Birtenshaw School Bolton is a non-maintained special school for pupils aged 3 to 19 years old with special educational needs and disability. Our vision is to “Transform Lives” by ensuring that pupils receive the same learning and social opportunities as other children and young people; which we achieve by providing facilities and an ambitious, creative curriculum tailored to meet the needs of each unique child.  


With dedicated staff, a unique approach and purpose-built facilities; we provide a supportive, safe and happy environment where all pupils make progress regardless of ability level or starting point. Our school in Bromley Cross, Bolton is specifically designed to be autism friendly with wide corridors, clutter free spaces and a range of sensory rooms and shared spaces where pupils can engage in complimentary health services and therapies. The school has full Autism Accreditation from the National Autistic Society. Please click the link for the latest Accreditation Report


All pupils have ambitious long-term aspirations outlined within their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). It is these long-term aspirations which help to shape the individual curriculum for individual pupils. This is achieved through one of our four carefully designed, bespoke creative curriculum which are delivered by fully qualified teachers and facilitated by experienced Learning Support Assistants.  

In March 2021 Birtenshaw School Bolton was awarded the Excellence in Pupil Development Award. As a school we place a strong emphasis on developing pupils ‘soft skills’ such as tolerance, empathy and conflict resolution, communication skills and social interaction. The report states “The curriculum is creative, flexible, tailored to the complex learning needs of the individual pupil. It aims to promote the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of the pupils as well as their intellectual and physical development to ensure that all pupils, no matter their starting points, backgrounds and individual needs, are afforded the same ambitious curriculum and an equal chance to succeed.”

Many pupils who attend the school have speech and language / communication needs, sensory processing difficulties or present with behaviours that some may find challenging. To view the latest Reassessment Report please click the link

School Governing Board

  • Mrs D Thompson – Chair and Trustee Governor
  • Mr D Reid – Chief Executive
  • Mr T Long – Trustee Governor
  • Mrs H Whittle – Community Governor
  • Mrs S Pickering – Parent Governor
  • Mrs R Eckersley Fallon – Parent Governor
  • Liz Devlin – Parent Governor
  • Miss Cara Slater – Staff Representative
  • Miss Samantha Connor – LA Governor
  • Mark Foster Assistant Director of Education (Attendee)



We have commissioned Occupational Therapists from ‘Shine’ who are based at the school full time. They have an extensive range of specialist experience and skills to support children accessing Birtenshaw School; providing therapeutic interventions which can be carried out in groups or on a one to one basis. This may include sensory assessment and interventions, exercises, pool-based sessions, rebound therapy, provision or advice regarding equipment, and input in to EHCP reviews and other care planning. 


Each morning pupils can access sensory circuits; a range of activities designed to stimulate pupils so that they are ready for the day. The session ends with relaxation so that pupils can return to class in a calm state, ready for learning.


We also have commissioned Speech and Language Therapy (SALT) from ‘Communicate’ who are based in the school full time. The SALT team support our Total Communication approach and work closely with staff and pupils to ensure that every child has the skills, aids and adaptations to be able to express their wants and needs. SALT sessions may take place on a one to one basis or group sessions and are differentiated based on the needs and aspirations of pupils. We also provide Brick by Brick lego therapy which supports social communication and language development.

Transition and Induction

Many pupils who come to Birtenshaw School Bolton have been out of education for a period of time and/or have had negative experiences of school in the past. Every transition into Birtenshaw School Bolton is different and completely individual to pupils and their family’s needs. Our priority is to ensure that every pupil settles into life at Birtenshaw School in their own way and all parents and carers are given opportunities to visit the school and meet key members of staff before formal admission.

To support transitions into Birtenshaw School Bolton we can;

  • Arrange visits at a time that suits, this may be during school or after school.
  • Arrange taster days for children and young people
  • Meet with parents, carers, teachers and other professionals
  • Visit the child or young person in their current setting; home, school or other service
  • Provide social stories and photographs
  • Arrange phone calls / video calls
  • Arrange visits for children and young people to meet current pupils for lunch or an offsite activity

This is not a comprehensive list and we work closely with families and professionals at every stage of the transition.

There are on average eight pupils in each class. Pupils are classed by stage rather than age and a number of variables are considered before deciding which class would be more suitable. During the assessment period we look at how the child or young person communicates, their academic ability, the peer groups in school and how they might match, the skills and expertise of the staff in each class and many other rationales.

We are located at Darwen Road, Bromley Cross, Bolton, BL7 9AB

Awards and nominations in recognition of our achievements:

  • TESHealthy School of the Year.
  • The Department for Education Character Awards Winner
  • Primary Provision of the Year by the Autism Professional Awards
  • Head Teacher of the Year through the Bolton News Schools Awards.
  • Bolton Active Sports Award for Commitment to PE and Sport.
  • Silver Award in a Secondary School, Pearson Teaching Awards.
  • Platinum Eco Schools Award
  • Green Tree Award
  • Silver Arts Mark Status.
  • SMSC Gold Quality Mark Award – view the report by clicking on the link SMSC Nov 22 report



Latest News

Documents, Policies and Term Times

Designated Safeguarding Leads

Keeping every child safe is our first priority. All of our staff have an enhanced DBS (previously CRB) clearance and participate in extensive safe-guarding training.

David Reid (Chief Executive)

Andy Bishop (Assistant Chief Executive – Services)

Mark Foster (Assistant Director – Education)

Birtenshaw Company Lawyers - Shakespeare Martineau