College News

Grove du Toit Appointed As New Head Of Princethorpe College

The trustees of the Princethorpe Foundation are delighted to announce that Grove du Toit has been appointed as the new Headmaster of Princethorpe College with effect from January 2023.

Mr du Toit went through a rigorous month-long selection process to secure the post against a strong field of candidates.

Mr du Toit is currently Deputy Warden (Senior Deputy Head) at Forest School, a co-educational independent day school for children aged 4 to 18, located on the edge of Epping Forest, a position he has held for five years. He is responsible there for the day to day running of the school, which comprises some 1,500 pupils and more than 300 staff. His extensive remit encompasses oversight of many elements of school life including staffing, recruitment, operations, professional development and staff wellbeing. He also teaches Religious Studies to GCSE and A-level.

Married to Marike, with whom he shares two daughters, aged 13 and 10, Mr du Toit, 42, is a practising Christian. South African by birth, he moved to the UK in 2005 and after a brief period teaching in the maintained sector, he has held a variety of leadership roles in HMC independent schools in and around London.

Mr du Toit has two degrees from the University of Pretoria (a BA in Educational Guidance and Counselling and a BA in Biblical and Religious Studies) and a BEd from the University of South Africa in Educational Management. He also holds an MA in Educational Management from King’s College London and is currently studying for an MBA at Salford Business School.

He has a strong background in the co-curricular life of the school, in particular sport and the performing arts and in his spare time Mr du Toit loves to spend time in the outdoors with his family and dog and his interests include golf and outdoor cooking.

Current Princethorpe Headmaster, Ed Hester, who has been in post since 2009, will take on a new dedicated role as Head of the Princethorpe Foundation when Mr du Toit takes up office. This will allow him to focus on the strategic direction of the Foundation as a whole.

Comments, Liz Griffin, Chair of Trustees, “The Foundation Trustees were unanimous in the decision to appoint Grove to be the next Headmaster of Princethorpe College. His passion for education and young people shone through throughout the selection process. He has immense vision and energy combined with a wealth of experience and leaderships skills, but most importantly his personal values marry perfectly with the ethos of the College. We are delighted to welcome him and his family into the Foundation and will introduce him to staff, pupils and parents at the earliest opportunity.

She continues, “Our thanks go to Ed Hester, who has done an outstanding job as Headmaster of Princethorpe College over the last 13 years. Of course, Ed will continue to have a very keen interest in life at Princethorpe and will be on hand to ensure a smooth transition and successful handover to Grove, who will be supported by Princethorpe’s excellent Senior Leadership Team.”

Comments, Grove du Toit, “I am excited and honoured to take on the Headship of Princethorpe College and lead the school into the next stage of its development, building on the excellent work of Ed Hester. I recognise and fully appreciate what a special community Princethorpe is and upholding its ethos and spirit of family will be central to my role. I look forward to immersing myself in school life and building relationships with staff, parents and pupils alike.”

Current Headmaster, Ed Hester, adds, “Grove is a great fit for Princethorpe and brings with him a vast amount of experience and skills. I am delighted to be able to hand over the reins of running the College to him and am really excited at the prospect of working with him over the years ahead.”

Turf Cutting Marked The Start Of Work On College’s New Science Centre

In March, the start of work to create a brand-new state-of-the-art Science Centre at Princethorpe College was officially marked with a turf cutting ceremony.

The new building situated on the College campus to the north of The Limes building, will house ten laboratories, serving Biology, Chemistry and Physics teaching at the school. It will ultimately transform the College’s entire campus allowing other areas to be redeveloped and departments clustered within the main school building.

The turf cutting took place on Tuesday 1 March with the Headmaster, Ed Hester, and incoming Heads of School, Pratheesh Prabakaran and Freya Mills, donning hard hats and hi-vis jackets to perform the official ground-breaking ceremony. They were joined by Trendgrey Construction Ltd MD Nick Henderson, Foundation Assistant Head, Alex Darkes, Chair of the Old Princethorpians Association, Peter Rollason and long-standing VSOP, Mary Wheildon.

The new £8 million Science Centre is due for completion in mid-2023, ready for opening at the beginning of the 2023-24 academic year. Trendgrey Construction moved onto site just over a week ago and have already established a large self-contained compound and the access road for the construction traffic at the back of the tennis courts in preparation for the real work commencing.

Since then, thanks to the hard work of the construction team and plenty of fine weather the new Science Centre project has made excellent progress. The foundations are now finished with the take-offs for the steels complete. Work continues with excavations for the new netball courts and the dumper trucks were kept busy over the Easter holidays relocating 1500 tonnes of spoil elsewhere on site where it will be used to level up the land.

