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Bolton School is the TES Independent School of the Year

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At the prestigious TES Independent School 2019 awards ceremony, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London, Bolton School won the Independent School of the Year and Senior School of the Year categories.

Despite tough competition, Bolton School was chosen as the TES overall school of the year with unanimous backing from the judges. Earlier in the night, the school was chosen as TES’ 2019 Senior School of the Year “not just for its outstanding achievements, but for its broad outreach activities and deep community relationships.”

One of the oldest schools in Lancashire, with a history that can be traced back to the early 16th century, Bolton School has evolved to become a regional success story. Over the last academic year, pupils in both divisions achieved a wide range of successes, from the Year 9 girl who won the Show Racism the Red Card School Competition to the boys’ water polo team scooping an unprecedented 13th national title. Both divisions also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the final of the National Choral Competition, as well as at local events, while the boys staged several performances of their original play, My Room, My Bolton.

But what made Bolton stand out was the important role it plays in its community. From acting as the Northern SCITT hub for MFL and Physics as part of the government’s teacher recruitment drive to hosting public lectures from the likes of Simon Armitage, the RSC Christmas Lecture and the Royal Statistical Society, alongside travelling theatre productions and a re-enactment of the English Civil War, the school has become a focal point for local activities. At a time when many regional schools have struggled to survive, the judges commended Bolton on how it has helped its community to thrive.

Events for local schoolchildren such as the Football Festival and Bolton Children’s Fiction Award, attended by 700 pupils, as well as 10,000 hours of volunteering by Sixth Formers, further cemented the school’s place in its community.

Lead judge Dr Helen Wright said Bolton was chosen because of “their impressive outreach and the way in which they involve the whole community in a plethora of enriching events.”

“It was a wonderful evening and we were incredibly proud to pick up our awards on behalf of everyone who is part of the Bolton School family,” said Sue Hincks, Headmistress of the Girls’ Division. “Aside from strong academic results, we were delighted that both our extra-curricular provision and work in, and with, the local community was recognised as these are areas that are very important to us.”

Headmaster of the Boys’ Division Philip Britton said: “It was a very special night and a pleasing affirmation of all the time, energy and initiative that boys, girls and colleagues put into their work and how well that is supported by parents and Alumni. The evening also recognised how we – and many other independent schools - work hard to progress learning across our region and enjoy mutually beneficial relationships with a wide variety of local schools and their pupils. The award also touched on how we endeavour to provide an education for all through our generous bursary provision with one in five of our pupils receiving fee assistance.”

The awards follow other recent accolades including being named Independent School of the Year by the Independent School Parent, becoming the first school to earn Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service status, winning last year’s TES Community Initiative Award and the MEN Active Community Award. The Girls’ Division was highly commended in the Independent School Parent Girls’ School of the Year Award and the Boys’ Division won the Boys’ School of the Year Award. The Boys’ Division was also recently re-awarded Apple Distinguished School status and a Platinum Artsmark.

Other winners on the night were (full details of the winners can be viewed here):

Special services to independent education award: John Weitzel, Loughborough Grammar School
Senior leadership team of the year: The Holmewood School
Whole-school community initiative of the year: Norwich School
Independent-state school partnership award: Lichfield Cathedral School
Special needs initiative of the year: The Holmewood School
Marketing campaign of the year: Woldingham School
Wellbeing initiative of the year: Reigate Grammar School
Creativity award: Wilds Lodge School
Strategic education initiative of the year: Sandroyd
International school of the year: Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, UAE
Sports award: Surbiton High School
Best use of technology award: Aberdour School
Pre-prep/prep school of the year: St Faith’s
Boarding school of the year: Cottesmore School
Senior school of the year: Bolton School
Independent school of the year: Bolton School

You can view a gallery of high resolution photos from the evening here.

For more coverage of the awards, profiles of the winners and photographs from the evening, please visit isawards.co.uk.

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