Admissions Update E-Newsletter Guides Parents Through Admissions Process

We're seeing more and more enquiries about admissions from Old Princethorpians as their offspring approach senior school age.

The College's Marketing and Admissions Team has just issued the second edition of the Admissions Update e-newsletter aimed at guiding parents through the admissions process as we move towards the next cycle of admissions for September 2015.

The e-newsletter which was issued on Friday 2 May is packed with news to give a feel for College life, forthcoming events which are open to prospective pupils and their families and helpful advice about the admissions process, particularly for those joining this September or looking at entry in September 2015.

Comments Loretta Curtis, Registrar, "The first Admissions e-newsletter was very well received. There are some changes to the admissions process for this coming January with the introduction of an online assessment instead of the Verbal Reasoning paper for Years 7, 8 and 9, so this gives everyone plenty of warning of those changes plus a wealth of other useful information so that candidates and their parents feel well prepared."

This newsletter will be issued twice a year to those who are on our enquiry database to coincide with key admissions periods, the next edition will be published in early November 2014.

Click here to view the Admissions Update.

Old Girls News - Archive Team Help Research Female Aviator Sicele O'Brien

Librarian Celia Scott and her assistant Karen O'Connor have been helping Michael Traynor research a former St Mary's Priory boarder for a book he is preparing to write.

Sicele's birth name was Cecilia O'Brien and she was born in Paddington, London on 1 April 1887. Her father was Sir Timothy O'Brien, a famous cricketer who captained England at the end of the 19th century.

The census for March 1901 shows Sicele as a boarder at the Priory. Her sisters Mariquita and Gundrede were also there on the same night.

On the night of the 1901 census there were 71 nuns and 31 female boarders in the school (three of them were O'Brien sisters).

The reason they attended Princethorpe is their mother was Gundrede de Trafford (1860-1952). She was the daughter of Sir Humphrey and Lady Annette de Trafford from Trafford Park, Manchester. Gundrede's sister, Mary Annette (1865-1934) was a nun at Princethorpe and her dowry funded the church that was constructed there between 1897 and 1901.

Michael's interest in Sicele is aviation related, as he is researching female pilots pre-WW2. Sicele obtained her private pilots licence on 20 October 1926 and was one of the earliest female pilots in Britain to earn such a licence. She became Britain's second female commercial pilots licence holder on 12 July 1928. Sadly she was killed in a plane crash near Hatfield in June 1931.

The following is reference to Sicele's fatal plane crash.

Celia and Karen have found various references to Sicele and her sisters in old editions of Peeps, the school magazine from the 1902 to her death in 1931. 

We wish Michael all the very best with his continuing research into Sicele and look forward to including a copy of his work in the Princethorpe archive in due course.

Dr Peaple Secures WW1 100th Anniversary Book Deal

Congratulations to Princethorpe's Head of History, Dr Simon Peaple who has recently secured a book deal with publishers Helion & Company, one of the world's leading specialist publishers and booksellers of military history.

The book, which has a working title of Mud, Blood and Determination, looks at the way in which the 46th (North Midland) Division, progressed along the 'learning curve' to become an effective fighting attacking division by late 1918.

The book will be available from bookshops and Amazon in the Autumn to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

Gwilym Price Collects MBE From Palace

On Tuesday 18 March Princethorpe's much loved former Director of Sport, Gwilym Price, visited Buckingham Palace with his wife Margaret, son Daniel, daughter, Megan and grandson Patrick to collect his well deserved MBE for services to Education and Sport.

Gwil was presented with the award by the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William.

Gwil describes the event as 'immensely special albeit slightly nerve-wracking especially when briefed as to all the dos and donts of royal protocol'.

Supported by his lovely family, Gwil said that Prince William was an absolute delight, spending quite some time chatting and pleased about making the award to a fellow sportsman.

Summing up the day, Gwil dedicated the award to his family who have supported him so much over the years and thanked his dear friends and colleagues at Princethorpe for making it possible for him to do so much in the sporting arena.

If you would like to catch up with Gwilym why not come along to the OPs Summer Supper Meeting on Tuesday 10 June, when he will be our guest of honour.  Optional tour of school at 6pm, drinks at 7pm, supper at 7.30pm. RSVP by Friday 30 May.

