Headteacher's Bulletin 15th December 2023
There has been a bumper crop of student successes to report on in the last Bulletin of the Term.
Firstly, however, we say goodbye to Mr Sinyoro at Christmas, who has been an outstanding Maths teacher at the school for almost twenty years and we wish him a very happy retirement. Students have flourished consistently in Mr Sinyoro's classes, predominantly as a result of his high expectations, expert subject knowledge and because of the outstanding working relationships that he cultivated with the students in his care. Additionally, his outstanding work as the KS3 Maths Lead has helped create the immensely strong foundations for our exceptionally strong GCSE Maths results. He will be much missed by the students, the staff and the wider school.
The school had a fantastic start to the week when it was contacted by the Times to be told that for the second year running NSB has been ranked as the top performing State Secondary School (non-grammar) in the whole of the East Midlands region. This ranking is given based on overall performance at GCSE and A Level and to win the accolade for consecutive years is testament to the outstanding achievements of last year's Y11/13 cohorts as well as to the outstanding work of the NSB teaching and support staff in supporting the students through their public examinations.
On Tuesday night, we held our Annual Academic Prize Giving Awards, where the top performing students across all subjects were celebrated for their exceptional levels of achievement / effort and attitude. The most prestigious prize of the night is the Edward Reynolds Award (former pioneering Headteacher of the school), which is awarded to the 'All-Rounder of the Year'. This year the award went to Benjamin Evans who very much embodied the ethos of NSB throughout his seven years at the school, excelling in and out of the classroom as well as spending many hours as a House Leader, positively coaching and supporting younger students. We were also delighted to have Steve Pateman, the man behind the true Northampton based story of the Broadway and West End smash musical, 'Kinky Boots' who gave an inspirational speech on the importance of resilience and making the most of opportunities offered to you. Special mention also of Auguste Yoong Y10 and Evan Fallon Y8 who punctuated the evening with fabulous musical interludes.
Charity week has started with tremendous gusto and it will run now until the end of Term next Wednesday, culminating with the finals of the perennial sell out 'XX Factor' Finals. There have been many highlights of Charity Week already, including the brilliant Staff Panto - 'Cinderfella' -, masterminded by Miss Bason, which played to a sell out Cripps crowd on Thursday evening - raising well over a £1000 for charity in the process, and the annual Sixth Form Christmas 'Grudge' Netball Match (Girls Netball v Boys Rugby) won this year by the Girls at a canter by 12 goals to 8.
Some of our top NSB musicians enjoyed a wonderful day of folk music performance and ensemble playing on Thursday as part of a workshop led by globally renowned multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and educator, Joe Broughton. Joe and members of his own internationally renowned band 'The Urban Folk Quartet', helped the NSB students learn to formulate toe tapping folk compositions from scratch, with all music by memory, and they will use this knowledge to great effect during their February tour of Los Angeles when they will teach, lead and perform these numbers with students from Valencia High School, Valencia High School (valenciavikings.com) based in Santa Clarita. The tantalising itinerary for this tour has just been finalised - at the High School, the students will sample a range of lessons before embarking on music workshop and rehearsal sessions with the American students, and then the day will conclude with a huge concert for our students to perform in. There will also be a donation from NSB of a wide range of 'Blackstar' top quality equipment, kindly provided by Ian Robinson - Managing Director of the Blackstar Company. The touring group have many other LA highlights to look forward to, including a performance at The Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood Boulevard, as well as a performance at the University of Southern California - for Jeff Jarvis who is Head of Jazz at Bob Cole Conservatory (the music department of the university). It promises to be quite a trip!!!
On the musical theme, last weekend a group of NSB musicians, supported by Mr Stark, played at the12th Century church of St. Peter's, Marefair. NSB Governor, Mrs Walker attended the event and reports:
'The NSB students performed brilliantly within the traditional Midwinter Church decoration. Although it was a cold day, with the temperature drop filtering through to the pews, the string quartet played carols and other festive tunes to a very appreciative audience and the sound of their melodic music filled the historical church; it was so wonderful to have NSB students engaging with the wider community and they were a real credit to themselves and the school. Students involved were: Matthew Kirkwood, Lily Machin-Bradbury and George Lack.'
Matthew (Kirkwood) has been noticeably performing at an exceptional level in recent school-based recitals / concerts and his name was also mentioned in a lovely email I received from Mrs Drage when she watched him perform at a recent Cynthia Spencer Hospice performance. On top of his incredible cello playing, Matthew has also just stormed through his Grade 8 in singing, barely dropping any marks - a quite brilliant all-round musician! Mrs Drage reports:
Matthew played a Cello solo of Nella Fantasia at the 'Cynthia Spencer Hospice - Tree of Love Service' at the Northampton Cathedral on Tuesday and Thursday evening. He was fantastic and the backdrop of the Cathedral in darkness, apart from the stunning tree was mesmerising. It was very moving. I felt really proud knowing that he's an NSB student.
Sensational sporting drama was the order of the week, with Max Roper (Y8) and Michael Graham (Y9) both being crowned British Champions at the British Indoor Rowing Championships last Saturday. Jacob Adiamah also took home a fabulous silver medal. It was an overall outstanding performance from the 8 strong NSB team with 12 new personal bests set. Very well done to the following students and also to new Head Coach Andy Graham who has taken over from Ray White with fantastic impact in a short space of time:
- Will Hunter
- James Barrett
- Cameron McKenzie
- Andrew Denman-Johnson
- Will Brightman
- Max Roper
- Michael Graham
- Jacob Adiamah
After very good wins for the U12A, U13A, U14A and U16A football teams in their National Cups, the U15 Rugby Team delivered a heroic performance on a dank Tuesday evening under lights to knock out the highly talented and in-form team of the tournament, Ipswich School by 15 points to 12 in an enthralling cup-tie. The team faultlessly delivered the game plan under the most intense of pressure, scoring the deserved wining try / conversion with minutes to go and they can now look forward to a National Quarter Final against one of the three remaining North / Midlands sides - Stowe School / St Ambrose College or Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in the New Year, with the draw set to be completed immediately after we come back from the Christmas Break.
There was also a long trip North for our Water Polo U18 Team who competed last weekend in Dunfermline in the BMC invitational cup. The boys performed well to place second in their group after a win / draw and loss.
There have been some significant parking concerns raised related to parental parking on the double yellow lines in Ardington Road and the blocking of the entrance to the Old School House Care Home. The Old School House Care Home is private property and should not be used for turning. The issue has been reported to the Local Authority who have advised the Care Home to send photographs of cars transgressing the rules, which is being enacted.
Term 2 reports will be issued to the parents / carers of all students on the last day of Term - Wednesday, December 20th. Please can all parents / carers take time to read through the report with your son(s) / daughter(s) prior to the start of the new academic year.
Finally, a very Happy Christmas and New Year to all associated with the school. We look forward to the students' safe return on Thursday, January 4th .