Welcome to Crackley Hall and Little Crackers Nursery's Admissions e-newsletter. Filled full of information and news, it gives you a wonderful feel for school and nursery life, tells you about forthcoming events which are open to prospective pupils and their families and has plenty of 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, the next edition will be published in Spring 2020.

If you have any feedback, comments or queries please feel free to email the team at admissions@crackleyhall.co.uk.



Headmaster's Welcome

Headmaster's Welcome

Thank you for reading our Autumn Admissions Update which is designed to give you the latest information on the admissions process, as well as news and developments at Crackley Hall and Little Crackers. We also hope that the newsletter will convey a feel for the family atmosphere at Crackley and a taste of the many achievements of the children in our community, from academic to sporting and the arts.

Since our last edition we have continued to thrive in our 'outstanding in all areas' rating by the Independent School Inspectorate following their inspection in October 2017. The report was a real vote of confidence for everything we do at Crackley Hall and a recognition of the positive impact a Crackley education has on our pupils' lives. I would encourage you to read more about this in the News section or visit the ISI website for the full report.

As a result Crackley continues to be very popular, we have limited places available in certain year groups from current Reception to Junior 6. We maintain small class sizes to provide the level of attention needed for each child at this critical time in their development.

Crackley retains the small-school feel that makes it so special, but with a wealth of opportunities, often delivered by larger schools, that stretch and challenge all. It's a place where the children are individuals who are known to every member of staff. Our children are very happy and this matters so much to us.

We look forward to welcoming you to Crackley Hall and Little Crackers Nursery soon.

Robert Duigan


Natural New Look For Little Crackers Nursery

Over the summer Little Crackers Nursery has been transformed with an exciting natural makeover.  The Nursery’s new look has remodelled its spacious rooms, it includes new furniture, flooring, decoration and a completely new indoor/outdoor Garden Room with a decked area and a sunken sand pit, covered by a glazed roof with retractable folding doors that open up to the woods behind.  

Improvements have also been made to the front nursery playground and the nursery children will now also enjoy regular visits to the newly opened woodland at the back of the main school, where Forest School sessions will ensure plenty of den building, bug hunting and adventures will be on the learning menu. The changes mean that the children will now be able to enjoy outdoor learning experiences in three very different settings.

As part of the makeover the different nursery rooms have adopted new animal names to reflect the back to nature woodland 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 really 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.”

Special events to celebrate the completion of the makeover will take place on Wednesday 18 September, when nursery families, the Stay ‘n’ Players and prospective families have been invited to see and enjoy all the improvements.

Little Crackers Nursery now offers a beautiful learning environment where children can really thrive and grow.


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Prize Giving Is Culmination Of Another Exceptional Crackley Hall Year

Prize Giving at Crackley Hall is the culmination of the academic year, it is a chance to reflect, a chance to celebrate and a chance to give thanks. This year’s Prize Giving took place on Tuesday 2 July with the Lower School receiving their awards in the afternoon and Junior 5 and 6 in the evening.

Crackley was delighted to welcome a number of special guests to the celebrations including Chair of Trustees, Mrs Liz Griffin, Trustee, Bernard Warner and Senior Foundation Headmaster, Ed Hester.

Headmaster, Mr Duigan gave a thought provoking speech, he gave thanks to the many who give so much to the school in so many ways. He challenged every boy and every girl to learn something new every day and reminded that those who succeed have to be brave enough to fail. He encouraged all the children to strive to do their best, to never limit themselves and to smile becasue it is free. 

Crackley Hall’s pupil leaders gave their reports speaking movingly about their time in office and their Crackley journeys, and the memories and friends they will take with them as they move on to secondary school.

And then there were the awards, book awards for progress, effort and diligence, school spirit and kindness, contribution to school life and achievement. Followed by cups and shields and trophies galore, all recognising the diligence, effort and excellence that abounds at Crackley Hall.

It was difficult to pick winners for this year’s Special Awards as there were many worthy potential recipients so it was with great pride that Mr Duigan awarded the following:

St Joseph’s School Spirit Award – Francesca Kelly

Scholarship Award – Dylan Williams

Sister Mary Patrick Trophy for Caring – Annamaria Kordas

PTA Crackley Hall Shield – Caitlin Horan

As the ceremonies concluded, all Crackley pupils were encouraged to reflect on their achievements during the year, as prize winner or not, all should be rightfully proud.


Spectacular Summer Production Brings The House Down

This year’s spectacular summer production took place on Friday 21 June at Leamington’s Royal Spa Centre.  A ‘Spoonful Of Naughty’ featured two much loved, musical classics; Mary Poppins and Matilda The Musical.  Crackley’s children confidently took to the stage bringing the audience to their feet as they performed their numbers with passion and pizzazz.

The show opened with the story of Mary Poppins; faced with a new nanny, the Banks children are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins, together they embark on a series of amazing adventures, with Mary’s friend Bert, that help them all learn what is important in life.  Full of plenty of familiar singalong songs, including A Spoonful of Sugar, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Feed The Birds, Chim Chim Cher-ee and Let’s Go Fly A Kite, colourful costumes and snappy dance routines, Reception, Juniors 1, 2 and 4 and the principals from Junior 6 delivered an opening act that was a real crowd pleaser.

Matilda The Musical came next, Roald Dahl’s much loved story providing a roller coaster of a second half, delighting the audience with engaging characters and energetic toe tapping songs.  The story of a genius of a girl and her wonderful teacher pitched against her awful parents and monster of a headteacher, the odious Miss Trunchbull, with ultimately right overcoming wrong.  The cast delighted the audience with more brightly coloured costumes and clever routines delivered in style by Junior 3 and Junior 5 with the lead roles played by members of Junior 6.  Everyone enjoyed the modern day classics that included Naughty, Bruce, When I Grow Up, The Smell of Rebellion and the amazing finale of Revolting Children.

