Berth of the ocean-going school project

25th May 2007 at 01:00
It took nine years to build, the labour of a thousand boys and a school's reluctance to enter pupils for GCSE technology. Now pupils and teachers at the independent Bolton school in Lancashire are celebrating after completing a 48ft ocean-going yacht, writes Irena Barker.

Students from Years 7 to 13 in the boys' division were involved in creating everything from the hull to the galley of Tenacity of Bolton. The boat cost just a few thousand pounds to build, but has been valued at Pounds 450,000.

It was recently transported from a workshop on the school site to moorings at Glasson Dock in Lancashire where it will begin sea trials.

Pupils will then be able to sail their own 12-berth creation.

Mike Whitmarsh, right, the head of technology, said it had only been made possible because, for the first five years of the project, the school had not offered GCSE technology. This, he said, allowed pupils to spend lessons working on the boat, learning a wide variety of skills, without the pressure of creating extensive portfolios or individual projects.

Mr Whitmarsh, who oversaw the whole project, said: "By getting everyone involved in technology, but not offering exams until A-level, we had the freedom to do it. I've had lots of arguments with inspectors about not offering GCSE, but building the boat allowed pupils much more time for practical work and gave them experience of working as a team."

He said in the final four years of the project, the school, which charges annual day fees of pound;8,000, had started to offer the examined course, and work on the boat slowed up as it had to be done out-of-hours. Mr Whitmarsh, who is a finalist in the Teaching Awards, said other schools should be just as ambitious as Bolton. "While some schools laminated salad servers, we laminated deck beams."

Photograph: Lorne CampbellGuzelian

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now