Northampton School for Boys
|This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (June 2016)|
|Motto||A Tradition of Excellence Since 1541 / An Independent Academy for the Town and County|
|DfE URN||136299 Tables|
|Ofsted||Reports Pre-academy reports|
|Gender||Boys (mixed 6th form)|
|Houses||Brightwell, Chipsey, Manley, Washington|
|Former pupils||Old Northamptonians|
Foundation and history
The school was founded in 1541 by mayor Thomas Chipsey, as the town's free boys grammar school. In 1557, the school moved to St. Gregory's church, which was adapted for its use. The School remained on this site until 1864, when it moved to the Corn Exchange in the Market Square. In 1870, additional premises were opened in Abington Square to educate a further 200 pupils. Due to its popularity, the school moved again in 1911, to new buildings constructed on the present site at Billing Road.
During this period the school was known as the Northampton Town and County Grammar School.
In 1992, the school became Grant Maintained, later becoming a Foundation school. Under the leadership of Sir Bruce Liddington, followed by Sir Michael Griffiths, it prospered as a prominent and over-subscribed school. From 1994, the school's GCSE results improved year upon year, and became the only school nationally to achieve an 11-year period of continual improvement. Michael Griffiths, Headmaster, was knighted in the 2014 New Years Honours list for services to Education. Since 2014 Richard Bernard (Ex-OFSTED inspector) has taken over the role of headmaster once Sir Michael Griffiths had retired.
In the summer of 1999 the school completed a new complex, Cripps Hall, named in honour of Sir Humphrey Cripps, philanthropist and Cambridge-educated former pupil of the school. It includes a theatre used for school productions and concerts as well as public performances. The building is home to the School's Expressive Arts and Modern Foreign Languages departments, as well as the theatre, drama workshop and Lounge.
During 2004, Northampton switched back to the two-tier system, once again making Northampton School for Boys a secondary school; consequently, the school had to admit pupils from the age of eleven. To cope with the increased numbers, the school for two years occupied a second campus ("Northampton School for Boys West") at the former Cliftonville Middle School—separated from the main site by St Andrew's Hospital—for the new year sevens and eights. With the completion of the RIBA award-winning new building, all pupils were located back on the main site.
The school has built its reputation on an ethos that engages boys in the school by providing a huge range of extra-curricular sports, music, drama and many other clubs and societies. There is also a massive commitment to residential education programmes - almost all taking place during school holidays. There are sporting and music tours as well as a range of language and cultural exchanges and leisure trips.
Northampton School for Boys operates a House system; its main purposes are to provide opportunities for leadership and to break down the barriers between the year groups. Each House consists of one class from the former East Wing and another from the West. The houses are named Brightwell (Yellow), Chipsey (Light Blue), Manley (Green) and Washington (White), after the school's founders, Thomas Chipsey, Laurence Manley, Edward Manley, William Brightwell, and Laurence Washington, . There is a thriving programme of inter-House activities.
Each year, elections are held to choose a team of Senior Prefects who represent the students of the school both internally and externally. From among them one Head Prefect and one or two Deputies are chosen by the Headmaster.
The school has achieved recognition for its success, particularly in the areas of sport and music. Six music groups from the school achieved places in the 2009 finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth. Out of these, the Jazz Big Band won the tournament, and two other groups finished as runners-up in their categories. In November 2007 the Schools 'Jazz Vocal Group' was invited to perform at the prestigious Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. In December 2005 NSB was named Daily Telegraph 'State School of the Year' for its achievements in sport.
In terms of sport, the school has had a number of its former students go into professional rugby, but many have achieved international recognition in a range of sports. Particular strengths are rugby, football, cricket, basketball, cross country, athletics and rowing, but there are also competitive fixtures in hockey, swimming, badminton and netball. A notable feature is that Saturday fixtures are still a part of NSB life, unlike most state schools. An unofficial report stated: "The PE staff at the school are of the highest quality, and the general enthusiasm is immense throughout lessons."
On 20 May 2013, the Under 13 (year 8) age group won the English School's Football Association National Cup 4-3 AET, defeating Walkwood CE Middle School, Redditch, at Chesterfield F.C.'s Proact Stadium. This marked the first Football National Cup triumph for the school, and the second final. On 16 March 2016, the Under 15 (year 10) age group won the football National Cup, securing a 2-1 victory over football specialist school Thomas Telford School, at the Madejski Stadium, Reading.
