Bolton School Junior Girls
Reflections from Former Pupils
I have very fond memories of my time in Junior School, from art classes and creative writing, singing along to the wonderful pipe organ in the Great Hall, to long summer lunch times playing outside with my friends on the levels. Several of my companions I shared those school days with have gone on to be lifelong friends. But I think what stands out for me the most in retrospect was that Bolton School and its emphasis on aiming high instilled in us a sense that 'anything was possible'. I remember being left in awe by talks in morning assemblies and presentation day from older girls in the Senior School or alumni who had gone on to achieve great things. I myself went on to study Computer Science, not being in the slightest bit put off that I was one of only three girls in the entire undergraduate intake! Now, I am enjoying a rewarding career as a Senior Controls Engineer at a synchrotron (a kind of particle accelerator) in Australia, and am privileged to work alongside very talented scientists and engineers making a contribution to crucial scientific research.
Emma Shepherd, Senior Controls Engineer, Diamond Light Source Ltd, Australia
In my time, the Junior School was housed in wooden huts. There we learned to distinguish the Song Thrush from the Mistle Thrush with Miss Groser and Perkin Warbeck from Lambert Simnel with Mrs Hesketh. We joined the Senior School for assembly in the Great Hall, where we were reminded at that formative age by Miss Higginson that from those to whom much is given, much would be required. I moved up to the Senior School and won a scholarship in Classics at Magdalen College, Oxford, in their second year of admitting women. I then worked in the City for 18 years and towards the end of that time the seed that Miss Higginson had planted germinated when I became a trustee of Magdalen's Development Trust and chair of the college's alumni society. Virtue is its own reward of course, but I was honoured last summer to be made a Distinguished Friend of Oxford for my voluntary services. I also serve as vice chair of ICP Support, a charity which helps people affected by a metabolic condition of pregnancy. I do feel that this sense of responsibility for giving something back was inculcated during my time at the Junior School.
Juddith Hibbert, Freelance Researcher and Distinguished Friend of Oxford
I have incredibly fond memories of my time at the Junior Girls’ School. There was a great mix between study, extra-curricular activity and pastoral care. I even recall one teacher who kept a rabbit in the store cupboard! I also remember Mrs Barwise bringing her dog during our dinner break when we took the senior school exam, it helped us switch off for a few minutes and relax from the pressure of taking the entrance exam. When I was being interviewed by Miss Higginson age 7, she had a jar of sweets with all the best ones at the bottom, so if you wanted one of those you had to rummage to the bottom for one. The idea being that if you were polite you took one from the top! Our classrooms were wooden huts, but that didn’t matter in the least, we were nicely cocooned from the rest of the school, but able to get a taste of what the senior school had to offer and were well prepared for when we made the move up at 11. I loved every minute of the Junior School and it prepared me well for life in the Senior School and beyond.
Sarah Thompson, Principal Lawyer (Partner), Family Law at Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP
I have very fond memories of Hesketh House, there was such a friendly atmosphere. I particularly remember going to Patterdale Hall with all my friends which was the first trip away without my parents. This made me feel brave enough to go on the Ski trip to Italy for a week when I was in Year 5.
I also really enjoyed the Shakespeare production we put together where we wrote our own script and performed it to the school and parents. I have carried on this interest into the senior school as I had great fun and it really boosted my confidence.
Georgina Crowther, Junior Masterchef Finalist 2012
My time at Hesketh House was wonderful and fantastic. I instantly experienced the caring atmosphere which enabled me to thrive and maximise my full potential.
The head teacher, teachers and pupils are all part of one big family all willing each other to do well. There was never a dull day at Hesketh House.
In our structured classroom environment we always enjoyed the distinctive and special educational experience as we always learnt new skills and performed new tasks. There were lots of opportunities to enhance outdoor learning and extra-curricular activities. One such occasion was in Year 3 when I joined the Chess Club. Before then I had never played chess but after playing in the school club I developed a passion for the game. I quickly moved forward from chess novice to England International.
Hesketh House is a place where we were taught a sense of responsibility which would help us all the way through our lives. I took on the responsibility of being a Prefect in Year 6 and it improved my confidence and self-esteem. The excellent standard of teaching at Hesketh House gave me a chance to enhance my academic skills. An academic competition in year 5 which we entered was the Bolton Primary Maths Team Challenge and our team was crowned the overall champions .
We were always encouraged to think creatively and to have different perspectives on the world around us. Recently I won the Mensa Child Genius Competition 2014 and I believe that it was possible because of the academic skills and the skills to perform in front of an audience and to keep calm under pressure that I acquired at Hesketh House. An example of this was in Year 6 when we were taught for the English Speaking Board how to remember information while presenting to an audience.
I am grateful to all my teachers for all the opportunities they offered me. I love Hesketh House as it is a happy and purposeful place to learn and I felt valued and it has made me the person I am today. It definitely was a great place to be.
Sharon Daniel, Mensa Child Genius Competition Winner 2014