Friday, 9 April 2021

9 April 2021

The Boys' Division has taken part in the Anti-Bullying Alliance's programme to become a gold All Together School. The School has achieved this highest level for proving its commitment to stopping bullying and improving the wellbeing of students.

The second 'Perspectives' lecture hosted by the Girls' Division featured four Old Girls and a current parent sharing the privileges and challenges of working in journalism. Panellists Kathryn Austin, Stephanie Gabbatt, Amanda Killelea, Kate McGeown and Kathryn Knight found themselves on the other side of the interview for a change as they talked about their careers and answered a variety of questions.

The careers events continued with Old Boy Graham Bramwell. He spoke to boys in Year 9 about his experiences since leaving Bolton School in 2006, and gave an insight into his current role as Venue Sales Manager for Arsenal FC!

During a off-timetable enrichment afternoon, Year 10 heard from two Old Boys whose very different experiences after leaving Bolton School have allowed them to both follow their dreams and make a difference for good. Krish Patel, founder of Tales to Inspire, shared his personal experiences of feeling lost, and how he has found purpose through a passion for helping others. Prateek Buch, former medical researcher and now Head of Data Acquisition at 10 Downing Street, helped the year group to start thinking about the future they want and how they might get there.

After an 18 year innings, Andy Compton has retired from the post of Head of Cricket in the Boys' Division. During his tenure, he has seen the School become national champions and several boys go on to forge careers playing county and national cricket, as well as enabling the School to become one of the seven original MCC Foundation hubs.

Children at Bolton School's Nursery recently enjoyed a 'Healthy Body, Happy Me' week. The theme of 'nurture with nature' allowed them to explore how the great outdoors is good for both mental and physical wellbeing through a host of age-appropriate activities.

A new section of the Bolton School website with a focus on our Pre-School Class was launched just before the Easter break. Established 10 years ago, the Class has gone from strength to strength over the years and offers a nurturing environment to help children grow and thrive in every aspect of their development, ensuring they are 'school-ready'.

Fundraising superstar Milan Kumar was shortlisted as a Bolton News Lockdown Hero. Since the start of lockdown last year, the Year 4 Junior Boys' School pupil has single-handedly raised more than £3,000 for charity while also doing his best to keep others' spirits up through sporting challenges, book recommendations and even by publishing his own uplifting Covid Christmas story!

Friday, 19 March 2021

19 March 2021

International Women's Day was celebrated at Bolton School Girls' Division with a special assembly from astrophysicist Dr Becky Smethurst, who is also an Old Girl. Dr Becky shared her passion for space and science in an accessible and fascinating address, and reflected both on the challenges women face and the many ways they can and do support one another.

Dr Becky's International Women's Day assembly can be viewed in full here.

A wide range of alumni have recently offered their advice and guidance to Senior School pupils in careers events. The World of Work series of morning talks for Year 10 girls has seen Judith Grazier reveal her non-linear career path and Thorrun Govind share her career in pharmacy and Law. Meanwhile, in the Boys' Division, Year 9s have enjoyed a set of filmed careers talks from eight alumni, followed by further talks and Q&As with anti-corruption lawyer Suve Banerjee, chartered engineer Ali Kapasi and software engineer Chris Newton

Children across the Nursery, Nursery Class, Infant School and Junior Girls' School helped to raise money for Comic Relief on Red Nose Day. The children wore red accessories and brightly coloured clothes in exchange for donations, raising in excess of £600 with more donations yet to come in!

In additional fundraising news, Year 7 pupil Harry set himself the task of running and walking 50 miles in February to raise money for Maggie's in Manchester (part of The Christie Hospital). He vastly exceeded his initial target of £250 with donations flooding in from across the globe, and ultimately raised over £2,000!

For World Book Day, the Girls' Division held a writing competition, which was judged by Old Girl and novelist Kate Long. The question posed was: How can we look to Literature for inspiration and comfort in times of crisis? The girls came up with some impressive answers in the form of prose, essays and poetry. The shortlisted entries selected by Kate, as well as the winners in each category, can be downloaded and enjoyed here.

Children at the Nursery celebrated St David's Day on 1 March with a host of fun, themed activities. They enjoyed painting daffodils and dragons and heard the story of St David.