Because of the generosity of its benefactors, the school has a number of excellent buildings which are continually refurbished. The centre of the school is occupied by the 1911 Building, which over the years has been extended to include an extension to the library and which is now attached to the science and technology blocks and the new (2006) building.
In the summer of 1999 the school completed the Cripps Hall, named in honour of Sir Humphrey Cripps, a former pupil of the school. It includes a theatre used for school productions and concerts as well as public performances. The building is home to the School's Expressive Arts and Modern Foreign Languages departments.
Beginning in 2005, the school has had a refurbishment and building programme, called Project 465 (the school was to be 465 years old when finished, but because of building delays it was 466), which was finished in early 2007. One of the purposes of the programme was to accommodate the newly added years sevens and eights. Constructed in a post-modern style, the building features new English and mathematics classrooms, alongside two new ICT suites, a sixth form lounge (known colloquially as "The Pod") a 'restaurant/bistro' and a concourse for indoor recreation at breaktimes.
One of the innovations brought with the new building is a system of cashless catering, where students pay for any meals bought by having their fingerprint scanned; the money is then deducted from an account which can be topped-up either by credit card from home, or through a machine in the concourse. The school hopes to extend the cashless system in future to pay for school trips, music lessons, the school shop and the library. In practice, many of the scanners read pupils' fingerprints quickly and consistency, reducing queuing times.
In addition, the Edward Cripps Human Performance Centre has been built which is home to a new pool, with a floor capable of raising and lowering to change the depth of the pool, a dance studio and an extension to the fitness suite, alongside a number of changing rooms. The facilities cost £4.9 million, and was opened in December 2014 by Rebecca Adlington, a former competitive swimmer.
Northampton School for Boys' motto is "a tradition of excellence" and to this effect the school aims to stretch every pupil as much as possible, something for which Ofsted have commended them.
Most pupils usually study ten subjects for GCSE, alongside Physical Education and Citizenship & Guidance. All pupils must take English, English Literature, Mathematics, at least Double Science, a foreign language (either French, Spanish or in the near future German), a humanity (either history or geography), a technology Triple science, design technology, ICT or Computer science, and another subject of their own choice, PE, dance, drama, music, visual arts, 3d arts, religious education or Triple science.
With the exception of ceramics and dance (which are studied within art and drama respectively) and religious studies, all of these subjects may be continued at A-Level, in addition to the Social sciences (economics, psychology, philosophy, politics and sociology), further mathematics and music technology.
German used to be offered as a modern foreign language, but has recently been removed from the curriculum. In response to criticism from Ofsted, the school has introduced Religious Studies as a choice at GCSE level and Philosophy at A-Level. After the A-level results in 2011, Spanish was the most successful subject.
Northampton School for Boys is heavily oversubscribed at both age 11 and age 16 and selection criteria for admission are applied. Boys at age 11 were formerly admitted on the basis of an application form, in which parents were encouraged to make the most of their child's interests and achievements. The school now uses 3 criteria to admit pupils: a sibling link, an aptitude for music or technology, and finally a fair allocation system using banding to create an equal spread of abilities. The sixth form is open to students from all schools and has an admissions number for external students of 60. Places are allocated by sitting a test, the top 60 being admitted. Each year there are approximately 550 first choice applications to join Y7 and 300 applications from students currently in Year 11 at other schools. Girls are admitted to the 6th form.
Notable former pupils
Alumni are known as Old Northamptonians.
- Prof Martin Bennett, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences since 2000 at the University of Cambridge
- Stewart Faulkner, Olympic athlete, holder of the UK junior and under-23 indoor long jump records. Merit ranked 6th in the world by Track and Field News in 1989.
- James Hervey, 18th century theologian.
- Billy Knight, tennis player, quarter finalist in French Open in 1959, Head of Men's Training at the LTA
- Courtney Lawes, rugby union player for England
- Paul Diggin, Rugby Union player for Northampton Saints
- Ian Vass, Rugby Union player for Northampton Saints, Bedford Blues (current), Stade Français and Harlequin F.C.
- Alan Moore, writer of graphic novels (expelled at 17).
- Matt Smith, the eleventh Doctor in Doctor Who.
