Year 11 And Upper Sixth Mocks - Update And Reminder

Last year we introduced a further significant improvement to the assessment system at Princethorpe: the addition of a second set of formal mocks for our Upper Sixth students. This followed the successful introduction of additional mocks for our Year 11 pupils in previous years. The Year 11 mocks will continue in this model in the weeks commencing 4 January and 22 February.

For the Upper Sixth, the first set of mocks in the week commencing 4 January will be over three days (5 - 7 January inclusive) to best balance assessment time and curriculum coverage. The second set of mocks will be over seven days (22 February - 2 March inclusive) to allow for more papers and the most realistic examination experience.

For Year 11, the first set of mocks in the week commencing 4 January will be over 5 days (5 - 11 January inclusive). The second set of mocks will, again, be over five days (22 - 26 February inclusive) to allow further examination experience.

This will give Year 11 pupils and Upper Sixth students two opportunities to really test themselves and learn from their successes and difficulties, supported by their teachers, before sitting the real exams in the summer. It will also allow us to spread out the exams for the Upper Sixth to ease the strain on the students as well as give them that bit more experience of what it is like to work in proper examination conditions. We hope this will be another important step in giving our pupils the best possible support for academic success.

Please note that Year 11 will be allowed to revise using their laptops during revision sessons and in between exams. 

Disturbance must be kept to an absolute minimum so the laptops must be on mute and notes should be made on paper rather than typed.  There will not be a facility to charge the laptops so they should be brought fully charged and paper backups should be accessible.

We understand that this will be a busy Christmas preparing for the mocks but I hope that the pupils are able to get a good rest and spend some lovely time with their families.

Dr Michael Reddish
Deputy Head - Academic

The Psychological Benefits Of Mock Exams

As Christmas is nearly here, the Year 11 pupils and Upper Sixth students will be preparing for their mock exams in January. Whilst this is a difficult time to revise, the rationale from educational researchers shows the immense benefits from mock exams.

Click here for five reasons why our youngsters should be grateful for mock exams; although they probably aren’t feeling that appreciative at the moment. 


GCSEPod - Reminder

In advance of the mock exams in January, I would like to remind parents that the College subscribes to GCSEPod, an online content and revision provider to support GCSE revision. GCSEPod can support the effort, systems and practice elements of the VESPA model, providing tailored content to help your child revise.

As a subscriber, your child has access to GCSEPod’s library of over 6,000 ‘Pods,’ 3-5 minute videos designed to deliver knowledge in short bursts. GCSEPod makes learning and revision much more manageable: every Pod is mapped to an exam board and contains all the right facts, quotes, keywords, dates and annotated diagrams that your child needs for GCSE success – all neatly organised into topics and exam playlists.  Watch this short video for a quick introduction.

One of the best things about GCSEPod is that your child can download any Pod to their mobile device, and then they can watch them at any time, in any place, with or without internet. It’s like they’re carrying a whole set of textbooks in their pocket. Make sure they download the GCSEPod app from the App Store (Apple and Android are supported) to access this feature.

For more ways to support your child using GCSEPod, please visit where you’ll find lots more information and resources.

Your child has already been registered with GCSEPod, so all they need to do is activate their account by following the instructions below; if they haven’t already go to and click “Login” in the top right-hand corner

1)      Click “New here?  Get started.”

2)      Select “Student”

3)      Enter their name, date of birth and the school name.

4)      Create a username, password, and a password hint to help them remember the password.

If you child has already activated their account they can login using the ‘Sign in with Office365’ button, using their Princethorpe email address and password.

If you have any questions regarding GCSEPod please don’t hesitate to contact me at

Andy Compton
Assistant Head - Director of Digital Strategy

Bookbuzz 2020 - Reminder

Bookbuzz 2020 is here.  Last year, this BookTrust scheme was hugely beneficial in encouraging independent reading among Year 7 pupils, and this year the College is delighted to fund participation for both Year 7 and Year 8.  All pupils in these year groups chose their book from a list of exciting new titles earlier this term, and the books have arrived this week.  Apparently, some pupils have already finished reading theirs. 

In the new year, when all pupils have read their books, we will be running a programme of activities and ‘book club’ discussions in order to maintain momentum in enjoying and talking about books.  In the meantime, pupils can join in conversations on the Bookbuzz Team – either on the main chat page or on the dedicated channel for their chosen title.

We know that independent reading is crucial for pupils’ cross-curricular learning, emotional development, and academic outcomes; reading for pleasure is one of the key predictors of examination success.  When a child finds the right book, it is also deeply enjoyable and rewarding.  In this strangest of years, when we are spending more time at home, reading can also help us travel, imagine, and explore (all from the comfort of the sofa).

Some popular Bookbuzz choices this year include:

Crater Lake, by Jennifer Killick

Crater Lake is a fast-paced, high action read full of suspense, scares, twists and turns. Alongside the action, there’s witty dialogue and a strong message about staying loyal to your friends and how to stand up for yourself against bullies, whether they’re mean kids, monstrous teachers – or even body-snatching aliens. Immensely enjoyable; light and dark perfectly balanced.

