very best of luck, and look forward to seeing them bright and early in the morning!"

Arrangements for the Entrance Exams Day (11+, 12+, 13+ and 14+) are as follows:

Saturday 9 November 2018 - 9.30am to 3.45pm

Candidates are requested to report to the College between 8.45am and 9.30am; candidates should not arrive prior to 8.30am. Please enter the school via the Pupils’ Entrance in the playground. Candidates should wear their current school uniform and bring a pen, two pencils, eraser and ruler. Candidates for Years 9 and 10 (13+ and 14+) should bring a calculator, protractor and a relevant language dictionary. Candidates will have the opportunity to play outside at lunchtime, if the weather is kind to us. 

Candidates for Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the online test here for a short demonstration.

The examinations will end at 3.45pm and parents are invited to tea with members of the Parent Teacher Association from 3.30pm onwards.

Neil McCollin Confirmed As Assistant Head (Co-Curricular)

Many congratulations to Neil McCollin who has been confirmed in the role of Assistant Head (Co-Curricular). Neil has been Acting Assistant Head since the beginning of this academic year, when he took over from Greg Hunter.

Ed Hester commented, "I am delighted to confirm Neil as Assistant Head (Co-Curricular), he has taken to the role with great success and has already proving to be a valuable member of our senior team."

Neil will relinquish his Foundation Director of Sport role at the end of this academic year and the position will be advertised shortly. 

Comments Neil, "I have been incredibly excited to be able to take my experiences in the sporting arena and apply them to the full range of co-curricular activities on offer, especially Music and the Performing Arts. I know the impact that success, and celebrating it accordingly, in activities outside of the curriculum can have on the confidence, self-esteem and resilience of our young people and I look forward to developing this crucial aspect of Princethorpe still further."

Fabulous Fisher Come First In This Year’s Amazing House Talent Show

Much anticipated and always hotly-contested, the House Talent Show did not disappoint, providing a sensational evening’s entertainment and a real conundrum to the judges facing the almost impossible challenge of choosing the winner. Held this year on Thursday 7 November, the enthusiastic audience in the Clarkson theatre was treated to a non-stop stream of talented and inspirational young people.

A huge thank you to all who took part and to the technical team who so ably assisted, your hard work, dedication and sheer talent are what makes this event so extremely enjoyable. Thanks also to this year’s judges, the very popular and much-loved catering team members, Debs Taylor and Lisa Fowler who had the impossible task of picking the eventual winners.

Compered slickly and wittily by House Activities Leader Jess Newborough, the show included an array of dazzling dance routines, stunning instrumental and vocal performances, a fabulous boy band, an artistic roller skater and the uniquely talented Greg Burford whose audience led song-writing routine delivered our favourite line of the night “All you need to be cool … is a piano .. and a few years at Princethorpe school”.  After the serious acts had performed the judges retired to deliberate, the audience then had the pleasure of two extra special synchronised acts, first the House Captains’ Surprise, a super dry swimming routine, and an awesome finale by the First XV rugby aerobics team that simply had to be seen to be believed. 

After watching all of the performances, and deliberating long and hard, the judges announced their decision. This year in third place, for Austin, was the incredible contortionist, Jemima Teeton. Then, placed second, for Benet, was their answer to the Back Street Boys, Jackson Roderick, Andre Onyekwe and Ignacy Librowski.  And in first place, much to their surprise and to huge applause, Fisher’s Freya Mills and Keira MacRae, were delighted to be crowned Talent Show supremoes, for their powerful and haunting performance of She Used To Be Mine from The Waitress.

As well as being a great night out, the event was also about fundraising for this year’s House Charity, Mind the mental health charity, and the evening’s ticket, refreshment sales and raffle money will provide an excellent addition to the year’s fundraising total.

Our thanks to all of the performers on the night including: Charlotte Fitzpatrick, Grace Thomas, Greg Burford, Liv Fox, Jemima Teeton, Jackson Roderick, Andre Onyekwe, Ignacy Librowski, Tallis Alford, Imogen Long, Frankie Kelly, Chloe Potts, Freya Mills, Keira MacRae, Lauren Taylor, the House Captains and last but not least the First XV Rugby Team.

An extra special thanks to House Activities Leader, Jess Newborough, and to the House Activities Co-ordinators, Hannah Carminati, Lily Dyble, Anna Fennell-McLoughlin and Julia Lindsay and to all the other staff who worked so hard to put together the talent show.

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History Trip To Berlin Explores A Complex But Fascinating City

A much-anticipated trip to the fascinating capital city Berlin took place at the beginning of the Michaelmas half term.  Some 58 pupils and six staff headed off to Germany for five days of sightseeing, historical contemplation and adventure.

