College News

Oxbridge Offers For High-Flying Princethorpe Sixth Formers

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

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

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

Their success is not achieved without a great deal of hard work from the students, as well as hours of dedicated support and encouragement from their teachers, parents and even former students, who have provided individual guidance and support over the past few months. Our thanks go to amongst others, OP James Fletcher who is currently studying at Oxford who supported James' preparations.

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

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

Prize Giving Performances By The College Orchestra And Choir

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

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

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

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

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

You can watch the Choir perform Seize The Day here.

Restoration Work Begun On Old Woodland Walk

The Grounds team are in the process of restoring and revitalising an old woodland path known as the Nut Walk. Running along the back of the Orchard wall, the overgrown path originates from Princethorpe’s days as a Priory and connects the sports field entrance to Mile Walk to the car park by the Grounds shed.

Such was the dilapidated state of the path, that very few of Princethorpe’s current pupils and staff would have ever thought that there was ever a path there but as our very own Mr Princethorpe, Assistant Head, Development, Alex Darkes, reveals, “When I was here as a pupil (1968-75) the Nut Walk was less overgrown and made a diversion from the Mile Walk as another place to explore! The Nut Walk hugged the back of the Orchard wall from the Games field side and was bordered by a ditch. I recall seeing hazelnuts, with their distinctive husks, no doubt the reason for its name. My strongest memory is of the carcass of an old black car which was close to the Orchard wall and well hidden by the undergrowth. It might have been a Standard or even a Hillman, I remember that it had a ‘wind out windscreen’ for ventilation. Even in 1968 the car was in a pretty forlorn state. It must have pre-dated Princethorpe College and it was always a bit of a mystery as to how it got there, as the nuns were incredibly orderly in terms of looking after the place.”

So far, the Grounds team have been hard at work clearing away the undergrowth, brambles and other invasive species with Grounds Assistant, Alan Husband, spending many long hours cutting the ivy ready for it all to be pulled off. The team have now begun the process of re-establishing the path. They have discovered old roses and even uncovered the remains of the old car! The team are aiming to have completed their work by the end of February, so hopefully once we all return to school the lost path will nearly be ready to explore. It will be wonderful to see its mysteries revealed once again.

View Gallery

Progress Update On Plans For The New College Science Centre

It’s been a few months since our last update on the Science Centre, and we wanted to let you know how things are progressing.

All the preparatory planning for the building is now nearing completion, including the detailed technical design of the building and the Bill of Quantities. This means that the project will be ready to go forward to tender, the stage where we appoint the main building contractor, as soon as we judge the time to be right.

Of course, it will come as no surprise that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has, inevitably, meant that we are taking time to consider the financial situation, as well as seeking expert advice on when it would be best to advance the project to the tendering stage.

The good news is that we anticipate that our Trustees will be in a position to finalise the timeline for the Science Centre build within the next 12 months.

Comments Headmaster, Ed Hester, "We remain totally committed to the project and are very excited about the campus-wide benefits it will bring. The additional time we now have will allow us to firm up plans for other improvements, including enhanced dining facilities, new department homes for Art, Economics, Business Studies and Geography and the removal of the last portacabins."

We will continue to keep you updated on the project over the coming months. If you want to read more about our plans for the new Science Centre and other campus developments, further information is available on our Science+ Campaign webpage.

Princethorpe Sixth Former Stan Brocklebank Awarded Prestigious Arkwright Scholarship

Princethorpe Lower Sixth Former, Stan Brocklebank has been awarded an Arkwright Engineering Scholarship. The accolade, which comes from The Smallpeice Trust, the UK’s leading STEM Education Charity, is the most prestigious scholarship of its type in the UK. The scholarships support high calibre students while they study for their A-levels, inspiring and encouraging them to pursue careers in the fields of engineering, computing and technical design.

