We are into December already and here at Princethorpe the countdown to Christmas has begun. The decorations are up in the Quad and it looks just magical with the lights twinkling against the backdrop of the Chapel.

Next Tuesday we will celebrate Feast Day marking the day in 1854 that the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (the founders of the College) were established and then on the final day of term, Tuesday 15 December, we will finish with a flurry of suitably socially distanced seasonal fun.

Watch out for the next edition of the Flagpole on Friday 18 December.

Click here to email The Flagpole.


Headmaster's Message

Letter From The Headmaster

As we approach the last full week of term, the news of the vaccine gives us real hope that the current restrictions which have had such an effect on all our lives could begin to lift, albeit gradually, in the New Year.

Health and Safety over the holidays

As you will be aware, we have had a number of confirmed COVID cases within the school community this term. The vast majority have not led to pupils being required to self-isolate due to parents being very sensible and observant. The national lockdown seems to have had the desired effect across the country in reducing cases and that has also been evident at Princethorpe.

Clearly, the brief spell over the Christmas holidays allowing some family members outside of the normal 'bubble' to visit will be very welcome, but it will also cause some additional stresses to families who will not all be able to get together as normal. It will also, undoubtedly, bring more families into contact with the virus and this could result in a spike in the number of cases we see in our community.

Please do continue to keep up the great work you are doing here. If you do have a confirmed case within your family at any stage during the holidays, we ask that you do contact us directly by emailing bethsharpe@princethorpe.co.uk to update us.

It is so critical that we all continue to be vigilant and do not send pupils back to school in January if they are unwell or have any symptoms of the virus.

GCSE and A-level Exams – new government guidance

As well as getting a good balance of rest and recharging their batteries, our Year 11s and Upper Sixth students, will need to spend some time preparing for their mocks which start immediately after the holidays. Parents are welcome to watch my recent assembly to Year 11 pupils which goes into much more detail on this.

In addition to the encouraging news on the imminent arrival of a vaccine we also had good news from the DfE yesterday in their Guidance to Support the Summer 2021 Exams. Whilst we await further detail, the fact that they will be giving us a good steer on the topics which will be examined in the real exams in summer, means that our pupils will be exceptionally well prepared and it should take some of the burden away from the students over the term ahead.

It is worth noting that they are also proposing to extend the contingency period in the event of pupils missing their summer exams due to illness until Friday 16 July. If you are making plans for the summer holidays it is worth bearing this in mind.

If any pupil in Year 11 or Upper Sixth is unwell, they must not come in to sit their mocks and risk the health of others. We will make additional arrangements for them to sit once they are better.

Dr Michael Reddish to take on new role at Harrow Bangkok

We congratulate Dr Michael Reddish, our Deputy Head (Academic), who has been appointed to the role of Principal Deputy at Harrow Bangkok from September 2021.

Michael has been a key member of our Senior Leadership Team for the past four years and has helped the College make important strides forward. This appointment is very well deserved and we congratulate and wish him and his family all the very best with this new role and the move to Thailand. The recruitment process for Michael’s successor is already underway.

And finally…

There is no doubt that it has been a tough term but I continue to be both amazed and proud of how well all members of the community continue to help and support each other. Thank you for all you do to support us.

Ed Hester


Internal Sixth Form Scholarship Process For September 2021

Following on from the Year 11 Academic Reviews, we would like to remind Year 11 pupils and parents of the Sixth Form Scholarship process for September 2021 for internal candidates.

All of our Year 11s are able to apply for Sixth Form Scholarships - Academic, Art, Music, Drama and Sport. To do so they must complete a Sixth Form Scholarship Application Form and write a 'personal statement' outlining their achievements to date and why they feel they would make an excellent candidate for the scholarship (maximum 500 words).

Those pupils who currently have a scholarship, will normally retain their award for Sixth Form, but must also complete a Sixth Form Scholarship Application Form to re-apply for the scholarship.

The deadline for this application is Monday 1 February 2021. Applications should be marked for the attention of the Registrar, Mrs Vanessa Rooney.

Depending on the scholarship, prospective award holders may be interviewed and/or take part in a scholarship assessment in March.

Details of any awards will be confirmed when the Sixth Form Offer letters are sent out in writing during week commencing Monday 22 March 2021. Some awards may be dependent on final GCSE grades.

