SMITHILLS School is now officially an academy after breaking away from the local authority to become a publicily-funded independent school.

Headteacher Alec Cottrill said the transformation was part of its journey to becoming "outstanding".

He said: “We’re glad to be an academy and start 2014 in such a positive way.

“I would like to thank all who have helped us on the journey so far and we look forward to a very bright future for all Smithills pupils.

“For the pupils it will mean real support to accelerate their progress and also to improve their learning environment.”

The school will be sponsored by ConcertEd, a team of educational consultants, and will be supported by Bolton School to raise standards.

Bolton School works with schools throughout the borough.

Smithills School is Bolton’s fourth “sponsored academy” — joining Kearsley Academy, Bolton St Catherine’s Academy and Essa Academy.

Plans to take Smithills School out of local authority control were first put forward last year and drew protest and criticism from teaching unions.

School leaders had hoped to push through the conversion by the start of the academic year but it officially became an academy this month.

Mr Cottrill said: “We hope that the focused support from our sponsors will enable us to accelerate the progress of our pupils and also to develop our staff in a wonderful way.

“In addition we hope it will lead to significant investment in the buildings so that they quickly get to a standard that our pupils and staff deserve.

“We have never disguised our aim to be an outstanding school.

“We’re not seeking this because of an inspection grade but because of what it would mean for our pupils and their life chances.

“We would also like to use the opportunities we now have to enhance our position in the community.”

  • On Monday around 20 teaching union representatives met to discuss a battle plans against the against the government's controversial academy programme. They are calling for parents, governors and councillors to join them.


  • Essa Academy (formerly Hayward School) opened in January, 2009
  • Bolton St Catherine’s Academy (formerly Withins) opened in September, 2009
  • Kearsley Academy September (formerly George Tomlinson) opened in September, 2010
  • Smithills Academy (formerly Smithills School) opened in January, 2014
  • The Ferns (Plodder Lane Primary School) opened in September, 2012