OP News

Princethorpe Connect Launches Today - Sign Up Now For Your Chance To Win A Bottle Of Champagne!

We're delighted to announce the official launch of our brand-new online alumni community portal, Princethorpe Connect. Aimed at past pupils, past parents and former staff, Princethorpe Connect will enable you to find and network with old friends and former colleagues from across the Foundation schools and keep up with news and events.

After a soft launch over the summer, we already have over 100 online members. As an added incentive to encourage sign up, we will randomly select one lucky online member from all those signed up by Monday 4 November to receive a bottle of Champagne, so do please register before then.

Connect Now In Five Simple Steps

  • Step 1 - Click here to go to Princethorpe Connect
  • Step 2 - Go to 'Create a profile...'
  • Step 3 - Register with your email address or synchronise with your Facebook or LinkedIn account
  • Step 4 - Your registration will be reviewed and approved by the Community Admins
  • Step 5 - Once approved your Princethorpe Connect profile will be live and ready to go!

You’ll need to answer a few questions on registration to link to your alumni record, but once logged in you’ll get access to a host of features and benefits.

Princethorpe Connect is an exclusive social network for those in the Princethorpe community, giving you the chance to share your own news and stories, photographs, connect with old friends, send and receive individual or group messages with other alumni, sign up for Old Princethorpians and Development events, pay for tickets, make a donation, order merchandise through our online shop, and access exclusive content such as behind-the-scenes and archive photographs.

We also hope you can take a few moments to fully update your profile to provide us with your current contact details and career information, because you may be able to help guide the current generation of Princethorpe pupils towards their future careers and it allows us to stay in touch with you and keep you up-to-date with all things Princethorpe.

We hope you enjoy everything that Princethorpe Connect has to offer. The more people that sign up and interact with each other through Princethorpe Connect, the more dynamic it becomes, so we hope all OPs will sign up and get connected.

This year's calendar of events is already online, so sign up to Princethorpe Connect and click the events tab for more information and to book your place at for instance the upcoming local and London meets or next year's Summer Supper.

OP Friendly Faces Helps The Next Generation Of OPs

Since A-level results day in August we have been busy matching the Upper Sixth leavers of 2019  with OP Friendly Faces across the UK, some 15 freshers at universities ranging from St Andrews to York and Nottingham to Southampton are benefiting from the scheme. 

OP Friendly Faces aims to link past pupils established at university with first year OP students. Providing a friendly, familiar face to meet up with over a coffee (compliments of the OPs) or having someone to call in their new uni town or city, does, we know, make for a smoother experience in those first few weeks away from home. 

Laurence Chapman, who is in his second year at the University of Leicester studying Law and benefited from the initiative last year is now looking after Meera Chauhan who is just starting her Law degree at Leicester, " I am very much looking forward to mentoring Meera this year and helping her settle into the Law School. I am on committees for two law societies next year so I will take her along to some meetings and introduce her to opportunities at the university as much as I can and she would like."

Meera, adds, "Laurence has been very supportive in my transition from school to university.  From subject related questions, for example opportunities available to me and how to go about lectures to more general topics like bus routes. He has been very helpful and indeed fulfilled his responsibility of being a friendly face."

Comments OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler, "We are delighted that we have been able to match up more of our leavers with OP Friendly Faces, hopefully the initiative will go from strength to strength over the next few years."



Honours Even At This Year's OP Sports Day

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces at the OPs vs College Sports Day, held this year on Saturday 31 August. It was also great to welcome Old Coventrians (King Henry VIII’s alumni association) to the College for the final match of the day against the older OPs.

The College teams had their most successful day for many years clinching three wins, including a nailbitingly close Netball game and victory for the Staff/College side in the increasingly popular Football, and only suffering two losses in the Girls’ Hockey and the John Shinkwin Trophy Match.

In the OPs v College 1st XV (John Shinkwin Trophy match the OPs (leavers of 2018 and 2019) were clearly physically stronger, and their greater strength proved to be their trump card. As is usual in this fixture, the College team paid their elders far too much respect which the OP side capitalised upon.

At the after match awards, it was honours even with the College proudly raising the Alex Wallis Memorial Shield and the OPs the John Shinkwin Cup.

