Term came to a happy close on Tuesday with plenty of festive celebrations across the school. Our thanks go to all the choristers, musicians, performers, teachers and catering staff for making the final weeks of the Michaelmas Term such a magical and festive time.

We wish everyone connected with the College a very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year. Please see the Headmaster's Message concerning changes to the return to school in January, following the latest DfE announcement.

Watch out for the next edition of the Flagpole on Friday 8 January 2021.

Click here to email The Flagpole.


Headmaster's Message

Letter From The Headmaster

You may not be surprised that in light of recent government announcements, this last Flagpole letter of the year has been rather hastily re-written. Before I move on to the start of next term, I want to thank you all for the support, encouragement and kind words that you have given us over the course of this term. This has been so important in helping to keep things going and make the very best of things. I salute the staff too and the pupils for their sterling work and good humour throughout. Thank you to you all.

Of course, it has been an exceptionally tough term in many ways and we now all need to try to take advantage of the holiday to find time to rest, recuperate and re-charge our batteries. 

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 good balance of work, rest, play and quality family time over the Christmas holiday period.

So moving on to yesterday’s government guidance….in simple terms, from the start of next term we will be provided with Lateral Flow Testing equipment which we can use in a testing centre at Princethorpe. Details of how the test works can be found here. The testing in school will be used for the following:

1.    Weekly COVID testing of our own staff who are asymptomatic;

2.    COVID testing of pupils who are asymptomatic but have come into close contact with a confirmed case in school and would, under “track and trace”, otherwise be sent home to self-isolate for up to 10 days.

Below I have written some FAQs to try to explain the latest news as simply as possible and please bear in mind that we await further guidance, so things may be subject to some change. What I will say, before I go into detail, is that I welcome the government’s move to facilitate Lateral Flow Testing in school starting next term. The timing is clearly not ideal, nor the enforced home learning for the first week of term, but we will make the very best of this.

Is it correct that Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 will not be allowed to come into school until Monday 11 January?

Yes, this what the DfE has said. This is to allow schools time to set up the lateral flow testing centre. These year groups must follow normal timetables from home; teachers will be teaching and setting work predominantly via TEAMs. It is therefore critical that all pupils have access at home to a laptop or computer which is connected to the internet.

What about children in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 who are classed as vulnerable or children of key workers?

We are allowed to open the school to children classed as vulnerable and for children of key workers. We will be sending a questionnaire around next week for parents to complete so we can make appropriate plans for any pupils in this category who are intending to be in school.

Please note that any pupil in Years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12 in this category who is in school will need to bring a laptop into school as they will be undertaking home learning (from a supervised classroom) – there will be no lessons in school for them to attend.

Will the Year 11 and Upper Sixth Mocks be going ahead as planned?

Yes, the Year 11 and Upper Sixth will be in school as normal and the mocks will go ahead as scheduled.

What if my child is ill and cannot come in for the mocks?

If your child is ill, you must not send them into school. We will make arrangements for them to take their mocks at a later date when they are well enough to do so.

If my son/daughter has COVID symptoms, can they come into school to be tested?

No absolutely not. If any child is unwell they must not come into school. If they have COVID symptoms, you must book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119.

Will the school buses be operating from Tuesday 5 January?

Yes, we have already paid the bus contracts for the year. They will operate during the first week back, albeit with only a small number of pupils.

Will there be food available for pupils in school from Tuesday 5 January?

Yes, hot and cold food will be available, although the range may be more limited than usual.

Will there be any co-curricular activities after school during the first week?

No, these will start on Monday 11 January. However, we will run Princethorpe Prep during the first week back for any Year 11 or Upper Sixth pupil who needs to stay behind before being picked up.

What if my child has a positive COVID test during the holidays?

Please immediately let us know if this is the case by emailing bethsharpe@princethorpe.co.uk

How do I give permission for my son/daughter to be able to participate in the Lateral Flow Testing Programme next term, so that in the event of “close contact” in school, they will not be sent home and required to self-isolate?

We will be sending round a permission form for parents to complete next week.

