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Sharon Daniel, Girls' Division pupil

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Students’ First Look Inside New Sixth Form Centre

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Bolton School’s new multi-million pound Sixth Form Centre is now complete, save for a few final touches, and some lucky students were given a sneak preview.

The new centre was inspired by the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge and was designed to prepare students for university life. In a break from tradition, the Riley Sixth Form Centre will bring sixth formers from the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions of Bolton School together under one roof, but the historical practice of young people being taught in single sex classes will continue.

Work on the £7 million building started last summer and like academic facilities at the world-renowned Oxford and Cambridge universities, the glass-fronted sixth form is at the centre of the school’s courtyard, to form an Oxbridge style quadrangle. The new centre links to the main buildings with two-storey glazed walkways.

It will give independence to more than 400 sixth form students and will include an ICT suite, seminar rooms for project work and tutorial sessions, quiet study areas, a common room, a refectory cafe area, exhibition space and the main school reception.

Caspar Joseph, Head of Boys’ Division Sixth Form, said: “The centre will give students a taste of university life. It is their own students’ union, and will give them a great deal of independence as there is the room and the resources to have seminars and tutorials to promote debate and discussion, rather than being taught from the front.” He added: “The sixth form students have been involved in the sixth form development, so they have ownership of it.”

Students say they cannot wait to start back at school. Francesca Fernside, who is continuing her studies at Bolton School said: “If I was visiting Bolton School and thinking about going into the sixth form, this centre would have swung it for me. It is modern, more space to study and relax.” While Nathan Brennan, said: “Having this centre will make us feel like a student and not a pupil. We will have more independence. Before we had a common room in the main building but here we have more space.”

The building has received substantial funding from alumni of the School. The centre is named after the campaign’s lead benefactor, Ian Riley, an Old Boy who was a pupil from 1974 to 1981.

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