OPs Sport Set For Take Off

Having played our first fixture this season against Old Ratcliffians Old Princethorpians Sport is on the cusp of greatness.

Charged by the hard work of Peter Rollason and Jonathan Fitt the committee are excited by the prospects of future events and fixtures which will include Old Boys and also Old Girls.

“Playing for the Old Princethorpians was always one of my lifetime ambitions and now I have wet my whistle I am keen for further progress” explained Peter Rollason Chairman of the Old Princethorpians. “We have a fantastic bunch of young and enthusiastic athletes who are keen to support the progress of sport at the College but also to continue their links with the school's crest which makes the future very exciting.”

Further fixtures have been lined up for September with the Old Princethorpians hosting their Annual Sports Day on Saturday 30 August from 11.00am followed by a rugby fixture away against Kenilworth RFC on Sunday 7 September (13.00pm Kick Off) and then the return leg of our hosting of the Old Ratcliffians on Sunday 14 September where both alumni associations will aim to field rugby, mixed hockey and netball (14.00pm Kick Off for all sports).

“For many Old Princethorpians sport was an integral part of their education at the College and without that interaction and the life skills that they developed from playing with their peers many would have not achieved what they have.” Jonathan Fitt went on to conclude “Every facet of the College is continuing to achieve outstanding results which was clearly highlighted in our excellent ISI inspection report. We as a sports group want to continue to meet the aspirations which are embedded in all the pupils and form an Old Princethorpians' Sports organisation which continues to allow everyone to play the sports that they love and to continue to share the warmth and appreciation of College.”

If you are interested in playing in any of the upcoming fixtures please contact Jon Fitt.

Golden Girl Annabelle Wins England Indoor Pentathlon

Princethorpe College pupil Annabelle Pask has won her first national combined events title at the England Athletics Age Group Indoor Championships in Sheffield on Saturday 8 March. Annabelle (Coventry Godiva Harriers) took the under 17 women’s pentathlon title with a win over Naomi Harryman (Harlow AC) who took silver and J’nae Ward (Sale Harriers Manchester) taking the bronze.

Competing over 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m, Pask, who finished 6th at these championships in 2013, entered the final event with a 59 point lead over Harryman. The Southern champion did her best to narrow the deficit, but despite covering the four laps of the final event, the 800m, in 2:31.29 compared to Pask’s 2:34.98, the 677 points were not enough and the Coventry athlete held on to secure her first national victory with a score of 3483 points to Harryman’s 3469.

Pask had made an excellent start to her day, running a personal best of 8.95secs in the 60m hurdles to take an early lead, but it was Harryman who led after the high jump, her 1.65m jump being the best mark in the field and a full 12cm better than Pask’s. It was the shot put however, that proved decisive, as the 2013 Midland champion outdoors recorded a PB 10.32m to Harryman’s 8.19m and the 132 point difference that that represented resulted in a lead that proved unsurpassable.

With the championships incorporating the Midland Counties, Northern Athletics and Welsh U17 championships, Pask also took home Midland indoor gold. This personal best score places Annabelle 1st on the 2014 Indoor Pentathlon rankings and 12th on the All Time.

Annabelle confesses that she went into the competition without high hopes, “I wasn’t nervous. It wasn’t until I had jumped a good long jump that I really thought to myself, yes, I can win this. I knew I had to work hard on the final event, the 800m. It was a chase to the line with Naomi ahead of me but that pushed me harder to make up the distance and therefore gaining more points.”

Princethorpe College Headmaster Mr Ed Hester described Annabelle’s achievement as a “first for the College.” He went on to add, “This is a wonderful and extremely well-earned achievement from a talented athlete who tries her very best in all she does. What is so impressive is that Annabelle also contributes fully to all aspects of College life including, of course, her academic studies, but remains modest and totally down to earth about her successes.”

With eyes now firmly focused on the outdoor season, Annabelle will enjoy a week’s rest whilst she basks in the glory of this superb victory.