- Steve Thompson, rugby union player for England. Several other pupils also went on to become part of the Northampton Saints' first team.
Northampton Town and County Grammar School
- Jonathan Adams (British actor)
- William Alwyn CBE, composer
- Malcolm Arnold CBE, composer who spent a year at the school
- John Henry Brookes (attended 1902-5), after whom Oxford Brookes University is named, being the first principal of the original college in the mid-1950s
- Lewis Cannell, rugby player
- Thomas Cartwright (bishop), 17th century bishop.
- Tony Chater, Editor from 1974 to 1995 of the Morning Star
- Michael Creeth, biochemist whose experiments were crucial to Watson and Crick's discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.
- Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA.
- John Derbyshire, writer.
- Frank Dickens FRS a biochemist known for the pentose phosphate pathway that generates NADPH
- Bernard Donoughue, Baron Donoughue, Lord Aston, Advisor to Harold Wilson, Farm Minister in first Blair Government, and Director from 1992 to 1997 of Towcester Racecourse
- Prof Sir Hugh Ford (engineer), invented cold strip mills for rolling steel - useful for mass-producing cars, former Professor of Applied Mechanics from 1951 to 1969 at Imperial College London (head of Mechanical Engineering from 1965 to 1978), and President from 1977 to 1978 of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- Prof Gerald Fowler, Labour MP from 1966 to 1970 and 1974-9 for The Wrekin, and Rector from 1982 to 1992 of North East London Polytechnic
- Rt Rev Richard Garrard, Bishop of Penrith from 1994 to 2001
- Ray Gosling, journalist
- Maj-Gen Sir Stuart Greeves KBE, CB, DSO and Bar, MC.
- David Hawker, Director General since 2008 of the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills of the Welsh Assembly
- Jonathan Russell Harris, High Court Judge, Hong Kong from 2009
- Thomas Maxwell Harris (briefly), botanist
- Sir Harwood Harrison, Conservative MP from 1951 to 1979 for Eye
- James Hervey, clergyman and writer (1720s)
- Trevor Hold, composer (1950s)
- Prof Sydney Ewart Hollingworth, Yates-Goldsmid Professor of Geology from 1946 to 1966 at University College London
- Rt Rev Graham Richard James, Bishop of Norwich since 1999
- Prof Brian F. G. Johnson, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry from 1995 to 2005 at the University of Cambridge and Master from 1999 to 2005 of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
- Prof Peter Jones, Professor of Psychiatry since 2000 at the University of Cambridge
- David Lennan, Director General from 2001 to 2002 of the British Chambers of Commerce
- Rt Rev William Thomas Manning
- Air Commodore Richard Miller OBE, Station Commander from 1976 to 1978 of RAF Benson
- Michael Grosvenor Myer, journalist and critic
- Sir James Alan Park, judge
- Samuel Parker (English bishop), Bishop of Oxford
- Prof Ronald Peel MBE, Professor of Geography from 1957 to 1977 at the University of Bristol
- John Preston (clergyman)
- Flight Lieutenant Jim Rosser DFC, wartime pilot
- Arthur Rubbra CBE, engineer who designed Rolls Royce aero engines, including the Merlin and Griffon
- Dick Saunders, oldest jockey to win the Grand National at age 48 in 1982 on Grittar
- Jeremy Seabrook, author and journalist
- Prof Robert Service, Professor of Russian History since 2002 at the University of Oxford
- Eric Sharman MC
- Rear-Adm Philip Sharp CB DSC, commanded HMS Centaur from 1962 to 1963
- Sir Alec Skempton, Professor of Civil Engineering from 1957 to 1981 at Imperial College London, and President from 1957 to 1961 of the International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering
- Prof Harry Smith CBE, Professor of Microbiology from 1965 to 1988 at the University of Birmingham
- Rev Prof Michael Taylor OBE, Professor of Social Theology from 1999 to 2004 at the University of Birmingham, and Director from 1985 to 1997 of Christian Aid
- Rt Rev David Wilcox, Bishop of Dorking from 1986 to 1995
- Frank Williamson, Chief Constable from 1963 to 1967 of Cumbria Constabulary
- Northampton High School, independent school which was established to educate the town's girls.
- Northampton School for Girls, the state girls school.
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