The criteria for each of the scholarships can be found on our website here. It is essential that pupils and parents look through this in detail before making an application. Sixth Form Application Forms for current award holders can be found here, and for new applicants can be found here.

We hope that this will be another motivational factor for our Year 11s as they focus on their studies and revision in the build up to the exam season.

Entrance Examinations Deadline Day Has Arrived

Today (Friday 4 December) is the deadline day for registrations for the College’s Entrance Examinations for entry to Years 7 to 10 in September 2021.

If you would like your child to sit the Entrance Exams on Saturday 23 January and have unfortunately missed the deadline, please speak to our Admissions Team as soon as possible next week.

The Entrance Exams will follow a similar format to normal with additional Covid measures including staggered start times, small groups to enable social distancing and, where possible, the bubbling of children with others from their current school.

To contact the Admissions Team email admissions@princethorpe.co.uk or call 01926 634201/262/297.

College Prize Giving Celebrates Pupils’ Exceptional Achievements

Another exceptional year of achievement, progress, creativity and contribution was celebrated at Princethorpe College’s annual Prize Giving Ceremony on Friday 20 November. This year the ceremony took place virtually, with the Class of 2020, their parents, staff and friends of the College coming together through Zoom.

Hosted by Headmaster, Ed Hester, members of the community from 165 locations logged on to join in the celebrations. Before the ceremony started, Peter Rollason, Chair of the Old Princethorpians Committee welcomed the newest OPs sharing his insights into the support the network can provide.

In his formal address the Headmaster, Ed Hester, gave thanks to all those who make Princethorpe the special place it is. In this year of all years his warm words paid tribute to all that is done by so many in support of the College, underpinning the success stories of all the Upper Sixth leavers and not just those who received prizes on the evening.

The atmosphere all evening was joyful and celebratory and there were superb musical interludes from the school Orchestra, who, accompanied by stunning graphics, performed a mesmerising rendition of Earth and the school choir who inspirationally sang the very appropriate Seize The Day.

Then it was time for the presentation of the awards. Listening to the citations was truly inspiring and humbling. The talent in evidence, the grit and determination, the passion, enthusiasm and commitment were all applauded and honoured.

Finally, we came to the main award, the Princethorpe Shield, the oldest and most prestigious College award presented annually to the student who is seen to embody the spirit and ethos of the College in many facets of their school life.  It was a very popular decision, with the audience cheering a delighted and surprised Katie Shorten who was thrilled to receive the Shield.

Then to close the proceedings current Head Girl, Abbie O’Carroll-Bailey, and Head Boy, Jack Neale, gave an eloquent vote of thanks before the evening finally came to an end with the enthusiastic singing of the College Hymn, Here I Am Lord by the online assembled throng.

The full list of Prize Winners can be found in the Prize Giving Programme here.

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Princethorpe’s Upper Sixth Physicists Rise To The Challenge

Perhaps the most challenging Physics test available to Sixth Form students, set by the British Physics Olympiad, was tackled by some of Princethorpe's finest physicists with resounding success. The students sat the Year 13 Physics Challenge; based on the curriculum, and featuring questions that relate to A-level topics, the challenge aims to stretch thinking into the application of Physics.

Congratulations go to Tom Cleaver-Cavalier, Damien Cowie, Mia Hornett, Jack Neale, Abbie O'Carroll-Bailey, Alex Rejali, Isaac Ryan, Oli Thomas, Josh Tidd, Will Marshall, Hugo Petry, Matt Wills, Jack Fletcher, George Saunders, Daisy Walker and a very special mention to Lauren Mason who achieved the highest possible accolade of Merit with an impressive score of 26/50.

Look out for the upcoming Olympiad competitions for Year 10, 11 and Lower Sixth next term.


Henry’s Stained-Glass Stunner Is The Winning Christmas Card Design

This year's winning College Christmas card design is by Year 9 Art Scholar, Henry Woodrow. His vibrant painting portrays the traditional Christmas nativity scene as a stained-glass window. It is a stunning image, so simple and yet so effective.

