Message From The Headmaster

As we move into the Bank Holiday weekend, I thought I would share a couple of my favourite pictures from VE Day, 8 May 1945. You can sense the immense relief on the faces of the Royal Family with our Queen on the left and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the middle, as they wave to the crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace. On the second photograph, the joy is palpable as people took to the streets to celebrate the end of the fighting in Europe.

Of course, we all know how the War ended now, but at the time nobody knew what the outcome would be. For at least the first three years it looked very likely that Britain would lose and many people lived in fear not only of the bombs but of an invasion by the German forces. My parents were born during the war and I am sure that many of your parents and grandparents would have remembered those very dark days.

We are living in times when we are seeing daily death tolls read out by our government; during the Second World War the exact number who died is unknown, but it is estimated to be between 70-85 million people. Many of those who died were civilians who were caught up in the bombing or fighting in their countries. In Britain the number killed is estimated to be around 450,000 – just less than 1% of the population. Some countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, were much more badly affected with between 10-15% of the populations being killed.

This week, and particularly on Friday when we are on holiday, it is good for us to remember those brave men and women who fought for our country and earned the Victory in Europe. Let us also remember all those, particularly those who are Princethorpe families, who continue to put their lives at risk for us all – including the incredibly brave NHS workers and those behind the scenes who are working tirelessly to help save and support others.

Home Learning

Continued thanks for all you are doing to support us with this. In response to the most recent questionnaire we have produced a Q and A sheet which you can find here. The key thing to remember is that if you or your children need help please ask.

We appreciate that this new way of learning has been a challenge for everyone, and some pupils may need some extra support in working through the assignments, so we are introducing a new 'study support' system to help pupils manage their online learning.  If you feel you would like to discuss your child's learning with a member of our Learning Support Team please email, who will arrange for either Mrs Sharpe, Ms Prestage or Mrs Hinks to call you.

Very best wishes for the extended weekend, I hope you are able to get some quality off-line time and enjoy the good weather with your families.

Ed Hester

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International Cricketer Ben Stokes Presents Prestigious Winter Sports Prizes

Princethorpe College’s Virtual Winter Sports Awards took place on Thursday 30 April. It was an opportunity to recognise the achievements of the College’s young sportsmen and sportswomen at all levels and across all sports.

Host for the event was Assistant Head Co-curricular, Neil McCollin, who led the special virtual celebration of this season’s sporting endeavours, and the event included a special guest appearance by a sporting global superstar, English international cricketer and current vice-captain of the England Test team, Ben Stokes.

Ben kindly agreed to be involved as he is a childhood friend of Head of Boys's Games, Mike Turns.

The award ceremony began with a summary of the performances of the College’s sports team. Coaches reflected on the past season and for each team awards were announced recognising endeavour, progress, coach's player and most valuable player. The wide range of sports and the sheer numbers of pupils involved, a testament to the importance of sport to life at the College.

Mr McCollin then went on to announce the teams of the season for which there were many contenders. Reflecting on the team’s success, the numbers of fixtures played and the opponents faced, the Girls Sports Team Of The Year was awarded to the U15 Hockey team. For the Boys Sports Team Of The Year, after considering the strength of the opposition and the fixture lists the award went to the U13A Rugby team.

A number of pupils were awarded prestigious full colours recognising their commitment and dedication to sport both on and off the field. They included Emelia Tubb, Maddie Glasspool, Jack Bent, Sam Armstrong, Will Basford, Issy Smith, Caitlin Parris, Lucy Gribben, Oli Thomas, Henry King, Will Cooper-Harris, Tom Crowfoot, Will Crowfoot, James Crabtree, Fionn McCormack, Thomas Parker and Oscar Phillips.

Then it was the turn of our special guest speaker, Ben Stokes, who began by reflecting on the importance of sport and the role it plays in the lives of young people. Ben was delighted to announce the individual sports prizes congratulating each of the winners, they included:

Junior Sports Girl Of The Year – Alice Whittaker
Junior Sports Boy Of The Year – Jamie Smith
Senior Sports Girl Of The Year – Lucy Gribben
Senior Sports Boy Of The Year – Freddie Draper
Sixth Form Sports Girl Of The Year – Izzy Smith
Sixth Form Sports Boy Of The Year – James Crabtree

Ben finished by saying, “Congratulations to all of the winners, a fantastic effort from everybody.”

All in all it has been another very successful season for the College with plenty to celebrate, albeit in a virtual way.

Lauren Shares The Results Of The Combating COVID-19 Junior Academy Challenge

Princethorpe STEAM Ambassador and Deputy Head Girl, Lauren Mason, has been taking part in a ‘Combating COVID-19’ Junior Academy Challenge for the New York Academy of Sciences.

Lauren has been a member of the Junior Academy for the last few years and represented the UK in an international team working on the Covid challenge. Together they undertook primary research collecting data for analysis on a range of different factors associated with living in a country affected by the virus. Several weeks ago Lauren asked the Princethorpe community to support her research by taking part in the survey.

