"I am very much indebted to Bolton School. I leave as a well-rounded person, having developed in so many ways."

Paloma, Former Pupil

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Farewell to a Popular Head

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

After a lifetime of teaching and five years as Head of Beech House, the Infant Department of Bolton School, Mrs Deborah Northin has retired. Mrs Northin was given a wonderful send-off by pupils and teachers in a special leaving assembly which saw the Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes gather to perform tribute song and dance routines for her, whilst she enjoyed afternoon tea and cakes! Deputy Head Mrs Procter, with the help of Mrs Northin’s teddy bear Lulu, acted as narrator and master of ceremonies as the children sang many songs including rousing renditions of We All Stand Together, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), Kung Fu Fighting, Viva Las Vegas and Food Glorious Food;  there was also a roof-raising rendition of Everywhere We Go by the Bolton School Beavers. There were gifts and flowers and the assembly concluded with an emotional rendition of So Long, Farewell sang by the whole school

During her time at Bolton School, she has been a popular Head who has presided over a very busy and productive period. She consolidated the School’s move into the new Beech House on Dobson Road and oversaw an ISI inspection in 2013 of the Early Years’ Foundation Stage which rated the Nursery, Kidzone After-School Club and the Infant School as “Outstanding” in all areas.  She also managed the successful introduction of a New Nursery Class for 3 and 4 Year olds which launched in January 2012 and saw the Beavers formally initiated into the 19th Bolton Scout Group.  She has also overseen the smooth introduction of iPads into the classroom for all children.

In March 2011, the Infant School was named as the UK’s best Young Storytellers in a competition launched to celebrate National Storytelling Week; she has brought in former pupils to talk to children about their jobs; and she has seen her pupils perform on the stage of the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. There has been much fundraising under her stewardship, including regular donations to Children in Need, Pudsey himself making a visit one year, Comic Relief and to the Bolton Lions’ annual Caring Christmas Appeal. She has even performed a Maasai dance with her children in the School’s Centre Quadrangle to raise funds for Tanzania! There has been much fun too, including trips to Media City to watch the production of Justin’s House and having CBeebies’ Bauble Bop filmed in school. There have been many celebrations including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding celebration in 2011. She has also presided over many accomplished concerts and nativity plays.

Mrs Northin has always enjoyed excellent working relationships with the Parents’ Association and together they have organised spectacular fundraising summer balls and, just recently, worked tirelessly on the Family Fun Festival, part of the School’s 100/500 year celebrations.

Reflecting on her time at the Infant School, Mrs Northin said: “As Head of Beech House I have enjoyed leading a talented and committed staff team at the Infant School, and as line manager for Bolton School Nursery and Kidzone, Bolton School's holiday and wrap around care.  Being part of the larger Bolton School Foundation has been a very important element for me and I am proud to have ended my teaching career within this prestigious organisation. Throughout my teaching career I have aimed to make a difference for children's outcomes and it is this element that I will dearly miss as I approach a life without daily contact with those bright eyed and lively pupils.”

Looking back over a lifetime in education, she further reflected: "After studying at Bath University, my career started as a senior school teacher of Textiles in a large Hampshire comprehensive where I soon became Head of Dress and Textiles leading a team of five part-time teachers. I moved to Lancashire with husband Steve and small baby in 1985 and spent time at home bringing up my two daughters Emily and Abigail. Once they were at school I decided to return to my career, retraining as a primary teacher and quickly finding a post at a local school where I stayed for six happy years teaching junior aged children in mixed age classes of 36. An opportunity to teach Year 6 at Westholme followed and after a few years there I was asked to lead their infant and nursery department at Billinge House. During this time I completed my NPQH, opened a new 50 week a year nursery for two and three year olds and also became a team inspector for ISI travelling all over England to inspect large and small independent schools. After 13 years at Westholme, ten as Head of Infants and Nursery I moved to Bolton School."

Miss Sue Hincks, Headmistress of the Bolton School Girls’ Division which includes Beech House, said: ‘It is impossible to do justice to Debbie’s devotion and commitment to the children and staff under her care; we all owe her a huge debt of gratitude’.

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Mrs Northin receives best wishes

Mrs Northin (with flowers) receives the best wishes of (from left to right) Mrs Brierley (Head of Junior Girls), Miss Hincks (Girls' Division Headmistress), Mrs Topham (EYFS Governor), Mrs Procter (Deputy Head of Beech House) and Chair of Beech House's PA, Mrs Luhar

Mrs Northin enjoyed a whole school leaving assembly

Mrs Northin enjoyed a whole school leaving assembly with lots of singing and storytelling

Mrs Procter and Lulu the Teddy lead the assembly

Mrs Procter and Lulu the Teddy lead the assembly