All through the show, the crowd greeted each performance with applause and when the final number was complete, the appreciative audience went wild, clapping and cheering. Headmaster, Mr Duigan looked on proudly, Mrs Wildey, Mrs Olden and Mrs Paphitiss were all delighted that after all the endless, tireless rehearsing the show was a triumphant success.

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Firecrackers Win Best Engineered Car At Jaguar Primary School Challenge National Finals

Crackley Hall School’s Firecrackers won Best Engineered Car at this year’s National Finals of the Jaguar Primary School Challenge.

On Tuesday 11 June the team of five Year 4 pupils travelled to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire to take part in the competition.  They were one of 39 schools that had won through from local Regional Finals.

Team ‘Firecrackers’, comprising Junior 4’s Amelia Hunt, Jasper Nicholls, Woody Osborn, Henry Verity and Thomas Zanyi, had been working hard, after school, all year to prepare for the day. 

The challenge requires teams to research, design, manufacture, test, promote and race the fastest car possible using standard chassis and engine housing nets with a car body made only from card. It is a technical brief but one that has proven to really engage potential future engineers.

Each team took part in an Engineering judging where the team were examined on their car design and manufacturing process; a Verbal presentation where the judges were looking at technique, composition and knowledge of subject matter and a Portfolio and Pit Stop Display inspection where the team had to carefully explain their displays to the judges.

During the day, the Firecrackers also had to complete an Additional Design Technology Challenge to design and manufacture a car of the future.  The focus of the exercise was once again to test the team’s ability to work together, delegate, design and manufacture.

Finally, the Firecrackers had to race their car head-to-head down the racetrack.

Standards were incredibly high but the children had worked so hard.   The Firecrackers waited calmly but confidently, and when the results were announced, they could hardly believe it.  They had they won the award for 'Best Engineered Car'.

Mrs Hardwick and Mrs Spillane who helped guide the Crackley Hall team were jubilant, “What an amazing day. Our Crackley Hall pupils have worked so hard. They’ve dealt with the pressure of competition brilliantly and we are so very proud of them.”

Seven Crackley Athletes Qualify For Independent Schools National Athletics Championships

An unprecedented seven Crackley Hall athletes qualified to take part in this year’s Independent Schools Association’s National Track and Field Championships reflecting the breadth of sporting excellence nurtured through class and extra-curricular sporting opportunities at the school.

On Thursday 6 June a team of 37 Junior 4, 5 and 6 pupils travelled to Birmingham’s prestigious Alexander Stadium to compete against 31 schools in the Midlands Regional ISA Athletics Qualifier.

Many of the children put in amazing performances and the school was delighted that a record number of athletes were placed in both track and field events. Crackley children numbered in the top eight in 34 of the competition’s 42 events and the school was delighted to finish in third place overall.

PE teacher Mrs Kat Vaughan praised the outstanding attitude adopted by the Crackley team. “It was a long and exciting day,“ commented Mrs Vaughan. “There were many excellent achievements with children achieving new personal bests. It was our most successful outing ever and I am very proud that so many children have qualified for the National Championships.”

Crackley’s highlights included Elle Weir qualifying in the 600m, Max Kiely qualifying in the 60m sprint and the 600m and Wilf Grindal qualifying with his Cricket Ball Throw. Freddie Knott finishing in 2nd place in the High Jump and has also been selected to represent the Midlands at the Nationals. Alistair Darnell also finished in 3rd place in the 80m sprint.

On the day, every Crackley relay team qualified for the finals and the Year 6 Boys, Alistair Darnell, Freddie Knott, Oscar Glover and Bobby Chapman won the Year 6 Boys Relay and qualified for the Nationals. The Junior 4 Boys just missed out with a 2nd place finish in the Relay.

Finally the Year 6 Boys finished 1st overall, the Year 4 Boys placed 2nd and the Year 4 Girls 3rd.

Nous Saluons Le Retour De Junior 6

Back in May Junior 6 enjoyed a spectacular six days away in Normandy. Their packed itinerary included a range of cultural, historical and leisure sights and activities, as well as the opportunity to put into practise some of their French language skills.  A total of 51 pupils and six staff travelled from Kenilworth to Normandy by coach and ferry and stayed in a picturesque gîte in Clinchamps-sur-Orne near Caen.

During their week away pupils had the chance to visit the Vieux-la-Romaine Roman museum and archaeological excavation site, they also learnt how to make bread, toured the town’s beautiful Basilica where, in the Crypt, they were able to attend Mass. D-Day has featured in their History studies so a visit to the bunkers near Arromanches, with its 360˚ cinema experience and a walk across the sand on the landing beaches was always going to be a poignant experience.

Alongside all the educational activities there was also time to play and everyone had a fabulous day out at a local theme park, ‘Festy Land’, and enjoyed an evening BBQ. The children also visited Bayeux to take in the famous Bayeux Tapestry and the town’s Cathedral and on the same day the group also visited the nearby War Cemetery where the children were momentarily silenced by its sheer scale.

All in all the trip was judged a resounding success and provided many magical memories for Junior 6 to take away with them. 

Junior 3s’ Take On Ancient Greece

In May Crackley Hall’s two Junior 3 classes, travelled back in time to explore Ancient Greece courtesy of history specialists, History Off The Page. Some 2,500 years ago, Ancient Greece was one of the most important places in the world made up of small 'city-states’, such as Athens, Sparta, Corinth and Olympia. Its people were great thinkers, warriors, writers, actors, athletes, artists, architects and politicians and their ideas started a way of life that is similar to the life we lead today.