The team have been finalising the lab designs with a specialist supplier and work is just about to start on the drainage. Work continues offsite on the steels which are currently scheduled to start being craned into place on Monday 23 May. The steels are being supplied locally by Warwick Steel who are based just south of Southam in Deppers Bridge.

The IT team have erected a time lapse camera to capture the build as it happens day by day, and we are looking forward to sharing the first footage of the project soon. It will be exciting to see our plans for Science coming together.

To find out more about our new Science Centre visit:

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MSC Superior General Visits Princethorpe College

Princethorpe College was delighted to welcome Fr Absalón Alvarado Tovar MSC, Superior General of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, to school on Tuesday 3 May.

Father Absalón was visiting from Rome, and he met with Father Alan Whelan MSC and Ed Hester Headmaster before speaking with pupils and staff.

At Tutor Time, Fr Absalón met with the Junior Chaplaincy Prefects and was presented with a College Prayer Book. Then during break, he spoke to the College staff thanking them for the work they are doing and reminding us all how the world is transformed through education.

We were honoured to be able to show Fr Absalón our school.

Inauguration Ceremony Welcomes New Princethorpe Prefect Body

The new Princethorpe College Prefect Body for 2022-2023 was formally inaugurated into office at an end of term ceremony on Tuesday 5 April. Parents and friends of those who have accepted their roles of office were invited to College for a buffet lunch before the afternoon’s formal ceremony began.

Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie, introduced the incoming prefects who were presented with their prefect badges by Ed Hester, Headmaster. The outgoing Heads of School, Anthony Convey and Caitlin Mason, handed over the keys of office to the incoming Heads of School, Freya Mills and Pratheesh Prabakaran. The College extends warm thanks to the outgoing prefect body, they have given unstinting service this last year.

The 2022-2023 Prefects smartly attired in their new uniform for the first time, spoke to the gathered audience of pupils about their hopes for their new roles. We wish them all well as they take up their duties.

The roles of office are as follows:

School Leaders
Freya Mills
Pratheesh Prabakaran

Deputy Leaders
Eve Farquharson
Annabel Koster
Edward Moon
Toby Pearton

Pastoral Prefects (incorporating House Pastoral Prefects)
Laurel Arkesden
Jasleen Birdi
William Butler
Amelia Greig
Zara Hendy
Helaina Holt
Wilf Sansum
Jamie Smith

Austin Captains
Edward Foster
Ruby Harris

Benet Captains
Eleanor Page
Grace Thomas

Fisher Captains
Will Gibson-Sexton
Keira MacRae

More Captains
Evie Phillips
Lara Tripp-Smith

Social Prefects
Zoe Wallis
Amber Williams

Charity Prefects
Noella Mbanga
Maddie Wilde

Academic Prefects
Joshua Apaya
Erin Arriordaz
William Hawkins
Madoc Williams

Marketing and Communications Prefects
Amber Cowie
Millie Giffin

Environment Prefect
Tom Paling

Games Prefects
Molly Harper
Mia Johnson
Harry King
Lucy Randall
Evan Ridd

Long-standing Head Of More House Steps Down

In March, the long-standing Head of More House, Simon Robertson, stood down. Simon had been a key pastoral leader at Princethorpe College for twelve years, having previously been Head of Year 10 and Year 11 before taking on responsibility for More when the College moved to vertical tutoring. Over the years, Simon has played an important role in the Princethorpe family, with a huge number of parents and children benefitting from his support. His commanding voice and calm demeanour always bringing a sense of order to the community. We offer our heartfelt thanks for his commitment to and support of pupils. Simon will continue as a Biology teacher at the College. He has been replaced as Head of More House by Sociology teacher, Lizzie Caisey.

The Princethorpe Foundation Welcomes Trustees

Over the last year The Princethorpe Foundation has welcomed two new members to the Board of Trustees. Mr Jatinder Birdi and Mrs Helen Knight have both joined the governing body to work with fellow Trustees to oversee the overall management and strategic direction of the Foundation.

Mr Jatinder Birdi is an accountant, with his own practice since 1998. He has two children, the eldest left Princethorpe College in 2020 and is now at University, while his youngest daughter is in the Sixth Form. Since June 2006, Mr Birdi has chaired the Warwick District Faiths Forum working to promote equality and diversity through mutual understanding and co-operation between faiths groups.

Mr Birdi, commented, “Both my children have thoroughly enjoyed their time at Princethorpe College. I am grateful for the opportunity to and privilege of joining the Board of Trustees, enabling me to support the Princethorpe community deliver a high level of education and experience for pupils.”

Mrs Helen Knight brings a wealth of educational experience having worked in secondary education for 36 years, including time as headteacher of Cardinal Wiseman School.

