Message From The Headmaster

You will shortly receive a copy of the 2020 Lent Term calendar in the post; it shows another full and busy term ahead. One important event that I would like to draw to the attention of Year 10 to Sixth Form parents is our Careers Fair on Saturday 21 March from 9.30am to 1.00pm. This biennial event is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to learn more about a wealth of careers and professions, as well as their university and apprenticeship options. Information about how to register for the Careers Fair and reserve a place in the workshops of choice will be available in the New Year.

In addition to the plethora of sporting fixtures, trips and co-curricular activities, we are also looking forward to our main school production, We Will Rock You, and the seventh annual Princethorpe Oscars Ceremony, which will showcase our pupils many talents. Both events are likely to be sell-outs, so please do look out for ticket information in next term’s Flagpole so that you can secure your seats in good time.

I have already thanked the pupils for the time they spent filling in questionnaires on their teaching group earlier in the term. The overall responses were very positive indeed and all the pupils’ feedback and anonymised personal comments has been fed directly back to the departments and individual teachers. We will reflect on the data gathered, looking at trends, areas of concern and strength, which will help us with our planning to make teaching and learning as good as it possibly can be.

You will be aware that as a Catholic School, we were recently visited by school inspectors from the Birmingham Archdiocese. We have just received their report which rated the ‘Catholic Life of the School’ and ‘Pupils’ Achievements in Religious Studies’ as ‘Outstanding’. The inspectors spent two days in school, visited many Religious Studies lessons and tutor groups, interviewed various pupil and staff groups and went to our School Council. In all aspects they were incredibly impressed with our pupils and staff.

"All pupils’ behaviour is exemplary in every aspect; they show remarkable respect for one another, for staff, visitors and for themselves, are most courteous towards each other and towards adults and naturally help and support one another. They listen very well indeed, readily give thanks and express their appreciation for all that the school has to offer."

"Almost all pupils take full advantage of the opportunities that the school provides for their personal support and spiritual, moral and ethical development, which can clearly be seen in the remarkable warmth of the relationships between pupils and staff; the school is frequently described as ‘a family’ by pupils, staff and parents and this ethos is clearly lived out in all aspects of their daily life together."

A full copy of the report can be found on the College website in the About Us section or via the link here. If you have and comments or queries on any aspect of the report, please do contact me directly.

As always, the on-line calendar, accessible via the website and My School Portal, will be updated with any amendments to the Lent Term calendar so please do check this regularly. Pupils’ reports too are, of course, found on My School Portal; please do ensure you take the time to look at these reports and discuss them with your child.

Alongside the calendar you will also receive a copy of The Tower Review 2018/19 which has just been published. The magazine is designed to be a souvenir keepsake which takes a celebratory look back at Princethorpe over the past academic year. It showcases term by term a whole host of activities, achievements and successes that our pupils from Year 7 to Upper Sixth were involved in, and includes highlights such as Prize Giving, the Duke of Edinburgh Award and House Activities such as Sports Day.

Particularly for those involved in the summer public examinations, next term will fly by; our pupils have had much support and guidance regarding how to structure their revision and studies at this time and I know parents of Year 11 and Sixth Form students will be keen to ensure there is a proper balance of work, rest, play and quality family time over the Christmas holiday period.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your support during the course of this year and wish you and your families a joyful and peaceful Christmas. 

Yours sincerely

Ed Hester

Princethorpe College’s Plans For Science Plus Take Major Step Forward

Princethorpe College’s plans for a new Science Centre have taken a major step forward with planning permission granted, the launch of a fundraising campaign and the unveiling of further campus wide benefits.

The state-of-the-art £8 million Science Centre, which will allow the College to redevelop and cluster several other departments, was granted planning permission in May this year.  The College has now revealed further plans for a new suite of Art studios, additional space for Maths and Technology, increased dining capacity and sporting facilities.

Comments, Headmaster, Ed Hester, “Princethorpe is situated at the heart of the UK’s automotive industry, where science and engineering meet art and design. We know that our pupils need the finest facilities to give them the best opportunities for their future and widening the scope of our Science Campaign to encompass all STEAM subjects enables us to provide these.”

The Science Centre is now entering the detailed ‘developed design’ stage with local RIBA members, AT Architects of Leamington, who designed The Limes 14-classroom wing in 2014. A cost plan will follow early in the new year, then a period of value engineering and technical design before a bill of quantities is prepared in the summer.