Princethorpe’s historians from Year 9 to Year 12 were on a quest for knowledge, enrichment and understanding of how Berlin’s complex past has influenced the world today. All were riveted by the sheer breadth of history to engage with in this complicated and once divided city.

Day two, the first full day, started with a visit to the Sachsenhausen Memorial Centre and Museum, once a concentration camp the site is now open to the public and pupils were able to reflect on the horrors of the past, both under the Nazis and the subsequent Soviet occupation. It was a sobering experience but an important one.  The group moved on to the Berlin Wall Memorial, established in 1998 in memory of the victims of communism, there the guided tours were excellent helping pupils understand the history of the Wall and the division of Germany.  Next came the Tränenplast, the Palace of Tears, and an opportunity to appreciate how partition cruelly affected the inhabitants of Berlin.  Finally, the group visited the impressive Reichstag, the seat of the modern day German Bundestag where they were able to take in the spectacular views of the city’s skyline from the glass dome and rooftop terrace.

Day three started with a guided tour of the Museum of German Resistance, located in the former headquarters of the Army High Command, the exhibition documented those who resisted and opposed Nazi rule.  In the afternoon the group visited the Stasi Museum.  Left untouched since protestors occupied the building in 1990 the museum gave a vivid insight into the work of the DDR’s secret police.  Then they visited the East Side Gallery, an open-air collection of works of art on one of the longest remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall.  In the evening the group visited the Gesundbrunnen Bunkers, the air raid shelters quietly tucked away behind a green door beneath an underground train station that still to this day contain many artefacts from the war.

Day four began with a visit to the iconic Checkpoint Charlie, the most important of all border posts and the museum that told the story of how people escaped. The group then visited the Asisi Panorama, an impressive interpretation of life within divided Berlin.  Then came the disturbing Topography of Terror an open-air exhibition that details the history of repression under the Nazis before a visit to the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, a huge grid of concrete slabs that includes an underground space with the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.  The tour-party then visited the neoclassical Brandenburg Gate before they had the opportunity to discover what life was really like in the GDR in the DDR Museum. 

On their very last day pupils concluded their visit to Berlin with a trip to the Alexanderplatz and the iconic TV Tower.

Pupils and staff returned to the UK with many striking memories from a complex but fascinating city and a real appreciation of its role in 20th Century history.

Head of History Paul Bucknall commented, “This was a hugely informative trip to a city that has been shaped by idealism and tyranny yet has managed to transform itself into the modern metropolis visitors flock to today.  There is just so much to see and do, we squeezed all we could into what was at times a frantic five days. I know pupils enjoyed the trip and I am proud of their behaviour and maturity.  I am confident they will have gained a lot from the experience and have a much better understanding of the history of Western Europe.”

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College Artists Recognised In Prestigious ISA Regional Art Competition

Recent Upper Sixth leavers, Helena Lintott and Fleur Street and Lower Sixth Former Sophie Cheshire have all been awarded first place in the Independent Schools’ Association’s prestigious Midlands Regional Art Competition.

Helena’s stunning painting The Gift took first place in the coveted Over 16 Painting category, The Gift refers to the Three Graces who in Greek mythology are the personifications of beauty, charm, and grace; they were the daughters of Zeus and given these ‘gifts’ by him to bestow on the world.  The piece will be instantly recognisable to anyone connected to the College as it has featured on the cover of the school’s Pinnacle magazine.  This is not the first time Helena has received recognition for her work as she also took first place two years ago in the Key Stage 4 Drawing Category.

Fleur’s winning work was part of her A-level Photography portfolio, titled Candid Triptych, her striking portraits reflect the HIV crisis in the 1980s and the devastation it had without warning on the ‘show-biz’ world.  The subjects are representations of three high profile personalities and artists who contracted and sadly died from this terrible disease.

Sophie took first place in the Key Stage 4 Textiles class.  Her winning design project was also her GCSE piece and it used textures, sounds and colours to create a holistic aesthetic experience to help slow the development of Alzheimer’s.  Her work took an innovative approach and you can understand why it caught the judges’ eyes.  Sophie clearly has the makings of a talented designer.  Sophie also took a second award in the competition receiving a Highly Commended in the Key Stage 4 3D category.

Further awards were given to Lower Sixth Formers, Damien Cowie who placed second in the Key Stage 4 Drawing category and Abbie O’Carroll Bailey who came second in the Key Stage 4 Sketchbook class.

