Prospective Parents Evening – for admission in 2009 Good evening and welcome to Northampton School for Boys. My name is Michael Griffiths and I am proud to be Headmaster of the school. Joining me on stage are Mrs Yvonne Edwards, our chair of governors, Mr Rod Goldswain, the Senior Deputy Head, and Mr John Ellis, an Assistant Head at the school. Together, we will explain the ethos of NSB, the expectations of a Year 7 boy, and the detailed admissions procedures. You should have collected a prospectus on your way in. It contains further information which you will find useful in deciding whether NSB is the school for your son. In a few moments I will ask Mrs Edwards to address you, following which I will outline the ethos of the school. Mr Goldswain will then talk about life for a Year 7 boy, and Mr Ellis will go through the admissions procedures you must follow, before I conclude the evening. But first of all, over to Mrs Edwards, our chair of governors. The Ethos of NSB Some twenty years ago, Northampton School for Boys was one of the least successful in the county. The new head and the new chair of governors – Mrs Edwards - planned to transform the school. Several of the staff still at the school today were part of the team that plotted a new direction for the school. Their vision for the future has, I believe, been far exceeded. I want to give you a snapshot of just a few of our successes. The school was founded in 1541 by Thomas Chipsey. In 1911, the school moved to its present location. The dignified buildings fronting the Billing Road, the mature trees and the green site create an ambience of tradition – of scholarship and learning. Evidence that the school has a distinguished history is to be found in many corners – particularly in the re-modelled 1911 Hall - and the boys quickly imbibe and appreciate the values that underpin the school. But these days, we have to satisfy Ofsted as well as the boys, and I am delighted that in the most recent inspection the school was judged to be „outstanding‟ in 25 of the 27 categories for the school overall We have some of the finest facilities in the country, which I hope you will view next week, but excellence is about people, not buildings! That said, our boys deserve the best, and thanks to our determination to seek funding from a range of sources, I believe we have provided „the best‟! We continue to seek to improve, and to this end have launched a Development Fund which we hope will inspire parents, friends and old boys to contribute and secure our unique features for generations to come. Culture of Learning We believe that boys can – and WILL – achieve! We have the highest expectations of them. We expect them to work hard. We have a culture of learning – a culture where it is seen to be „cool‟ to want to do well. Our teachers know what is needed for success, and we expect our boys to heed and learn from their wisdom. We believe that boys achieve academically when they are busy and involved in the life of the school. Our examination results have improved remarkably over the last 15 years BECAUSE of, not despite, the fantastic array of extra-curricular opportunities at the school. This year, a remarkable 90% of Year 11 boys achieved 5 A-C grades at GCSE, 86% including English & Maths – a new record for the school. We also had outstanding results at A level, details of which are in the prospectus. Such success requires boys to be engaged in their learning. Learning will only occur in a well disciplined environment. As such, we expect behaviour in classrooms to be exemplary, enabling students of all abilities to learn. Challenge We believe boys respond to challenge, whether that be struggling with mathematical concepts, a tough essay, an ambitious piece of drama, a high-stakes sports fixture, an impossible music score or a mountain face to scale. We challenge youngsters who find learning difficult to improve, and we challenge our most able students through our extensive Gifted and Talented programme. We believe that ALL boys can find excellence in something. We aim to develop confidence to tackle any challenge. We expect boys to demonstrate a readiness to embrace risk – to get outside our personal comfort zone and face challenges together. As Ofsted said of the school: “There is a prevailing ethos within the school that it can achieve almost anything”. A remarkable statement. Confidence through Experiences We believe that the experiences we provide promote self-esteem and develop responsibility. We want to encourage youngsters to become our future leaders. To achieve this, we have an extensive residential education programme in which we expect all students to participate. It is an essential part of life at NSB, not a bolt-on extra! We aim to give youngsters opportunities to develop leadership skills through our House system, our Sports Leadership Awards, and our Year Councils. Well-being and Teamwork We promote teamwork through House activities – we encourage boys to build team spirit. We are committed to providing healthy food and a vigorous programme of physical activity to promote beneficial lifestyles. We believe that sport is a key component in creating the ethos and expectations of the school. Sport instils a set of values including respect for, consideration of, and empathy with others. The huge levels of individual and team successes in a range of sports are listed in the prospectus, and further details can be found on the website. This culminated in the school being awarded the Daily Telegraph State School of the Year Award. Our new floodlit all weather rubber crumb – to FIFA