Mrs Knight, commented, “Since retiring in 2016, I have become a part-time PhD student at Durham University researching the development of Catholic secondary education for girls at the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. I am a member of St Anne's parish and regularly attend services at Princethorpe, so I was delighted to be asked to become a trustee of the Princethorpe Foundation. I remain passionate about Catholic Education, where I spent most of my career, and the opportunities education in a faith-based setting can give to students.”

Eddie Tolcher, Foundation Bursar and Clerk to the Trustees said, “Our Trustees bring valuable experience to the Foundation’s Governing Body. Their support and advice is much appreciated and we are delighted to have them on our Board of Trustees.

Fantastic Fisher Finish First In The House Cup

Fisher House is celebrating after winning the most hotly contested competition in school, the House Cup. Their victory was announced by House Activities Leader, Jess Newborough, in the Prefect Inauguration ceremony at the end of the Lent Term. The House Cup was presented to the outgoing Fisher House Captains, Greg Burford and Elizabeth Boyes, as jubilant Fisher pupils cheered across the school.

Before announcing the result, Mrs Newborough spoke of the challenges of the last year, her delight at how Princethorpe pupils had responded and the camaraderie and sense of community that the House activities provides. She spoke of the many House events and the importance of taking part, as just 200 points separated the winners this year. Whether the regular weekly fun of the Friday quizzes or the big events such as House Activities Day every single point contributes.

Across the year it was a steady and consistent performance that helped Fisher pupils amass their huge total of points and finish first across the line but well done to all pupils across the school who participated in the events so enthusiastically. The final results this year were: 1st Fisher, 2nd More, 3rd Austin and 4th Benet.

Huge thanks also to all the House team, including the House Activities Co-ordinators and House Captains for all they do to organise and run House events.

Registrations For September 2023 Entry Now Open!

The countdown to the College's Entrance Exams for admission in September 2023 has officially begun and our friendly Admissions Team are already busy accepting registrations and answering enquiries from prospective families.

The Entrance Exams will take place on Saturday 5 November 2022 and with just five months until the registration deadline, Friday 30 September 2022, bookings are underway for our Open Events and Taster Days.

Our latest Admissions newsletter is now available and can be found here. It is full of articles and news to give prospective parents and pupils a feel for College life, information on forthcoming open days and events and helpful advice about the admissions process. 

Our Summer Open Evening takes place on Wednesday 8 June 2022 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This event will give prospective families a chance to look around the school and to hear from Ed Hester, the Headmaster. Places are limited and filling up fast, so please book your place via our website here.

Our Year 5 Taster days are already fully booked but there will be further opportunities to visit the school in September. To register your interest please visit out website here.

In September our Open Morning will take place on Thursday 22 September 2022 from 10.30am to 12.30pm and will provide prospective families with a chance to see the school in action on a normal working day.

If you are thinking of your son or daughter joining us for Sixth Form in 2023, we have a dedicated Sixth Form Open Evening on Wednesday 12 October 2022 from 6.30pm to 9.00pm. You will hear from the Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie regarding key events and dates in the Sixth Form application process. You will also receive specific A-level subject information and advice provided by the Heads of Departments and general information on the Sixth Form experience at Princethorpe.

For more information and to book your place at any of our Open Events or Taster Experiences please visit or contact our friendly Admissions Team on 01926 634201/262/297 or email


Sister Boniface Mysteries On UKTV Drama Channel

The Sister Boniface Mysteries, the spin-off of the popular Father Brown series, was released in the UK on UKTV’s Drama channel. There are 12 episodes in the series which has been running weekly on Friday evenings.

The new murder mystery was filmed at Princethorpe over the summer holidays and follows the adventures of Sr Boniface, a Vespa-driving, crime solving, Cotswold-dwelling nun.

UKTV Drama’s channel can be found on Freeview, youview, TalkTalk and BT on channel 20, on Sky on channel 143, on Virgin on channel 130 and on Freesat on channel 158.

The eagle eyed amongst you will spot glimpses of the Chapel, the corridors around it, the Sixth Form Lawn and even Switzerland in the shots.

It was fantastic to see Princethorpe transported back in time and a little bird tells us that the programme may be recommissioned for a second series.

Train To Teach At Princethorpe Through School Direct

Thinking of becoming a teacher? Then why not consider training with the Princethorpe Foundation.

Whether you are a new graduate or contemplating a career change, we have a wide range of opportunities available across the subjects but particularly in Maths, English, History, Geography and PE.

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, Coventry University and by our experienced mentors here at the Princethorpe Foundation.

You can preview the courses on offer here: by searching the database using the details: 1K1 – The Lion Alliance

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

Further information about the Lion Alliance can be found at