Celebrating 100 years since Lord Leverhulme created the Bolton School Foundation, the school launched The 100 Campaign for Bolton School Bursaries at its centenary dinner. Headmistress Sue Hincks said: “In 1915 Leverhulme’s vision had been to give the brightest children an excellent education, whatever their background. This remains our aim and, during the last century, we have been a real powerhouse for social mobility in Bolton. We were able to offer open access up until 1997 when crucial state funding was withdrawn. The principle of open access remains our priority and since 1997 the school community has built a bursary fund of £20m. This means, today, one in every five pupils receives financial support but this is still not enough: for every bursary pupil we admit, another talented child is turned away because of a lack of funding. Our aim is to be able to fund one in three pupils, taking in the brightest children who apply, no matter what their financial means. To do this, we need to increase our fund from £20 million to £50 million.”
The school aims to meet its target over the next 15 years and its first goal is to raise £5 million by 2018. Fundraising for this target began in September 2014 and the school has now secured £1.26m towards The 100 Campaign.
Appealing to the school community, Philip Britton, headmaster of the boys’ division, said: “Bolton School is a special place – one of the great schools of the north. We have helped generations of Boltonians to break through social barriers and achieve success in the wider world. The campaign is deliberately ambitious but very much achievable for a number of reasons: our longstanding commitment to keep access open is something we do rather than something we have been required to do by political pressure; we have shown over the years that if we commit to move towards a target little by little over a long time-span we can reach our goal; we already have substantial bursary funding on which we can build; and, most importantly, we have a very special commitment in Bolton from our old boys and old girls who feel a great connection to the school and its role in shaping their lives.”