Northampton School for Boys

Northampton School for Boys
Motto A Tradition of Excellence Since 1541 / An Independent Academy for the Town and County
Established 1541
Type Academy
Headteacher Richard Bernard
Founder Thomas Chipsey
Location Billing Road
Coordinates: 52°14′21″N 0°52′02″W / 52.2391°N 0.8672°W / 52.2391; -0.8672
DfE number 928/5404
DfE URN 136299 Tables
Ofsted Reports Pre-academy reports
Students 1528[1]
Gender Boys (mixed 6th form)
Ages 11–18
Houses Brightwell, Chipsey, Manley, Washington
Colours Red/Blue
Former pupils Old Northamptonians

Northampton School for Boys (NSB) is a secondary school in Northampton, England.

Foundation and history

The school was originally founded in 1541 by mayor Thomas Chipsey, as the town's free boys grammar school.[2] 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.[3]

During this period the school was known as the Northampton Town and County Grammar School.

In 1992, the school became Grant Maintained,[3] 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.[4] 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.

During the 1990s, the school allowed the admission of girls into the Sixth Form. Currently up to a quarter of the Sixth Form can be girls.[3]

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,[5] 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.

In 2010, Northampton School for Boys became an academy. This meant that the school received more freedom in terms of curriculum and examinations.[6]


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.[7] 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, .[8] 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[1] 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.[4] In December 2005 NSB was named Daily Telegraph 'State School of the Year' for its achievements in sport.[9]

Gifted pupils

The school was selected to be an ambassador school for the NAGTY due to its excellent gifted and talented programme, which was hailed as a model system by DfES.[10]


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.[11]


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.[12]


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,[13] 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.[14] 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.

Northampton Town and County Grammar School

See also


  1. 1 2 "School Profile 2004/2005". Directgov. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  2. 1 2 3 Marius Wilson, John. "Northampton". Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870–72). Vision of Britain. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  3. 1 2 3 "A Brief History". Northampton School for Boys. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  4. 1 2 "Prospective Parents' Evening Speech". Northampton School for Boys. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  5. "Brief History". Northampton County Council. Archived from the original on 18 May 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  6. Buckingham, Helen (1 September 2010). "Northampton School for Boys is now an academy". Chronicle & Echo. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
  7. "Settling In". Northampton School for Boys. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  8. "Concourse Official Opening 2007". Northampton School for Boys. 2007. Retrieved 15 January 2009.
  9. Gareth A Davies. "Winners of the inaugural Awards". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  10. "Northampton School for Boys". National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth. Retrieved 5 September 2006.
  12. "VIDEO: Rebecca Adlington OBE officially opens new £4m state-of-the-art swimming pool at Northampton School for Boys". Northampton Chronicle and Echo. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  13. "Ofsted Inspection Report" (PDF). Ofsted. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  14. "Local Government Ombudsman Northampton School for Boys (06B01255 + 2 others)". Local Government Ombudsman. 28 October 2008. Retrieved 26 April 2009.
  15. Stone, Brad (22 October 2001). "Alan Moore interview". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 10 September 2008. Archived 10 September 2008.
  16. "BBC - Doctor Who - The Official Site". BBC. Retrieved 4 January 2009.
  17. "BBC - Doctor Who - News Story". BBC. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  18. "Ex-NSB head boy Matt Smith is new Doctor Who". Chronicle & Echo. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  19. "Ex-NSB student Matt Smith is new Dr Who!". Northampton School for Boys. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  20. "Who on earth is Matt Smith?". BBC. 3 January 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2009.
  21. "Lee banks on the team ethic pulling Northampton through". Daily Mail. London. 9 November 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  22. "Lee banks on the team ethic pulling Northampton through". Daily Mail. London. 9 November 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  23. "The Independent - Obituaries". The Independent. March 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  24. "Northamptonshire people - Francis Crick". BBC. July 2004. Retrieved 24 December 2006.
  25. "1950s Northampton — The Boys' School", John Derbyshire
  26. Peal, Robert (2014). "Islington: Children as Guinea Pigs of the Left". Standpoint. Archived from the original on 6 July 2014.
  27. "Sir Harwood HARRISON". Council of Europe. Retrieved 20 November 2008.
  28. Barber, John Warner (1855). James Hervey. European Historical Collections. New Haven, Connecticut, United States. p. 79. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  29. Potter, John (26 February 2004). "Obituary: Trevor Hold". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  30. Foreman, Lewis (7 July 2004). "Gathered from the Field - Trevor Hold (1939-2004), Composer and Poet". Tempo. Cambridge University Press. 58 (229): 29. doi:10.1017/S004029820400021X. Retrieved 18 October 2014.

External links

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