Junior 3’s Ancient Greece Day transported the children back to 490BC to the city-state of Athens and news that Persia has invaded Greece.  Crackley’s school hall was transformed into the Athenian Agora (an assembly and marketplace).  Dressed in ancient Greek costumes and taking on ancient Greek names the children adopted traditional roles making their own artefacts using skills prevalent at the time.  They worked as wax tablet makers, potters and painters, sculptors, fresco painters, pavement makers, lamp makers and even physicians.

As news of the impending invasion came, the children gathered to make a democratic decision to ask for help from the warriors of Sparta.  Although the children were not at all impressed to discover that in that early democracy slaves, metics (foreigners), children and even women weren’t allowed to vote!  However, they did enjoy hearing about the famous Battle of Marathon and how the Athenians managed to defeat the Persians despite being outnumbered by them.

In the afternoon the children celebrated with a banquet, they enjoyed Greek foods including feta, figs, dates, pitta and cooked meats.  There was also entertainment with dancing and a performance of the myth of Pandora.  It was yet another fun-filled, fabulous learning day.

Modern day Junior 3 teachers Ms Holmes and Mrs Van Zyl were very impressed, commenting, "The day was really engaging, it really brought history and our ancient Greece topic alive.”

Junior 1 Take A Peek Into Warwick Museum’s Old Toy Collection

Junior 1 pupils were treated to a hands-on history lesson when they took a peek into St John’s Museum’s old toy collection.  The museum, which is based in Warwick, brought a range of real and replica toys and games into school on Thursday 16 May to run an interactive workshop for the children as they approached the end of their topic on ‘Toys’.  They gave a talk on the history and construction of the toys in the museum’s collection before letting the children loose to investigate.

The workshop consolidated the children’s studies supporting both the History and Design Technology curriculums. The collection included toys from the Victorian era through to the 1970s.    The children explored how toys have changed over the years as technology and materials have developed.  They found out interesting facts such as Victorian toys were developed to teach children important skills.  Although that did not stop Victorian children from having fun!

Assistant Head – Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, Susan Glen-Roots commented, “It was a fascinating workshop, the children were really interested and listened beautifully before playing very carefully with the old toys.  I am very proud of them and it was wonderful to see them having so much fun.  Sessions like these really do help to bring the curriculum to life.”

Crackley Hall Embraces Outdoor Learning

In May Crackley Hall School joined thousands of schools worldwide in taking lessons outside in celebration of Outdoor Classroom Day.

Forest School practitioner, Verity Clark had organised a range of resources and activities to encourage her fellow teachers to take their classes outdoors.  On the day Reception, Junior 1 and Junior 2 together with the Junior 6s spent time working in the school’s woods.  Other classes made the most of the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, with for example Art lessons taking place in the school grounds.

Outside learning teaches critical life skills such as problem-solving, teamwork and creativity and spending time outdoors supports positive mental health.  Whether constructing a simple rope swing, examining invertebrates or taking part in role-playing games it was clear that all of the children enjoyed their time outside.

Mrs Clark explained, ”We run regular Forest School sessions here at Crackley but Outdoor Classroom Day has given us the opportunity to celebrate our outdoor learning even more.  We have our own wonderful wood on site that we are slowly opening up for the children to use.  Children really do thrive in the outdoor environment and get very excited about their learning.”

Crackley Victorious At Nuneaton Festival Of Speech And Drama

This year Crackley Hall School competed in the Nuneaton Festival of Speech and Drama at the Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton.

Crackley Hall’s Key Stage 2 Choral Speaking Club entered the Juniors section against stiff competition from other schools including performing arts specialists and previous winners Pattissons College and Milverton House.  Despite trepidation at taking on schools with such a tradition in the Performing Arts, Crackley’s Choral Speaking group wowed the audience and the judges with their outstanding performances of The Old Wife and The Ghost and Matilda.  The Group were awarded first place and ‘Distinction’ with the judge commenting on their excellent clarity of diction, facial expressions, volume, energy and witty and charming artistic expressions in the poems they performed.

Drama teacher, Nicola Wildey commented, “Mrs Paphitis and I were truly humbled by the group’s superb team effort, commitment and talent.  To come first is such an achievement; it is an outstanding result. The children have made us, their parents and the whole school very proud.”

Both Junior 2 classes also took part in the Infants section. J2H performed Wet Play and My Grannies while J2M performed Skipping Steps and Hide and Seek. Both classes scored 84/100, were ’Commended’ and finished in joint third place.  Mrs Wildey, was delighted continuing, “It was their first time performing in a competition and they were so mature and took the stage and the bright lights all in their stride.  It was a great result and shows real promise for the future.  Well done Junior 2s.”

OP Ian Bell Coaches Crackley Cricket Masterclass

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.

Complete Cricket, who are one of the largest professional cricket coaching providers in the UK, run a co-curricular cricket programme at Crackley Hall.  They had organised the masterclass to provide 24 Junior 4, 5 and 6 pupils with a unique opportunity to be coached by an England and Warwickshire cricketing legend.

Alongside Complete Cricket’s coaches Jamie Spires and Sam Montieri, 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 improve as they worked in groups to put Ian’s advice into practise. After all the drills there was just time for a quick game so everyone could put their new skills into action.

The session finished with a 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.” 

Jamie Spires, Sales & Marketing Director at Complete Cricket, explained, “Here at Complete Cricket, we are dedicated to helping all of the players we coach enjoy the opportunities that playing this great game offers. Not many young players get the chance to work with, or learn from, true legends of the international game; therefore, we are very proud to be able to work with Ian Bell in delivering fantastic coaching to the children at Crackley Hall School.  It was a superb session and we would like to thank Ian for his insight and fantastic coaching tips and also the Crackley Hall pupils, who showed real enthusiasm to develop their skills.”