The Haven, by Simon Lelic

A well-layered action thriller, this is perfect for readers who enjoy a tense story packed with life-threatening danger. A number of different threads run through it that the author very cleverly pulls together in the dramatic finale.

A Darkness of Dragons, by S A Patrick

With a classic adventure feel, this is a great book for anyone who loves epic quests and magical worlds to get lost in. There are dragon secrets, powerful sorcerers, magical stones, tricksy prophecies and an outlawed song that holds terrible power. A true roller-coaster ride of a book.

Click here to watch a short video of pupils talking about the books that they chose.  

Happy reading!


Christmas Holiday Homework Expectations - Reminder

Please find below details regarding homework expectations over Christmas. Whilst homework is of course vital, especially for those taking external exams this coming summer, Christmas is a very important family time and it follows a long and demanding term. All pupils should make sure to include at least three days of total rest and family time.

Years 7, 8 and 9

1.  No formal homework will be set for the holiday (although some pupils may have to complete homework set for the last week of the half term).
2.  Pupils will be expected to catch up on any missed or incomplete work and sort any files or folders. 

Year 10

1.  Homework may be set for all subjects.
2.  Pupils will be expected to catch up on any missed or incomplete work and sort any files or folders. 

Year 11

1.  Pupils should be revising for their mocks beginning Tuesday 5 January. This should include revision work as indicated by subject teachers and areas of revision that pupils have identified for themselves.  Pupils should aim for at least four hours’ productive work per day.
2.  Pupils will also be expected to catch up on any missed or incomplete work and sort any files or folders.  

Sixth Form - Lower Sixth

1.  Homework may be set for all subjects. Students should aim for at least four hours’ productive work per day.
2.  Students will be expected to catch up on any missed or incomplete work and sort any files or folders. 

Sixth Form - Upper Sixth

1.  Students should be revising for their mocks beginning Tuesday 5 January. This should include revision work as indicated by subject teachers and areas of revision that pupils have identified for themselves.  Students should aim for at least four hours’ productive work per day.
2.  Students will also be expected to catch up on any missed or incomplete work and sort any files or folders.  
3.  Review of examination papers and completion of corrections as directed by subject teachers.

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and successful 2021.

Dr Liz Pyne
Assistant Head – Teaching and Learning


Years 11 Progress Reports

Progress Reports for Year 11 will be published on Friday 22 January 2021 and will be available to view on My School Portal.  

Dr Michael Reddish
Deputy Head - Academic 

Year 11 Parents’ Evening

Tuesday 26 January 2021 - 6.00pm to 8.30pm

The Year 11 Parents’ Evening will take place on Tuesday 26 January 2021 from 6.00pm to 8.30pm. It will be hosted virtually through of a series of Microsoft Teams meetings with your child's teachers. Meetings will be booked online in five-minute slots. Further details will follow on how to book the appointments.

Please be aware that for subjects where teachers teach more than one set, teachers may be in contact with you via email before the Parents’ Evening to update you as to your child's progress as there will be more pupils than available meetings.

You can find a list of your child's teachers under Teacher Contacts on MySchoolPortal.

Dr Michael Reddish
Deputy Head - Academic


Examinations And Assessments

Exams January 2021

A small number of pupils in Year 11, Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth are involved in external exams in January, the timetable is attached here.

Reports and Assessments January 2021

The following reports will be published in January 2021

22 January - Year 11 Mock Report

29 January - Upper Sixth Mock Report

29 January - Year 9 Progress Report

Exam Timetable for Summer 2021

Please click here to see all the exams for Princethorpe College. Year 11 exams begin on 20 May 2021 and end on 2 July 2021, A-level exams begin on 7 June and end on 28 June 2021.

Exam entries are made to the board in the new year and individual pupil timetables will be provided after the entries have been confirmed.

Ofqual have published some more information about the exam season in Summer 2021. The full item can be read by clicking here.

Some key points are:

If a pupil misses all GCSE or A-level assessments in a subject due to sickness related to coronavirus (COVID-19), or the need to self-isolate and is unable to access the special consideration process, they will be eligible to sit a single contingency paper. This will take place between 28 June to 16 July 2021 and timetabled to allow at least a 10-day gap after each subject’s final paper in the main series.

In the event that a pupil misses all of their GCSE or A-level papers in a subject during both the summer series and the contingency series, with legitimate reason, and does not have the required non-examined assessed elements required to access the special considerations process, a validated teacher assessment may be used to award a grade.

Pupils taking a vocational or technical qualification or other general qualification will also be able to have their qualification awarded where they have not been able to take all the assessment needed.

Further information will be published by Ofqual before the end of January 2021.

Results Days

These are:

  • Tuesday 24 August 2021 for A-levels
  • Friday 27 August 2021 for GCSEs

Subject Specifications

Pupils wishing to buy revision booklets or revise online may need to know the exam board and exact exam specification for each subject they are studying.

The A-level subject specifications for next summer (2021) are available to view here.

Subject specifications for Lower School for next summer (2021), including GCSEs, are available here.

Shellagh Dodds
Examination and Assessment Manager