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


The school was originally 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 popularity, the school moved again in 1911, to new buildings constructed on the present site at Billing Road.

The school continued to flourish as Northampton Town and County Grammar School, until 1974 when it became a comprehensive school; as a result of this change, the school was demonised in the local press in 1980/81 when the Northants Post dubbed it the "School for Scoundrels" - a reference to the perception that sections of the school population were causing mayhem across the Abington area of the town.

In 1992, NSB became Grant Maintained (later becoming a Foundation school) and under the leadership of Sir Bruce Liddington, followed by Michael Griffiths, it became a prominent and over-subscribed school. From 1994, the school's GCSE results improved year upon year, and NSB has since become the only school to have achieved an 11 year period of continual improvement.

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

In the summer of 1999 the school completed a new complex, 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, as well as a conference room and a sports bar.

During 2004, Northampton switched back to the two-tier system, once again making NSB a secondary school - consequently, the school had to admit pupils from the age of eleven. To cope with the increased numbers, the school occupied a second site ("NSB West") at the former Cliftonville Middle School - separated from the main site by the famous St Andrew's Hospitalmarker - for the new year sevens and eights; with the completion of the new building, all pupils are now located on one site.

Northampton School for Boys operates a house system; however, as this is in its infancy, it currently has very little impact on education; one of its main purposes is to break down the barriers between the years. 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, and the East/West wing designations are effectively redundant.


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 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 December 2005 NSB was named Daily Telegraph 'State School of the Year' for its achievements in sport.

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.

In terms of sport, the school has had many of its former students go into professional rugby, and international status in other sports, e.g. Hockey. An unofficial report stated: "The PE staff at the school are of the highest quality, and the general enthusiasm is immense throughout lessons."

It is the only secondary school in the world that has two Nobel Prize leaureates among its alumni. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA and Sir Peter Mansfield, inventor of MRI scanning, have both won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 and 2003 respectively.


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 have been extended to include an extension to the library and which is now attached to the science block 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, as well as a conference room and a sports bar.

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 which has faced mixed reactions, 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 marginally.


Northampton School for Boys' motto is "to create a passion for learning" and to this effect the school aims to stretch every pupil as much as possible, something for which Ofsted have commended them . In the words of the headteacher, Mr. Michael Griffiths:

Our philosophy of education is a simple one. We believe that children are at their best when they know where they stand; when those around them expect high standards and when they are fully occupied. We believe that our way of striving towards varied and demanding lessons which really stretch pupils to the utmost, whatever their abilities, is the right one.

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, Product Design, a foreign language (either French or Spanish), a humanity (either history or geography), an expressive art (either Art, Music, Photography, Drama or Ceramics) and another subject of their own choice - either another foreign language, another humanity, separate sciences, business studies, religious studies or ICT.

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. But the 2002 Ofsted report said the school is yet to provide "spiritualdevelopment" or to "comply with statutory requirements for religious education".


As Northampton School for Boys is an oversubscribed one, 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 system meant in practice that places at the school tended to be won by the most motivated and eloquent parents. However, the justice of this system was questioned by the Local Government Ombudsman, and from September 2008 Northampton School for Boys responded by admitting the great majority of boys on a random system.

Notable alumni

See also


  1. Archived 2008-09-10.
  2. [1]

External links

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