Staff at Bolton School Nursery also recently signed up to the Bolton Cross Phase Reading Project. The programme links closely with the Nursery’s participation in the Local Authority Early Years Phonics Project.

Coming up next week, on 24 March 2021, the Girls' Division will host the second in a new series of 'Perspectives' lectures. A panel consisting of four Old Girls and one Bolton School mum will discuss Careers in Journalism. The event will take place on Zoom, starting at 7pm. Register here to attend.

Earlier in the month, to coincide with National Careers Week, Bolton School launched a new project offering young people in Bolton the chance to to deepen their participation in their local arts and culture scene through a series of free Saturday morning workshops. The project is being delivered by the school in collaboration with Manchester International Festival (MIF) as part of Curious Minds’ SLiCE programme.

Finally, Old Boy Haseeb Hameed has been appointed as vice-captain of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and skipper of this summer's Notts Outlaws Royal One Day Cup team. 

Friday, 18 December 2020

December 2020

The last few weeks of 2020 have been as busy as ever at Bolton School.

Children and parents at Beech House collected a huge haul of Christmas gift boxes to be distributed to families in need across the town. Year 1 teacher Miss Niaz's 'Sprinkle of Kindness' appeal aimed to make a difference for those less fortunate this Christmas.

Children and staff at Bolton School Nursery and their families also helped to spread festive cheer with donations to Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank. The children also brightened Bolton Hospice and Park View Nursing Home by sending Christmas decorations, chocolates and artwork.

The Pringle Bells Challenge saw pupils from the Junior Girls' School, Junior Boys' School and the Girls' Division working together to help fill Urban Outreach's Christmas Hampers. Pupils vastly exceeded their targets and were able to hand over 1,503 tubes of Pringles and a cheque for £1,658.14! 

The annual Girls' Division Christmas Post went virtual with the Year 10 forms acting out skits in the Great Hall and streaming their efforts to every form room via Zoom. They held the usual sweet sales outdoors on the netball courts and raised £1,023 for The Christie. The Year 7 Sponsored Silence also raised £2,191.95 for Centrepoint.

Christmas Jumper Day saw the Sixth Form Boys raise £530 for Bolton Hospice, exceeding their target of £318 to send three Hospice at Home nurses to visit a patient this Christmas. Money raised in the Girls' Division on Christmas Jumper Day was added to the Urban Outreach Hamper Challenge fund.

Both the Junior and Senior Schools found ways to hold their usual Christmas events in Covid-secure ways with a variety of approaches.

The Ceremony of Carols became a drive-in event with cars packing the Girls' Division quad for a memorable evening of ethereal music and thoughtful readings. Traditions were kept as much as possible, with the Chamber Choir 'processing in' with the Hodie, the Headmistress welcoming everyone with the Bidding Prayer, and the 'Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar' featuring in the programme.

Watch a beautiful performance of 'Away in a Manger' or see a short video reel recapturing the whole evening here.

The Junior Boys also maintained as many traditions as possible in their filmed Christmas Celebration. The performance began with 'Once in Royal David's City' and continued with readings, poems, festive tunes and carols. Pupils explained the origins and symbolism of the Advent Wreath, Christingle and Christmas Tree, there were performances from instrumental groups and all year groups gave lovely renditions of traditional carols.

The Junior Boys' Christmas Celebration is available to watch in full here.

The Junior Girls also filmed their festive production of 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'. The girls combined songs and poetry recitations to tell the story of the Grinch from start to finish, with Year 3 also performing dances to the tune 'Trim Up The Tree'. Girls also enjoyed singing the carol 'Joy To The World' in Spanish and English. 

The Junior Girls' performance of 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' is available to watch in full here.

The Boys' Division hosted a virtual Christmas Festival on Zoom, anchored with live addresses from the Great Hall and augmented with pre-recorded musical performances. Once again, traditions were upheld with 'Once In Royal David's City' opening the programme, followed by a combination of congregational carols, readings, prayers and reflections.

The Boys' Division Christmas Festival is available to watch in full here.

With the help of professional video company Sitcom Soldiers, the Boys' Division produced a filmed version of 'It's A Wonderful Life'. The cast auditioned online, rehearsed on Zoom and for just a few days in bubbles, and finally turned the Great Hall into a socially distanced film set. The spectacular performance of this Christmas classic premiered to an excited audience on Thursday 17 December.

