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School Wins at Bolton News Education Awards

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The Bolton News Education Awards concluded with a sparking online ceremony compered by Granada News journalist Elaine Willcox, who revealed the winners live on the night. One of those winners was Bolton School Boys’ Division, which received the Digital Innovation Award.

The school’s winning entry for this award focussed on the use of technology to support and develop literacy, and using artificial intelligence to help students by identifying gaps in learning and suggesting the next steps.

At the end of the last academic year, Boys’ Division Head of Literacy Ms Sigrist offered all incoming Year 7s the opportunity to consolidate their foundations in reading skills and technical accuracy by offering access to the Century Tech platform. The response and engagement was tremendous and many boys used the platform to prepare for the literacy demands at Bolton School Boys’ Division. The boys accessed 5326 ‘nuggets’ (short video lessons and tests) representing over 13 school days or 69 continuous hours of learning. The result is a cohort much better prepared for secondary school, who have fewer gaps in learning despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The school is extremely proud that the digital innovation in the Boys’ Division has been recognised by the Bolton News Education Awards.

Two more of this year’s nominees were linked with Bolton School: Boys’ Division teacher Miss Katharine Roddy for New Teacher of the Year and former Girls’ Division teacher Mrs Val Hanrahan for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Miss Roddy, who teaches Languages in the Boys’ Division, was Highly Commended as a New Teacher of the Year. She has hit the ground running since joining the school as an NQT: she designed and delivered a whole-school pastoral programme on gender equality and wrote a related article, published in TES, which was about how to engage boys in gender equality lessons and covered a report on young men’s attitudes towards learning about women in history. She recently chaired a Fabian Women’s Conference focussing on Gender Equality in the Curriculum. In addition, she has undertaken a Mountain Training Rock Climbing Instructor Course, runs a lunchtime club and helps out with Senior Boys’ sport.

Former Girls’ Division teacher Mrs Hanrahan was Commended in the Lifetime Achievement Award category for her extraordinary career as a Mathematics educator. Her teaching career at Bolton School spanned 48 years, from 1968 to her retirement in 2016 at the age of 73. Her personality and attitude to work is summed up by the fact that she carried out the key roles of Head of Mathematics and Head of Sixth Form concurrently. Outside of school, Mrs Hanrahan played a key role in the Liverpool Mathematics Society. She is a prolific writer of mathematics textbooks and has written or co-written many school and college mathematics textbooks for courses up to and including A Level. These have been invaluable to the education of hundreds, if not thousands, of students.

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