Crackley Hall’s Assistant Head – Co-curricular, Charles Lamprecht said, “Huge thanks to Ian, Jamie and Sam from Complete Cricket for an inspirational masterclass.  The boys were thrilled to have a cricketing legend coaching them and I am really looking forward to seeing them put their new batting skills into action.”

Science At The Forefront Of Princethorpe’s Vision For The Future

Princethorpe is putting Science at the forefront of its vision for the future with plans for a new state-of-the-art Science building. Planning for the two-storey, £8 million building, which will see Biology, Chemistry and Physics sited together in one dedicated location, has now been approved and construction will start on the project within the next two to three years.

This is the latest in a programme of capital investment in the infrastructure of the College, including recent projects such as the refurbishment of the Clarkson Theatre and the Roundhouse for the Performing Arts, the Limes Building for Modern Foreign Languages, English and ICT and restoration of the wooded lake area known as Switzerland for outdoor education.

At just over 1,600 sq metres, the building will provide contemporary, spacious and well-equipped accommodation for the three Sciences including ten new laboratories, preparation areas, staff bases and toilets.

Comments, Headmaster, Ed Hester, “In a demanding world, where scientific progress is essential across the spheres of discovery, development and innovation, we need to provide the very best facilities for teaching and learning to stimulate the intellect, ambition and creativity of our pupils. This tremendous new building will enable us to do just that.”

The main entrance of the new block will face the Lime Walk and the side of the building will abut the existing Limes Building at the top of the North Lawn. The two buildings will be connected on both floors creating free flow for pupils and staff between them. The area in front of the new building will be attractively landscaped with a central square feature.

The project will also enable the College to redevelop and cluster other departments, providing permanent homes for Economics, Business Studies, Geography and Classics and dedicated laboratory areas for Academic PE. Plans are also afoot to provide additional catering and seated dining facilities. This last major phase of the upgrading of the school’s accommodation will benefit all of the College’s 900 plus pupils.

The project has been designed in collaboration with Leamington-based AT Architects.

Pinnacle And Minnacle Showcase Extraordinary Work

The Pinnacle showcases excellent and extraordinary work.  

The latest edition showcases 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 also 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 is 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 their talents too!!

Click here if you would like to download a copy of The Pinnacle and here if you would like to see The Minnacle.


Stay 'n' Play Offers A Fun-Filled Autumn Term

From drama and dance activities to hands on creative fun, and not to mention our fabulous Christmas party, there's guaranteed to be something for everyone at Little Crackers Stay 'n' Play, our friendly toddler group.

Every month we have different visiting activities for parents and little ones to enjoy. Visting this term are:

  • Warwickshire Wildlife Trust - Wednesday 18 September
  • Drama Tots - Wednesday 25 September
  • Zumbini - Wednesday 9 October
  • Paint and Glaze - Wednesday 20 November
  • Christmas Party - Wednesday 4 December

Our Stay 'n' Play sessions run every Wednesday during term-time from 10.00am to 11.30am and are just £2, including refreshments. All are always welcome, so why not bring a friend!

For more information, please visit: www.littlecrackers.co.uk/stay-n-play

We look forward to seeing you there.

Little Crackers Special Wildlife Themed Stay 'n' Play

Wednesday 18 September - 10.00am to 11.30am

To celebrate Little Crackers Nursery having a new, more natural look and feel we are holding a special open Stay 'n' Play session in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust.

There'll be plenty of wildlife themed activities to enjoy in our bright nursery room, including our fantastic new Garden Room, and visitors will also be able to visit the school's very own woods for some outdoor inspired fun.

Light refreshments will be available.

Come and explore our new look nursery, fun is compulsory, wellies are optional!


Foundation Senior School Open Event

Thursday 26 September 2019 - 10.30am - 12.30pm

Princethorpe College, the Foundation's senior school, is holding an Open Morning on Thursday 26 September from 10.30am to 12.30pm. This is a normal school working day and an excellent opportunity for Year 6 children and their parents to visit the College prior to Entrance Examinations Day on Saturday 9 November.  Pupil tour guides will be available to show visitors around the school. 

Please do spread the word amongst friends and family, as all are very welcome. For further information on admissions to the school please call the Registrars on 01926 634201 or 01926 634262 or email the team at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk

The senior school entrance examinations for Princethorpe College, for entry in September 2020, will take place this year on Saturday 9 November 2019 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.



Crackley Hall and Little Crackers Open Events

Tuesday 1 October 2019 - 10.00am to 3.00pm

Crackley Hall School and Little Crackers Nursery, in Kenilworth, are opening their doors for an Open Day on Tuesday 1 October from 10.00am - 3.00pm.

This is an opportunity to look around the school on a normal working day, to meet the school's Headmaster, Rob Duigan and to see the improvements that have been made to the facilities over the summer. All are welcome, no need to book.

Thursday 21 November - 7.00pm to 8.00pm

Crackley Hall School will also be holding a Nursery and Reception Open Evening on Thursday 21 November between 7.00pm and 8.00pm, which will give parents an insight into the Early Years at Crackley Hall and Little Crackers.  Mrs Susan Glen-Roots, the Assistant Head for Early Years, will be on hand, as well as the rest of the Reception and Little Crackers Team.

All are welcome at both events, no need to book.

If you can't make the open events but would like to look around the school, please contact our Admissions Secretary, Mrs Jenny Vaughan on 01926 514410 or email admissions@crackleyhall.co.uk and come on a day to suit you, we welcome visitors on most days.