'It's A Wonderful Life' is now available to watch in full here. Pick up a digital programme here.

In the Girls' Division, three separate casts from Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 recorded a new radio drama called 'Parr for the Course', which was written specially for the occasion. The play charts the rise and fall and rise again of women's football over the past 100 years, from pioneer Lily Parr to Megan Rapinoe.

Take a peek Inside the Rehearsal Room to see behind-the-scenes photos from the production process.

All of the Junior Girls enjoyed Travelling by Tuba workshops as the end of term approached. They had fun listening to music from a variety of instruments and learned how to play a fast-paced festive Samba on percussion at the end of their session.  

Girls in Years 8 created fabulous iced cakes as part of Christmas Cake Club, and Year 9 girls studying Food Preparation also made individual cakes ahead of the festive season. More photos of their impressive creations can be found via the link.

Bolton School has a new Science Coordinator in the Girls' Division. Mrs Power is focused on inspiring girls from Year 7 to the Sixth Form, but also works with Year 6 pupils in the Junior Girls' School. She is able to offer specialist teaching and helps to develop science knowledge to a deep level, inside and outside of the classroom. 

Year 12 student Sanjana has won first prize in the University of Warwick's Beat the Pathologist competition. She identified and annotated different types of tumors to give a diagnosis.

Year 13 student Rosalyn took part in the National Final of The Great Debate. This competition, organised by the Historical Association, asked students from across the country to debate the question, 'Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today?' Rosalyn's virtual entry can be viewed here on the Historical Association website.

Two alumni gave talks to students in Years 9-13 from both Divisions via Zoom. Professor Sarah Mercer talked about her experiences studying modern foreign languages at university, the year abroad and her subsequent career teaching English as a Foreign Language. Simon Turner offered his audience a series of life lessons to help with decision making and living an examined, and therefore more fulfilling, life.

Finally, Year 12 student Harry recently raised money for the men's charity Movember. He ran 84km to bring attention to the 84 men lost every week to suicide in the UK and raised over £865. He completed the impressive feat in memory of his grandfather, who passed away earlier in the year following a battle with prostate cancer.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

November 2020

 At the beginning of November, Remembrance services took place at Bolton School, bringing the school community together virtually even though we could not congregate in person. There was a theme of hope running through the Girls' Division service which was picked up by both poetry readings and prayers, while the Boys' Division reminded everyone of the important anniversaries taking place this year and remembered Old Boy who gave their lives. The Act of Remembrance was also observed in both Junior Schools, at Beech House Infant School and in the Nursery Class for Three- and Four-Year-Olds.

The Senior School Remembrance assemblies can be viewed in full via these links: Boys' Division and Girls' Division. A video created by the Junior Girls for Remembrance Day 2020, which features their poppy artwork, can also be watched here.

Bolton School is delighted to be working in partnership with The Bursary Foundation, a charity which works to connect deserving young people in deprived communities in Greater Manchester with the best educational opportunities at independent and grammar schools across the region.

The annual Tillotson Lecture took place virtually for the first time in its long history, with Zoom allowing the event to go ahead despite lockdown restrictions. Old Boys Prateek Buch, Dr Ashish Chaudhry, Nick Johnson and Hetain Patel formed the panel for this year's discussion on the lasting impacts the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have on our society in the future.

The Tillotson Lecture 2020 can be watched in full here: How Will Covid Shape Society?

Another event that went virtual was the Junior Girls' Informal Concert, which can be viewed in two parts via the following links: Part 1 & Part 2.

Fundraising took place throughout Bolton School for Children in Need. The Junior Girls, Juniors Boys, Infants, Senior Girls and Nursery Class all took part with spotty accessories, fun activities and non-uniform days to raise lots of money for this worthy cause.

Year 3 pupil Prakruti also did some fundraising this month by undertaking a three-mile sponsored run. The proceeds were donated to The Akshaya Patra Foundation, who provide free school meals for children in India through their Food For Education campaign and, in the UK, have a Beat the Hunger programme which serves freshly cooked meals to holiday clubs, schools, homeless people and senior citizens.