Mr Hester continues, “This is a large, complex and exciting project. The next six months will be critical as we prepare thoroughly for the tendering process in autumn 2020. If all goes to plan we should be appointing a main contractor this time next year, with construction starting early in 2021 and completion in summer 2022.”

A fundraising campaign has been launched to work hand in hand with the delivery of the project. The Science Plus Campaign outlines a menu of giving including engraved pavers and bricks, sponsorship of elements on a giant periodic table and personal and corporate naming opportunities.

Comments, Chris Lee, Director of Development, “We’re determined to make sure that this project is funded and built as soon as possible. We hope that the many Friends of Princethorpe will be moved to support this project, as they have previous initiatives in the College’s history. Their support is vital in making our vision for Science Plus a reality.”

Those interested in supporting the Science Plus Campaign are invited to email or call 01926 634265 for a Science Campaign Plus brochure.

Pictured here alongside Mr Hester and Mr Lee are Head of Science, Emma Cooper, and some of the pupils who will reap the benefits of the new facilities at the College.

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

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2018/19 Tower Review Just Published

The latest edition of the College’s magazine, The Tower Review, has just been published.

It tells the story of the school year, term by term, reflecting on the whole host of activities, achievements and successes that pupils from Year 7 through to Upper Sixth took part in.  It includes highlights such as Prize Giving and the College production as well as reviews of sporting events, House competitions and school trips. 

2018/19 was an incredible year with many wonderful and memorable moments and we hope this annual souvenir review will be treasured by pupils and parents alike.

The magazine is being mailed to parents with the Lent Term calendar and the Leavers of 2019 will also be sent a hard copy in the post.

You can view a copy, on the school website here.

If you would like to receive a copy please email with your name and address.

Princethorpe Pupils Rise To The Senior Mathematics Challenge

Back in November pupils from Princethorpe College took part in the 2019 UK Mathematics Trust (UKMT) Senior Challenge, a prestigious national problem-solving competition that recognises the best young mathematicians in the country. The Challenge involves answering multiple choice questions and is sat under normal school exam conditions. The papers are then sent away to be marked by UKMT and the best pupils in the country are awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold Certificates.

The competition is primarily aimed at students in the Sixth Form but Princethorpe selected 38 able mathematicians from both Year 11 and Lower Sixth to participate in this year’s Challenge. It is a demanding exercise designed to stretch and test pupils’ mathematical skills, so the College is delighted that this year, Princethorpe’s mathematicians achieved exceptional results.

Congratulations to Lower Sixth Former, Jack Fletcher who was awarded a Gold certificate, and took the award for best performing student in school, and to Upper Sixth Former, Aidan O’Rourke, who was also awarded a Gold certificate.  Both boys performed so well that they have also qualified for the follow-on round, the Senior Kangaroo challenge.

Silver certificate: Samuel Whittaker, Matthew Walker, Henri Fuchss, Lauren Mason, Rowan Tankard, Joshua Tidd and Samuel Armstrong.

Bronze certificate: Ben Abrahamson, George Saunders, Alex Wright, Prajeet Prabakaran, Caitlin McBride, Alex Rejali, Thea Pepperell, Charlotte Fitzpatrick, Sophie Mitchell, Luke Palmer, Joseph Hurworth, Zack Ahmed, Jack Roberts and Robyn Field.

Well done all and many thanks to all the pupils who took part, we hope you enjoyed the challenge.

Theo Scoutas
Post 16 Mathematics Co-ordinator

Sixth Form Trip To See Death Of A Salesman

Sixth Form A-level English Literature students and intrepid Year 11 pupils, who were looking for a taste of A-level English, took a trip to the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End on Tuesday 17 December to see Death of a Salesman. The production stars Wendell Pierce (of The Wire and Suits fame) and Olivier Award-winning actress, Sharon D Clarke, and has received five-star reviews.

English Teacher, Nicola Borman said, “It was an excellent production of one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century and illuminated an important exam text.  We had a really lovely evening but a very late night – so there were a few bleary eyes the next morning!”

Many thanks to the staff who supported the trip.