The OPs v Old Coventrians match ended up being a 10 a side game, due to a somewhat depleted OPs side. The OPs stayed in the game to the last quarter when, a slightly more well drilled Old Coventrians side eased ahead to a comfortable victory.

Special mention must go to Simon Wilkins and Michael Edwards who gamely took the pitch for the OPs vs Old Coventrians side - 25 years after leaving the College in 1994!

Neil McCollin, Foundation Director of Sport, commented, “We were incredibly pleased to see so many familiar faces, all the games were played in true Princethorpe spirit and enjoyed by all who watched and played.

“Post our recent South Africa Sports Tour we knew the College teams would be competitive but we were over the moon to win the Shield after a tough couple of years. Huge well done to all those who played and made the day so special. I look forward to seeing them all return on Saturday 5 September 2020 for the next OPs vs College Sports Day.”

The results of the matches were as follows:
Football – Staff/College 2 v OPs 1
Netball – College 23 v OPs 20
Boys’ Hockey – College 4 v OPs 1
Girls’ Hockey – College 1 v OPs 5
Rugby – College 0 v OPs 29
Rugby – OPs 27 v Old Coventrians 43

Thanks to all the players, supporters, organisers and caterers for making the day such a lovely relaxed affair.

More photographs from the day can be found on our new Alumni Community website here.  

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Sun Shines For OPs Summer Supper

This year's Old Princethorpians' Summer Supper Reunion lived up to its name as the College basked in balmy summer sunshine on Friday 28 June.

This year's event was aimed specifically at the leavers of 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009, celebrating their respective 50th, 40th, 30th, 20th and 10th anniversaries.

The Old Princethorpians had reached out to those OPs on its database by email, post and via Facebook and had a very positive response especially from the leavers of 2009, with nearly 20 from that year's Upper Sixth attending. There were also a small number of leavers from 1979, plus other years represented including guests who had flown in specially all the way from Hong Kong and Nice. The 80 or so guests also included the OPs Committee, former parents, former staff, staff who have worked at the College since 2007 and 2008 and staff who are leaving at the end of this academic year.

After an optional tour of school, ably-led by Alex Darkes and Eddie Tolcher, the guests gathered in the Quad for drinks, before moving to the Main Dining Room for a delicious three-course supper.

Following a very convivial meal, Headmaster, Ed Hester and OPs Chairman, Peter Rollason addressed the throng and as is tradition gifts were given to long-serving members of staff and those leaving us this year, including Greg Hunter, Suzy Ellis and Chris McCullough. As a finale to the evening, Alex Darkes or Mr Princethorpe as Headmaster, Ed Hester referred to him, was recognised for 40 years service and presented with a Fortnum and Mason hamper to a well-deserved and rapturous standing round of applause!

Nelson Ngai and his wife, Rowenna, were the guests who travelled the furthest from their home in Hong Kong to attend the event and and celebrate Nelson's 40th year of leaving.

Nelson comments, "It was a wonderful event that Rowenna and I thoroughly enjoyed. To see the changes at Princethorpe College was undoubtedly the highlight of our tour of England. All the improvements from academic to sports achievements are admirable. The sports centre, science laboratories and Sixth Form common room are just a few facilities that I wish we had back in the 1970's. Meeting fellow Princethorpians, academic staff, and Fr O'Brien again was priceless."

Commented OPs Chairman, Peter Rollason, "A good time certainly seemed to be had by all. It was particularly pleasing to see such a large number of leavers from 2009 celebrating their tenth anniversary with us and to hear how well they are doing.

"Next year's OPs Summer Supper Reunion will take place on Friday 26 June 2020 when we will be celebrating the leavers of 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010. If you would like to come along please email Leavers of other years and partners are most welcome too.

More photographs from the evening can be found on our new Alumni Community website here.

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Old Princethorpians Enjoy Annual London Meet

Just before the May half term the Old Princethorpians held their annual London Meet, this year at the Bulldog Bar in The Clarence on London's Whitehall.

The evening was hosted by members of the OP Committee including the Headmaster, Ed Hester, Assistant Head, Alex Darkes and Foundation Bursar Eddie Tolcher.