Lauren says, "The Junior Academy challenge is now finished so I can share the results. Our final presentation can be found here. You will see that it includes the survey results and the analysis, which the Princethorpe community so kindly contributed to. Anyone who wants to view the full survey analysis can find it here."

She continues, "I would just like to say thanks again to the Princethorpe community for completing the survey for us. I really enjoyed participating in this challenge as it has provided a focus for me outside of schoolwork. It has been interesting to network internationally and see how different cultures are coping with the pandemic." 

The survey makes very interesting reading. A big thank you to all those who supported Lauren by taking part.

Applications are now open for the Junior Academy for young people (aged 13-17).  Anyone who is interested in following in Lauren's footsteps can find out more about the New York Academy Of Science's Junior Academy either by emailing Lauren or by sending her a message on Teams.  They can also find out more on the Academy's website here


Foundation Marks The Anniversary Of VE Day

This Friday will mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe.

At 3.00pm on 8 May 1945, the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, made a radio speech to tell Britain that the war was over. Across the nation all rejoiced and men, women and children took part in parades and parties, dressed in red, white and blue, lighted celebratory fires and rang church bells.

There are plenty of celebrations planned to mark this anniversary with all encouraged to celebrate VE Day with a Stay At Home Party and the Foundation schools’ have been preparing to mark the event in their own small ways.

First of all, here at the College we are virtually flying the Union Jack! We may not be able to physically wind our way up the Tower stairs to hoist the Flag, but we are reposting a picture of the flag atop the Tower across all our social media.

Then, College pupils are enjoying a special VE Day House Challenge. House Activities Leader, Jess Newborough, has asked pupils to celebrate VE Day by creating their own British flag. Flags can be created in any form - the only rule is that they cannot simply be drawn or painted.

At Crackley Hall pupils took part in a special VE Day Assembly where Deputy Head, Duncan Cottrill reflected on the Second World War and Victory in Europe Day.

Then at the Crescent School the children spent Thursday 7 May off timetable, taking part in a special VE Day of lessons. Headmaster, Joe Thackway kicked off proceedings with a VE Day Assembly and the children then enjoyed a host of different activities that included delights such as: creating invitations to a VE party in 1945, making bunting, learning morse code and code breaking, wartime songs and dances, designing commemorative tea cups and creating war medals to name just a few.

The Princethorpe Foundation hopes you all enjoy the weekend of celebrations, and alongside all in our country, we give thanks to all those who gave so much to secure the peace, freedom and prosperity our society enjoys today.

Your House Needs You For The Weekly Challenge

We have seen a super response to House Activities Leader, Jess Newborough's weekly House Challenges.  With pupils and staff enthusiastically getting involved. It is great way to earn some House points and to give your House a head start in the race to win this year's House Cup.  Remember every point is important and picking up on the Bank Holiday wartime theme - your House needs you - so pupils are really encouraged to get involved. 

The first challenge was titled - Be more like Bill! Pupils had to produce a dedication to Warwickshire's most famous son, William Shakespeare. They could create, write or design anything that was an ode to the famous bard and we received some incredibly creative entries. Congratulations to the winners:

Austin - Charlotte Fitzpatrick, Benet - Amelie Friess and Robyn Field, Fisher - Corin Alford and Raphi Kane, More - Madoc Williams and Ed Twyman

In terms of housepoints the results were:
1st Benet 160 points
2nd More 110 points
3rd Fisher 100 points
4th Austin 35 points

Challenge 2 was to reflect on and thank our frontline NHS staff in a creative way. Each pupil was allocated a word to depict maybe as a poster, a knitted or baked version of the word or any other inventive way. Tutor groups then merged the words into wonderful messages to acknowledge the hard work being undertaken by our health workers.

The winners of the NHS Challenge were:

Austin C6AA The Most Cheerful
Austin AEG The Most Creative
More MEC The Most Colourful

In terms of housepoints the results were:
Joint 1st Austin and More 120 points each
3rd Benet 80 points
4th Fisher 40 points

This week's challenge picks up on the VE day anniversary. For Challenge 3 pupils have been asked to celebrate VE Day by creating their own British flag. They can create their flag in any form - the only rule is that they cannot simply draw/paint the flag.  We are already seeing some wonderful entries and pupils have until 4.00pm on Monday to submit their Flag.

A huge thank you to House Activities Leader, Jess Newborough and her wonderful House Activities Co-ordinators and House Captains who are all working so hard to keep our spirits up the weekly House Challenges.  We hope pupils are enjoying taking part just as much as we are enjoying seeing all their superb entries.




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Kerry Low Publishes Destination Dream Job Journal

Kerry Low, one of the College’s Careers Team, has produced a new Careers handbook that offers us all the chance to make the most of her 20 years in the careers business. Her Destination Dream Job Journal is really a careers adviser in a book with all of the activities, guidance and advice you need to help you work out what it is you really want to do. Aimed at everybody from ages 14 to 65 and beyond, the journal is designed to help you plan your next career move.