For more information visit http://www.crackleyhall.co.uk/

Princethorpe College Entrance Examinations

Entrance Examinations for Year 7 to 10 entry to Princethorpe College in September 2020 will take place on Saturday 9 November 2019 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

For more information on Entrance Examinations click here.

Those wishing to register for Entrance Examinations should do so by Friday 4 October to facilitate the gathering of references from primary schools.

Registrations forms are available in our prospectus packs or you can download a registration form here.


Crackley PTA Christmas Fayre

Saturday 30 November - 1.00pm to 4.00pm

You are very welcome to join us for Crackley Hall's annual Christmas Fayre.  Crackley's PTA magically transforms the school into a Winter Wonderland with plenty of festive stalls and Christmas activities to enjoy.

There will be seasonal refreshments and of course the opportunity to visit the main man himself.  

It is another great opportunity to visit the school.


Princethorpe College PTA Christmas Fayre

Sunday 1 December 2018 2.00pm-4.30pm

The Princethorpe College annual Christmas Fayre takes place on Sunday 1 December 2.00pm – 4.30pm.  It is a great opportunity to come and experience the magic of Princethorpe as well as stocking up on the perfect gift for that special someone.

Organised by the College's fantastic Parent Teacher Association the Fayre offers Christmas carols, mulled wine and a dazzling array of Christmas craft stalls.  Whether visiting Santa, touring the tower or simply stocking up on that all important reindeer food, the Fayre has something for all of the family.

All are most welcome!

Old Princethorpians' Events Calendar 2019-20

We have great pleasure in unveiling the OPs' events calendar for the forthcoming academic year that offers plenty of opportunities for OPs, current and former parents, staff and friends of the College and the Foundation schools to catch up.

Our ever popular Pub meets return with a spring meet in Rugby at Inside the 22 on Friday 6 March and an early summer gathering in London at Le Petit Salon Prive in Covent Garden on Friday 15 May.

The OPs' Summer Supper, a favourite event in the calendar, will take place on Friday 26 June 2020, this time celebrating the leavers of 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010, although leavers of other years are also most welcome.

All alumni, former staff and parents fo Princethorpe College, St Joseph's School, Crackley Hall and Crescent School are welcome to participate in any or all of the events. Click here to download the calendar or visit the Old Princethorpians section at www.princethorpe.co.uk for more information on Old Princethorpians.


Admission To Crackley Hall - Reception To Junior 6

Most of our pupils enter at Nursery and progress through to Reception. Some pupils also join us at Reception and pupils are welcome at any age dependent on a place being available. Places in other years may be limited and, in years where there is no place available, we operate waiting groups.

We encourage prospective parents and pupils to visit us both formally and informally to get a true flavour of the school. We hold various Open Events throughout the year, including a specific Nursery and Reception Open Evening in November, which prospective parents and pupils are most welcome to attend. A meeting with Mr Robert Duigan, the Headmaster, is also a key part of the admissions process.

Our Admissions Secretary, Mrs Jenny Vaughan will be pleased to talk you through the admissions process and current availability, please contact her on 01926 514410/514444 or email her at admissions@crackleyhall.co.uk. To request a prospectus pack please click here.

To download our current Crackley Information Booklet click here.

Reception 2020

Little Crackers applicants and siblings

Those already attending Little Crackers in the pre-school year, and siblings, are given priority for places in Reception. The deadline for taking advantage of this priority arrangement for Little Crackers and sibling Reception applications is Monday 25 November 2019. Please return your completed Registration Form with the accompanying fee of £50 (non-returnable) by this date. Offer letters will be sent out first class on Monday 16 December 2019 with a Confirmation of Acceptance Form, which we ask you to complete and return to us together with a deposit of £300 by the acceptance deadline of Monday 6 January 2020.

External applicants (those attending nursery elsewhere)

External applicants interested in a place in Reception need to register by the deadline of Monday 3 February 2020; you will be invited to bring your child in for a taster session in pre-school once we have received your completed Registration Form and accompanying fee of £50 (non-returnable). Subject to availability and a satisfactory taster session, offer letters to external candidates will be sent out first class on Friday 6 March 2020 with a Confirmation of Acceptance Form, which we ask you to complete and return to us together with a deposit of £300 by the acceptance deadline of Monday 27 April 2020.

Current Reception to Junior 6

Applications for places in the current Reception to Junior 6 will be treated on an individual basis as places are limited.  In years where there is no place available we operate waiting groups. Please contact Jenny Vaughan, our Admissions Secretary, to discuss these on an individual basis.

Should a potential place be available you will be invited in to meet with Mr Duigan, the Headmaster, then if appropriate you should complete a Registration Form and return it with the accompanying fee of £50 (non-returnable), after which time your child will be invited in for a taster day.

During the taster day children in Reception and Junior 1 will be assessed informally. Children in Junior 2 to 6 will be given assessments in Mathematics and English.

Once a taster day is arranged, we will contact you to advise that we plan to seek a reference from your child’s current school. Following the taster day, confirmation of a place being offered would be made in writing subject to a satisfactory reference being received. To secure your place return your completed Confirmation of Acceptance Form with a deposit of £300 within 14 days of the date of the offer being made.

The final deadline for applications and completed registration forms for entry in September 2020 is Friday 22 May 2020. All incoming pupils need to have completed the admissions process by Friday 12 June to enable the applicant to attend our Induction Morning at the end of that month. (Although a place at Crackley Hall may become available after this date, and applications will be processed, we cannot guarantee availability of places.)

New pupils are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the school, staff and fellow pupils when they are invited to our Induction Morning in the Trinity Term, normally at the end of June. 