A Year 12 student in the Girls' Division has been named a Deupty Youth MP following local Youth MP elections. Victoria Wong is proud to be representing her community of Bolton. She has also been elected a Youth Board Member of the BiteBack2030, a movement working to improve food standards in the UK. 

There has been lots of sporting news from the Girls' Division this month. A group of five girls were selected for the Regional Academy Lacrosse Programme, and three pupils were invited to join the Under 13 Manchester Thunder Netball Academy of Excellence. Year 8 pupil Amy joined the Lancashire Junior Academy Centre for Hockey. Lucy in Year 11 was selected for the Swim England National Event Camp 2020, which is for the country's top swimmers in her age category. Anna Phillips in Year 13 was also invited to the U18 England Ladies fixture camp, held at St. George’s Park.

Year 5 pupil Tabitha has made a video explaining how family's new autism support dog Thunder has made a real difference to younger brother Franklin's life. Watch it here.

Coming soon in the Girls' Division is Parr for the Course: a radio play written for Girls' Division pupils about Lily Parr, trailblazer for women's football. The play will be performed by three separate casts from Years 7, 8 and 9 in the run-up to Christmas. Watch the trailer here.

The Boys' Division Senior Production of It's A Wonderful Life will be aired on Zoom this year, taking place on 11 December 2020 at 7.30pm. For full details, including ticketing information for parents, staff and alumni, click here. Tickets are normally £5 but this year the school will be asking for voluntary charitable donations, which will be split equally between The Theatrical Guild and the Octagon Theatre.

Old Girl Dr Becky Smethurst was awarded this year's Institute of Physics Mary Somerville Medal and Prize. This recognises exceptional early career contributions to public engagement in physics. She regularly engages over 100,000 subscribers with content on her YouTube channel, which presents complex astrophysical ideas in an accessible manner to engage a global audience.

Another Old Girl, Emily Varley, has broken the Official Guinness World Record for the Women’s Indoor Triathlon with a total time of 58:21. She not only smashed the women's record, but almost beat the men's record as well.

Finally, the Bolton Alumni Network launched a new Business Directory to allow Old Boys and Old Girl to promote their businesses to their fellow alumni.

Friday, 30 October 2020

October 2020

As the end of October approached and half term was on the horizon, Bolton School celebrated Harvest with the usual charitable collections. Once again the generous donations from parents and pupils went to support Urban Outreach. The Senior and Junior Girls put together an amazing collection of tinned and packaged food, while the Infants made a financial contribution.

Watch a short news video documenting the collection in the Girls' Division here or via the play button below:

Earlier in the half term, Dave Baggley of Urban Outreach collected 140 cones of chocolates, initially intended for the School's fundraising Summer Ball, which will be used to thank the charity's donors and volunteers.

Two Sixth Form students from the Boys' Division raised £5,000 for Cancer Research UK with a challenge that saw them run 24 miles in 24 hours, completing one mile every hour for a whole day and evening running through the night! They decided to raise money for the charity because of the huge impact that Covid-19 has had on charities and their fundraising efforts.

This year's Tillotson Lecture will go virtual with a discussion between four Old Boys, chaired by the Headmaster, on the subject: How will Covid shape society? Alumni will offer insights from the public policy, medical, arts and hospitality sectors about how the pandemic will affect life going forward. The lecture will be staged via Zoom and will start at 7pm on Monday 23 November 2020. To register to attend, please email

Mr Forgrieve, the Head of Instrumental Studies in the Boys' Division, has been appointed to the Music Advisory Group of the National Children's Orchestras of Great Britain (NCOGB). This means that he will be consulted, alongside a small group of other instrumental specialists, on repertoire choices and other activities.

Three Junior Boys earned black belts in reading during lockdown. Milan, Ayron and Egan each read 50 varied books during the 2019-20 academic year and their efforts were rewarded as part of the school's Blazer Book Belt reading challenge. Milan went the extra mile with additional fundraising challenges to support the National Literacy Trust, and Ayron was inspired to start a blog documenting his reading adventures.

Two Girls' Division students won age group prizes in the Eco Innovators competition. Lucy, who came fourth in the 11-14 age group, and Sofia, who was sixth in the 14-19 age group, took on the challenge of designing electric vehicle charging points of the future. The entries were judged by a panel from organisations including the RAC Foundation, the National Grid, the National Transport Design Centre, Design Council, Living Streets, Thank You and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles as well as the Minister for Transport.