Will you need any volunteers to help run the testing centre in school?

Yes, we may well need volunteers to help run this. In my next communication I will give further details of how we plan to set up a test centre in school and there will be a form for any parents who are in a position to volunteer help towards this.

As I said earlier, I do welcome the move to facilitate lateral flow testing in school. The testing should help us keep more pupils and staff in school and this can only be a very good thing.

I will be sending you further information next week, but in the meantime, if you have any urgent queries of questions please complete the form here.

I wish you and your families well for the break and hope you have a peaceful and relaxing Christmas.

Ed Hester


Parents Carol Service Brings Much Needed Christmas Cheer

Parents and friends of the College were invited to join a special Virtual Carol Service at Princethorpe’s Our Lady of the Angels Chapel on Monday 14 December.

Although we were unable to gather together in person, the College produced a pre-recorded video so that our popular Parents' Carol Service could still take place. Following the traditional format, it included readings, carols and prayers, retelling the Christmas story.

It was a wonderful celebration of the season, bringing some much needed Christmas cheer to our wider Princethorpe community.

Many thanks to our wonderful Chaplaincy Team, Fr Alan Whelan MSC, Mary Benham, Director of Music, Gil Cowlishaw, our pupil readers, members of the Choir and Orchestra for all their contributions, and last, but by no means least, to our IT Team for all the filming and Marketing Co-ordinator, Charlotte Hancock for video editing.

If you like to see the Carol Service you still can by clicking here.

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Pupils And Parents Respond Generously To Chaplaincy Foodbank Challenge

Princethorpe College pupils, parents and staff have responded generously to the seasonal challenge to show they care through the donation of non-perishable food items. Every member of the school was asked to bring in one item of food and the community did not disappoint, showing a sense of empathy, generosity and solidarity that at one stage led to the school’s prayer room overflowing with boxes and bags of donations.

On Thursday 10 December Richard Gordon from the charity St Vincent de Paul Society, visited the school to collect the donations. He thanked the Princethorpe community profusely, saying, “The donations will be shared between the homeless and refugee charities that the SVP supports, including the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, Carriers of Hope and Warwick District Foodbank. They will be astonished at how much you have given. It will be invaluable.”

Mary Benham, Chaplaincy Coordinator added, “The level of enthusiasm and support shown for our Chaplaincy challenge was amazing, affirming the school’s spirit of family ethos and showing that pupils embrace the communities they live in and are willing to help those who are less fortunate than themselves.” She continued, “It is easy to sometimes think that one person alone cannot make a big impact, but by bringing all of those individual small acts of kindness together we have been able to show how we care.”

Musical Christmas Soiree A Cornucopia Of Delights

It’s traditional at Christmas for the College to host a Soiree to showcase pupils’ wonderful music and performance skills. Of course, this year, it will come as no surprise, that the Music department have had to do things a little differently, but that hasn’t stopped them having their usual fun.

Hosted by Director of Music, Gil Cowlishaw, from his sofa at home, the College is pleased to present a musical cornucopia of delights showcasing our pupil performers’ love of Christmas time.

The Soiree includes 21 different acts across a range of instruments and styles, modern and traditional, some serious, some silly, but all fabulously festive and accompanied by plenty of Christmas jumpers. The performance premiered on Tuesday evening but if you missed the fun you can still watch it here: vimeo.com/491107397/182b848e57

A huge thank you to all of the pupils and staff taking part.

We hope you enjoy this lovely informal musical soiree offering everyone a slice of something special this Christmas time.

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Record Numbers Of Pupils Embrace The Challenge Of The Duke Of Edinburgh's Awards

Despite all the challenges Covid-19 has presented this year, pupils at Princethorpe College have continued to participate in and successfully progress their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards.  Utilising the DofE temporary programme changes and expedition flexibilities, the College has adapted its DofE co-curricular programme to support pupils to complete their awards.

As we come to the end of the year we are delighted to share the news that from last year’s cohort of entrants some 70 pupils have already managed to sign off their Bronze awards.  An amazing achievement when you consider all of the restrictions they have had to take on board.

