How to Join Us



Our Mission

Bolton School seeks to realise the potential of each pupil. We provide challenge, encourage initiative, promote teamwork and develop leadership capabilities. It is our aim that students leave the School as self-confident young people equipped with the knowledge, skills and attributes that will allow them to lead a happy and fulfilled life and to make a difference for good in the wider community.

We do this through offering:

  • a rich and stimulating educational experience which encompasses academic, extra-curricular and social activities
  • a supportive and industrious learning environment for pupils selected on academic potential, irrespective of means and background.

Our Vision

By 2030, we intend Bolton School to stand out as a thriving academically selective independent day school in the north of England - a national leader in promoting social mobility through providing access to the broadest range of pupils, using the benefits from the Boys’ and Girls’ divisional structure to offer a first class modern academic education with effective and focused pastoral care. It will encourage participation and excellence in wide ranging activities, promote strong community values, and thereby equip young women and men with the resilience to go out to make a difference in their world. 

Here are some of the strong reasons why you should consider Bolton School for your child:

Academic Excellence

The curriculum is delivered by a highly qualified, experienced and dedicated teaching staff, who create an industrious but supportive working environment where pupils are motivated to learn. We are an academically selective school and focus on stretching and challenging every child as we encourage scholarship to ensure each pupil reaches his or her full academic potential.

The School incorporates the best of the National Curriculum but independence gives us the freedom to develop beyond it. Through a wide range of subjects and enrichment opportunities we ensure that all pupils discover their own talents and strengths.

Academic results at GCSE and A Level consistently place us amongst the top schools in the North of England and often within the top 100 nationally. The vast majority of our students progress to their first choice university and we have a regular flow of sixth formers to highly competitive courses and universities.

An Incredible Array of Extra-Curricular Activity

The size of our Foundation in terms of the number of pupils, teachers and campus allows for an incredibly diverse and strong extra-curricular programme, which offers unique opportunities, challenges and fun. Within each of the Schools, pupils join a small pastoral group, which means that they feel fully supported as part of the wider community. 

Each year, both Senior Schools offer over 100 clubs and activities and a wide range of options and interests are also available to pupils in the Junior Schools and Infant School. Outside the classroom, we hold an enviable reputation for sports, with pupil success at regional, national and international level. Our aim is to encourage all students, whatever their level, to achieve their personal best. Drama and music are also particularly strong at the School and there are numerous ensembles, choirs and orchestras as well as large-scale regular joint productions.

Pupils undertake foreign and residential trips, including regular visits to our own outdoor pursuits centre, Patterdale Hall, in the Lake District. Pupils also have the opportunity to undertake sailing voyages on Tenacity of Bolton, the 15m ketch which was built by Bolton School boys and is operated by Tall Ships Ltd.

An All-through Education and the Best of Both Worlds

Our Nursery, Pre-School Class for 3 and 4 year olds and Infant School are co-educational. At age 7 pupils move into either our Junior Girls’ or Junior Boys’ School and then, at age 11, into our Senior Girls’ and Senior Boys’ Schools (with Sixth Forms). Single-sex classes allow pupils to focus wholly on their studies in the classroom but girls and boys have regular opportunities to work collaboratively, for example on music and drama projects. Pupils also mix on the School coach service and Senior School pupils can meet up at lunchtime on some days of the week. Sixth Form students share a purpose-built Sixth Form Centre with a joint Common Room, Cafeteria, Seminar Rooms and other facilities but are still taught separately. We believe we offer the best of both worlds!

You can read about why you should choose an all girls’ school here and why you should choose an all boys’ school here


We are very conscious that for a child to learn, they must feel secure and happy in their environment. Irrespective of the age that a child joins Bolton School, we always ensure that they are made to feel welcome and that they settle in quickly. 

Behaviour at the School is excellent and we encourage all our pupils to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration. Each school within the Foundation places great emphasis on its pastoral provision and teachers build strong relationships with pupils. In Senior School, guidance, support and encouragement are provided by the pastoral team, which comprises the Subject Teacher, the Form Tutor, the Head of Year, Heads of School/Section and Deputy Heads. Any problems are dealt with rapidly, either by the staff team or the School Nurses.

