Bolton School

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Bolton School
Bolton School Foundation Joint Logo.jpg
Established ante 1516
Type Independent school
Headmaster (Boys' Division) Philip Britton
Headmistress (Girls' Division) Sue Hincks
Chair of Governors Michael Griffiths
Founder Viscount Leverhulme
Location Chorley New Road
53°34′48″N 2°27′18″W / 53.579868°N 2.454865°W / 53.579868; -2.454865Coordinates: 53°34′48″N 2°27′18″W / 53.579868°N 2.454865°W / 53.579868; -2.454865
Students 2400 (approx.)
Gender Co-educational Nursery and Infant School, single sex Junior and Senior Schools
Ages 0–18
Former pupils Old Girls' Association and Old Boltonians' Association
Boys' Division Motto Mutare Vel Timere Sperno
(I scorn to change or to fear)
Girls' Division Motto None

Bolton School is an independent day school in Bolton, Greater Manchester. It comprises a co-educational nursery, co-educational infant school (ages 5–7), single sex junior schools (ages 7–11) and single sex senior schools including sixth forms (ages 11–18). With almost 5,000 pupils, it is one of the largest independent day schools in the country.[1]


Early history[edit]

Established as Bolton Grammar School, it is not known exactly when the boys' school was founded although it is recorded in 1516. In 1524, William Haigh of Wigan left land worth 33s 4d towards the maintenance of a schoolmaster to teach grammar in Bolton.[2] In 1644, it was endowed by Robert Lever the start of a long relationship with the Lever name. During the 17th Century, the school moved from its original Tudor building to new premises beside the Parish Church in Bolton.

Bolton Girls' Day School was established on 1 October 1877 as one of the earliest public day schools for girls in the country.[3] The schoolroom was in the Mechanics' Institute, and the first intake was 22 girls. The school was renamed Bolton High School for Girls and moved to the Park Road site in 1891. Its new building was opened by the suffragist Mrs Millicent Fawcett and the school had 67 girls on roll.

In 1899 Bolton Grammar School for Boys moved to its current location on Chorley New Road shortly after its amalgamation with Bolton High School for Boys. The move was made possible by Sir William Hesketh Lever. He had agreed to put up £5,000 and to be co-opted as a governor of the school in 1898 and a year later bought the freehold at Westbourne and offered it the school. He also financed the necessary building alternations. The school remained in these premises at Westbourne until 1932.[4]

In 1906, Bolton High School for Girls and its headmistress, Olivia Dymond, were congratulated by inspectors for "exercising a good influence on the girlhood of Bolton, not only intellectually but in other ways, not less important in the formation of their characters." School uniform and compulsory games were introduced during Miss Drymond's tenure as headmistress.[5]

The New Foundation[edit]

Aerial photo of the school (2010)

In 1913, Sir William Hesketh Lever jointly endowed the Bolton Grammar School and the Bolton High School for Girls, on condition that they should be equal partners known as Bolton School (Girls' and Boys' Divisions). On 1 April 1915, the Bolton School Foundation formally came into existence.

Construction of the Boys' Division and Girls' Division buildings began in 1924. In the same year, the school was granted a Coat of Arms. The Boys' Junior School was established at Broomfield on Chorley New Road in 1928 and in 1938, the school moved to the Park Road site where the Bolton High School for Girls had once been situated. The 1950s saw the creation of a new sports level and the building of the Tillotson Pavilion, and a grant from the Industrial Society funded the construction of a new Boys' Division chemistry block which opened in 1958. The main wings of the Boys' Division and Girls' Division were completed in 1965 realising Lord Leverhulme's plan to have purpose-built school buildings.[6]

Modern history[edit]

In 1982, the Leverhulme Pavilion at Oldfield was opened by Philip Lever, 3rd Viscount Leverhulme, Lord Leverhulme's grandson. Other additions to the school’s facilities include the sports complex and swimming pool in 1986; the Arts & Conference Centre, opened by Diana, Princess of Wales in 1993; and Patterdale Hall, an outdoor pursuits centre at the southern end of Ullswater in the Lake District.