It was lovely to see some of our London stalwarts along with some new faces catching up with each other and the latest Princethorpe news. It was particularly good to welcome Former Director of Boarding, Fr Teddy O'Brien, MSC and Chris Lee, leaver of 2004, who has returned to the College to take on the role of Foundation Development Director.

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21 Princethorpians Presented With Duke Of Edinburgh Gold Award At Buckingham Palace

In May 21 Old Princethorpians, were invited to Buckingham Palace in London to be presented with the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.  They joined 3,500 young people in a special ceremony in glorious sunshine, in the gardens of the Palace. 

It will have taken them over five years and 450 hours to have earned their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, progressing first through Bronze and then Silver until they finally achieved the challenging Gold.  Along the way they will have volunteered, learned new skills, taken part in physical activity, and for the Gold undertaken a week long residential, as well as planning and completing self-sufficient expeditions.

In turn the 21 were presented with their awards by explorer and adventurer Andy Bartlet who urged them to be proud and to keep making life memorable.  After receiving their awards, the group then had the chance to meet and talk with Sophie, Countess of Wessex. 

Head of Outdoor Education, Will Bower, was very proud, commenting, “Completing your Gold Duke of Edinburgh takes real commitment and resolve, and the skills developed along the way benefit both the individual and their local community.  All of these young people showed dedication and perseverance and their final expedition to Buckingham Palace was a wonderful reward.”

Receiving their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award were:

Georgina Bannister
Imogen Blackhall
Joseph Berry
Helen Busfield
Meera Chauhan
Nathan Golsby-Taylor
Megan Harcourt
Imogen Hornsby
Jessica Hornsby
Alex Hutcheson
Eleanor Jennings
Megan Jones
Megan Lewis
Alexander Mackinnon
Aimee Sen-Gupta
Charlotte Silvester
James Tolcher
Tom Warne
Edward Williamson
Christie Wukics
Tiarnan Wukics

Congratulations to you all!

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Duke of Edinburgh Award Completion

Last year a record 160 Duke of Edinburgh Awards were achieved by Princethorpians. Our completion rate placed us top in the county. 21 of these were Gold Awards, an outstanding achievement by all involved. 

Do you have an award you haven’t quite managed to finish?  We would love you to get things signed off and see your achievements recognised. Please see the eDofE Guide and FAQs below, which explains the process further.

The photo shows recent Upper Sixth leavers Ellie Jennings, Aimee Sen-Gupta, Meg Harcourt and Charlotte Silvester receiving their Gold Awards at Buckingham Palace in May this year.  This could be you next year!!

Will Bower
Head of Outdoor Education and DofE Manager

eDofE Guide and FAQs  

Crackley Hall To Celebrate 75th Anniversary In 2020

Crackley Hall, formerly St Joseph's Convent School, the Foundation's junior school in Kenilworth will be celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2020.

A committee of past pupils and staff is being formed to plan the celebrations and we will be sharing news of these with past pupils and former members of staff early in the New Year.

Plans are likely to include, a special Mass, afternoon tea, musical performances and possibly a Gala Dinner or Ball.

If you are be interested in being kept up to date with the plans please register on Princethorpe Connect, email Jenny Vaughan at or call 01926 514410.

OP Ian Bell Coaches Crackley Cricket Masterclass

One of Princethorpe's junior schools, Crackley Hall was delighted to welcome, Old Princethorpian and Cricket Ambassador for Complete Cricket, Ian Bell MBE into school on Tuesday 11 June for a special Batting Masterclass.

Ian put the awestruck boys through their paces. From the start he stressed the importance of getting the fundamentals right, looking at grip, stance, backlift and alignment, his message was ‘cricket is simple if you get the basics right’. Over the two-hour session, you could see the boys’ cricket really improve as they worked in groups to put Ian’s advice into practise.