Back in July the Bronze Award participants took part in training walks, in small groups close to the school. Then in September, 100 pupils completed a two-day qualifying expedition, covering 30km walking a loop from Princethorpe down to Long Itchington and back. Although they were not allowed to camp overnight, they did still have to carry their packs and cook for themselves.

In the October half term, 53 Year 11 pupils completed their training expeditions in the South Cotswolds, travelling down each day, they walked from Chipping Norton, through Bourton on the Water to Stow on the Wold. Many of these pupils have already completed their Physical, Skill and Volunteering sections so they now just need to complete their Qualifying expedition, which is planned for the spring.

20 Upper Sixth students joined an open training expedition in the October Half Term taking part in a three day walk. They completed a large circuit of Derwent Water in the Lake District. Their qualifying expedition will now take place next summer.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards are recognised as the world’s leading youth achievement award. They provide young people with the opportunity to get involved, explore new interests, discover talents and make new friends.

Will Bower, Head of Outdoor Education, commented, “Record numbers of Princethorpe pupils continue to embrace the challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.  They take the opportunity to develop skills and try new experiences, pushing themselves both mentally and physically to be the best they can be. This year our pupils have had to show extra initiative, adaptability and great organisation to keep on working towards their awards.  We are delighted with their commitment and enthusiasm, and very proud that so many have progressed so far. In fact, we have already matched the number who had completed the scheme at this point in the cycle last year. Huge thanks to the 30 staff and external instructors who have helped and supported them with their awards this year.”

Well done to all of the pupils who have taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award this past year and good luck to the 225 pupils who have signed up to participate in the programme this coming year.

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OP Jonathan Gullis Spoke To Sixth Formers About His Journey To Becoming An MP

Old Princethorpian Jonathan Gullis MP joined us virtually on Friday 3 December to talk to Sixth Form students about his journey to becoming a Member of Parliament. From the inspiration of his former History teacher, Dr Simon Peaple, through his experiences as a local councillor and then on to the process of selection and finally election success, his talk gave an interesting insight into the ambition, dedication and hard work required to achieve his ‘dream’.

Jonathan also took time to answer Sixth Form Politics students’ questions, gamely facing our very own trainee Paxmans with fortitude. A whole range of topics were discussed from the ‘levelling up’ agenda so important to his own constituency, to the latest COVID tiers, the impact of COVID on the parliamentary process, the impact of the party whip on democracy, mental health and who his favourite Prime Minister is and lastly his own plans for the future.

Politics and History Teacher, Abi Adams, said, “Huge thanks go to Jonathan for taking the time to speak to the students and for sharing his fascinating insights into the work of a politician. It was such a good session that we ran out of time before we ran out of questions.”

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Josh Tidd Wins College Physics Essay Prize

Upper Sixth Former, Josh Tidd has been awarded the College’s first Physics Essay Prize for his piece on Acoustic Levitation.

Head of Physics, Dan Lee announced the winner in the Upper Sixth’s Physics lesson on Tuesday 8 December presenting a surprised Josh with his prize to much applause from his peers.

The students had been challenged to write Physics essays on a subject of their choice as an extension task for their curriculum studies.

Mr Lee, explains, “I enjoyed reading all of the essays but Josh's essay stood out because he expertly explained the concept of acoustic levitation and extrapolated this on to consider the theoretical levitation of a person. It was an excellent and well written piece. Now I just need to get the budget approved, for a loudspeaker of sufficient power, that could produce waves of just the right frequency, and of course find a willing volunteer to try his theory out! Well done, Josh."

You can read Josh's essay here.

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

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

It is a College tradition that every Christmas the community is invited to write on a star the names of those who have touched their lives with love and who have a special place in their hearts. The stars are then individually hung carefully on the tree.

The message of Christmas is one of love and the decorated Christmas tree in the College Chapel 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, which is what Christmas is really all about.

Normally the stars are cut out by the pupils who visit the Chaplaincy and then distributed to all of the College. However, this year, in order to keep to the COVID bubbles, the Chaplaincy Prefects cut out stars for pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 who then wrote on them as part of their Advent reflection, to keep the tradition alive.