The school completed a £19m expansion project and renovation project including refurbishment and an extension to the Junior Boys' School and the construction of a new Infant School building in 2009.[7][8]

The Beech House building was then demolished to make away for a new Junior Girls' School building, Hesketh House, built in 2010.[9] After ten years planning, building work began on the £7million co-educational Riley Sixth Form Centre in the Summer of 2012[10] and the facility was ready for use in the Autumn Term 2013.[11] The Riley Centre was named after its lead benefactor Ian Riley who was a pupil from 1974 to 1981. It stands where Leverhulme envisaged a chapel and has been described as a secular and modern interpretation of the original plan uniting the Girls' and Boys' Divisions.[12]

The Bolton School Foundation[edit]

Bolton School provides education for pupils throughout their school life, and pre-school childcare for younger infants and babies. The schools are all situated on the same 32-acre (130,000 m2) campus, which is located one mile west of Bolton town centre.

Across both divisions, one in five senior school pupils receives fee assistance through bursaries, and many have full fee bursaries.[13]

Admission into Year 7 of Bolton School's senior schools is by entrance examination. This comprises an English paper and three tests: verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning and mathematics. Entrance into Years 8–11 is sometimes possible.[14][15] Sixth Form places are offered based on GCSE grades and interviews.[16][17] Bolton School's Junior Schools also admit pupils via an assessment test, which is taken at the age of seven for entry into Year 3. Candidates must demonstrate a good level of competence in English, Mathematics and Verbal Reasoning to be successful. Places are sometimes available in Years 4, 5 and 6.[18][19] Admission to the Infants school at Beech House is by a short interview and a number of informal tasks.[20]

In the Sixth Form, pupils from the Boys' and Girls' Divisions gain access to the Riley Sixth Form Centre, which provides shared study and recreation areas. Facilities include an ICT suite, seminar rooms with touch-screen TVs, quiet study areas, a common room, a refectory cafe area, and exhibition space.

The majority of Sixth Form lessons remain single-sex, but some classes may be co-educational depending on interest from the Girls' and Boys' Divisions: some courses are delivered by teaching staff from both divisions (Classical Civilisation, Greek and Latin), while some subjects are only taught in one Division (Electronics and Sports Science in the Boys' Division; Psychology, Religious Studies and Theatre Studies in the Girls' Division).[21][22]

Bolton School Boys' Division[edit]

The Boys' Division is a single-sex senior school including Sixth Form for boys aged 11–18. The Boys' Division is split into the Lower School (Years 7–9), Middle School (Years 10–11) and the Upper School (Sixth Form). As of 2014, the headmaster of the Boys' Division is Philip Britton MBE.[23]

The Boys' Division contains 15 science laboratories (including the Kroto Chemistry Building), 7 Technology workshops, 5 computer suites, a Languages Laboratory, the McKellen studio theatre, the Great Hall, and sports and fitness facilities.[24]

Bolton School Girls' Division[edit]

The Girls' Division is a single-sex senior school including sixth form for girls aged 11–18. As of 2014, the headmistress of the Girls' Division is Sue Hinks.[25]

The Girls' Division contains the Great Hall, the theatre, 2 resistant materials workshops, 2 textile studios, 2 food technology rooms, 4 computer rooms, 7 laboratories, 3 art studios, and sports and gymnastics facilities.[26]

Bolton School Junior Boys' School: Park Road[edit]

Park Road is a single-sex junior school for boys aged 7–11. As of 2015, the headmistress at Park Road is Susan Faulkner.[27] She is the first female Head of the Junior Boys' School.[28]

The Junior Boys' School has stood on this site since 1938. In 2009, work was completed on an expansion and renovation of the original school building, which has provided a new kitchen, dining hall, library, changing rooms and shower facilities, larger classrooms and refurbished facilities.[29]

Bolton School Junior Girls' School: Hesketh House[edit]

Hesketh House is a single-sex junior school for girls aged 7–11. As of 2016, the headmistress is Carol Laverick.[30]

Ruth Brierley introduced the 16 Habits of Mind to the Junior Girls' School, which encourage the girls think intelligently. This initiative has received praise by the Good Schools Guide.[31]

Bolton School Infant School: Beech House[edit]

Beech House is a co-educational infants school catering to children aged 4–7. As of September 2015, the Head of Beech House is Tracey Taylor.[32]

Beech house

The Infant School was originally located in the old Beech House building behind the Girls' Division. In 2008, the school began building a new Infants School on Dobson Road.[33] The building work was completed in 2009, and the Infant School moved into the new Beech House building.[34]

Bolton School Nursery[edit]

Bolton School Nursery is a co-educational nursery which caters to children from birth to age four. As of 2016 Joanne Hewitt is the current Nursery Manager.