The masterclass finished with a special question and answer session. Ian was enthusiastically quizzed by the boys, with questions ranging from ‘Who was the most challenging bowler you faced?’ and ‘Where were the most difficult pitches to play on?’ to ‘What was it like to play with Freddie Flintoff?’ They even quizzed Ian on his time at Princethorpe. Ian answered all their questions good-naturedly explaining that he had always enjoyed sport and had first played for Warwickshire in their U10 squad. He encouraged the boys to play all sports, talking about all the opportunities he had at Princethorpe and the inspiration and support he had received from the College’s former Director of Sport, Gwilym Price. He said, “I loved sport and at Princethorpe I played everything - rugby, football, hockey and cricket. I was 16 when I finally decided that cricket was what I wanted to do.”

Crackley Hall’s Assistant Head – Co-curricular, Charles Lamprecht said, “Huge thanks to Ian and Jamie and Sam from Complete Cricket for such an inspirational masterclass. The boys were thrilled to have a cricketing legend coaching them."

Many thanks to Ian for coming into work with the boys.

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OP Merchandise - The Perfect Christmas Gift!

Stuck for Christmas present ideas for the OPs in your life? Look no further as items from the OP range of merchandise make the ideal gift for Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries!

Popular items include:

  • Socks with the distinctive Tower design on dark blue background with thin diagonal stripe - priced £9.00 + postage
  • A university style scarf (in 100% wool with navy blue, red and gold stripes) - priced  £31 + postage
  • T-bar cufflinks with a gold Tower design - priced £26 + postage
  • The Old Princethorpian tie. A classic 100% silk tie with a repetitive gold Tower design and thin red diagonal stripes on a dark blue background - priced £19 + postage and packing.
  • Tower pin badge. The 2cm high badge in nickel with recessed metal detail is based on the Tower logo - priced £11 + postage
  • A Spirit Of Family: The First Fifty Years Of Princethorpe College - produced to mark the College's Golden Jubilee this beautiful keepsake is a relflection on the first fifty years of Princethorpe College written by Nick Baker and Alex Darkes, it was published on 1 September 2016 - priced £21 + postage.

Stocks are now available to order online from Princethorpe Connect, please click here, or alternatively email Old Princethorpians.

Foundation News

Another Year Of Excellent Results For Princethorpe’s A-level And GCSE Pupils

Princethorpe College is celebrating another year of excellent examination results.

This summer 30% of all A-level grades were A* or A and over three-quarters of grades were C or better; at GCSE the College celebrated its best ever GCSE results with 48% of all entries graded 9, 8 or 7 ( the old A* or A) and 36 pupils achieving eight or more 9, 8 and 7 grades.

Ed Hester, Headmaster, said, “Our students have worked so hard and we are incredibly proud of their achievements.”

A-level summary:

  • 94 candidates
  • 17 students achieved 3 or more A* or A grades
  • 30% A* and A
  • 75% grade C or better

Ed Hester continued, "We were particularly pleased that in addition to their A-levels, this year over half the Upper Sixth cohort completed the extended project qualification, which is so highly respected by universities and employers alike. It was also lovely to receive amazing feedback from the A-level Art moderators who were bowled over by the quality of the artwork by all our six A* A-level art students.”

At GCSE Princethorpe pupils performed well in all the core subjects, but the College is again delighted with its English results - this year 62% of pupils achieved 9, 8 or 7 grades. 

GCSE summary:  

  • 127 candidates
  • 48% of all grades 9-7 
  • 96% of grades 9-4 or better

There were many exceptional personal achievements, with stand-out performances at GCSE from Grace McGrory, James Gallagher, Lauren Mason, Alex Rejali and Prajeet Prabakaran, who all achieved an outstanding eleven or more grade 9s.

Headmaster, Ed Hester, continued, “All credit goes to our pupils and staff for their commitment and hard work.  Our 2019 A-level and GCSE results are very strong indicators that the school’s academic achievements across the ability range continue to go from strength to strength."

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Development Capital Campaign Ready To Lift Off In November

The Development Team at Princethorpe is getting ready for the next phase of our Capital Campaign which will be lifting off in early November.

In the last few weeks we have had a meeting of our volunteer-led Science Campaign Board, made up of friends from across the Princethorpe Community, who are driving the fundraising objectives of the campaign. The Campaign Board includes two representative Old Princethorpians, Tim Douglas and Mary Wheildon. We hope you will get to meet Tim and Mary at OP and Development events over the next few months to speak to them about the campaign.

