Finding a place in the heart of a community is somewhat easier when you’re doing so from a building that boasts over a century of local history.
So often considered one of the Northampton education sector’s best kept secrets, Bosworth Independent College began a new era this autumn when it moved its teaching facilities into the Newton Building, formerly part of the University of Northampton campus.
Dating back to 1915, when it was built as part of the Girls’ Grammar School, the Newton Building retains many of its original features, and is a place where students can feel they truly belong, according to Principal Jason Lewis.
“During the first week back in September, when we had an assembly in the main hall, it felt wonderful seeing the whole school come together in this beautiful environment, with its wood panelling and period details,”
“Before now, the teaching facilities have been split between the two sites on the Barrack Road, and there wasn’t a singular space that was big enough for a whole school gathering.
“The students seem to love being here, it feels like it has a cohesion and that it’s a good, proper independent school.”
Bosworth Independent College is unique locally in that it has around 70% international students and 30% from the UK. The mix of international and British will always be important, and every young person that studies at Bosworth benefits from that – spending time with those who have a different perspective and background from their own, learning so much from one another about other cultures but also about how to get along with the people around you.
The balance is likely to shift significantly next year when it is intended that the school will open its doors to children from 11 years old.
Jason Lewis said:
“I’ve felt since I came here that we have so much to offer, our academic results are among the best in the area, but we’re not always on the radar of parents looking for an independent school. We are opening our doors to Years 7 and Year 8 cohorts in September 2023 for the next academic year. This shift will help us to expand within the local community and Northampton itself and cement us as a full secondary independent school.
“I want the school to have its own identity within the community and it was for that reason we made the decision to introduce a uniform this year. There’s never been one, and I think anyone seeing our students around the Barrack Road sites would not necessarily associate them with Bosworth, whereas now they will be more easily identified.
“It’s added to the overall feeling in the school, there’s a smile on everyone’s faces. They’re in a wonderful environment and really seem to feel a part of something special.”
Bosworth Independent College began talks to acquire the Newton Building in January this year, getting the keys in May. The University of Northampton had carried out extensive refurbishment fairly recently, and so the work that needed doing to prepare for the new academic year in September was finished in good time to welcome students back.
All teaching facilities except for a number of science labs are within the building, with additional eight brand new science labs in Bosworth Hall, a short walk away, ready for the September return. When the younger cohorts join next year, they will use the labs on site with the older students moving off site where necessary.
The college currently has just over 200 students, including 27 different nationalities and virtually all religions represented. The intention is to grow to the school to a comfortable 400 students. It is a strict policy that however much it grows, class sizes will not go above 16 students.
“Teachers need to get to really know pupils individually, understand their needs and where they are in their learning and what their strengths and weaknesses are, and you can’t do that if the class is any larger,”
“We are excited about the future; I think the school will grow and flourish over the next few years as we raise our profile and show parents what we can offer their children. So many of our students go on to the best universities in the country, but it’s not just about the exam results, we have excellence across many subject areas such as maths, sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts, and even then, when you ask students to get involved with something like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, they leap at the chance.
“It’s a school with an excellent work ethic in a nurturing and calm environment. Our students are stretched and challenged appropriately. Everyone learns from each other –and that is what makes for a good, well-rounded school.”