Head of Art, Paul Hubball, commented, “It’s great to see our Art Scholars getting involved and producing such great work for the Christmas card competition. There was an exceptionally strong field of entries this year, plenty of original ideas delivered with lots of attention to detail.  Henry’s use of strong colour really helped his design stand out and made it the perfect choice for the College’s Christmas card.”

Congratulations also go to our Year Group winners, whose designs feature as cameos on the reverse of the card:

Year 7: Isabella Bennett

Year 8: Bea Taylor

Year 10: Eloise Kell

Lower Sixth: Sophia Dibden

A huge well done to everyone who took part.

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GCSE Drama Pupils Performed An Ensemble Of Key Scenes From Blood Brothers

After school, on Monday 30 November, Year 11 GCSE Drama pupils performed an ensemble of key scenes from Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. The powerful tale of twins separated at birth, and the consequences of that decision, mesmerised the small socially distanced audience of their peers and teachers.  In the intimacy of the Clarkson theatre and against a stark background of Liverpudlian slums the pupils delivered a performance full of emotion and feeling. A huge well done to them all and a special mention for Kiera who was a last minute stand in for the main role.

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Michaelmas Term Celebration Of Achievement

As the Michaelmas term draws to a close it is time once again to recognise and celebrate the many pupils who have risen to the challenge of the College’s ethos.

In Tutor Time, last Tuesday 24 November, Assistant Head Co-curricular, Neil McCollin, congratulated 54 pupils from across the College who had been nominated by members of staff for recognition for their achievements. All had tried their best; some had excelled or showed commitment to sport, performing arts or academic studies, whilst others had gone over and above for their House or Tutor group. All were an outstanding example for their peers.

Mr McCollin thanked each and every one of them, recognising the commitment and effort they put in and all that they do to enrich school life.

This term congratulations go to:

From Year 7: Orla Fleming, Alexa Holland, Eva Holt, Grace McCollin and Mia Petrucci

From Year 8: Eden Chaplow, Tiernan Chapman-Apps, Hattie Gray, Martha Harris, Anna Johnson, Jessica Lane, Ignacy Librowski, Imogen Long, Olivia Monk, André Onyekwe and Jackson Roderick

From Year 9: Beatrix Boakes, Jayden Carr and Oscar Tebbatt

From Year 10: Lauren Bach, Darcey Heritage, Noah Kemp, Joseph Newborough, Katie Richards, James Robinson, Daisy Southgate and Erin West

From Year 11: Alex Allison, Issy Bunting, Florine Fuchss, Tom Knight, Toby Nicoll and Lara Tripp-Smith

From Lower Sixth: Tillie Benford, Harpreet Birdi, Amelia Burgess, Anthony Convey, Sebastian Dibb, Paddy Grace, Elsie Kelley, Amelia Line, Cam McGregor and Ciaran Smith

From Upper Sixth: Lauren Abba, Mia Darling, Henri Fuchss, Aimee Llewellyn, Arran Knight, Lauren Mason, Evie Nicholas, Alex Rejali, Lizzie Ridd and George Saunders

More information on pupils’ achievements can be found here.

Prize Giving Performances By The College Orchestra And Choir

This year’s Prize Giving featured two stunning performances by Princethorpe’s talented musicians. The Orchestra performed Earth by Hans Zimmer while the Choir sang Seize The Day from the musical Newsies.

Music making in the Michaelmas term has involved rehearsing in year group bubbles and then recording performances at home. The dedication shown by the College’s musicians is inspirational, especially as it is balanced alongside a full-time school curriculum. Once recorded all the audio mixing and video editing to pull the pieces together was carried out by Director of Music, Gil Cowlishaw.

Earth by Hans Zimmer was composed just last year and is a celebration of the amazing planet we all live on. The background footage that accompanies the orchestra’s performance is taken from the International Space Centre and is freely available from the NASA website.  Combined with a slow zoom into Princethorpe, courtesy of Google Earth, it provides a fitting backdrop and gives a real sense of perspective to Princethorpe’s place in the wider world, even if it is a huge part of our pupil’s lives.

You can watch Earth performed by Princethorpe’s Orchestra here.

Seize The Day was chosen for its lyrical themes ‘Wrongs will be righted/If we’re united/Let us seize the day’, composed by Alan Menken, it is a really uplifting song for what is always an uplifting occasion.

You can watch the Choir perform Seize The Day here.