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A Christmas Carol Live From The Old Vic

On Monday 14 December over 100 Year 7 and Year 8 pupils watched a very special performance of Matthew Warchus’ smash hit production of Charles Dickens’ immortal classic A Christmas Carol performed and streamed live from The Old Vic. The production was part of their In Camera series of socially distanced performances streamed live from the iconic Old Vic stage with the empty auditorium as a backdrop.

Some Year 8 pupils have been studying A Christmas Carol in their lessons and enjoyed experiencing a live production, for others the joyous retelling of this uplifting Christmas story was an extra special English treat. The showing was organised by our English department and is the closest pupils will have got to experiencing live theatre in current times.

It was an excellent evening enjoyed by all.

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Two College Netballers Training With Academy Programmes

Two Princethorpe College netball players are excited to be a part of local Academy Programmes to develop competitive players.

Year 11 pupil, Eve Farquharson has been selected for the Rugby Hub of the Wasps Netball Academy Pathway Programme. The Coventry-based Superleague champions run eight hubs across the Midlands to target the most talented 13-18-year-old netball players in the area. Eve joins the U17s, and will now receive training from Wasps’ coaches and play in matches and tournaments against teams from the other hubs. It is an amazing opportunity.

Upper Sixth Former, Emelia Tubb has restarted her performance training with the Loughborough Lightning Academy. Emelia is an Academy Player in the U19 Squad that plays in National Performance League competitions. The Loughborough Lightning Academy also run training hubs across the region providing development and competition for aspiring netball players within a performance pathway. Emelia was first selected last year and is delighted to be back in training.

It’s fantastic news for them both and even better for the College squads. Well done girls!

Thinking Of Becoming A Teacher?

Thinking of becoming a teacher? Then why not consider training at Princethorpe College.

Whether you are a new graduate or contemplating a career change, we have opportunities available across the subjects but particularly for those with a Maths or Science degree. 

Though our association with the Lion Alliance, we offer a year’s training as part of the School Direct scheme, leading to Qualified Teacher Status. Placements would be at Princethorpe and also at other schools within the Lion Alliance. Our training is supported by Warwick University, Birmingham City University and by our experienced mentors here.

Now in its third year our successful scheme also attracts bursaries from the government of between £7,000 and £24,000 to support those training in Chemistry, Computing, Maths, Physics, Languages and Biology.

Trainee Geography teacher, Alice Reed, explains, “I can honestly say this has been one of the best decisions I've ever made! The support I have received, not only from my mentors but all the teaching staff at Princethorpe has been amazing. I have been given so many opportunities to teach a range of classes and year groups which has really helped develop my teaching style and confidence. I have also had the opportunity to support extra-curricular activities and have really enjoyed coaching the Year 7s hockey. I am thoroughly excited to begin my career as a qualified Geography teacher next year.”

Our Assistant Head for Teaching and Learning, Dr Liz Pyne is happy to offer advice about the different routes into teaching and what Princethorpe can offer you. Please email Dr Pyne at lizpyne@princethorpe.co.uk

Further information about the Lion Alliance can be found at www.thelionalliance.co.uk

Information about Getting into Teaching and possible bursaries can be found at https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/


Feast Day Reflects On The Ethos Of College Founders

On Tuesday 8 December, the College celebrated Feast Day, marking the day back in 1854 that the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (the founders of the College) were established. During period 3 the school community came together virtually to commemorate the anniversary with a special service of thanksgiving. The day is also an important day for all Roman Catholics, as it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Father Alan Whelan MSC led the school community in reflecting on the work of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, to empower, educate and inspire. He explained how ‘Caring’, the Chaplaincy theme for this school year, was central to their ethos and that Jules Chevalier, the founder of the MSCs, believed that without a sense of caring there can be no community.

During the service pupils wrote on red hearts examples of how they care and those hearts have been hung on a Christmas tree for all to see.