Bursaries are available for pupils wishing to join Crackley Hall although these are normally awarded to children from Junior 3 and above. Application forms are available from the Foundation Bursar’s office and from our website. Completed applications should be forwarded to the Foundation Bursar with supporting documentary evidence.

Note: Deposits are refunded after the end of the final term which the pupil spends at the school.

For more information and to download a registration form please click here.

What To Expect On A Taster For Reception Applications

We ask all external applicants for the following year’s Reception to join us for a taster as it helps to give us some information to pass on to the Reception team and to flag up any areas where we may need to provide additional support.

The taster takes place in our Little Crackers Nursery as we feel that it is best for the child to be with his or her peer group.  Taster sessions are much shorter than for other year groups and are typically in the morning for no more than two hours.  As soon as a child is settled, parents may leave for the duration of the session although, should they prefer to stay near, they are very welcome to remain in the foyer outside the nursery. 

During a taster, applicants join in with a normal session at Little Crackers which will be play-led and may include listening to stories and playing outside in our external nursery area.

The areas that the staff will look at are:

  • How do they respond to instructions?
  • How do they communicate with peers/adults?
  • Are there any concerns for joining Reception the following year?
  • Can a child toilet independently?

Following the taster, we will contact you to provide feedback.


What To Expect On A Taster Day - Current Reception And Up

We ask all prospective pupils for Crackley Hall to join us for a taster day which they will spend with their current year group participating in lessons and activities. 

A taster day can be arranged with Mrs Jenny Vaughan, our Admissions Secretary, or another member of the office staff at Crackley Hall.  We are flexible about when we can offer taster days and will look to find a mutually convenient date.  Where possible, we will choose a day when the timetable includes a child’s favourite subjects so that they get the most out of the day and we can see them at their best.

If parents have not already met with Mr Duigan, the Headmaster, we will ask them to do this prior to arranging a taster day.  This is an important step in our admissions process as it gives us an opportunity to find out more about individual children so that we can pass on information to the form tutor should they go on to join us for a taster.

Taster days typically run from 9.00am to 3.00pm for applicants for Years 1 to 6.  For those children who will be entering Reception the following academic year, we arrange taster sessions of two hours in our nursery so that we can see them with their peer group – see 'What to expect on a taster for future Reception Applicants'.

Children in Years 2 and above will be asked to take a paper in maths and another in English, although we take care that this is done in a low-key manner so that they do not feel that they are sitting an exam. In Reception to Year 1, the teacher will ask children to produce some written or number work so that we can gauge their levels.

In offering a place, we take the child’s performance on these papers into consideration, however we look at the results together with feedback from the class teacher regarding the child’s behaviour, involvement in class and willingness to learn. 

Occasionally we may ask a child to join us for a second taster in order to gain additional feedback from the class teacher if we felt that the first day did not give us sufficient information. 

Children participating in a taster day should wear their current school uniform and may bring either a packed lunch or choose a hot lunch from the menu on arrival. In the current Reception class and above children should also bring a water bottle and a snack for break time. They may also require a games kit including trainers for outside use and football boots.

We ask that you let us have a completed registration form and accompanying £50.00 registration fee ahead of a planned taster. Please include any medical and dietary information of which we should be aware and any information regarding specific learning needs. 

Mr Duigan, the Headmaster, will provide feedback as soon as possible following a taster day.  We may wait to receive references from the child’s current school or nursery setting before deciding on the offer of a place.

Overseas Applications

The Crackley Hall community is enriched by the inclusion of children from many different countries and we are happy to assist parents relocating from overseas with their applications. The Crackley family currently includes children who have joined us from the USA, China, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Korea.

If parents are visiting the UK we ask them to meet with Mr Duigan, the Headmaster.  Where a taster day is not possible and where children are English-speaking and in Year 2 or above, we can arrange for assessment papers in English and Maths to be sent to the child’s current school for them to administer and send back to us for marking.

Where children do not speak English as a first language or are too young to take assessment papers, we ask for school reports and a reference from the current school prior to offering a place.

We work closely at Crackley with a trusted partner who is experienced in English Language teaching and who can tailor a programme to meet the individual needs of children joining us.  This normally focuses on an initial intensive period of English Language support, tailing off as the child becomes more proficient and settles into life at Crackley Hall.

Our Admissions Secretary, Jenny Vaughan will always be happy to answer any questions regarding applications from overseas and to ensure that the admissions process runs as smoothly as possible.

You can email her at jennyvaughan@crackleyhall.co.uk or telephone her direct line on 01926 514444.

Princethorpe Admissions For September 2020 Entry

The Foundation's senior school Princethorpe College is still accepting registrations for September 2020 entry.

The Entrance Exams for 2020 take place on Saturday 9 November 2019. The deadline for registrations is Friday 4 October 2019. There are still opportunities for prospective pupils and their parents to visit the College, including an Open Morning on Thursday 26 September from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

For more information click here to see the latest Princethorpe Admissions Update newsletter.

If you have any questions about the College's admissions process please contact the Registrar, Vanessa Rooney, on 01926 634201 or email admissions@princethorpe.co.uk.



Frequently Asked Questions – Crackley Hall

We understand that prospective parents may have many questions that they would like to ask ahead of applying for a place for their child at Crackley Hall.  We have included those most frequently asked, but should you have a query that isn’t covered here, please call Jenny Vaughan (pictured), our Admissions Secretary, on 01926 514410.

Q: Will my child need to take an entrance exam for Crackley Hall?

A: Whilst we do not have a formal entrance examination for Crackley, we wish to ensure that every child will fit into school life and engage with our stimulating and varied range of activities and our ethos.  We ask prospective parents to meet with Mr Duigan, the Headmaster, and for children to join us on a taster day which can be arranged for a mutually convenient date. During the course of a taster day, we ask children in years 2 and above to take papers in English and Maths although we will look at the taster day as a whole when offering a place. For more information see the section in this update under Admissions about 'What to expect on a taster day'.

