Both Great Halls at Bolton School were filled with excited chatter as Year 11 returned with their parents and family members to collect their GCSE results.
The morning was another opportunity to celebrate with a year group that was significantly impacted in their formative Senior School years by the pandemic: they spent the latter half of Year 8 learning remotely, Year 9 in bubbles and Year 10 in masks. However, this set of results saw a return to pre-Covid levels, as with A Level results the previous week. Across the whole of Bolton School (Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions), a third of grades (33.7%) were 9s and 8s and more than half the grades received (54.8%) were graded 9 to 7.
Head of Foundation Philip Britton said: ‘It is always an enjoyable morning sharing success and celebrating with pupils who have realised their potential in academic studies as well as developing into well rounded people who have enjoyed hobbies and interests, sporting excellence, creative talents and challenge in the outdoors.
‘It is also good to see nationally the grade 9, introduced to be a sign of real excellence, has become rarer again and that in that context so many of our pupils have achieved that distinction. Also nationally the north has not performed as well as the south, so it is great to think we can be a leading light in the north to show that academic achievement is here as well.’
There was a huge amount of personal and individual success across the whole year group. A large number of students achieved the grades they needed alongside impressive extracurricular endeavours, from Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards to elite level sport to involvement in music, drama, community action and much more.
Emilia Nuttall, who is in her second year of playing at the Blackburn Rovers Football Academy, received five grade 9s, two grade 8s and two grade 7s. She has been playing football since she was six years old and has plans to continue: after A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Physical Education at Bolton School’s Sixth Form, she hopes to achieve a football scholarship to study in America. She said that she is keeping her options open with her studies, but potentially hopes to one day play professionally.
Keen water polo player Rob Bentham achieved grades of 7, two 6s, four 5s and a 4 while also training and competing at an international level with the English Schools Team.
Organ Scholar William Martin achieved six 9s, four 8s, an A and a 7 and plans to stay on at Bolton School to study Russian, History, Maths and French next year.
Molly Grimshaw achieved eight grade 9s and two grade 8s in her GCSE while also training at the Under 20 England Lacrosse National Academy. She juggled her mocks with training residentials, and had to keep up her fitness levels throughout the examination period, as the weekend after her GCSEs ended she was training at the National Academy! She also plays netball for the School and helped the Under 16 team to win the Town Championships. Next year, she will study History, Geography, Classical Civilisation and Drama in the Sixth Form, with future plans of attending a London university for a degree in History before a Law conversion course. Her sporting aspirations are to make it into the National Lacrosse squad and eventually play at international tournaments.
William Malley and Charlotte Harris are among the students who completed their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards alongside their studies: both took part in kayaking expeditions. William has aspirations of going into Law like his grandfather and achieved grades of 9, five 8s and four 7s. Charlotte achieved three 8s, three 6s and three 5s and is considering a career in Psychology.
Elite athlete Zach Baumann was pleased with his GCSE results, which allow him to head off to Manchester United’s football school.
In the Girls’ Division, nine girls achieved ten or more grade 8 or 9 and a further nine students received nine or more grade 8 or 9. In the Boys’ Division, ten boys received ten or more grade 8 or 9 and eight more boys achieved nine or more grade 8 or 9s. Aspiring medic Rhea Sudhakar achieved ten grade 9s and one grade 8, and Ethan Wong achieved an amazing clean sweep of twelve grade 9s!