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2019/20 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. 

2019/20 was an incredible year, one like no other in the College's long history, but there were many wonderful and memorable moments to reflect on. 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 2020 will also be sent a hard copy in the post.

If you would like to receive an additional copy please email marketing@princethorpe.co.uk with your name and address.

Sixth Form Senior Citizens Zoom Christmas Concert

On Wednesday 2 December, a small group of 16 Sixth Form students hosted a virtual Christmas Concert on Zoom for local care homes. The special event replaced the traditional senior citizens Christmas lunch that due to the current restrictions we were unable to host this year.

Featuring music, songs, jokes and even a Christmas quiz, the concert was part of an ongoing programme of virtual activities that the Sixth Formers have been organising for our local care home communities.

We were delighted to welcome Cubbington Mill, Galanos House, Overslade House, Homewood and Lillington House to the concert. It was wonderful to see the residents all enjoying the show.

Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Rod Isaacs said, “Many thanks to Abbie, Jack, Charlotte, Lauren, James, Damien, Issy and Liv for your wonderful performances. The concert was a great example of Princethorpe’s ‘spirit of family’, helping to keep our communities connected but we do hope that next year we can once again host our traditional lunch for all the residents to enjoy.”

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2021 Princethorpe Calendar Now On Sale

Following on from the success of previous countryside calendars, we are delighted to announce that the 2021 College Calendar is now available.

This year featuring 12 superb images of the College and its grounds, the calendar is a celebration of the wonderful scenery and countryside that surrounds us here at Princethorpe.

Capturing the College and Tower through the changing seasons, and including key dates from across the school year it is sure to be a handy addition for any kitchen or office.

The 2021 Calendar is priced just £5 and there are a limited number available so do be sure to get yours before the end of term. To get a copy, pupils can visit the School Shop and the price will be added to their parents' next bill or order them online at https://connect.princethorpe.co.uk/shop

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GCSE Revision Evening Shares The Secrets Of The VESPA Mindset

On Tuesday 24 November the College hosted a Year 11 GCSE Revision Evening and was delighted to welcome educational researchers Martin Griffin and Steve Oakes, from VESPA Mindset, to work with parents and pupils.

Martin and Steve spoke about the characteristics of successful pupils and shared their wisdom on the different approaches and techniques that would support pupils in achieving good grades.

Both are well equipped to give expert advice in this area, having spent many years in teaching, and in leadership roles in schools. They have seen a lot of successful and not so successful pupils over the years, and their strategies are based on real pupil experience. Their presentation was full of excellent, practical and constructive advice.

Dr Liz Pyne, Assistant Head - Teaching and Learning, said, “We were delighted that Martin and Steve could join us once again to share their VESPA Mindset approach. We know from feedback we have received in previous years that their strategies work for pupils and parents. Their techniques are an important part of our study skills curriculum and staff will be following through on the revision evening to reinforce their advice and approach in the classroom and in exam preparation.”

Feedback from parents and pupils about the evening has been very positive with lots of comments on how useful it was.

Dr Pyne continued, “At Princethorpe we want our pupils to be the best they can be. We work hard to create a ‘can do’ environment and we know getting to grips with the VESPA mindset as they focus on their studies will make a difference to their final grades.”

Festivities Commence With House Sixth Form Christmas Tree Competition

Sixth Form House teams gathered excitedly at lunchtime on Friday 27 November for the annual House Christmas Tree competition. Christmas songs echoed in the atrium and fellow students crowded around the balconies as the anticipation built.

Down on the ground floor four teams of six students opened boxes, took off their jackets and rolled up their sleeves. In front of each of them lay the components of an artificial tree and a box of lights and decorations.

Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie, briefed the teams and sent them speedily on their way.  Quickly piecing together the jigsaw of branches, the trees began to take shape. Lights were unravelled and artistically draped, decorations hung and then with seconds to spare, and one final stretch, stars were positioned on the top.

Judging considered the originality, appearance, balance and House spirit and the results were in - first place was Austin followed by Fisher, Benet and then More.

Well done everyone, the countdown to Christmas has begun.

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Calendar Of Events

The school is running a reduced calendar of events as we work within the requirements of social distancing restrictions. Events for the Michaelmas 2020 Term can be found on the College website or on My School Portal.

