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School Shortlisted for M.E.N. School of the Year Award

  • Shortlisted for MEN Secondary School of the Year Award
  • Shortlisted for MEN Secondary School of the Year Award (1)
  • Shortlisted for MEN Secondary School of the Year Award Finalist Logo

Senior staff and pupils from both the Girls' Division and Boys' Division were delighted to attend the MEN School Awards ceremony at the Manchester Hilton on Deansgate. The School was one of three schools that made it to the final in the Secondary School of the Year category. The full entry can be read below:


Last summer, over three quarters of Girls’ Division A level grades were in the A*-B range, up to 76.6% from 72.4% the previous year. There was a similar improvement in the percentage of A*-C grades, up from 89.3% the previous year to 93.3%; the overall pass rate (A*-E) was 100%. In the Boys’ Division, students and teachers also celebrated excellent A level results, with a percentage increase in the number of A*-C grades, rising to 91.5% from 89.1% the previous year. The percentage of students with facilitating grades (ABB) allowing access to the top universities improved, up to 55% from 51%. The overall pass rate (A*-E) also increased, standing at 99.7%. Nine boys and five girls headed off to either Oxford or Cambridge University.

GCSE results were similarly impressive. Every girl achieved at least 5 A*-C grades (9-4), with nearly 60% of all grades being at A* or A (or 9-7) and almost 30% of grades at A* (9-8). 84% of girls achieved at least 8 A*-B (9-5) grades, an increase on the previous year. 98.6% of grades were at the A*-C (9-4) level. Pupils in the Boys’ Division also performed well as the percentage of A*-A grades rose to 57% (up from 52.7% the previous year); the percentage of papers graded A* increased to 27%, up from 25% the previous year; and the percentage of boys achieving at least 4 As and 3 Bs was at a recent high of 70%. There were rises in the percentage of papers being graded A*-C, up by 1% to 94.4%, and in boys achieving 10 A* or A grades, the figure rising from 17 to 18%.  

In the Sunday Times’ Parent Power guide, the Girls’ Division was ranked in the top 10 schools in the North-West and as the best independent school in Lancashire and North Manchester. 


However, the School is about more than academic results. With over 100 clubs and activities in each Division, every pupil can discover new interests and pursue talents. Over the year, there have been many individual and team success stories. The Boys’ Division continued to dominate the national water polo scene and won an unprecedented thirteenth consecutive national title spanning all competitive age groups. Boys and girls bolstered the GB water polo squads and there was national representation from pupils in tennis, football, lacrosse, badminton and dressage; pupils also helped Bolton to a medal haul in the Greater Manchester School Games.

Beyond sport, there were Silver Certificates for both Music Departments from the Incorporated Society of Musicians and extensive participation within School and further afield at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Royal Festival Hall (as finalists in the National Choral Competition) and with other pupils at Bolton Victoria Hall, the Royal Northern College of Music and Bolton’s Holocaust Memorial Service. In Drama, the Boys’ Division now works with The Octagon and in-house theatre group RoughHouse as it works towards Platinum Artsmark status. Girls have recently won national awards in poetry, in a Show Racism the Red Card competition and two girls became School Physicists of the Year. Last summer, a Boys’ Division student was the Secondary School Saatchi Gallery Art Prize winner and the School now has Apple Distinguished School status and has received a Corporate Heraldry Award.

Community and Service

Early this year, the School was delighted to win the TES’s Whole School Community Initiative of the Year. This was in respect of it being a founding member of the Bolton Sports Alliance, which coordinates sports provision for children from across the borough. The signature event of the Alliance is the annual Football Festival held at Bolton School which, earlier this month, saw participation from over 50 local primary schools. Judges said: “Bolton School has been absolute leaders in the sector in community work. It is a really strong project that has had a very significant impact on its area. A shining city on the hill.” Last year we also won the MEN’s Active Community Award. 

Interaction with the local community comes in a myriad of forms, including through a SHINE: Serious Fun on Saturdays programme for Y5 children, mentoring vulnerable children, helping gifted Y6 children improve their Mathematics and reading skills, running a wide variety of subject-specific “festivals” for local children, resurrecting and organising the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award, offering a burgeoning community music programme, undertaking environmental work for local agencies and, as a group, having Sixth Form students commit to over 10,000 hours of volunteering work each year. Over 250 girls and boys undertake the Bronze DofE and many go on to achieve their Silver and Gold Awards, committing many more hours to helping out in the local area. Last year one third of Y11 in the Girls’ Division undertook National Citizenship Service. 

The School continues to be intrinsically involved with the local community and this year there have been enrichment lectures open to the public from nationally-recognised speakers, including Ralf Little, Dr Michael Scott, Tomasz Schafernaker and Simon Armitage. The School has also hosted regional and national events for pupils and the public including History Association lectures, the RSC Christmas lecture, a Science Day, an Apple Conference, the Royal Statistical Society Annual Lecture, a Careers Fair, Languages Day and STEM Racing Challenge Day. It has also hosted travelling theatre productions including Antigone and Penguins. Later this summer, the School looks forward to playing a large part in a gala day held by Bolton Station Community Development Partnership and to hosting an English Civil War battle re-enactment. 

Last year we became the first school in the country to win the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups. Our pupils serve local, national and international communities and, in doing so, establish a habit of volunteering for the benefit of themselves and others. 


The School’s ethnic make-up mirrors that of the local community and this year has been another successful year in raising funds for bursaries. One in five Senior School pupils receives financial assistance and, of these, half enjoy free schooling. The 2018 100 Campaign has raised funds allowing fee assistance to be given to almost one in four pupils, moving the School closer to its aim of funding one in three pupils and providing genuine open access.



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