In morning Tutor Time, the school held a Prize Giving Ceremony to celebrate the achievements of pupils over the course of the 2019/20 academic year. Prize winners joined the Headmaster, Ed Hester, in the Chapel for the presentation of the awards, while their peers watched from classrooms across the school and enjoyed a legendary Princethorpe cookie. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate their success.

The full list of Prize Winners can be found in the Prize Giving Programme here and a link to the recording of the event here.

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News From Some Of Our Newest Princethorpe Mums

We are delighted to share news from some of our newest Princethorpe mums.

During the second half of 2020 four members of staff have welcomed new babies into their families: Emma Cooper (Head of Science), Julia Lindsay (Teacher of History), Alison Wakeley (Teacher of Music) and Lauren Prydderch (Receptionist\Administrator).

Julia explained, "It is fair to say that having a baby in 2020 has been a challenging experience - all the usual pregnancy, maternity and baby worries and stresses; the reality of life through a fog of sleep deprivation with a newborn and all while living through two lockdowns for Covid. Finding out that I was one of four Princethorpe ladies to be having a baby at roughly the same time has been a lifesaver. As we went into the first lockdown in March, with ante-natal classes and groups all being closed down, we turned to each other for support. We have messaged, chatted and video-called, being there for each other and gaining strength from each other, plus some adult conversation outside our own homes!

Emelia was born on 1 September; the third of the Princethorpe babies, who all appeared in the correct order, only four days later than she was due. Becoming a mum for the first time, making our own little family has been incredible, and overwhelming at times. It is true to say that the Princethorpe Spirit of Family extended beyond the walls of the College and the four of us have relied on each other for help, advice, meeting up (when we could) and I could not have got through this time without them. 

Others from the College have also been immensely kind and thoughtful, and it has been lovely to have messages of support, hand-knitted gifts and socially distanced walks. I’m definitely Princethorpe and proud, and blessed to be part of such a caring staff, who truly are friends."

Lauren said, "I can only echo Julia's sentiments. When I gave birth I spent nine days in hospital and spent much of that time alone, so having Alison, Emma and Julia to lean on for support during such a strange and uniquely challenging time was invaluable. I will never forget their kind words and gentle encouragement, whilst wondering if I would ever be discharged! Jack William Prydderch was born on 23 June weighing a healthy 7lbs 8oz. I have no doubt that he and this year's other Princethorpe babies will be friends for years to come."

Emma welcomed baby Jude on 22 August. She added, "As Julia and Lauren have said, being pregnant, giving birth and raising a baby for the first time during a pandemic has not necessarily been as we dreamed. Much of the support that we assumed would be there for us was suddenly no longer available. They say it takes a village to raise a child and a chunk of my village has appeared in the form of these lovely ladies and their gorgeous new arrivals, often over a phone or computer screen, with their kind words, much needed advice and surprise deliveries. 2020 will be a memorable year for most people and not necessarily for the best reasons, but for us it’s always going to be a favourite, bringing new family and a bonus of new friends."

Alison welcomed her third child, daughter Anna, at the very end of September, after keeping mum waiting for twelve days. Despite the delay, all was well with Anna, born weighing 9lb 8oz, and she was then met at home by her two very excited big bothers. She said, "Even though I am a third time mum, it’s amazing how much you forget and I have loved sharing this experience with the other Princethorpe ladies, who have given me so much advice and support, including someone to message during those 3.00am feeds!"

It was wonderful to hear how well these little ones are doing and to share news of the newest members of our Princethorpe family.

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First Mass Of Christmas

Thursday 24 December 2020 - 9.00pm

Although this year sadly we cannot meet as is traditional in Princethorpe’s beautiful Our Lady of the Angels Chapel on Christmas Eve, our wonderful parish priest, Fr Teddy O’Brien MSC has been determined to bring this special Mass to the Princethorpe community.

A regular streamer of live Masses from his St Anne’s Wappenbury Parish Facebook page, Fr Teddy will be using the same technology to live stream the first Mass of Christmas from Princethorpe at 9.00pm (GMT) on Christmas Eve (Thursday 24 December 2020).

