Oxbridge Offers For High-Flying Princethorpe Sixth Formers

Four Princethorpe College Sixth Form students are thrilled to have received offers for places at Oxford and Cambridge University.

Deputy Head Girl, Lauren Mason, will be reading Natural Sciences at Selwyn College, Cambridge, Deputy Head Girl, Grace McGrory, will be reading Law at Pembroke College, Oxford, Deputy Head Boy, James Gallagher, will be reading Law at The Queen’s College, Oxford and former Deputy Head Girl, Hannah Porter, will be reading History at Trinity College, Oxford.

Oxbridge places are highly oversubscribed and increasingly competitive, so these talented students will have faced a tough selection process consisting of pre-tests, intensive scrutiny of their academic and personal achievements and rigorous interviews.

Their success is not achieved without a great deal of hard work from the students, as well as hours of dedicated support and encouragement from their teachers, parents and even former students, who have provided individual guidance and support over the past few months.

Princethorpe College Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie, commented, “These four students have earned this success. During their time at Princethorpe College they have applied themselves to their academic studies and to developing themselves as confident and mature young people. Applying to Oxbridge is an extremely rigorous and character-testing experience that seems to get tougher every year.  We were delighted to support them with their applications and are exceptionally proud of their achievement.”

We are very proud of these talented young people and of all our Upper Sixth students applying to study at University next year, the majority of whom have now received offers through the UCAS system.

College Careers Fair 2021 Is Shaping Up Nicely

Preparations for the College Virtual Careers Fair on the morning of Saturday 20 March are shaping up nicely.

Online registrations for the event, which is open to all pupils from Year 10 to Sixth Form, will open later in February.

A wide range of speakers and organisations will be on hand to offer advice and guidance on careers, universities and gap year options.  To date we have representatives from organisations as diverse as JLR to Nettitude and Aldi to Howkins Harrison giving presentations, alongside universities from across the country, such as Reading, Warwick, Leeds and Bristol.

There will be sessions on Accountancy, Architecture, Estate Agency and Chartered Surveying, the Armed Forces, Art and Film making, Computer Gaming and Cyber Security, Engineering and IT, Fashion, Retail, Business and Marketing, Medical, Law, Teaching, Entrepreneurship, Product Design, TV and Radio as well as the University Talks.

Comments, Jacqui Quinney, Head of Careers, "Attendees will be able to select three virtual workshops to attend over the course of the morning, following on from our Keynote Speaker, Dr Charlotte Cowie.  We are delighted with the breadth of careers we will have on offer, there promises to be a wealth of information and advice available."

An email will be sent to parents and pupils in Years 10 to Sixth Form with a link to the online registration page and information about all the speakers.

Science+ Campaign And Telethon Update

Parents will be pleased to know that we continue to develop our plans for the future of education at the College and the proposed new Science Centre.

In late 2019 we launched our Science+ Campaign to raise funds towards our proposed state-of-the-art Science Centre offering Princethorpe parents their chance to make their mark on Princethorpe’s future. With a varied “Menu of Giving” which includes opportunities from sponsoring an element on our giant periodic table, to engraving your family’s name on a granite paver, there are options to suit everyone.

Our Science+ Campaign information is available to read here and it lays out all the information you need to know about the new, state-of-the-art, ten-laboratory Science Centre, our fundraising objectives and how Princethorpe parents can get involved.

Whilst the pandemic has inevitably delayed our plans slightly, we are hopeful that the project will proceed with a view to opening the doors to the new Science Centre in 2023, but we still need lots of support from the Princethorpe community.

In April we are enlisting the help of an enthusiastic team of recent Old Princethorpians to embark upon our first ever telephone fundraising campaign. Our professionally trained call team will be speaking to thousands of people across the school community from current parents to former students to help us with our fundraising.

Everyone we will be calling will receive a pre-call communication with the chance to opt-out of receiving a call, so this is not ‘cold calling’.

Also, if you have a son or daughter that has left the College within the last five years, they may be interested in applying for one of the remote calling roles. With competitive rates of pay and full training, these professional fundraising roles will be undertaken remotely from home or student accommodation.