Infants move through First Steps (0–2), Tweenies (2–3), Caterpillars (2–3) and Butterflies (3–4). The Nursery also offers a Pre-School Class for 3 and 4 year olds to help prepare children for their move to Infant School. As part of this class, children have regular opportunities to visit Bolton School Infant School (Beech House) and attend weekly assemblies, as well as taking part in more structured activities. These include swimming and ballet lessons, daily phonics activities, an introduction to numbers, and a focus on developing good listening skills.[35]

Although the Nursery has strong links with Beech House, children do not automatically transfer to the Infant School.

Extracurricular activities[edit]

The school has over 100 clubs and activities for pupils to take part in at lunchtimes and after school, in addition to orchestras, choirs and sports teams.[36] The Boys' Division has a strong sporting heritage, with in-school trophies for football, cricket and gymnastics dating back 100 years.[37] The school also takes part in regional and national schools' competitions and has a good reputation at these levels.[38]

Pupils are given the opportunity to complete their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award.[39] In Year 11, pupils are encouraged to take part in National Citizen Service, which feeds into the Sixth Form Community Action scheme. Both schemes encourage pupils to give their time to their local communities.[40]

The "Tenacity of Bolton" ketch, built by Bolton School pupils

Outdoor pursuits[edit]

The school maintains an outdoor pursuits department and operates Patterdale Hall, a residential outdoor pursuits centre on the shores of Lake Ullswater in the Lake District. Pupils gain experience of the world of business and commerce through the 'Business Awareness' course held at Patterdale Hall.[41]

The Boys' Division Senior School and Boys' Junior School offer annual residential outdoor pursuits trips to Patterdale Hall to all age groups, from Year 4 to Year 13. The Girls' Division Senior School and Girls' Junior School also offer these trips to selected year groups from Year 5 and up. Patterdale assists girls and boys in achieving the expedition part of their Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Between 1999 and 2007, Boys' Division pupils constructed a concrete yacht during Technology lessons and lunchtimes as a millennium project ("The Third Millennium Ketch"). It was launched in May 2007. Named "Tenacity of Bolton", the ketch allows Year 8 and 9 pupils the chance for sailing voyages in the Irish Sea.[42] In September 2014, the "Tenacity of Bolton" was gifted to the Tall Ships Youth Trust to be operated by the Trust, with Bolton School pupils continuing to make use to the ketch.[43]

Coat of Arms and Motto[edit]

The school coat of arms was granted to the Boys' Division in 1923.

Coat of arms of Bolton School Boys' Division

The devices of two black diagonal stripes, the edges of the upper one scalloped, on a silver shield together with the cock and bugle crest have been used by the Lever families of Great, Little and Darcy Lever since the Middle Ages. The cock and bugle are heraldic puns: the Lever name transposes to "se lever" in Norman French, the language of heraldry, which means "to arise"; the cock is the bird whose crow causes the world to arise, while the trumpet sounds "Reveille".

In order for the school to differentiate itself, additional appropriate symbols were added:

  • Gold Rose of Lancaster: appears in gold rather than red to abide by the Rule of Tincture and also to make it stand out against the black background
  • Open Book: frequently found in the heraldry of academic institutions to represent learning
  • Gold Chaplet of Roses: again in gold to abide by the Rule of Tincture, this signifies honour and also the Hulme family.[44] Lord Leverhulme also used this charge (albeit in red) on his Mayoral arms.[45]

The Girls' Division was given permission to display the same arms on a lozenge (i.e. diamond) surmounted by a true-lovers' knot. The Girls' Division does not make use of the crest. This is unusual in heraldry; although unmarried ladies' parental coats of arms would be displayed in this manner, female institutions such as convents normally utilize a shield.[46]

The school's motto is Mutare Vel Timere Sperno, meaning "I scorn to change or to fear".[47] This is used exclusively by the Boys' Division.