Princethorpe College Head of Art, Paul Hubball, applauded the winners, “These prizes reflect the talent we have within our school. There were plenty of excellent entries for the competition so we are very pleased to have so many winners.”

All the first prize winners have now been entered into the ISA National Art Competition the judging for which is taking place this week.

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Three Individual Golds And Princethorpe Finishes Third Overall At ISA Midlands Swimming Championships

Four Princethorpe College swimmers have qualified for the ISA Nationals at the London Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park, in November, after success in their individual and relay events at the Midlands ISA Swimming Championships. Held at Walsall Baths on Thursday 3 October, Princethorpe’s speedy squad shone across all strokes helping the College achieve an amazing third place overall.

Year 7, Harrison Guest began the roll of honour claiming gold in the 25m Breaststroke in a super time of 19.41 seconds.  Year 7, Andre Onyekwe followed suit with a second gold medal in a blisteringly fast 25m Backstroke, completing the course in just 16.74 seconds. Stalwart of the pool, Year 10 Jess Mackenzie, continued her dominance, claiming the College a terrific third gold in the Year 9/10 50m Freestyle in 28.64 seconds.

The boys put in a solid performance across all the year groups with other highlights including Year 7, Eddie Arkesden taking bronze in the 25m Butterfly, Year 8, Ethan Capelett winning a bronze in the 50m Breaststroke, Year 8, Ed Grindal taking bronze in the 25m Butterfly, Year 9, Connor Silvester winning a superb silver in the 50m Breaststroke and Lower Sixth Former, Toby Rigg just squeezing into bronze in the 25m Butterfly.

For the girls, Jess Mackenzie claimed a second medal with a bronze in the 100m Individual Medley and Year 11, Lucia McCosker-New clinched bronze with a sensational swim in a very close finish in the Senior Girls 50m Freestyle.

The College also had plenty of success in the Relay events. In the Medley Relays, the Year 7 Boys finished first, the Year 8 Boys finished second and the Senior Boys also finished second.  In the Freestyle Medleys, the Year 7 Boys finished first and the Year 7 Girls finished third.  Both the Senior teams also placed, with the Senior Girls finishing first and the Senior Boys coming third.  Lucia McCosker-New’s speedy Freestyle Relay qualifying time also earned her a place in the Midlands Freestyle team at the Nationals. Jamie Capelett, Connor Silvester and Ed Grindal have all been selected as reserves for the Midlands Freestyle Relay teams.

Head of Academic PE, Louise Harrison commented, “These results are a fantastic achievement, the result of many long hours of training for our pupils with their swimming clubs. The ISA Championships are a superb opportunity for our swimmers to showcase their skills in the competitive school environment. It was a tremendous performance. Princethorpe is always a force in the water and I was delighted to watch the scores build over the day and to see the College finish in third place overall.”

Congratulations to all the swimmers who took part in this exciting event and especially to team captains Gabz Proietti Tocca and Toby Rigg for their excellent leadership on the day. 

Princethorpe’s FutureChefs Showcase Their Amazing Culinary Skills

Princethorpe’s aspiring young chefs showcased their superb cooking skills when they took part in the Springboard’s FutureChef competition.  The first-round heat took place after school on Thursday 17 October and the 13 contestants were tasked with cooking and serving up a main meal in just one hour.

The FutureChef competition challenges young people aged 12 to 16 who are keen to learn more about cooking, to cook their way through a series of rounds, allowing them to gain experience, meet professionals and develop their skills, all whilst learning invaluable lessons and getting an insight into the culinary industry.

All of our would-be chefs really wowed the judges, Jacqui Scott, Michael Reddish and Food Consultant Sarah King, with their culinary creations, serving up a range of tempting meals.  From the off, they worked quickly, demonstrating technical skills such as knife work and the finished plates of food looked tantalising and were full of flavour and seasoned expertly. What's more the contestants’ attention to detail was superb with plates polished, the food presented artistically and their work surfaces scrubbed.

It was a hard decision to choose between them all and the judges deliberated carefully as they argued the pros and cons of first one dish and then another.  In the end they decided that Rosie Reeve and Francesca Kelly had managed to hold their nerve and execute their dishes superbly to win the Princethorpe heat.  The pair will now progress on to the local final where they will compete against the winners of other school heats.

If successful they will then have the chance to go on to the regional final, and maybe even the national final which will be held in London, in March next year.

Commenting on this first stage of the competition, Food and Nutrition Teacher, Jacqui Scott said, “There was so much enthusiasm, team work and skill shown. They all cooked food to be proud of in a very short period of time. I have been really impressed with the level of interest in the FutureChef competition. It was really very difficult to pick our winners and the judges thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful we tried. We have two strong competitors going through to the next stages and I’m very excited to see how far they can go in the competition.”