The Development Focus Group met recently too and have helped guide decisions on fundraising options for the Capital Campaign.

There will be some fantastic, unique fundraising options available, offered for the first time ever at Princethorpe including; engrave a paver or brick with your or a family name or sponsoring an element on our giant periodic table. More details on how to secure your option will be coming soon.

We are also working hard to link in with local businesses on partnership work around the new Science Building – if you have any contacts in business or industry that you think we should be speaking to please let us know by emailing

The Science building will not only secure the future of Science at Princethorpe it will also transform and modernise Art, Geography, Maths, Business Studies and our dining facilities.

For more information on the Campaign, contact Chris Lee, Development Director on 01926 634265 or email

Princethorpe Clock Undergoes Major Restoration

Over the summer holidays a lot of work goes on behind the scenes readying the College for the start of the academic year. This year was no exception, with amongst other things improvements being made to the first floor teaching corridor and the installation of new boilers to keep everyone warm and cosy once summer is a dim memory.

One other part of the school receiving some much needed TLC was the College clock, which was manufactured in 1861 and has been lovingly tended for decades by former Head of Chemistry, John Miller and Estatesman, Gerry Lovely.

The clock takes the form of a cast iron chair frame design movement with hour strike and ting tang quarter chimes, it drives the two external dials with an anchor escapement with pendulum action.

A phased restoration is currently underway starting with the stonework around the clock tower, which has been looking rather sorry for itself and refurbishment of some of the internal workings and the dials.

The weight driving pulley system was in need of restoration, particularly the top pulleys & timber support above the weights, the pulleys needed to be removed for overhaul and the top fixing timber replaced, so it was decided that converting the movement to automatic winding was the best way forward, this allows the movement to work all as original.

The Cumbria Clock Company, church and public clock specialists, were entrusted to undertake the work and fitted a new autowinding unit this summer and next year the clock movement will be dismantled and taken off site for cleaning.

The scaffolding remans and work on the stonework continues, as we await stone from a quarry in Shropshire which should arrive early in October, but it's been good to hear those distinctive chimes ringing out again.

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Cycling Pilgrimage Challenge #2 Raises Funds For Mary's Meals

An intrepid band of Princethorpe College staff, parents, Old Princethorpians and even our Chair of Trustees bravely took on an epic challenge over the May half term holiday when they cycled between the French towns of Saumur and Amboise in support of the College's chosen charity, Mary's Meals.

This was the second time the College has undertaken a cycling pilgrimage, the first one being during the College's Golden Jubilee Year, two years ago.

The 22 cyclists and their supporters travelled to France by coach and cycled the 110 miles over two days, with a rest day in between in the beautiful chateau town of Azay-le-Rideau. Over the course of the challenge the cyclists encountered monsoon like rain, punctures, chain breaks and their fair share of drama and injury.

They travelled along country roads and canal paths, through lush meadows and poppy fields, beside the beautiful Loire and up steep hills in order to complete the challenge.

Comments, Headmaster, Ed Hester, who led the trip, “110 miles in two days is no mean feat and all the pilgrims deserve to be congratulated. Once again there was a fantastic sense of camaraderie, which really epitomised Princethorpe’s spirit of family. We were received most warmly by the French people on our route, who were fascinated by the challenge.”

Thanks go in particular to our wonderful coach driver, Keith Price from Catteralls, the route master general, Peter Griffin and French liaisons, Andy Compton, Alison Gallagher and Miriam Isaacs.

The cyclists raised over £1,500 in aid of their chosen charity, Mary’s Meals, amazingly enough to feed over 100 children at Makalunga Primary School in Malawi for a year.

If you would still like to support them please go to their fundraising page here.

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Little Crackers Nursery Celebrates Natural New Look

On Wednesday 18 September Little Crackers Nursery invited Warwickshire Wildlife Trust into school to help celebrate the nursery’s exciting ‘back to nature’ makeover.     

Over the summer holidays Little Crackers Nursery, at Crackley Hall School, has been transformed with a new natural look in its spacious rooms that includes new furniture, flooring, decoration and a completely new indoor/outdoor Garden Room with a decked area, a sunken sand pit, a glazed roof and retractable folding doors that open up to the woods behind.