The scholarships are awarded to students through a rigorous selection process, Head of Design and Technology, Paul Scopes, explains, “The Arkwright Scholarship is for talented Year 11 pupils who are interested in a career in Engineering. Pupils are nominated by their teachers, and submit an application focused on their engineering activities, interests and future plans. Applicants then take a two-hour examination where their problem-solving skills and engineering potential are put to the test and if successful they attend a rigorous interview at University. Pupils must be studying Design Technology and must plan to take Maths at A-level. Last year the College nominated five pupils, and Stan and, former Year 11 pupil, Carys Burchell were both successful and awarded scholarships. This was the first time the College had participated in the scheme and as these scholarships are really tough to get, we are very pleased to have two awarded in the first year.”

Paul continues, “Stan is currently studying A-level DT, Maths and Physics. He has always stood out as a focused and talented engineer. He has been a member of the College’s Robotics team, competing in Holland and Italy where he took a leading role as well as mentoring younger pupils. He was appointed DT Subject Leader in Year 10. His GCSE DT project was a new suspension set up for Autograss race cars and he completed it to an excellent standard. He has a bright future ahead of him in engineering and it really is a pleasure to teach him.”

Those lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship, receive a financial award and the support of a mentor who works with them throughout their time in Sixth Form. They are also given the opportunity to take part in courses and events for Arkwright Scholars. They benefit from networking opportunities with like-minded students, gain confidence and knowledge in their subjects and often relevant work experience. They are ideally positioned to pursue Engineering, Computing or Technical Design at university or a higher-level apprenticeship before moving into industry to progress their career.

On receiving the news, Stan said, “These scholarships are one of a kind for people who are young and aspiring engineers, there is nothing to lose going for one of these awards and the rewards are incredible.”

Stan plans to go on to study Automotive Engineering at university, and is hoping to then work in the Automotive industry, he would like to work for a World Rallycross team.

He continued, “The most challenging part of the application was the online part where you described yourself and your out of school interests in engineering. I had so much to talk about and I needed to be succinct. I felt really pleased and proud when I heard the news that I had received an award.”

Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie, comments, “Arkwright Scholarships are highly sought after as they provide exceptional support. Pupils who successfully obtain an award have access to unparalleled opportunities. Arkwright Engineering Scholars achieve excellent academic success and are known to make enviable career progress. Stan has done incredibly well to receive this accolade and we congratulate him on his success.”

More information on the Arkwright Scholarship is available at


Princethorpe Sixth Former Narrates Local History Documentary

Princethorpe College Upper Sixth Former, Charlotte Fitzpatrick, is one of a small number of local school pupils selected to narrate Leamington History Group's latest video Leamington’s Victorian Legacy that was released on Friday 23 October.

A sequel to their first video: Birth of a Spa Town, the film tells the story of Leamington’s development during the second half of the 19th Century.

Charlotte is the opening narrator and features alongside local experts telling the story of Leamington's development.

She said, “I decided to audition for the Leamington History Group documentary because I love learning about the history of places and I also like performing, so I thought that I might make a good candidate for a narrator for the documentary. I was asked to read two extracts in a Zoom audition with the maker of the film, Mark Ellis, and was delighted to find out that I was one of three local students selected to take part. At the end of September, I received the full script and then went into the recording studio to record my part.”

Charlotte, who is studying Maths, English and Drama and Theatre Studies at A-level, has made an excellent job of the narration, delivering her lines in a confident and informative manner.

The video is now available to watch on Leamington History Group's website and gives a fascinating insight into the history of the town.

College Prize Giving Celebrates Pupils’ Exceptional Achievements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View Gallery

2019/20 Tower Review

The latest edition of the College’s magazine, The Tower Review, was published just before Christmas.

It tells the story of the school year, term by term, reflecting on the whole host of activities, achievements and successes that pupils from Year 7 through to Upper Sixth took part in.  It includes highlights such as Prize Giving and the College production as well as reviews of sporting events, House competitions and school trips. 

2019/20 was an incredible year, one like no other in the College's long history, and yet there were many wonderful and memorable moments to reflect on.

The magazine was mailed to current parents and the Leavers of 2020 during the Christmas holidays, you can download a copy here and if you would also like to receive a hard copy then please email with your name and address.