Kerry works as a Careers Adviser for Princethorpe College and for Warwickshire County Council. In both organisations, she works with young people helping them appreciate their own unique skills and identify the careers that are right for them. She also runs her own Careers Advice business, Kerry Low and Associates, that offers support and advice for anyone looking to develop their career.

Kerry says, “60% of people don’t like their work and 1/3 of us actually hate our jobs. Many have just fallen into careers. I believe everyone has the right to be happy in their job, we all work for the majority of our lives and enjoying your work is important for your mental health. However, taking that first step towards a new career can be daunting whatever age you are.”

"I have been in the business a long time and had never come across a good careers handbook that helps guide people to the right career. The Destination Dream Job Journal is really just me in a nutshell helping you to work out what it is you want to do.”

Kerry crowd funded the production of the journal and is delighted to see it finally produced.

Commenting on the Destination Dream Job Journal, Steve Stewart OBE, CEO Careers England, said, "Congratulations Kerry on producing a careers adviser in a book. It's a simple, engaging and easy to use journal that is full of useful information mixed with the new psychological discoveries that are helping people really tap into their potential. I know it will make a difference to the lives of so many people. Well done!”

Of course, pupils here at the College work closely with both Kerry and Princethorpe’s Head of Careers, Jacqui Quinney. Together they provide a comprehensive careers service, encouraging and supporting pupils as they develop their career plans. However, Kerry’s new journal is fantastic news for the wider world.

More information is available from her Twitter and in her blog here.


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April Was #Archive30 Month

Over the last month the College’s Archivist, Janette Ratcliffe, has brightened all our days with insights and reflections from the Foundation Archives. She has been taking part in #Archive30, a month-long Twitter campaign promoted by Explore Your Archive that invites archivists to showcase their collections, highlighting some of the many wonderful material that are safely stored away.

Janette preserves and promotes the collections for the Foundation’s three current schools and four legacy schools. The catalogue is online at and new material is added regularly. Often it is donated by past pupils, just recently the College received a set of beautiful drawings from an old St Mary's Pupil, Janet Haynes (nee Campion).

Amongst Janette’s most favourite items in the archives are the school magazines. With old editions of Peeps, Peepers Pie, The Tower and the more modern-day Circular, they are such a wealth of information. Whilst her most unusual item is a nun doll, part of the St Mary's Priory collection, there is no information about how the doll ended up at Princethorpe.

Janette loves to share the information; she takes part in outreach activities and enjoys producing displays for celebrations and open days. Her work is diverse and includes accessioning, cataloguing, repackaging collections, monitoring the environment, outreach, enquiries and removing *millions* of sharp staples.

Her month of #Archive30 tweets have been fascinating. For example, we found out that the authors of a 1989 Princethorpe article 'Double O Darkes' were sure they had discovered something important about Princethorpe College legend, Alex Darkes's secret identity. He certainly does look suave and sophisticated in the accompanying photo! Then while spending more time at home, we were encouraged to try a recipe from the 1962 Peeps magazine. Felicity from Form Vb did make the ingredients flexible, something essential for the current lockdown, but there might be a link between that and her forceful warning at the end! We even found out about the Fashion 2K spectacular that both pupils and teachers, perhaps unwisely, took part in.

The #Archive30 posts using the #SomethingScary hastag were particularly prolific. Starting with a ghost story recorded by teacher Peter Rex, “During the 1970s staff were frequently besieged by nervous 'first years' because they had seen the mysterious figure of the 'Half Nun' parading the corridors." And with plenty of #SomethingScary poems from the school magazines across the years.

All in all, it has been a lot of fun and we know Janette can’t wait to get back to Princethorpe to continue her work.

If you would like to explore the archives then please visit

Or you can follow Janette’s Twitter feed @PFdn_Archives to enjoy her regular updates on the Foundation’s history.

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Michael Luis Mobilised For Operation RESCRIPT

Princethorpe College Estates Assistant Michael Luis is one many Reservists who has been mobilised under Operation RESCRIPT to support the Government’s response to COVID-19. Reservists with specialist skills and experience have been helping to deliver a range of activities, such as providing additional medical and logistical support for the NHS, acting as liaison officers and deploying specialist skills such as engineering and accounting.

Michael was part of the second tranche of reservists to be called upon and he has been responding to requests for assistance from public services and civilian authorities, working at Centres run by the Army and in logistics.

Recognising their role in supporting the crisis, Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said, “Our Reservists are a truly remarkable group of people; each with their own skills and experience from their civilian careers beyond the armed forces. At times like these, to be able to draw on that pool of talent and expertise is invaluable.”

We are very proud of Michael and the work he is doing to support our country as it navigates its way through the COVID-19 crisis.