A summary of upcoming events can also be found below:

  • Deadline For Registration For Entrance Examinations - Friday 4 December
  • College Feast Day - Tuesday 8 December
  • Parents' Carol Service - Monday 14 December - 7.00pm
  • Last day of the Michaelmas Term, Christmas Jumper Day, Christmas Lunch - Tuesday 15 December

College Feast Day

Tuesday 8 December 2020

College Feast Day is fast approaching and will take place on Tuesday 8 December. This is a celebration involving the whole of the College community, marking the day back in 1854 that the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart were founded and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

To celebrate, there will be a Feast Day Prize Giving during Tutor Time, followed by Feast Day celebrations during period 3.

Pupils will be asked to wear their house shirts on the day, along with their normal school trousers or skirts.  Pupils who are due to be wearing PE kit should ensure that they have their house shirts with them.  

Christmas Jumper Day and Christmas Lunch will both take place on the last day of term, Tuesday 15 December 2020.

Beth Sharpe
Deputy Head - Pastoral




Christmas Lunch

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Pupils will be able to enjoy a festive Christmas lunch on the last day of term, Tuesday 15 December.

Tickets will be on sale from Monday 7 December and are available until Friday 11 December. Tickets cost £5.50 and can be purchased via the Year Group dining outlets during this period. 

Please note the tickets will be colour coded by Year Group and can only be bought within the Year Group dining areas.

Andrew Williams
General Manager - Holroyd Howe

Virtual Carol Service

Monday 14 December - from 7.00pm

Parents and friends of the College are invited to a special Virtual Carol Service in the College Chapel on Monday 14 December at 7.00pm.

As we will be unable to gather together in person, we are producing a pre-recorded video for our Parents' Carol Service. The festive service will follow the traditional format, including readings and hymns retelling the Christmas story.

We very much hope you will join us for this celebration of the season.

A link to the video will be shared with parents on Monday 14 December. 




Christmas Eve - Virtual First Mass Of Christmas

Thursday 24 December 2020 - 9.00pm to 10.00pm

This year the First Mass of Christmas will be a virtual celebration from Princethorpe's Our Lady of the Angels Chapel via a live Facebook stream.

Fr Teddy O'Brien MSC will offer the Mass for the Princethorpe community including Old Princethorpians, friends of the College and St Anne's Parish, Wappenbury.

More details of how to connect live with the Mass on Christmas Eve will be published in the next edition of the Flagpole on Friday 18 December.

Virtual Arts Society Lent Lecture - Sir Wilfred Thesiger - Reminder

Thursday 21 January 2021 - 7.30pm

The Arts Society are delighted to welcome back Dr Nick Baker, former archivist of Princethorpe College to give its Lent Lecture - a virtual presentation on the life and times of Sir Wilfred Thesiger.

A quintessential English explorer, Sir Wilfred Thesiger was the last and greatest of that small band of travellers who sought out the secrets of the desert in the years before Arabia was transformed forever by the oil beneath her sands.

The talk will take place online at 7.30pm on Thursday 21 January 2021. If you would like to attend please register at https://connect.princethorpe.co.uk/event/virtual-arts-society-lent-lecture-sir-wilfred-thesiger.

Further details of how to join the online event will be sent out nearer the time.


Entrance Examinations Day For September 2021 Entry (Years 7 to 10)

Saturday 23 January 2021

Entrance Examinations for September 2021 entry to the College for Years 7 to 10 will take place on Saturday 23 January 2021. More information is available on our website here.

The deadline for registering for the exams is today (Friday 4 December). If you have missed the deadline please speak to our Admissions Team as soon as possible next week on 01926 634201/262/297 or by email at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk.

PTA Burns Night - Save The Date

Friday 29 January 2021

Our first 2021 PTA online event will be celebrating the infamous Scottish Burns Night. 

More information will be coming out shortly so please keep your diary free for what promises to be an enjoyable evening.

We are always looking for volunteers so if you would like to help at this or any future event, please sign up here at the Ptasocial website or email us at pta@princethorpe.co.uk

You can also follow us on Twitter - @PincethorpePta, Instagram - @princethorpepta or Facebook - Princethorpe PTA

Parents' Reading Group - Reminder

The Parents' Reading Group has been running for many years now. A group of parents get together once a month to discuss a book we have all previously agreed on. It's an opportunity for readers to share their reading interests with others and to pick up suggestions to broaden their own reading. We are very eclectic in our tastes and completely unpretentious. We'd welcome newcomers and can guarantee all a warm and friendly welcome when we are once again able to meet.