In the morning the nursery’s Parent and Toddler group, Stay ‘n’ Play, explored the new look accommodation and took part in wildlife themed activities in the bright rooms.  Outside they went into the school’s woods and joined in wildlife themed activities run by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The children really enjoyed searching for toy hedgehogs and making hedgehog homes.

In the afternoon the nursery children had their own party, with wildlife activities inside that included snail studies, bird watching and woodland craft before also joining Warwickshire Wildlife Trust outside for some wonderful Woodland Fairy Folk fun.

The summer makeover has also seen improvements to the front nursery playground and the nursery children are now enjoying regular visits to the newly opened woodland at the back of the main school.  The ‘back to nature’ summer makeover means that the children now enjoy outdoor learning experiences in three very different settings.

To celebrate the new look Little Crackers has adopted new animal names to reflect the ‘back to nature’ theme, with the Terrific Twos becoming Dormice, the Thrilling Threes changing to Hedgehogs and the Fabulous Fours transforming into Badgers.

Comments Susan Glen-Roots, Assistant Head – Early Years and Key Stage 1, “This is an exciting project which will transform our children’s experiences in nursery.  A more natural environment inside creates a sense of calm whilst stimulating interest and providing the children with a blank canvas in which to learn and develop. This, coupled with more opportunities to take their learning outdoors and explore the wonders of the natural world will reap fantastic rewards in terms of self-confidence, imagination and physical development.”

The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust had lots of fun with the youngsters helping them explore the natural surroundings and encouraging their interest in wildlife.  

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Superb Aerial Views Of The College

Many thanks to a member of our support staff, Keren Andrews, for sharing these wonderful aerial photos of the College in all its glory with us. Keren and her family had won a very special flight from Coventry Airport in a four-seater plane and in glorious sunshine in mid September they flew over the College and on down to Southam and back enjoying fantastic visibility all the way. They could see across Warwickshire as far as the Malvern Hills!

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Countdown To Entrance Exams For September 2020 Entry

With just five weeks to go now, the countdown to the College's Entrance Exams for admission in September 2020 is well underway. This year the exams for Year 7 to 10 entry will take place on Saturday 9 November from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Our friendly Admissions Team have been kept busy over the summer and so far this term accepting registrations for the examinations from prospective parents. 

The College now needs registrations as soon as possible to enable the seeking of references from junior schools before the Admissions Panel sits.

Comments Melanie Butler, Assistant Head, Marketing, Admissions and Communications, "Interest is at an all time high, we had a very busy Open Morning last week. The results of the examinations will be out for the end of November, making for an exam-free Christmas holiday, which has got to be good news."

For more information on the admissions process click here to visit our Admissions Update newsletter.

If you have any queries relating to admissions please feel free to email the Registrars at or call them on 01926 634201.

Latest Admissions Update Newsletter Now Available

The latest edition of the College's Admissions Update e-newsletter was published in September. It was packed with news to give prospective parents and pupils a feel for College life, information on forthcoming events and helpful advice about the admissions process, particularly for those who are looking at entry in September 2020.

The newsletter is issued twice a year to coincide with key admissions periods and the next edition will be available in spring 2020.

Please click here to go to the Admissions Update newsletter.

Or for further information on admissions to the school please contact the Registrar on 01926 634201 or 01926 634262 or email the team at

Latest Editions Of The Pinnacle And Minnacle Showcase Super Work

The latest edition of the Pinnacle was published at the end of the Trinity term.  It showcased ability and flair across many subjects and year groups, including an award winning poet and a number of Princethorpe's budding sports stars. It also includes some superb examples of Modern Foreign Languages work and there is coverage of the wonderful GCSE and A-level Art and Photography, which appeared in our Summer Art, Photography and Design Show.

A double-sized Minnacle was included too, with equally impressive work by Crackley Hall pupils from Nursery to Junior 6 and Crescent pupils from Reception to Class VI. It's wonderful to showcase all their talents too!!

Click here if you would like to download a copy of The Pinnacle, here Crackley Hall's Minnacle and here for Crescent School's Minnacle.