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Girls’ Division Highly Commended in National Awards

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Bolton School Girls’ Division has been Highly Commended in the Girls’ School of the Year category of the Independent School Parent magazine’s inaugural national awards. 

The accolade came after the Sunday Times’ Parent Power guide ranked the Girls’ Division in the top 10 schools in the North-West and as the best independent school in Lancashire and North Manchester. The Girls’ Division entry focused on the school’s extensive connections to and work with the wider community.

Last year, Bolton School became the first school in the country to win the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which recognised pupils’ involvement in serving local, national and international communities. All Year 9 girls undertake the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and dozens more achieve Silver and Gold Awards. Almost one third of the Girls’ Division Year 11 cohort took part in the National Citizen Service, while Year 12 students’ volunteering amounted to over 5000 hours: their initiatives included ‘Tea at the Riley’, a monthly tea party for elderly members of the wider Bolton community, and weekly Saturday lessons for 43 local Year 5 children. Charity fundraising included the annual Year 7 ‘Sponsored Silence’, Harvest and Christmas hampers projects, and an initiative by the Maths Department whereby the girls were sponsored to complete maths tasks online, with the proceeds going to build wells in India.

Bolton School also opens its doors to the wider community by hosting events. Pupils and the public have recently been entranced by nationally-recognised speakers including Dr Michael Scott, Tomasz Schafernaker, and Simon Armitage. The School also hosted monthly Historical Association lectures, a Science Festival, the Royal Statistical Society Annual Lecture, a Careers Fair, Languages Day and STEM Racing Challenge Day. Travelling theatre productions, Antigone and Penguins, were open to local state schools, as was an English Civil War battle re-enactment on the school site. The first trainee teacher passed through the Girls’ Division as it became the Northern hub school in a new DfE drive to recruit MFL teachers. 

The year culminated in the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award, with all six shortlisted authors and over 700 pupils coming together to celebrate reading.

Bolton School girls come from a diverse range of backgrounds, with one in five in receipt of a Bursary, and their successes are multi-faceted. This too was appropriately reflected in the School’s entry, which celebrated the many and varied achievements of pupils across all age groups.

A Year 9 pupil’s artwork won the national ‘Show Racism The Red Card’ School Competition; another pupil won the national Namedropping Poetry Competition; a promising actor appeared in Coronation Street; two Year 7 girls were one of only 12 teams to reach the national BP Ultimate STEM Challenge final; two students were awarded Arkwright Scholarships for engineering; a girls’ team won Silver at the Salters’ Chemistry Festival whilst another team won the RSC Manchester and District Chemquiz. Girls represented their country in water polo, gymnastics, tennis, lacrosse, dressage, free and dance roller skating, participated regionally at badminton, swimming, netball and lacrosse and enjoyed victories in town athletics, swimming, netball and cross country competitions. They sang as finalists in the National Choral Competition at the Royal Festival Hall, London, and led local primary school children in a concert at Bolton’s Victoria Hall celebrating Fred Dibnah. Year 10 and above performed in the Joint Production of ‘The Tempest’ whilst Years 7-9 staged ‘Daisy Pulls It Off’. The theme of the Year 7 and 8 Celebration Evening was ‘This is Me’, highlighting the School’s continued commitment to encouraging every girl to cherish her unique spirit.

Also in Independent School Parent magazine’s Awards, Bolton School (Boys’ Division and Girls’ Division) was named as Independent School of the Year and the Boys’ Division won the Boys’ School of the Year award.

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