They will need to be available from 6 – 20 April (Easter holidays for most universities). Training will take place on 6 – 7 April 9.00am – 4.00pm. Weekday calling is in the evenings, Saturday calling is during the day, Sunday calling is afternoon into evening. There will also be two full days off during the duration of the campaign.  Full details and how to apply are here

Development Director


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An Assembly With Fisher's Furry Friends

When Louisa Fielding, Head of Fisher House, invited pupils to bring their pets to assembly this week, the result was beyond expectations with a whole variety of furry (and not so furry) friends joining in the fun. Lockdown has been difficult and while we have adapted and adjusted to remote learning, the lack of interaction has been a challenge for us all.

Noticeably many more cameras were on and gazing around there were huge smiles everywhere and an awful lot of animals. Princethorpe’s pupils and staff clearly appreciate their pets with dogs, cats, fish, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs all logging on.

After all the introductions the assembly kicked off with Mrs Fielding talking about the many benefits of owning a pet; how they can help you stay fit, reduce loneliness and stress levels, help you make friends, teach responsibility and empathy and just what amazing companions they can be. We were introduced to many staff pets and there was a special mention for everyone’s favourite, Peanut, Matron’s therapy dog. Mrs Fielding finished the assembly with a prayer from the patron saint of pets St Francis of Assisi.

Fisher’s assembly was the first but not likely to be the last to include pets. It broke down barriers and built engagement and provided lots of lovely interaction for us all.

College Stars To Perform A Super Virtual Spectacle of Jesus Christ Superstar

Every year the Performing Arts team at Princethorpe College works tirelessly to stage a superb musical production. Who can forget the success of We Will Rock You, Little Shop of Horrors and Arabian Nights to name just a few of the fabulous productions they have staged in recent years?

First trailed back in February last year, there was great excitement amongst pupils that the 2021 show was to be the fantastic 1970s rock opera hit, Jesus Christ Superstar. Originally due to be staged this week, Directors, Jess Newborough and Gil Cowlishaw have just announced that this year’s College production is to be a world first, a completely virtual production. In agreement with the rights holders the College is recording individual virtual performances that will be edited together to produce a show. If all goes to plan, the ‘show week’ will be from Thursday 1 to Thursday 8 April 2021, with tickets being sold to stream the show as often as you like during the week.  Due to the strict copyright laws, the production will then be taken down, never to be seen again!

It promises to be highly entertaining, featuring a number of classic rock musical numbers including Gethsemane, I Don’t Know How To Love Him, Everything’s Alright and of course the powerful anthem Superstar.

The cast, many of whom have developed as performers in the annual musical productions over the last five years include Kyran Vaughan as Jesus, Megan Shipton as Mary Magdalene, Robyn Field as Judas, James Maclean as Pontius Pilate, Greg Burford as Caiaphas, Mary Lomas as Annas, Chloe O'Carroll-Bailey as Peter, Charlotte Fitzpatrick as Simon Zealotes, Roualeyn Alford as King Herod and Toby Convey, Elsie Kelley and Ignash Librowski as the High Priests with another 15 pupils involved in the chorus and dance routines.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a particularly challenging show as it is completely ‘through-sung’, meaning that there is no dialogue between the songs.  Pupils have done an incredible job of learning their parts, and Keira MacRae has led weekly dance rehearsals on Zoom to teach the team the choreography she has devised.

Gil Cowlishaw, Director of Music, explains, “In ‘normal’ times, we would have never been allowed the opportunity to make a movie musical. In January, when the school’s closed again the easy thing to do would have been to admit defeat but that is not how we do things at Princethorpe. The Music Department has proved that virtual performances can work, with enough hard work from all involved, so we decided to make plans for an entirely virtual production of the show.  We were given permission from the rights holders, who confirmed that this has never been attempted before, and then checked that the cast were still up for it and of course unanimously, they were.”

It is sure to be super spectacle, so watch out for details of how to get tickets to the show. In the meantime good luck to everyone involved as you record your performances.

