Registrar, Mrs Vanessa Rooney, Assistant Registrar, Miss Helen Morgan, and Admissions Administrator, Mrs Catherine Rogers, deal with many enquiries from prospective parents, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about the admissions process, with their responses.
If you have a query that isn't covered here, please feel free to contact Vanessa, Helen or Catherine on 01926 634201/262/297 or 07930 601877.
How are places offered?
Places are considered based on the results from the entrance examinations, the reference which the College requests from the candidate's current school and any other information which is contained on the registration form. The Admissions Panel looks at each individual at length before a decision is made regarding the offer of a place. The decision making process runs over three days.
How many places are offered each year?
The cohort each year is different in number and ability so it depends upon the examination results and the references from the current school. We usually offer slightly more places than we have space for because we recognise that some children may take entrance examinations for more than one school and some live in areas which still use the 11+ examination.
What is assessed during the entrance examinations?
Pupils for entry into Year 7 will take papers in Mathematics and English (1 hour each) and a 50 minute online assessment (CEM test) which will cover verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning. There will also be a 45 minute Free Writing paper which will ask them to write something about themselves.
How can I prepare my child for the exams?
There is no one way to best prepare your child, but we recommend they read widely, look up words they do not understand, use their imagination in their writing, practice their number skills (including times tables) and play word and number games.
As a general rule on the paper tests, advise your son/daughter to answer the easy questions first on the paper and then go back and work on the trickier ones. Practice at timing themselves while they are working is important too, as they often run out of time. None of the questions on any of the papers need to be answered in order. If the child thinks a question is difficult leave it and go onto the next one and then go back and try again if there is enough time. Please encourage your child to just try their best and to show any working out, as some marks might be awarded even if the answer is incorrect.
'Bond Books' practice assessment papers may be helpful preparation for entry into Year 7. They can be ordered online or bought from bookshops like W.H. Smith or Waterstones. Look for the 11+ age category. They are available in English, mathematics, verbal and non-verbal reasoning.
The online assessment is provided by Durham University’s Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM). The test is designed to enable all children to demonstrate their academic potential without the need for excessive preparation. For more information on the online assessment please visit the CEM website at: https://plus.cem.org/cemselectfam/
Note – for the best experience please use Microsoft Edge or Chrome on a computer or laptop, rather than a tablet or mobile phone. The software works better on these platforms and also the children need to be confident to use a mouse to navigate and select their answers.
A copy of a sample English paper is available to download here.
How many scholarships are offered each year?
The number of scholarships offered each year depends on the funds allocated by the trustees. Academic scholarships awarded vary between 5% and 50%. Art and Music can be from 5% to 25%. All-Rounder scholarships are generally from 5% to 25%. All awards are at the discretion of the Headmaster.
What does an All-Rounder Scholarship mean?
The All-Rounder scholarship is for a child with a strong academic ability who also achieves highly in their activities outside of school. This could be sport, music, drama, art, cubs, brownies etc. If you wish to apply for this scholarship please complete the all-rounder scholarship application form, available here. We will also require a portfolio of evidence of your child’s extra-curricular activities and achievements in order for them to be considered. All families present these to us in different ways but, essentially, we usually receive letters, references from their activity leaders or coaches and any supporting certificates, letters, photographs or other documentation your child feels demonstrates their ability as an excellent 'all-rounder'. Any original documents will be returned to you after offers have been made. For further information, please see our Scholarships and Bursaries page on the Princethorpe College website. The Admissions Panel frequently sees applications for All-Rounder scholarships which have minimal supporting paperwork. Please make sure that we have sufficient evidence to consider. Potential all-rounder scholars may be invited to an interview with the Head of Co-Curricular in the few days following the entrance examinations.
Do you take children with a Special Educational Need or Disability?
If your child has a special educational need or disability (SEND), which includes social, emotional and/or mental health needs, please indicate this on the registration form. He/she will then be invited in for an assessment with a member of our Learning Support department before the entrance examination takes place. The findings from this assessment then go forward to the Admissions Panel together with the entrance exam results, current school confidential reference and, where appropriate, an up to date specialist report from, for example, an Educational Psychologist or Occupational Therapist.
Are children with a SEND entitled to access arrangements in the exam?
Children with a special educational need or disability may be considered for access arrangements in the entrance examinations. Any access arrangements will usually be based on the child's normal way of working in their current educational environment, for which evidence will be required. We would ask that any Educational Psychologist reports or other supporting information, are forwarded to the Registrars at the earliest opportunity.
All children with a SEND should see a member of our Learning Support department, prior to the entrance exams taking place, who will be happy to discuss their needs. Please ensure that you register in good time, to enable us to arrange this meeting.
How are the children put in the new form groups?
At Princethorpe new pupils to the school will join an existing house tutor group comprising pupils from Years 7 to 11. They will stay with this 'family' and form tutor up until Year 11. The Sixth Form have form tutor groups which consist of both Lower and Upper Sixth students.
The Y7 to Y11 house tutor groups have approximately the same number of children from every year group, a mix of girls and boys and ability.
What sizes are the classes at Princethorpe?
The maximum class size is 24 but this year's Year 7 classes are at around 20 pupils. Design and Technology groups tend to be smaller, normally around 14. Maths and English sets vary according to need – pupils in lower sets will be in slightly smaller groups – usually around 16 or 17. Students in top sets work very well in slightly larger groups, up to 23/24.
How are the children allocated to a House?
Houses are allocated by the Deputy Head - Pastoral. Where there is an existing connection with the school pupils usually go into the same house as a sibling or the same house if the parent is an Old Princethorpian. Otherwise the houses are allocated to ensure that the boys and girls are evenly distributed across all four houses.
Will my child get lost when they come to Princethorpe?
Princethorpe has an excellent induction programme that is offered in two separate ways. We have an Induction Day in June for all new pupils when they spend a day in class and get to meet their Head of House and other members of the Princethorpe community. We also have a Year 7 Activity Day which takes place at the end of the summer holidays. This is a fun day with all the new Year 7 children taking part in games, treasure hunts and activities in and out of the classroom. This is another opportunity to find their way around and meet more staff and children in their House just before they begin school, in September.
How do we find out what is happening at school?
The College has a bi-weekly electronic newsletter, The Flagpole, that includes news articles, events, important information and advice. We start sending it to new parents towards the end of the summer term and it is the best place to find out what is happening in school. You will also find a wealth of information on our Parent Portal.
Do you offer before and after school care?
The school is open from 7.30am each day with breakfast available in the Sixth Form Centre for early birds. Period 1 and registration is at 8.40am. School finishes at 3.45pm with buses departing at 3.55pm. Princethorpe Prep is available for pupils until 6.00pm.
What extra charges, apart from the school fees are there likely to be?
When your child first joins Princethorpe there will be the cost of the school uniform and the annual pack of exercise books. All text books are loaned to the child and there is no charge unless one is lost or badly damaged. There are school trips, usually for each year group and these are always connected to the curriculum. Children will need to buy food from the Refectory or bring a packed lunch. We use a fingerprint system so money does not need to be brought into school. Princethorpe takes great care to ensure that costs are kept to a minimum and are always good value.