A piece of artwork created by Sixth Form student Emilie has been named one of the winners of The Horsfall's 2020 Art Competition. The competition, which opened for submissions during lockdown, was on the theme of portraits to celebrate coming back together with an exhibition of people.

Old Boy Steve Thompson (Class of 1998) was appointed regional editor for Newsquest Lancashire/Greater Manchester this month. This means he has responsibility for the School’s local newspaper The Bolton News, as well as the Lancashire Telegraph, the Bury Times, The Oldham Times and Messenger titles. He said: 'I have great memories from my time at school, especially working on the school newspaper with Mr Joseph in the Sixth Form.'

Sadly the School received news earlier this month that former Girls' Division Maths teacher, Deputy Head and Head of Careers Miss Margaret Dickinson has died. She passed away on 10 October 2020. Girls' Division Headmistress Sue Hincks said: 'She is remembered by many Old Girls as the kindest Maths teacher you could possibly want. ... Colleagues describe her as 'such a special person; so calm, humorous and understanding'.' A full tribute to her can be found here. Her family has set up a Muchloved page in her memory, with donations going to Parkinson's UK. If you would like to donate, please click here.

Friday, 2 October 2020

September 2020

With the traditional Open Morning date on the horizon, at the start of the autumn term Bolton School started to plan how the usual event would take place this year in a virtual format. The Senior Girls' Virtual Live Open Morning and Senior Boys' Virtual Live Open Day were announced towards the end of September. On the day, Year 6 pupils and their parents will still enjoy lots of interaction with dedicated teaching staff and bright, engaged pupils.

Those interested in attending must register and can do so via the following links: Girls' Division and Boys' Division.

On National Poetry Day, poet Andrew McMillan, in conjunction with the Boys' Division, launched a poetry workshop and a subsequent competition based on this year's theme of 'Vision'. The workshop will run on Zoom on Wednesday 14 October and will encourage young people to explore new ways of looking, seeing and imagining the world. Full details, including how to book for this free event, can be found here.

Children in Year 2 at the Infant School had an exciting adventure at the Anderton Centre, where they had lots of fun on and off the water.

Earlier in September, Boys' Division Headmaster Philip Britton led an assembly which has in past years celebrated the life of Lord Leverhulme, the school's founder, but this year addressed some of his mistakes and asked the important question: how do we make a difference for good? The thought for the day at the assembly was taken from the Emancipation Proclamation, quoting the words of US President Abraham Lincoln on the anniversary of the day this executive order was passed: 'All persons held as slaves shall be thenceforward forever free.' Watch the thought for the day in full here.

Shortly after, the School published an update on the meaningful actions taken to improve practices, flag areas for improvement and make a sustained commitment to anti-racism since the Black Lives Matter protests in June 2020. Full details can be found here.

Friday, 28 August 2020

August 2020

 Despite the challenges of the past several months, students at Bolton School nonetheless celebrated their A Level results. Girls' Division students were congratulated over the phone by their teachers, while the Boys' Division opened its doors for careful, socially distant celebrations in the afternoon of results day. In both Divisions, students achieved a strong set of results and were encouraged to enjoy their moment as much as possible.

Read full details of the results in each school here: Boys' Division and Girls' Division.

The celebrations for GCSE students may well have been virtual, but they were very real as Boys' and Girls' Division students achieved excellence in a tumultuous week of uncertainty. Year 11 pupils in both Divisions achieved a good crop of results via email.

Read full details of the results in each school here: Boys' Division and Girls' Division.

During the summer, two Bolton School pupils have been chosen as part of a national shortlist of 20 students in this year's Political Studies Association (PSA) Blog Competition, held in partnership with the FT and supported by UK Parliament. Congratulations to Zoe Grainger, who collected her A level results this summer, and Lucas Appleby, who is about to start Year 13.

The Bolton branch of the Historical Association has been holding its monthly meetings in the Girls' Division for a number of years. This will be the case once again during the 2020-21 academic year. However, in order to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances surrounding Covid-19, this year the start of the season will be postponed until January 2021. Full details are available here.