We hope that current staff, pupils and parents, Old Princethorpians, friends of the College and St Anne's Parish, Wappenbury will all join us for this special celebration.

To connect live with the Mass please go to the St Anne’s Wappenbury Facebook page at


A recording of the Mass will also be available afterwards on the same page.

May the peace of Christ be with you this Christmas.

Crackley Hall And Little Crackers Virtual Open Evening

Tuesday 12 January 2021 - 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Crackley Hall School and Little Crackers Nursery will be hosting a Virtual Open Evening on Tuesday 12 January 2021 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

This will give prospective families an insight into the many aspects of school life at Crackley Hall and Little Crackers and the firm foundation they give children for their future learning.

For more information and to register for the event please click here or contact the Admissions Secretary, Mrs Jenny Vaughan on 01926 514410 or by email admissions@crackleyhall.co.uk

Crescent School Virtual Open Evening

Thursday 14 January 2021 - 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Crescent School will be hosting a Virtual Open Evening on Thursday 14 January 2021 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

This will give prospective families an insight into life at the Crescent and the firm foundation they give children for their future learning.

For more information and to register for the event please click here or contact the Registrar, Mrs Helen Morley on 01788 523851 or by email admissions@crescentschool.co.uk.

PTA Burns Night - Save The Date - Reminder

Friday 29 January 2021

Our first 2021 PTA online event will be celebrating the famous 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


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 www.gcsepod.com/parents 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 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 - 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



Twelve Days Of Christmas Reading - Reminder

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

School Uniform

It is important that all pupils wear the correct uniform to school.  Information regarding the College's correct uniform can be found in pupils' homework diaries and in the Parent and Pupil handbook. In particular, please can you check your child has the correct footwear - Air Force 1 trainers are not permitted in school. 

Please could you ensure that your child comes to school wearing the correct uniform and games kit when they return next term.  

Thank you for your continued support.

Mrs Beth Sharpe
Deputy Head - Pastoral

Universities and Careers

Police Cadet Recruitment 2021

Warwickshire Police Cadets is a volunteer scheme for young people who wish to be part of a one year programme that offers an opportunity to gain a practical understanding of policing and develop a spirit of adventure and good citizenship.

Recruitment is open from 1 January to 28 February 2021 and an application form can be downloaded here.

To become a Warwickshire Police Cadet you must live or go to school in Warwickshire, and be aged 13 to 16 years on 1 September 2021.

Cadets support local policing priorities through volunteering, working with partner agencies and through positive participation in their communities.

They take part in a variety of activities including self-defence training, law inputs, marching, fitness, team building, role playing and outdoor events.

Cadets gain further insight into police life through talks by guest speakers from different departments and agencies, and by taking part in local community policing events.


Work Experience

As you may know, we tried to launch the work experience programme for Year 10 last academic year, although for most pupils this became impossible as a result of the COVID situation. However a small number of pupils did manage to undertake a placement.

We are hoping that, if circumstances allow, work experience could take place after the GCSE exams this year, as it traditionally has done.

If you are able to find a placement for your son or daughter, this would be an invaluable asset when considering future careers and UCAS applications.

If you can find a placement, or have done so already, please could you contact me on miketaylor@princethorpe.co.uk. I shall be posting our standard forms in the New Year.

Many thanks for your continued support, and best wishes for 2021.

Mike Taylor
Work Experience Co-ordinator


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 over the holidays 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


PE And Games Guide For Lent 2021

Our PE and Games Department have created a helpful new guide for pupils and parents ahead of the Lent Term 2021 (click here), which includes further information about: 

  • List of team coaches and how you may contact them
  • Instructions on how to access the Princethorpe Sport app
  • Information about fixtures, including selection and cancellations
  • Sports kit expectations
  • Postcodes for away fixtures

To view the timetable of the Lent Term Extra Curricular Sports Clubs please click here

If you have any questions, please direct them to your child's team coach or email Mr Turns (Head of Boys' Games) or Ms Law (Head of Girls' Games)

Lee Cassell
Foundation Director of Sport 


PTA Volunteers Donate Festive Scrubs To Hospice

A volunteer group from Leamington in Warwickshire, including parents from Princethorpe College, were part of a project to bring a little Christmas cheer to the in-patient unit at St Richard’s Hospice in Worcester, by making dozens of festive scrub tops and caps.

