Bolton's first free school opens doors to pupils
Buy this photo » LOOKING FORWARD Reception teacher Alison Haycock with pupils, from left, Ayishah Aslam, Adan Amal-Ahmed and Yusuf Robertson, all aged five
HISTORY was made in Bolton when the borough’s first free school opened its gates to pupils.
The Olive Tree Primary School opened in Adelaide Street, Daubhill, yesterday.
Free schools are independent state-funded schools set up to meet local need and improve education for children in their community.
The Olive Tree was set up in response to local parents and the community.
And over the summer, work started to transform industrial premises into a modern airy and colourful learning environment with state-of-the-art technology.
Farhat Choudry, principal, said: “We are extremely excited and proud to be Bolton’s first free school.
“This is the start of an exciting journey, which we hope will provide outstanding education and prepare our pupils to be confident individuals, responsible citizens and successful learners.”
She added: “The first children and staff will go down in history, as they will be the first chapter in the book — the first seeds of the tree that will grow and develop over the years.”
Mrs Choudry said her school will be a part of the Bolton family of schools, and the “free school” tag is not an issue.
“We are a school and the aims are the same as any other school, to be the best school we can be and provide opportunities and experiences for our children,” she added.
“I have worked in primary schools for 18-years and it was the vision of the school which I like.
“And what an opportunity for a headteacher — to start a school from scratch.”
The Olive Tree will follow the national curriculum, with a strong emphasis on numeracy and literacy, using modern technology.
Children will receive mini iPads and the latest Apple technology is in all of the classrooms.
Mrs Farhat said: “The Olive Tree will be a pioneer of the utilisation of modern technology, and personalised one-to-one learning.
“Our creative, inclusive curriculum will provide children with opportunities, excitement and enjoyment, exploiting all aspects of learning.” She added: “We want to thank all the volunteers and parents who have place their trust in the school and for the all the support they have given us.”
The school — a co-educational Muslim faith school — is for children aged four to 11-years-old and started with 60 children in reception and 30 children in Year One.
It will grow to 420 pupils with 50 per cent of children from the Muslim faith.
Ayishah Aslam, aged five, was among the first intake.
She said: “I am very happy to be starting school. I like it and will look forward to coming to school.
“I love the school and my teachers and feel very proud wearing my uniform.”
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