Luke And Jack Are Princethorpe’s First Duke Of Edinburgh Ambassadors

Lower Sixth Formers Luke Brotherton and Jack Neale have been appointed as Duke of Edinburgh Young Ambassadors. Both students are actively working towards their Gold Award and will now work alongside Princethorpe’s Duke of Edinburgh team promoting, guiding and mentoring pupils participating in the Awards scheme.

The boys were nominated for the new role by Head of Outdoor Education, Will Bower. He explains, “Luke and Jack are going to make great ambassadors, they are helpful and enthusiastic about outdoor education and with DofE Awards already under their belts they are superb role models for our younger pupils.”

The boys will undertake Ambassador training in January, but in recognition of their new role, on Tuesday 10 December, Mr Bower, presented them both with a Duke of Edinburgh tie. He continued, “We are delighted to have Luke and Jack on board.  They are some of the first pupil Ambassadors within the DofE Central Region and the very first Duke of Edinburgh Ambassadors here at Princethorpe College.”

Luke and Jack can’t wait to get started and Mr Bower has plenty lined up for them to do.  They will begin their new role by helping Year 9 pupils get started with their bronze awards, setting up their accounts and helping them plan their programmes.

College Clock Restoration Keeps Ticking Along

Former Head of Chemistry, John Miller, visited the College on Tuesday 10 December with Estates Assistant, Gerry Lovely, to see how the restoration of the clock-tower was coming along.

The clock is a landmark at Princethorpe and has played an important role in the daily lives of all who have lived and worked here.  The current clock was purchased in 1861, it was last renovated in 1959 for the then Reverend Mother, Mary Augustine’s Golden Jubilee.   

John and Gerry kept the clocks working here at Princethorpe College for over 40 years.

John explained, “I first started at Princethorpe back in the 1970s. The clock needed regular winding so I was always climbing about the roof space.  Often, I would pop out of a door and surprise the boys, they wouldn’t know where I had come from.”

John and Gerry were both fascinated by the restoration process that includes both the stonework of the clock tower and the clock mechanisms.  Head of Estates, Michael Small, showed them the progress so far. New stonework has been arriving regularly and is carefully being installed.  A new auto winding mechanism has been fitted to the clock and the new clock faces have been freshly painted and are now back on site waiting to be re-fitted once the stonework is complete. John and Gerry gamely braved the weather and went up the scaffolding to look at the stonework restoration and they also went up the clock tower from the inside to look at the new auto winding mechanism. They both enjoyed seeing the improvements the work has made.

Cumbria Clocks, the clock restoration company have been amazed by the condition of the College clock.  They commented on John and Gerry’s workmanship and ingenuity, that had included using items such as a chair caster, to keep the clock working for all these years.

The stone work should be completed by February (weather dependant) and then the clock faces will be refitted, the scaffolding will come down and the clock will once again be a focal point for the whole community to all enjoy.


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Mock Election Engages Pupils In The Democratic Process

As the country went to the polls on Thursday 12 December, pupils at Princethorpe College were learning about the process of democracy by participating in a mock election.

Politics and History Teacher Abi Adams explains, “Democracy is an important British value, and we wanted to educate College pupils on how people participate in the democratic process.  Social media and 24-hour access to news has made politics far more accessible for young people and across the world younger generations are engaging with issues that directly affect them, so appreciating the democratic process is important.  The UK national election affects all of our pupils and their families and not just those studying politics.”

Deputy Head - Academic, Dr Michael Reddish, introduced the mock election to pupils in a whole school assembly, he talked about the choices the country would be making and the challenge of voting for a manifesto versus a party leader figurehead.

Party manifestos were summarised, put on display across the school and discussed in form time. Politics students organised hustings. Voting took place in secret on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 December.  Each of the 49 Tutor Groups was an individual constituency reflecting the structure of the UK parliamentary system. Late on Tuesday afternoon Sixth Form Politics students counted the votes.

Turnout was fantastic with 92% of pupils engaging with the mock election and choosing to vote.  The results were announced in school on election day, and here at Princethorpe College the Conservative Party won taking a majority of 13 seats over the second placed Liberal Democrats.

Abi Adams continued, “We wanted to encourage and challenge our pupils to think for themselves and to move beyond preconceptions or prejudices and to consider the bigger picture. The mock election engaged young people with their democratic responsibilities and gave them an informed and unbiased introduction to the process of democracy. Some of our older Sixth Formers will be able to vote for the first time today and we hope this insight into the process has helped with their decision-making.”