The idea was spearheaded by hospice doctor and Princethorpe parent, Sarah Onions, as stringent infection control measures in place for the pandemic mean the hospice building cannot be decorated as usual.

"Each year we work to make Christmas at the hospice as homely and joyful as possible for those who are with us at this time,” said Dr Onions, whose daughter Milla helped make scrubs. Although we can’t celebrate Christmas in quite the same way this year, we are determined to make the festive season special for our patients. The hospice staff are thrilled with their Christmas scrubs that have bought a little Christmas spirit to the In-patient Unit!"

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

Well done to those who met the first deadline and submitted their eDofE programme planners by Tuesday 15 December.  Please check to see if your selections have been approved and whether any further information is required.  You can now start logging your hours.  

As a reminder to Gold and Silver participants, the expedition training takes place in January: 

Gold – Friday 29 January 4.30pm - 9.00pm and Saturday 30 January 2021 9.00am - 1.00pm

Silver - Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 January 2021 9.00am - 4.00pm 

For those still finalising their activities, please see below a summary of the necessary steps. 

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

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LAMDA Film Celebrates Pupils' Examination Pieces

Tuition for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations is an integral part of the performing arts offering at Princethorpe College. Lessons have continued in school this term, albeit following new procedures to ensure safe social distancing.

In mid-November, 54 pupils took LAMDA examinations over a period of three days and the College was delighted that LAMDA were able to send two experienced examiners to the school, so that pupils could experience the traditional face to face assessment, so important for the performing arts disciplines.

Peripatetic LAMDA Teacher, Kathy Buckingham-Underhill, said, “The examiners commented on the varied selection of exams being taken by our pupils, from Grade 2 up to Grade 8, in subjects as diverse as Speaking in Public, Acting and Miming. We wanted to celebrate their hard work so we have put together a short film that includes a selection of the more accessible pieces of performance.”

We do hope you enjoy it. You can watch the film here

Co-Curricular Activities

The Lent term calendar will be arriving on your doorsteps next week but for those families who would like to get ahead of their planning please click here for co-curricular activities for Lent 2021. Please do check it closely as there are some changes with regards to nights for certain sports, changes of age groups for clubs like The Fashion Academy and some great new additions like Ancient Greek for Year 8.  

Predicting where sports will be within their National Governing Body guidelines in January, post the opening of Christmas bubbles, is incredibly challenging so we have made the decision that there will be no fixtures against opposing schools in January. When we return to fixtures, we are hoping to play Saturday fixtures first so that we can manage the logistics and procedures in line with Government guidance. There will also be no internal sport on Saturday the 9, 16 and 23 January due to the College hosting Year 6 Taster Days and Entrance Exams; however, the incredibly popular sports festivals will return on 30 January and 6 February - more information to come out in the New Year. 

From all the staff who run the co-curricular activities at the College, we wish all the pupils and their families the very best for the festive season and we look forward to seeing them fit and well in the New Year.  

Neil McCollin
Assistant Head - Co-Curricular

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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 Christmas holiday 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 in the New Year.  Please see the names on the pupil briefing and meet Mr Robertson on Friday at 12.15pm in LG01.  These meetings are compulsory so a register will be taken.   

Silver and Gold

Well done to those who have managed to complete their physical volunteering and skills sections; excellent work. Further information regarding qualifying expeditions will be sent out in due course.  

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

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Employment Opportunities

Please see below our current vacancies:

  • Deputy Head (Academic)
  • Assistant Head (Director of Studies)
  • Assistant Head (KS2 and Academic) - Crackey Hall
  • Teacher of Business Studies
  • Foundation Marketing and Communications Executive
  • 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.

School Jumpers - Reminder

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 - Reminder

Please note that the school shop will be closed 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

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)