standards – is already proving a valuable investment. We believe that music is another area where teamwork is vital. The school has won numerous national awards. Our Concert Band and our Jazz Big Band have been recent national champions, and the Jazz Vocal Group appeared in last year‟s Schools‟ Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. The numbers of individuals learning an instrument is huge, but true excellence is heard when these individuals strive as a team to produce outstanding music. Our many concerts, shows and foreign tours are truly unmissable. There are similarly phenomenal stage productions – musicals and dramas – for senior and junior pupils. A sense of service But NSB offers so much more. We believe in developing the whole person. ALL students are of equal value, whatever their background, talents and abilities. We value the differences between students. We expect students to show generosity of spirit, and to remember those less fortunate than themselves. This finds expression in our Charity Week and, for instance, in our link with a disadvantaged community in Malawi. Our second group of sixth form students spent 3 weeks this summer holiday working and providing support in the local school. We believe our boys should have a wide vision of the world. Extending Excellence It is a hallmark of NSB that boys WANT to get involved! We believe that our academic success is founded on this involvement. Our boys KNOW that those who get involved outside the classroom do the best inside it! Our arts and sports flourish – a boy might be playing French Horn in a national final one week, and climbing a mountain in Mexico the next. Yes – it happened last year! And the boy still had time to get 5 A grades at A level! Teachers But all this success requires not only the talent and engagement of the boys, but also an incredibly hard working staff. It is the commitment of our teachers and support staff that allows me to stand here and tell you of these opportunities. Ofsted recognised this exceptional dedication, and referred to teachers „often going beyond the call of duty‟. They admired the quality of relationships, and the studious learning environment. Yes, life at NSB can be tough for a student, but it is pretty tough too for the staff. But EVERYONE agrees that the rewards are huge. Parent engagement And finally to you the parents. We believe that engaging parents in their sons‟ learning is crucial. We will expect you to help maximise attendance and to ensure you son is punctual. We will NOT expect you to request time off for holidays during term time. We will expect you to support the policies of the school, and to work WITH us in developing your son as he grows from a child to a young man - even policies that you may not individually agree with! When you „buy in‟ to NSB, you buy into the whole package. Boys! Please note – we demand shirts tucked in, top buttons done up, ties of proper length. We insist hair is not dyed or streaked, or has shapes cut into it. It must be neither too short (nothing below a „number2‟), nor too long. If at shoulder length, it must be tied back at all times. If you don‟t like it – please don‟t come!! We will expect parents to keep abreast of your son‟s attendance and progress via the school website, through which you will have exclusive access to much information. It‟s tough being a parent at NSB too! If you believe your son can demonstrate the commitment to take advantage of these opportunities, to rise to the challenges that will face him, and the determination to succeed – then he will flourish at Northampton School for Boys. It is a most important decision – matching your own son to the ethos of a school. Do not take the decision lightly. Admissions Listen carefully to Mr Ellis regarding admissions. We offer 10% of our places on the basis of aptitude for two of the areas of specialism at the school – Technology and Music. The tests taken in December and January will be used to determine to whom these places are offered. In addition, ALL boys seeking admission to the school will be required to take a test on a Saturday morning in December. This will enable a banding process to operate as explained in the full admissions policy in our prospectus. But first, over to Mr Goldswain. Endpiece I hope you now have a good idea what NSB stands for, and what life will be like for a Year 7 boy at the school. But I have one final word of warning! DO NOT BE COMPLACENT. Remember … you can take a horse to water…. But you can‟t make him drink. We provide the opportunities – you have to SEIZE them. If you get a place here, do not imagine you will be successful just by being here. You need to MAKE it happen. You will be successful – whichever school you go to – if you try your very best – just like students here have done before you. NSB students aim high. You won‟t all achieve straight A grades, but our students leave here as confident, responsible, motivated and independent young people. They can work on their own, form strong friendships, and are willing to contribute widely to society as a whole. In short, they are ready for the challenges that lie beyond. Are you? I am proud of Northampton School for Boys. I am proud of the buildings and facilities. I am proud of the staff. But most of all, I am proud of our students. Boys – if you choose to come here, I want – in turn - to be proud of you too! I look forward to seeing you all next week, and to having the chance to showcase our fabulous facilities and magnificent students. Have a safe journey. Good night!
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