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School History

Architecture & Design

The school was opened in 1985 and is named after the eighteenth-century English baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. As a young man, Hawksmoor was a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren and worked with him on the designs for St Paul’s Cathedral and later with Sir John Vanburgh on the construction of Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace. Hawksmoor is now acknowledged as one of the greatest and most original architects of eighteenth-century England. One of his finest designs is reputed to be Easton Neston on the edge of Towcester which was his first single commission, the last being the Mausoleum at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire, which forms the design for our school logo. Easton Neston was formerly the home of the Hesketh family and the present Lord Hesketh and his wife Lady Claire were governors at our school for a number of years. The house is now the home and European design studio for the American fashion designer Leon Max.

Our school building was the work of the Northamptonshire architect Peter Parnell and is of an imaginative design based around two courtyards. Due to the popularity of the school, an additional wing was added in 1995 and the main hall was extended in 2000. The building consists of a purpose built nursery (Foundation Stage 1) and reception classrooms (Foundation Stage 2), a speech and language unit for nursery aged children (Designated Special Provision), an indoor play area, a further twelve classrooms with adjacent practical areas, a well equipped hall, library, art studio and a music/dance/drama studio. We also have attractive landscaped grounds with two hard play areas, an amphitheatre and an excellent sports field. Adjacent to our school field, we have developed a Pocket Park which is owned by the Town Council and managed by our school. It is used as an environmental studies area. The park consists of a pond, a meadow area, a woodland walk and has access for the disabled. In the early nineties, the Pocket Park was awarded a Gold Medal in the Queen’s Anniversary Trust Awards which was presented by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at a ceremony at St James’s Palace to the Headteacher and a group of our pupils. The park has also won a Britain in Bloom Award for the best wildflower conservation area in the East Midlands.

Academy Status

In 2008 the school became a Foundation School and shortly afterwards we formed an Educational Trust with our local secondary school, Sponne. The Trust is called the Towcester Learning Trust. We became an Academy in 2011 under the Government’s scheme for Outstanding Schools. Academies are state funded Independent Schools, free from local authority control, and we are responsible for our own budget and priorities, as well as being able to deliver the highest quality education. Other freedoms include setting our own pay and conditions for staff, freedom from following the National Curriculum, and the ability to change the lengths of our term times and school days. We are also responsible for our own admissions but we work within the National Admissions guidance. Academy Status does not affect our pupils’ choice of secondary school (our local secondary school, Sponne, is also an Academy). Transferring to secondary school, whether it is to an Academy or Community School makes no difference; our pupils still have to go through the same admission process as all the pupils transferring at eleven.

Achievements

Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School has a high reputation for its academic success but also its achievement in sports and the visual and performing arts. We have had artwork exhibited at The National Gallery in ‘Take One Picture’, the Tate Modern, The Tate St Ives and the Royal Academy. Our children have performed at the Royal and Derngate Theatre, The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough, The Venue in Milton Keynes, The Royal Albert Hall in the School Proms and have danced in front of Constables Hay Wain painting in the National Gallery.

The school have achieved Artsmark Gold on five occasions: 2001, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013 (this award is presented to schools who demonstrate a passion and dedication to art, music, dance and drama) - This is a fantastic achievement as we are one of only 14 school nationwide to have held the award since its inception. In addition we hold the School Games Gold Award, Eco Schools Award, International Schools Award, Healthy Schools Award and were a member of the Get Set Network of Schools in preparation for the London Olympics. We have also maintained a consistent 100% attainment of Year 6 children leaving school being able to swim a minimum of 25 metres, and have received recognition of this from the Northamptonshire Lifesaving Association. In 2010 we won the Silverstone Design Challenge Fashion Frenzy and in 2011 we were the Engineering Excellence winners as well as overall Design Challenge winners competing with pupils nationally from 11 - 18 years of age.

We are committed to encouraging the development of the skills and talents of all our pupils.

 

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