ISC census time

and some facts about MFL at Bolton School

Census time – a Bolton School perspective


Each year late Spring sees the publication of a variety of census data: not least the Independent Schools Council annual survey. This year I’ve also looked at the annual Languages survey, which provides an interesting snapshot of one aspect of school life.

As with any data analysis what follows in bound to be a subjective selection from the objective data – telling a story of life at Bolton School.

Bolton School is thriving – according to the ISC census in the north pupil numbers have fallen by over 6% since 2007. Bolton School Boys’ Division has increased in size by 1% over that time. This summer term of the 200 places available in Park Road (our Junior School) 197 are occupied.

Boys only day schools are increasingly rare – Bolton School is one of the top five largest and most successful boys only day schools. There are only 113 all boys’ schools in the country – there are 175 all girls’ schools. Around 1 in every 50 of all the boys in a boy’s only independent school attend Bolton School! We can focus on the needs of growing boys.

Average ethnic mix – Bolton School has exactly the average ethnic mix of all independent schools. It also very closely matches the national census data for our local area in the North West. We are properly representative – not biased due to catchment area variations.

Open access – around 1 pence of every pound ALL the 1250 independent schools spend on open access is spent at Bolton School. We have an impact over 10 times the average school on social mobility and open access.

Competitive fees – our fees increases have been below the national average over the last ten years. They are also at or below the North West average over that time.


And what about languages – why is Bolton School distinctive?

  • Only 2% of state schools and 15% of independent schools offer Russian – we do.
  • Less than half of state schools offer German – we do
  • Less than 5% of state schools offer Latin – we do
  • Only 4 in 10 schools offer two languages at once before 14 – we do
  • The number of dual linguists at GCSE has remained steady against national decline



About Philip Britton

Philip Britton is Headmaster of Bolton School Boys’ Division. He was brought up on Tyneside, took a first in physics at Oxford and did teacher training at Cambridge. He worked as physics teacher, Head of Physics and Deputy Head at Leeds Grammar School before moving to Bolton in 2008. In 2010 he was awarded an MBE for services to physics and is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics where he has been much involved in physics education, encouraging teachers to encourage the next generation of physicists.