Inspectors Praise Princethorpe Pupils And Staff

A visit in the middle of February from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) found Princethorpe in tip-top health.  The curricular provision across the school was described as “excellent” and the extra-curricular programme was rated to be “outstanding”. The report praises rapid pace, imaginative use of resources and a wide range of effective teaching methods. The school’s innovative da Vinci programme was singled out for successfully motivating pupils to work independently. Commenting on the quality of learning they added “Most teaching is at least good and often excellent.”

The report also pays tribute to the fine personal qualities of pupils. “They learn much about the need for moral living from the ethos of the school which values truth, equality of opportunity, human rights and justice.”  The team also said that pupils recognise and respect the faith and cultures of others and that they celebrate diversity.  The huge array of charity, volunteering and fund-raising for the less fortunate are all acknowledged. The report continues: “Pupils spontaneously appreciate and celebrate the success and achievements of their peers. Pupils at all stages are emotionally mature for their age.”

Headmaster, Ed Hester, said that he was delighted with the inspectors’ findings. “They have recognised Princethorpe’s high standards of teaching and learning, our superb staff, wide-ranging extra-curricular programme and exceptional pastoral care. We are up there with the very best schools in the country in providing a first class all-round education whilst caring so well for our pupils.”

Inspectors praised the school’s firm sense of direction. “The senior management team share a clear vision for the school. They, along with staff at all levels of responsibility, are highly effective in working to continually improve all the school offers.”

Just over twelve months ago the College unveiled a ten-year capital expenditure programme to build thirteen further classrooms, two ICT suites, additional sports pitches, a new theatre, a Sixth Form study centre and upgrades to science laboratories and technology workshops. Ed Hester added “Our new classroom wing is on target to open for September and provides a new home for English, modern foreign languages, ICT and academic PE; this is perfectly timed as we build on the success of this inspection.”

Independent schools receive inspection visits at least every six years by ISI which is the body approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of inspecting schools belonging to the Independent Schools Council (ISC). Princethorpe College is a member of The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) as well as the Independent Schools Association (ISA), both of which come under the auspices of ISC.

Click here to go to report on the ISI website.

Princethorpe Careers Fair ‘Lights Some Fires’ For Those Stepping Onto The Ladder

Headmaster Ed Hester welcomed a capacity crowd of 800 pupils, parents, staff and contributors to the College's second Careers Fair held on Saturday 29 March.

Old Princethorpians were at the heart of the action as the College campus was transformed into a buzzing platform showcasing top industries, businesses and higher educational establishments. Over 250 Year 10 to Sixth Form pupils signed up for three sessions run by professionals who gave structured presentations about their fields of work. Just about any walk of life was represented from the Armed Forces to Law and from Product Design to Journalism.

The morning began with a keynote speech from guest speaker and Princethorpe parent Phil Popham. As Global Marketing Director for Jaguar Land Rover Mr Popham spoke directly to the “leaders of the future” asking them if they had a clear goal and if so how was that goal to be realised. He drew extensively on the qualities of the Princethorpe Sixth Form Diploma likening its attributes to those sought after by canny employers who sift through hundreds of potential applicants. Phil praised the College and described having an education here as a “privilege” not to be wasted.

Thanking Mr Popham, Ed Hester summed up with the hope that the Careers Fair would succeed in “lighting some fires” for all those attending.

Princethorpe’s Sixth Form Atrium served as the hub for the morning with an Exhibition of Universities, Gap Year companies, the Armed Forces and organisations such as JLR and Rolls Royce. Renowned employers sipped coffee with pupils and parents providing excellent networking opportunities.

For many this was their first step on the proverbial career ladder enabling pupils to have a taste of real world job experience exclusively in the College setting.

Comments Peter Rollason, Chairman of the Old Princethorpians, "The Careers Fair is the very essence of what the OPs are about, giving back to the College in the most tangible way possibly through sharing experience and knowledge with today's pupils."

The College is immensely grateful to all the Old Princethorpians, parents suppliers and staff who supported the event and facilitated the day.

Image shows some of the 60+ speakers and exhibitors gathered together before the Careers Fair commenced.

Topping Out Ceremony Marks Construction Mile Stone in New Princethorpe Wing

It’s not a regular occurrence at Princethorpe to spot the Headmaster scaling vast heights wearing a hi-vis jacket and hard hat. Accompanied by members of the Sixth Form Prefect Body and invited guests, the placing of a stone at the highest point of the new £4.5 million classroom wing was celebrated at an informal ceremony on Friday 28 March.