Huge congratulations to our two worthy winners and well done to all of the participants who took part, it was an excellent effort all-round and as such all the competitors were awarded a da Vinci merit.

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Chemistry Lectures Give Insight Into The Working Scientific World

Before half term our Sixth Form Chemists enjoyed two fascinating lectures organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham.  The extra-curricular trips both offered an insight into the practical applications of chemistry and how the subject translates into a career in the modern world.

At the start of October, the students attended a talk titled A Forensic Chemist's Tale: Smack, Crack, Speed and Weed by Dr Mike Griffin formerly of the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Service.  Dr Griffin gave a whirlwind tour of the background to the role of a Forensic Chemist and the common types of drugs seized and analysed by the FSS, as well as the main substances found mixed with these drugs.  He spoke about the analysis process and the spectroscopic techniques the FSS use, that our students study at A-level.

The second lecture took place just before half term and 12 keen chemists very much enjoyed Dr John Smith’s talk titled Discovering New Medicines, A Chemist's Tale. The talk explored the many roles played by chemists in the modern drug discovery process, looking at how chemical synthesis, natural product isolation, and genome data are used to generate promising compounds, and how these are developed into successful drugs. On the night Princethorpe’s Lower Sixth Former Harrison Graham was lucky enough to win the prize draw so he got to take home a copy of Tim James’ Elemental: How the Periodic Table Can Now Explain (Nearly) Everything which we are sure will be a very entertaining read.

Chemistry teacher Jo Smith commented, “Both lectures were really interesting, the speakers were engaging bringing their subjects to life and giving students a greater understanding of the working scientific world.”

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A-level Inspiration At The Sixth Form Open Evening

This year's Sixth Form Open Evening took place on Wednesday 16 October. It was an ideal opportunity for Year 11 pupils to discover what Princethorpe’s Sixth Form has to offer. Over the course of the evening some 200 internal and external applicants and their parents toured the school, visiting the various A-level departments, meeting staff and current Sixth Formers and hearing more about subjects and exciting enrichment and co-curricular opportunities. With over 25 different courses available there was plenty to choose from.

Headmaster, Ed Hester, Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie and the Sixth Form team gave a series of short overview presentations and it was great to see the theatre so full of parents and prospective pupils. Excellent academic results are of course a vital feature of any Sixth Form provision, but Mr Hester talked about the College’s family ethos, the focus on adding value for the individual and supporting students to achieve their personal best.  He also spoke about Princethorpe's strengths, such as the dedicated Careers team and the unique Princethorpe Diploma, that add so much value to students’ future university, apprenticeship or employment applications.

As always the evening was very busy with plenty of interest being shown across the subjects. Sixth Formers acted as tour guides for our external visitors and talked enthusiastically about their experiences.

Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie reminded everybody, “The next stage is to decide on the subjects you might wish to study, as a rule of thumb you should focus on the subjects you enjoy and are doing well in.  Current Year 11s will be well supported throughout the process, which will pick up speed after the GCSE mocks.”

External candidates now have the opportunity to join us for Sixth Form Taster Days in either December or January. More information on these days is available from the Registrars please email

For anyone who was unable to make Wednesday's Sixth Form Open Evening, Information Packs available on the night will be sent home. 

To download a copy of the 2020/21 Sixth Form Information Booklet, please click here

Foundation News: Crescent School Plans Additional Year Four Class In Response To Demand

In response to high demand for primary school places in the local area, the Crescent School on Bawnmore Road, Bilton is planning to add a second Year 4 Class for September 2020. The move echoes one made two years ago when the then Year 4 class was split into two smaller classes, a move that has proven very successful.

Comments, Headmaster, Joe Thackway, “We are seeing an enormous amount of new house building in Bilton and the surrounding area and hope that this extra provision will be well received.

“The two smaller classes of up to 20 pupils each will benefit from reduced class size and tailored input from our experienced class teachers and subject specialists at a key point in their journey towards the 11+ exams and independent school entrance exams. We have seen the educational benefits of this before and plan to replicate it in 2020.”

Prospective parents who would be interested in a Year 4 place for their child in September 2020 are urged to contact Mrs Helen Morley, the Registrar, on 01788 523851 or email to register their interest.

Part of the Princethorpe Foundation, the Crescent is a co-educational independent day school for around 160 children aged 4 to 11 years. Traditionally one form entry, class sizes range from up to 20 pupils for Reception to Year 2 to up to 24 for Years 3 to 6.