Issues such as bullying, drugs, social development and citizenship are discussed through this system and through Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education lessons. Weekly assemblies provide a vehicle for teaching moral leadership. Personal development is further enhanced during Form periods, lunchtime clubs, school councils and through the roles of Prefects and Monitors.

There is a sense of purpose and challenge within the School, but this is built on an atmosphere that is friendly, supportive and, above all, happy. As pupils grow through the School they develop the independence and self-motivation that will allow them to thrive when they leave.

Outstanding Facilities

All of our schools, from Nursery to Sixth Form, are on site and pupils make use of our outstanding facilities set in 32 acres of grounds.

The School combines heritage and modernity. With a history stretching back 500 years, the School provides a local landmark on Chorley New Road with its imposing pink sandstone buildings replete with Neo-Gothic façade and turrets.

In September 2013, the opening of the Riley Sixth Form Centre marked the end of an £18m building project which saw the construction of a new state-of-the-art Junior Girls’ School (Hesketh House) and Infant School and the refurbishment and extension of our Junior Boys' School.  

"The Levels" provide a running track and numerous high quality football, lacrosse, cricket and rugby pitches as well as athletics facilities and cricket nets. Pupils also have access to netball and tennis courts at the nearby Leverhulme Pavilion, along with a new £1m all-weather sports surface, which opened in September 2019 and is used for hockey, lacrosse, tennis and other sports.

The Arts and Conference Centre, opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1993, provides a first-class auditorium and theatre as well as a swimming pool and Sports Hall.

Other facilities on our campus include a multi-gym, theatres and well-stocked libraries and gymnasiums in both Senior Schools, where there are also outstanding Technology and Science laboratories and Art studios. 

Pupils also benefit from time spent at the School's adventure learning centre, Patterdale Hall, which is located on the southern shores of Ullswater in the Lake District. 

Engagement with the Community

The School is, and always has been, inextricably linked with the local community. It is a central part of our ethos that pupils engage with the real world and that when they leave the School they will make a positive contribution to society. It is through the interaction with local, national and international concerns that pupils learn about topical issues and develop a sense of their place in the world.

A Thriving Former Pupils' Network

A very active network of old boys and old girls spans the globe, allowing former pupils to maintain lifelong relationships with both the School and each other. There are regular reunions both at the School and in major cities and towns throughout the UK. Successful former pupils, both young and old, regularly return to the School where they enjoy sharing their expertise and life experiences with current pupils.

The School has a history of producing top class scholars and achievers and our illustrious former pupils' network spreads across many disciplines. The Old Girls’ Association and the Old Boltonians’ Association include household names such as Sir Ian McKellen, Nigel Short, Monica Ali, Kate Long, Baroness Taylor of Bolton, the Nobel Prize Winner Sir Harry Kroto, Dame Janet Smith, Baroness Morris of Bolton, Mark Radcliffe and Ralf Little.


Pupils come from diverse backgrounds and, currently, over 300 pupils receive bursary-assisted places with approximately half of them receiving full fee assistance. 

Pupils entering Year 7 of either Senior School can apply for scholarships which are awarded at the discretion of the Headmistress or Headmaster to those children it is felt will make a significant contribution to the academic and wider life of the School.

Our secure private coach service covers over 20 routes meaning the School is accessible to a wide area.

Ethnically, the make-up of the School reflects exactly that of the local region.

You can read a Bolton School Overview booklet here.

School Inspection Reports

The School is inspected regularly by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).

The last inspection of the Boys' Division (Junior and Senior Boys' School) found it to be excellent in all areas.

The Girls' Division (co-educational Nursery and Infant School and Junior and Senior Girls' Schools) was described as excellent in all areas with the Early Years' Foundation Stage (0-5 years old) also receiving the top judgement of being "outstanding" in every category. 

Read the full Inspection Reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

View some of the frequently asked questions about applying to Bolton School here.

Sailing on Ullswater