As circumstances will not permit us to meet at present many of us have kept in touch about books via email.  Please let me know if you’d like to be on the reading group emailing list (chriskerrigan@princethorpe.co.uk) and I’ll add you to it. We look forward to welcoming a few new faces when permitted to meet, but until then we’ll continue to share reading suggestions via email.

Chris Kerrigan
Head of English


Years 8 Progress Reports - Reminder

Progress Reports for Year 8 will be published today, Friday 4 December 2020 and will be available to view on My School Portal.  

Dr Michael Reddish
Deputy Head - Academic 

Year 11 And Upper Sixth Mocks

Last year we have 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 follows 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 a little more for the Upper Sixth within the second week to ease the strain on the students and make the experience that much more realistic 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.

Dr Michael Reddish
Deputy Head - Academic


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 www.gcsepod.com/parents where you’ll find lots more information and resources.

A video to recap how to access and use GCSE Pod has been shown to all year 10 and 11 pupils this week, so your child should know how to access this and use it alongside other revision activities.

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 www.gcsepod.com 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 andycompton@princethorpe.co.uk

Andy Compton
Assistant Head - Director of Digital Strategy

Bookbuzz 2020

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

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


Examinations And Assessments

Exams January 2021

Entries have been made for the January exams and candidates will receive their timetable shortly.

Exams Summer 2021

Earlier this week the government confirmed further measures about arrangements for next summer’s exams. The message from the Department for Education can be viewed here. At the moment we do not have any subject specific information, nor do we have details of the proposed additional exams in July.

Briefly, the new measures are:

  • more generous grading than usual, in line with 2020;
  • students receiving advance notice of some topic areas covered in GCSE, AS and A-levels, to help them focus their revision;
  • exam aids – like formula sheets – provided in some exams to give students more confidence and reduce the amount of information they need to memorise;
  • contingency exams – held shortly after the main exam series – so students can sit a paper if they miss all their assessments in a subject because of illness or self-isolation.

The new measures complement the existing changes for next summer which include:

  • reduced content in many subjects;
  • a delay to the start of exams and changes to the timetable;
  • there will also be adaptations to vocational and technical qualifications to make sure there’s parity with general qualifications.

Exam Timetable for May and June 2021

The timetable has been finalised by all the exam boards except WJEC who have only published provisional dates at this time (shown in italics on the spreadsheet). 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.

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



Twelve Days Of Christmas Reading

The Christmas break will soon be here, and it may be time to think about catching up on some reading. Relax, read and recharge over the break. Click here for a link to a collection of twelve recommended titles that will inspire, entertain and enthral as they appeal to pupils and adults of all ages.

Mostly published within the last few months, they are an opportunity to sample new authors, stories and genres. Happy Reading!

Celia Scott


Clear Out Your Coins

A huge thank you to everyone who supported Cash4coins.

Here is another opportunity to raise funds, this time for our two school charities. Click here to learn more about St John Ambulance and here to find out more about Crohn's and Colitis UK.

Now that we are moving towards a cashless society there must be lots of coins lying around in your home - in pockets, wallets and handbags; and perhaps under your bed.

Have a search this weekend and then bring the coins into school. There is collection jar outside Mr Isaacs office (only UK currency this time please).  

Your donations will be helping two very worthwhile causes. 

Many thanks

Rod Isaacs
Assistant Head of Sixth Form

Princethorpe Pupils Support Parish T4U Shoebox Appeal Again

This year Princethorpe’s Chaplaincy Team has again supported the St Anne's, Wappenbury, Parish Shoe Box Appeal, to provide gifts for children overseas who would not otherwise receive a Christmas present.

One hundred and fifteen boxes were assembled by the pupils of Princethorpe College out of the amazing total of 2812 boxes. The pupils boxes have been delivered to the local co-ordinator, Pam Hopwood, ready to bring happiness and joy at this special time of year. They were packed full of little gifts but also included educational and hygiene essentials such as toothbrushes, hairbrushes, paper and pens, every day, ordinary items to us but of great value to those who receive the gift.