College Entrance Examinations Successfully Go Virtual

Feedback on Princethorpe’s virtual entrance exams has been incredibly positive with the overwhelming majority of prospective parents commenting on how well the session went. Despite the last-minute change to online assessments due to the national lockdown the ‘virtual’ Entrance Examinations ran very smoothly.

Saturday 23 January dawned bright and cold and with just the Admissions, Marketing and IT staff on site, the College was quiet and still, a stark contrast to the usual excited hustle and bustle of a traditional Entrance Examinations day. The proceedings were kicked off by Ed Hester, Headmaster, who spoke inspiringly to the registered pupils and their parents live online before the tests began. The children sat three 45-minute papers in English Comprehension, Maths and Free Writing, submitting their answers electronically at the end of each session. Off-site also working from home, the English and Maths departments were quick to begin assessing the submissions with the waiting staff teams working through the weekend to complete the process.

Apart from the exams being online, the College has kept the admissions process in-line with its normal procedures as far as possible. Along with the results of the exams, the Admissions Panel also considered candidates’ detailed references from their current school before making a decision. The results will be published as scheduled on Thursday 11 February 2021.

Melanie Butler, Assistant Head, Marketing and Admissions, commented, “Parental feedback on the virtual exams has been incredibly positive. In the circumstances we had no choice but to run the examinations online, for us, as always, it was most important that the children should have as positive an experience as possible. Happily the feedback on the day speaks for itself.”

Comments from parents included:

‘A great example of how a test can be run online without all the stress. Well done’

‘Thank you for making this a stress-free exercise for the children.’

‘Very well done in the most challenging of circumstances.’

‘It was really reassuring to see how organised the whole process was.’

‘Thank you for making this morning as easy and straight forward as you did.’

‘Thank you, the whole process was made very easy for all involved.’

‘A big well done to everyone that made this morning run so smoothly.’

‘To everyone involved well done and thank you.’

Melanie Butler, continued, “Huge thanks to all the staff who worked so hard to prepare for and deliver such a successful Entrance Examinations day.”

PTA Burns Night Quiz Was A Winner For All

Last Friday 29 January the College PTA hosted a super Scottish themed extravaganza in aid of Mary’s Meals, a charity close to Princethorpe’s heart. The virtual quiz celebrated Burns Night and proved to be a fabulous evening of fun.

Featuring Rabbie Burns’ renowned poetry, with a rendition of the great bard’s Address To A Haggis, it included six rounds of 10 questions each, with topics such as Geography, Music, Sport, Celebrities, Landmarks and General Knowledge all with a Scottish slant.

The quiz was free, but families were asked to donate to Mary’s Meals and the evening included a short insight into Princethorpe’s fundraising for the school feeding programme at Makalanga School in Malawi.

The evening was excellent lockdown entertainment. It was great to see everyone having such a good time and to receive lots of positive feedback including ‘Fabulous quiz night’, ‘Amazing Burns Night Quiz’ and ‘Thanks for a lovely evening’.

The real winners though, thanks to everyone’s amazing generosity, were the children at Makalanga School with donations to the PTA Quiz and to the half-marathon weekend runners, Rod Isaacs, Ben Collie, Jen Law and Rod’s good friend Michael Koch, totalling £2359.17.  A figure that benefits from the Government’s pledge to match funding, doubling the donations to an outstanding £4718.34 for this deserving cause.

Huge thanks to all who took part and all who donated to Mary’s Meals.

More information available here: Princthorpe4Makalanga

Home School Bistro - Cook Along Videos From Holroyd Howe

Our fantastic school caterers, Holroyd Howe, have introduced a series of cook-along videos - Home School Bistro - that are available from their Holroyd Howe YouTube channel!

Holroyd Howe Youtube Channel

Between now and half term, Dan Collier their Head of Food Development and his daughters, Lauren and Eva, will bring a savoury and sweet recipe to life each week from the Home School Bistro recipe pack.

Home School Bistro Pack

All put together on a step by step basis for pupils and parents to watch and cook-along!

We must admit it looks fantastic so why not give it a go.