Former pupils[edit]

Bolton School's alumni are known as Old Girls and Old Boys. Former Boys' Division pupils are also known as Old Boltonians.

The Old Girls' and Old Boys' Association is a thriving global community. The Association organises regular reunions and events, keeps former pupils informed of current events at the school and of the successes of their peers, and often invites Old Boys and Old Girls back to the school to share their expertise and life experiences with current pupils.[48]

The school's Old Boys run and take part in three sports clubs: The Old Boltonians AFC,[49] the Old Boltonians' Golf Society,[50] and the Old Boltonians' RUFC.[51] Membership is open to all former pupils and staff.

For details of notable former pupils please see the List of Old Boltonians.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bolton School – Independent School for Bolton, Lancashire, Manchester". Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  2. ^ "Records of early English Drama – Lancashire" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Brown, W.E. (1976). The History of Bolton School. Bolton: Bolton School. 
  4. ^ Brown, W.E. (1976). The History of Bolton School. Bolton: Bolton School. 
  5. ^ Brown, W.E. (1976). The History of Bolton School. Bolton: Bolton School. 
  6. ^ "Bolton School: History". Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Pupils Enjoy New State-of-the-Art School". Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved September 2009.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "£1.5m Refurbishment to Junior School". Retrieved December 2009.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ "Junior Girls Enjoy their New School". Retrieved September 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  10. ^ "Sixth Form Students Start Building a New Centre". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Autumn Opening for Multi-million Pound Sixth Form Centre". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "RIBA Journel: Buildings - School - The Riley Centre, Bolton School". Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  13. ^ "Financial Assistance and Bursaries". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Admissions to the Girls' Division (Senior School)". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Admissions to the Boys' Division (Senior School)". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Admissions to the Boys' Division (Sixth Form)". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Admissions to the Girls' Division (Sixth Form)". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Junior Girls' Admissions and Applications". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Entry to the Boys' Junior School". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Beech House Admissions". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Bolton School Sixth Form Boys Subjects". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Bolton School Sixth Form Girls Subject Choices Booklet" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Bolton School – Boys' Division Senior School". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Bolton School Boys' Division Facilities". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Bolton School – Girls' Division Senior School". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Bolton School Girls' Division Facilities". Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "Bolton School – Boys' Division Junior School". Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "Bolton School junior boys appoints first female headteacher". Retrieved 20 April 2015. 
  29. ^ "Junior Boys Enjoy £15m Refurbishment". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  30. ^ "Bolton School – Girls' Division Junior School". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  31. ^ "Good Schools Guide - Bolton School Junior Girls' School (Hesketh House)". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  32. ^ "Bolton School – Beech House". Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  33. ^ "Foundation Stone is Laid for New Infants School". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  34. ^ "Pupils Enjoy New State-of-the-Art School". Archived from the original on 17 August 2011. Retrieved September 2009.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  35. ^ "Nursery Class for 3 and 4 Year Olds". Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  36. ^ "Clubs and Extra-Curricular Activities". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  37. ^ "A Decade of Centenaries". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Bolton School Sports Overview". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  39. ^ "Patterdale Hall Residential and Adventure Learning Centre and Tenacity of Bolton". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  40. ^ "Bolton School Sixth Form Community Involvement". Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  41. ^ "Patterdale Hall and Tenacity of Bolton". Retrieved 19 February 2014. 
  42. ^ "Patterdale Hall Residential and Adventure Learning Centre and Tenacity of Bolton". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  44. ^ Brown, W.E. (1976). The History of Bolton School. Bolton: Bolton School. 
  45. ^ "The Mayors of Bolton: Lord Leverhulme (William Hesketh Lever)". Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  46. ^ Brown, W.E. (1976). The History of Bolton School. Bolton: Bolton School. 
  47. ^ The History of Bolton School W E Brown MA, Bolton School 1976, ISBN 0-9504947-0-4 with an extended essay by F R Poskitt, CBE MA
  48. ^ "Old Boys and Old Girls". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  49. ^ "Old Boltonians' AFC". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  50. ^ "Old Boltonians' Gold Society". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  51. ^ "Old Boltonians' Rugby Club". Retrieved 30 January 2014. 

External links[edit]