The practice of "topping out" a new building can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious practice of placing a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of their ancestors who had been displaced (though you will be pleased to know that no trees were sacrificed in the construction of our building!). The practice migrated to England with Scandinavian invaders.

Invited Princethorpe trustees and teachers as well as Managing Director of contractor GF Tomlinson of Derby, Stuart Lawrence, were present at the ceremony joining in with the good humour of the occasion. An optional tour of this exciting new development revealed first-hand the fourteen new classrooms, two IT suites, offices and subject bases that will open for business at the start of the next academic year.

Stuart Lawrence went on to describe the progress of the development, “The scheme at Princethorpe College has been progressing extremely well and we’re delighted to be at a stage where the ‘topping out’ ceremony can take place.  The new building will be state-of-the-art providing a wonderful teaching and learning environment for students at the College.”

Old Princethorpians Kick Off With Fantastic Win

A beautiful day at Ratcliffe College on Sunday 16 March staged a historic day for the Old Princethorpians as they played their first competitive sports fixture against Old Ratcliffians alumni. Captained by OP's Chairman Peter Rollason, the Princethorpe team contained men from a number of year groups to have represented the College over its 49 year existence. 

The youthful look of the Princethorpe College team faced a much maturer Ratcliffians side who regularly play fixtures throughout their academic calendar. The game kicked off in very aggressive fashion with the youthful Princethorpe being put in their place by age and experience. However the first try of the game came from the flying winger Charlie Warner who capitalised on a poor kick chase defence to race under the posts. The try was easily converted by Angus Rose to take the score to 7-0. The second try was soon to follow as some excellent scrummage and line out work piled the pressure on Old Ratcliffians. With a ruck forming close to the opposition line Nick Whalley used his speed and strength to dive over in the corner. The kick was missed but it took the score to 12-0 at half time. Rolling subs were used throughout the game to protect the Old Princethorpians lungs and also to maintain the fitness of some of the players who had not played for sometime. 

The 2nd half got started and Princethorpe crashed over almost immediately with Nick Walton using his power to force himself over the line, the try was easily converted by Angus Rose to take the score to 19-0. The final parts of the game saw lots of mistakes as bodies started to get tired. The Old Princethorpians did squeeze over for another try with an outstanding passing move converted by Charlie Preston. The try again was converted by Angus Rose who brought the score to 26-0.

Rugby was the winner for the Old Princethorpians as the opportunity to play as a team and relive and remember some of the fantastic memories they had at school continued late into the night. Charlie Warner was crowned man of the match and received his award from World Cup Winner and Old Ratcliffians Rugby President Neil Back. 

After the game Captain, Peter Rollason commented, "This has to be one of the proudest days of my long but not very illustrious rugby career. I had the privilege to captain (with the considerable assistance of Harvey Broadbent - thanks Chap) the first ever Old Pricethorpians Rugby XV to represent the College against Old Ratcliffians. We won 26-0 and a better bunch of players you could not wish to meet. Thanks to Jon Fitt for organising and coaching the side and driving us there. I hope this will be the first of many such games. Well played all and especially to man of the match Charlie Warner."

Rugby Pub Meet Makes For Trip Down Memory Lane

On Friday 28 February around 30 Old Princethorpians gathered for the annual March Pub Meet at The Merchants Inn, Rugby.

The group was made most welcome by the team at The Merchants, who also laid on a great spread for the hungry OPs.

As well as stalwarts from the OP Committee and past and present members of staff, we were delighted to see some new faces joining us for the evening including, Patrick Mulligan, Bruce West, Mike Edwards and Jan Matthews.

Old Year Books were mulled over with much enthusiasm, and a home video of the College Summer Fete from the mid 80s was cause for much amusement as memories were exchanged. A lovely good-humoured evening for all. Thanks to OP Sean Kerrigan for liaising with The Merchants.

The next OPs event is the London Meet this year to be held for the first time at the East India Club, St James's Square on Friday 16 May. For more information download our calendar attached or visit the OPs part of the website.

We hope to see you there!

J1850 Old Princethorpians Postcard 2013-14 Full.pdf