The boxes will be distributed by Teams4U in the Eastern Area of Romania and Moldova. They will be given to a vulnerable child, or family, through schools, nurseries, hospitals and orphanages. T4U share the shoeboxes through relationships with local communities as part of a long-term commitment to their children. They also provide financing for pre-school programmes to support education and development.

Thanks goes out to our pupils and Mary Benham, Chaplaincy Co-Ordinator.

Also very many thanks to Princethorpe College who supplied a van and a member of staff which enabled the transport of the boxes to the central collection point in Evesham




Duke Of Edinburgh's Award - New Starters 2020-21

Following the meetings held last month, where enrolment packs were distributed, please could all new Bronze, Silver and Gold participants complete the steps listed below by Tuesday 15 December 2020. Additional guidance has been emailed directly home, please could participants spend some time reading through this information with their parents. 

  1. Login to eDofE website and update personal details – DofE will then send your Participant Handbook directly to you.
  2. Set the timescales for your award (for example at Bronze - physical 6, volunteering 3 and skill 3 months).
  3. Complete the ‘programme planners’ for physical, volunteering and skill sections. This includes:    
  • selecting the activity
  • inputting start dates
  • setting a goal to achieve
  • recording your assessor details

Submit your ‘programme planners’ online to your DofE Leader for approval. Once approved you can start your award. 

In addition to the email sent to pupils and parents, resources can be found on MySchoolPortal


Will Bower
Head of Outdoor Education – DofE Manager

View Gallery

Duke Of Edinburgh's Award - 2019-20 - Complete Your Award


Well done to all who have completed their award so far, certificates will be distributed in year group assemblies next term.

For the remainder of participants, please prioritise this over the next few weeks by uploading your physical, volunteering and skills section assessor reports. 

For help please refer to the DofE temporary Changes Update, eDofE Completion Guide and the Electronic Assessor Report Guide.

DofE Completion Drop-In Sessions will continue to be held on a Friday, please see the names on the pupil briefing, and meet Mr Robertson at 12.15pm in LG01.  These meetings are compulsory, so a register will be taken.   

Silver and Gold

Well done to those who completed their practice expedition over half term; more information to following in due course regarding the qualifying trips. In the meantime, please continue to sign off your physical, volunteering and skills sections.

For help please refer to the DofE temporary Changes Update, eDofE Completion Guide and the Electronic Assessor Report Guide.

DofE Completion Drop-In Sessions continue on a Tuesday, with the names on the pupil briefing.  Please meet Mr Bower at 12.15pm in S40 on Upper Pugin.  These meetings are compulsory, so a register will be taken.   

Will Bower
Head of Outdoor Education – DofE Manager

View Gallery


School Jumpers

With the cold weather setting in, just a reminder that school jumpers are available from the School Shop. The school jumper for girls is red in Years 7 and 8 and green for Years 9 to 11. The boys' school jumper is black.  Sixth Form students wear a plain dark coloured jumper.

Written permission from home is needed to add items to the school fee account. Cash, cheque or card payments are of course welcome.

Barbara Bromwich
Foundation Shop Manager

School Shop Opening Hours

Please note that the school shop will close from 2.00pm on Tuesday 15 December 2020 and reopen at the beginning of the Lent term on Tuesday 5 January 2021.

Shop opening hours during term time are Monday to Friday during the following times:

  • For pupils - break and lunch time
  • For pupils - Wednesdays, after school until 4.00pm

Remember you can email orders for uniform to uniform@princethorpe.co.uk or call direct on 01926 634272.

If your child would like to purchase any uniform, please give written permission or contact the school shop. Items can be paid for in cash, by cheque or added to the school bill.

Barbara Bromwich
Foundation Shop Manager

Employment Opportunities

Please see below our current vacancies:

  • Development Database Assistant
  • Lunchtime Supervisors

Full details and how to apply are available via the following link: Join Us

Should you know anyone who might be interested in this post, please do share this information with them.

Term Dates 2020-21 And 2021-22 - Reminder

Please find below the Term Dates for 2020-21 and 2021-22.

2020-21 (two page document) - updated 20 November

2021-22 (two page document)