Many thanks to the Sixth Formers and staff who helped to organise the mock election.

Success For Fisher At Feast Day House Singing Competition

This year, Friday 6 December was designated College Feast Day, a celebration involving the whole of the College community, marking the day, 8 December 1854, when the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart was founded. Feast Day allows the College to honour its important link with the MSCs.

In the afternoon the whole school came together in the Sports Hall to celebrate the anniversary.  The ceremony began with the presentation of the House and Winter Sports prizes allowing the whole school to recognise pupil progress and achievement. 

Then Director of Ethos, Kieran McCullough, reflected on the reasons why we observe the Feast Day.  He spoke about being part of a worldwide community and introduced pupils to Downlands College in Queensland, another MSC founded school which shares the same spirit and ethos as the College.

Then it was time for what has become an important school tradition, the hotly-contested House Singing Competition.  

In turn the Houses rose to their feet to perform their pieces. First were Austin House with a rousing rendition of I Want You Back. Benet came next with a lively rendition of Can't Take My Eyes Off You. Fisher House confidently belted out Build Me Up Buttercup and finally More enthusiastically sang Sweet Caroline.

The competition was judged by D Day Darling, Emily Jane Brooks, who was very impressed with the standard and the passion of the pupils and staff. She commented, “I really enjoyed the performances, it was a very difficult decision to make but in the end I decided that the winner should be Fisher House.”

Headmaster, Ed Hester said, "Thanks to Director of Ethos, Kieran McCullough, the Heads of House, the House Activities Co-ordinators and all the staff and pupils for wholeheartedly entering into the spirit of the day. This is an important annual event for the College, one that takes time to celebrate Princethorpe’s spirit of family."

Well done to all for their participation and enthusiasm.

To hear a compilation of the House songs please click here.

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Parents And Staff Decked The Doors With Boughs Of Holly

A very successful Christmas wreath making evening certainly decked the doors with boughs of holly as parents and staff jumped at the chance to get arty and crafty on Thursday 12 December.  Places on the evening were snapped up like hot mince pies, and the participants armed with secateurs beavered away with twigs, foliage and prickly holly to produce some cracking Christmas door decorations.

Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Anne Allen, was delighted with the whole event saying, “It was a great, well-supported evening. The Sixth Form Atrium was filled with wonderful smells of orange, cinnamon and pine and the finished wreaths were just amazing. Huge thanks to everyone who came.  We made over £1,000 towards the 2020 Malawi expedition."

If you would like to support the Classrooms for Malawi project please visit their fundraising page where you can find out more and donate via the link here  


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Chapel Christmas Tree A Testament To The Presence Of Love In The World

The Christmas tree in the College Chapel has been lovingly decorated with twinkling lights and hand-cut stars, each holding the name of a special someone.  

The College and Parish communities were invited to write the names of those who have touched their lives with love, and who have a special place in their hearts, on a star and each star has then individually been hung carefully on the tree.

The message of Christmas is one of love and the decorated Christmas tree in the College Chapel now symbolically represents that message. The many stars on the tree are a testament to the presence of love in the world – and the way in which, individually, all our lives have been enriched by love, what Christmas is really all about.

Our thanks go to Year 8 pupils Isaac Kirby, Jemima Teeton and Thomas Bucknell for their help preparing and hanging the stars.

2020 Green Team Calendar Now On Sale - Reminder

Following the success of previous countryside calendars, we are delighted that our pupils have been busy exploring our local environment once again and have produced yet another fantastic calendar.  

Stewart Dear, Geography Teacher comments, "The calendar is once again a true celebration of the wonderful scenery that we are so lucky to have on our doorstep here at Princethorpe College.  We have been overwhelmed by the beautiful images that our talented pupils and students have contributed this year and we hope you enjoy the calendar".

The calendar showcases the photography skills of pupils throughout the school from Year 7 to Upper Sixth, capturing a range of seasons and environments and will be a handy addition for any kitchen or office as it also includes the Foundation’s term dates.

The 2020 Calendar is just £5 and there are a limited number available so make sure you grab yours before the end of term. To purchase a copy, please visit the School Shop (from Thursday 5 December) or contact Stewart Dear at Alternatively copies of the calendar may be purchased on-line from Princethorpe Connect