Northampton School for Boys

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Northampton School for Boys is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Richard Bernard, head master
Securing the past;
respecting the future
With over a century on the current Billing Road site and
a legacy reaching back to Tudor England and the
1541 charter granted by King Henry VIII, Northampton
for Boys
(NSB) has been educating the young men of the
East Midlands for a very long time. They have an illustrious alumni
list including Francis Crick, Matt Smith, Sir Humphrey Cripps and
Courtney Lawes. Head master Richard Bernard discusses here
what was so special about the year of 2017, when having 470
years of teaching and learning to choose from. For the staff and
students, 2017 started and ended with a flourish of success that
will be hard to top… not that they won’t try!
In 2017, NSB topped the Northamptonshire league tables in three out of four
key performance indicators (EBACC, Attainment 8 and 5+English and maths). Its
Progress 8 score of +0.49 was +0.73 grades above the national average for boys.
The disadvantaged cohort of 40 secured a P8 score of +0.51, a whole 1.1 grades
above the national score for this group. Five current students have been offered
a place at Oxbridge and a further ten at the most prestigious music colleges in
the country. The school was ranked number one for competitive sport in England
for the third time in four years, winning national basketball, football, rugby and
rowing titles. In music, many students performed at the prestigious School Prom
at the Royal Albert Hall and in dance, the year 11 boys’ troupe were the only
school group to make it through to the national U.Dance finals at the Birmingham
Hippodrome. They were subsequently invited to perform on the main stage at
the 2018 MOVE IT dance festival. In drama, the school earned plaudits from the
»Head master: Richard Bernard
»Chartered in 1541, and
established at the Billing Road
site in 1911
»Based in Northampton
»Type of school: Converter
academy for years 7 to 13
»No. of students: 1,619
»No. of staff: 104 teaching,
197 total
»In December 2017, the school
body raised £8,500, which was
donated to 14 local, national
and international charities
»The whole school comes
together in July for sports
day, where students compete
for their house in a range of
sporting events, culminating in
the presentation of year and
house trophies
Northampton School
for Boys
Highlighting best practice
Stonewall organisation for its nationally
released educational resource video
which tackles homophobic, biphobic
and transphobic bullying. The school’s
theatre also regularly sold out for the
numerous performances that were
staged throughout the year. The year
was rounded out in style when NSB
was crowned as national Educational
Establishment of the Year for 2017 in
recognition of its all-round excellence.
Unsurprisingly, the school was hugely
oversubscribed at year 7 and year 12
going into 2018.
Student opportunity and
outcome – a standout ethos
There is a true sense of legacy built
into NSB, but this isn’t simply a
historical namecheck. Each year group
looks up to the ones above in a way
that inspires them to achieve their
own individual and collective potential.
We make no secret of our student
and staff accomplishments, rejecting
the idea that celebration is boastful
or embarrassing. We follow the tenet
that success breeds further success, be
it in the classroom, on the sports field
or through dance, drama or music;
and that a talented student body, an
incredibly loyal and talented staff and
a highly supportive parental and local
community help see this approach
through to fruition.
We absolutely believe in competition
and a traditional approach to the
curriculum. Academic progress for all
drives our thinking, with students of
all abilities expected to sit academic
GCSEs in nine subjects at the end
of year 11, with the vast majority
sitting the EBACC. Optimising student
potential requires a balance between
extracurricular opportunities and
teacher-led learning, but success is
success no matter where it originates.
The pride and confidence won on the
basketball court at the national finals
seeps into a GCSE classroom; the
teamwork and meticulous planning of
orchestra and big band music develops
organisational skills in note-taking
and essay writing. It matters to our
students that their education has
this 360-degree perspective on their
learning. They wear their half and full
colour ties and award pins with as
much pride as they express when they
open their results envelopes.
Curriculum beyond the
Behind this culture comes a daily
expectation of traditional standards,
be it those of dress in the formal
blazer and tie, or the pastoral
guidance where no one is left feeling
vulnerable and alone. Once again,
the curriculum beyond the classroom
“A thirst for knowledge
and a love of learning”
NSB: rated outstanding
in every Ofsted category
We make no
secret of our
student and
staff accom-
plays an important role with staff,
older students and outside providers
offering over 200 club opportunities
each week. Individualised programmes
of study keep some of our boys on
track with personalised intervention
or catch-up, and this helps those who
need more one-on-one interaction
or support returning from long-
It’s rewarding when students can see
the impact of their learning expanded
out in our local community too. We
have extended links with local primary
schools through the gifted and talented
and cocurricular programmes. To
flip the school link on its head, our
SCITT – the Northampton Teacher
Training Partnership – continues to
encourage potential practitioners to
train within the town and county, with
three quarters of graduates taking up
teaching roles in a local schools.
Inspirational role models
In 2018, we’ll be welcoming former
student and award-winning author,
Mitch Johnson, back to school as part
of World Book Day. His first novel,
, was published in 2017 and he’ll
share its tale and the inspiration behind
its creation with our Key Stage 3 boys.
Northampton Saints and England
player Courtney Lawes helped our
U-16 rugby squad fundraise for their
summer tour to Australasia, knowing
that some years previously he too had
been similarly supported to make his
Canada rugby school trip a reality.
We see the same inspiration in dance,
with our students working withthe
Richard Alston Company as well as in
a wide range of music performances
at Birmingham Symphony Hall and
the Royal Albert Hall. It means a
tremendous amount to current
students when they see that success at
NSB is still cared about by those who
have left and now enjoy their own
public triumphs.
Going forward, we will seek to build
on our wide-ranging successes. Our
students deserve no less, so they
can contribute to the next layer of
achievement and keep the inspirational
drive burning. The past and future
aren’t opposites at NSB, but part of the
same heritage and legacy.
Our students
deserve no
English State School of the
Year for Sport
Leadership, teamwork,

This article was sponsored by Northampton School for Boys. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.