Q: Are there set joining points within the school year?

A: No, where places exist, we take children throughout the school year according to the preference of parents.

Q: What is the average class size at Crackley Hall?

A: The average class size is 18 pupils.  Where class sizes exceed this we provide additional teaching support to ensure the same high standards and level of personal attention for each child. Our teacher to pupil ratio is 1:11 and our adult to child ratio is 1:8.

Q: Do you have to be Catholic to join Crackley Hall?

A: No. We welcome children from all faiths and cultural backgrounds.  The Catholic ethos of the Princethorpe Foundation underpins the school and is central to its character as a caring and friendly environment where children are encouraged to be the best that they can be.  The Crackley community includes Catholic children whose families wish their children to be educated within a Catholic setting but also other Christian denominations and children of other faiths or no faith.

Q: What makes Crackley Hall special?

A:  We talk a lot about the ethos of the Princethorpe Foundation and it is not just talk; it really is the basis of all that we do at Crackley Hall and parents often comment on the friendly atmosphere when they visit.  We encourage the children to be kind to each other and to show respect for their peers and teachers, which in turn creates an environment where they are free to try their best and to develop their talents. The school has grown in recent years, but the family feel where each child is known as an individual remains.  This combines with the highest standards of teaching and tuition from specialist teachers in Music, Drama, French, Sports, RE, and Mandarin. 

Q: My child is a high achiever; how will Crackley benefit him/her? 

A: Children who demonstrate a high standard academically will be supported to further develop their abilities. A structured Able, Gifted and Talented programme operates through the school, ensuring that we meet the needs of children not just academically but also in other areas such as sports and performing arts. Sometimes parents worry that because their child is quiet or falls in the middle ground, they will be overlooked – this is not the case at Crackley as we strive to develop the potential of all children and to develop their talents.

Last year, with the support of our senior school, Princethorpe College, we introduced the Junior da Vinci Programme to stretch children and to engender the idea that any child can be a gifted or talented student if they work hard. The programme encourages children to develop a growth mind-set and to take an active part in their own learning.

Q: My child may need additional support – what can Crackley Hall offer?

A: Our learning support team, which includes a Speech and Language therapist, works with children providing extra help at whatever level they need from 1:1 support to inclusion in small groups to hone their skills in specific areas, such as communication and language, numeracy and co-ordination.  

We are quick to recognise children who may need extra support and we try to “catch” them before they begin to struggle. This means that class teachers refer children to our Learning Support Co-ordinator as soon as they are concerned. In this way we try not to miss anyone and to keep all children’s self-esteem high. We welcome input from parents and are very happy to discuss any concerns they may have.

When a child needs support that is additional to, or different from that provided for other children of their age, then we follow the Special Needs Code of Practice fully. This includes the process of applying for an Education, Health and Care Plan where required, so that parents are fully involved and children get the support they need.

Support for a child may entail 1:1 teaching for which there is a termly charge. Children who require this teaching will receive a structured, cumulative, multi-sensory learning programme tailored to their individual needs.

Should your child need any additional learning support, please indicate this on the registration form.  He/she will then spend some time with our SENCo during the taster day.

Q: What extra-curricular clubs do you offer?

A: We offer over 47 different lunch-time and after school clubs that cater for all interests – see the section on clubs, sport and music within this update. 

Q: I am a working parent – do you offer wrap around care and holiday provision?

A:  We offer free ‘early bird’ supervision from 7.45am and paid-for after-care until 6pm.  We run a holiday club subject to demand, in all school holidays apart from the Christmas week.

Q: If I have two or more children joining, will I get a discount?

A: Yes, families with more than one child at either Princethorpe College or Crackley Hall School receive a discount of 5% for a second or third child or 10% for a fourth or subsequent child. The discount does not apply to Little Crackers although children in our Nursery may qualify for Nursery Education Funding.

Q: Do you accept childcare vouchers?

A: Yes, we take vouchers from most of the major schemes, which may be used against after-school care or holiday club.

Q: Do you operate a bus service to Crackley?

We do not currently operate a bus service, however should you accept a place we are happy to pass your details on to current parents in your post-code so that you can explore lift-share opportunities.

Q: When do I need to apply for a place in September?

A: We always advise the sooner, the better as classes fill up.  For external applicants for Reception the deadline is Monday 3 February 2020.  For other year groups all children need to be registered by Friday 22 May 2020 in order for their application to be progressed for our Induction Morning in June. Our prospectus pack includes a registration form and once you return it to us with the registration fee, we can start the admissions process.

Q: If I apply, when will I hear about a place?

A: Once you have completed and returned a registration form, we will contact you and, if you have already met with Mr Duigan, arrange a taster day.  Following a taster day, we aim to provide feedback promptly and, once we have had time to source a reference from your child’s current school, we will advise whether we will offer a place.  For applications made in advance for September entry, all applicants will be held on a waiting list until a taster can be arranged in the spring or summer term in the year of entry.  

For Reception applicants, offer letters are sent out at the start of December for children attending Little Crackers Nursery whilst, for those children joining us from other nurseries, the offer date is Friday 6 March 2020.

Q: Will joining Crackley Hall give my child priority for joining Princethorpe?

A:  Crackley children do not automatically gain entry to Princethorpe and in the November of Year 6 take the Princethorpe examination paper.  However, they are well prepared for the examination and have a high success rate as a result.

Music, Drama, Sport And Extra-Curricular Clubs At Crackley Hall

Music and Drama

Music is an integral part of life at Crackley Hall and at Little Crackers Nursery where children benefit from a music and movement class each week.

Mrs Olden is our specialist music teacher and every class has one hour of music a week.  In Junior 1, every child learns to play the recorder and to read music and to play with others. 

In addition, children are encouraged to take part in private lessons with our experienced peripatetic teachers. 

We have a thriving choral group, chamber choir and orchestra and there are many opportunities to sing and play at school and at external events such as Young Voices in which the school has participated for many years.

Drama is also a core part of life at Crackley Hall and children develop their skills in choral speaking, improvisation, public speaking and performance.  From the annual LAMDA Communication and Drama Exams to local drama festivals and in-house performances, there are many opportunities for children to develop their confidence and poise through drama. Some of our children have even taken part in professional productions at the RSC and in the West End.

Our end of year music and drama production is always unmissable and gives the children the opportunity to participate in a show of professional quality in a real theatre.


Our success in competitive sports is testament to the importance of physical education and the promotion of an active lifestyle at Crackley Hall. 

Whether children want to take part in an individual pursuit such as athletics or swimming or a team game such as netball or rugby, they will be encouraged by our enthusiastic and committed staff led by Mrs Vaughan, Head of Sport, to find an activity in which they can develop their skills and confidence. 

Our curriculum and programme of clubs take in a wide range of activities including dance and gymnastics.  We are lucky to have spacious playing fields with plans to further develop our facilities.  We also use the sports facilities at Princethorpe College and The University of Warwick.


Our extra-curricular programme is extremely popular at Crackley Hall and we encourage children to find something that they will enjoy. From sports to singing to creative arts, with more than 35 different clubs, there is something for every taste.

Our current clubs include rugby, netball, climbing, chamber choir, cookery, yoga and midfulness, lego, chess, ballet, karate, Irish dancing, Mad Science, football, silk painting and orchestra and homework club. Some of these clubs are run by teachers and are free of charge whilst some are from external providers.

Uniform and Dress Code

Uniform is compulsory for Crackley Hall pupils and helps to create a sense of shared identity, community spirit and a pride in oneself and in the College.

Uniform can be purchased from the School Shop located at Princethorpe College.

The Uniform Shop is open from 3.30pm to 4.30pm Monday to Friday during term time. Additionally during the summer holidays the shop is open on selected dates on an appointment only basis.

To make an appointment please call Miss Nicola Browne on 01926 634272 or email nicolabrowne@princethorpe.co.uk.

Click here to download a copy of the uniform list.

Foundation Term Dates 2020-21

For those who like to plan ahead the Foundation Term Dates for 2020-2021 are:

Michaelmas Term 2020

Tuesday 1 September to Tuesday 15 December

Half Term

Saturday 17 October to Sunday 1 November

Lent Term 2021 

Tuesday 5 January to Friday 26 March

Half Term

Saturday 13 February to Sunday 21 February

Trinity Term 2021

Monday 19 April to Tuesday 6 July 

Half Term

Saturday 29 May to Sunday 6 June 

Nursery Admissions

Admission To Little Crackers Nursery

We take children from age two through to pre-school as space allows. The nursery day currently runs from 7.45am to 6.00pm, 51 weeks a year, to cater for the needs of working parents.

Places are available on a term-time only basis or all year round.  Flexible morning and afternoon sessions are available and government nursery and employer childcare vouchers are accepted.

We have dedicated nursery staff for our Dormice (two-year-olds), Hedgehogs (three-year-olds) and Badgers (four-year-olds).  Each group has its own Leader and dedicated staff so they and the children get to know each other well.

A minimum of two sessions a week is recommended for two-year olds and four sessions for over three-year olds.

It is a good idea to register your child well in advance as places get booked up early.

Arrange a visit and register for your preferred sessions

If you are interested in your child attending Little Crackers we would recommend that you contact Mrs Jenny Vaughan, our Admissions Secretary, who will make an appointment for you and your child to meet with Mrs Clare Bird, the Nursery Manager and discuss availability.

Or alternatively come to one of our regular Open Events or join us at our Stay ‘n’ Play toddler group, which takes place on Wednesdays in term-time from 10.00am to 11.30am, to get a feel for the Nursery and chat with the staff informally.

To secure a place, simply complete a Registration Form with your required sessions and preferred start date and return this with the accompanying fee of £50 to the Admissions Secretary. You will then receive confirmation in writing that we can offer a nursery place with an acceptance form for you to sign. If the sessions you require are not available your fee will be returned.

Prior to starting, you and your child can attend a number of short settling in sessions, typically two or three, where you will meet your child’s key worker. A start date, from which point sessions are billable, will be agreed with Nursery staff at the settling-in sessions. 

Little Crackers Availability

We currently have availability across all sessions for three and four-year-olds on both a term-time only basis and all year round.

In our two-year-olds room we have spaces available in the afternoons and on a Friday morning and we operate a waiting list for other morning sessions.

For further details on the places available, please call our Nursery Manager, Mrs Clare Bird, on 01926 514456 or email cbird@crackleyhall.co.uk.


Stay 'n' Play

Come and meet some of our nursery team at Stay 'n’ Play, our regular toddler group, that runs on Wednesdays in term-time from 10.00am to 11.30am at Crackley Hall School.  The group alternates between our school hall and the nursery itself and is the perfect way to familiarise yourself and your child with Little Crackers.

We have a schedule of visiting activities throughout the year to see the latest upcoming events click here to visit the Stay 'n' Play page on our website.

Little Crackers also runs the St Francis of Assisi RC Church Mother and Toddler Group every Monday during term-time in the church hall from 10.00am to 11.15am.

Everyone is welcome - why not bring a friend.