‘Physical activity lends itself to the development of friendships, respect, team work, determination, courage, resilience, confidence and leadership opportunities, the value of which can never be underestimated’.

Physical Education and sport is an integral part of life at Bootham.

The PE department endeavours to inspire Bootham students to enjoy and engage in a lifelong participation of physical activity. The importance of an active and healthy lifestyle is vital, and we aim to motivate and excite students to continue beyond their time at Bootham.

Music at Bootham

Music at Bootham School is a very strong and vibrant part of the community. Everyone has the opportunity to actively experience music as a creative, intellectual, spiritual, social and physical force. Students are encouraged to develop their skills and to be involved at an appropriate level. It is departmental policy not to audition any child for any ensemble.

There are 25 peripatetic staff and approximately 350 music lessons and 30 activities each week.

There are two large-scale concerts (Christmas and Spring) and five smaller-scale and quite informal Buffet concerts – so called because we eat afterwards! There are no auditions for these concerts and the standard ranges from almost complete beginners to diploma standard. For the Able, Gifted & Talented, there are lunchtime recitals which are open to the general public. The Inter-House Music Competition is always a great success.

Recent successes have included the Senior Choir reaching the televised finals of the BBC Songs of Praise Choir of the Year Competition, the cello ensemble and clarinet trio performing in the finals of the National Festival of Music for Youth in the Purcell Rooms on the South Bank in London, James Freeman becoming the Cathcart Composer of the Year and having his orchestral work performed in the Royal Albert Hall by the BBC Concert Orchestra and individuals winning prizes at numerous national and local competitions.

Many students achieve places at Oxford or Cambridge and Music Conservatoires.


The music department is housed in a new, purpose-built Arts’ Centre. The new department has 12 teaching spaces (many equipped with a new piano), a performance/rehearsal room with staff room, offices, a library and storage space. The school hall houses a grand piano which is used for rehearsals and performances.


The department has a very positive and encouraging approach to all it does; the primary factors determining an individual’s development are their self-confidence and self-discipline, their sense of achievement and enjoyment and their relationship with staff and peers. It is important that they realise that failure is part of the learning process and they shouldn’t fear it. Questioning is actively encouraged as is the individual’s ability to think for themselves. We help students to seek the best of their ability and not to be confined by the limitations of a syllabus.


Bootham has a long history of successful and innovative productions and students from across the school are encouraged to audition as actors or to join those who contribute as designers or in a technical or support capacity (e.g. front-of- house, stage management, publicity, etc.).

Guidance and coaching is always available for those seeking entrance to drama colleges, university drama departments and organisations such as the National Youth Theatre and the National Youth Music Theatre.

LAMDA classes provide a relaxed and positive atmosphere in which students can develop a wide range of skills. Through improvisation, games, drama exercises and text exploration students are able to develop performance skills directed towards entering the LAMDA graded exams.

The preparation towards the exams also provides an opportunity for students to develop other key skills; communication skills (in the broadest terms), self-confidence, imagination and social and group work skills.

Facilities are excellent and include two drama studios providing flexible rehearsal and teaching spaces (one of which also doubles as a small performance venue), plus the use of the auditorium in the art and music building. This is an exciting time to be studying drama and taking part in theatrical performances at the school.

Drama & Theatre Studies is not just for those interested in performance and performance technologies. With a focus on people and places it offers a unique opportunity for the study of human interactions and relationships.

By developing confident, creative, ingenious and critical minds, drama provides a context where students can learn to make sense of their experiences as spectators, performers, designers and directors.


Volunteering is an integral part of the activities programme. The programme has grown steadily with over 140 students involved in some type of voluntary work last academic year

Bootham students have  received the Lord Mayor of York Young Volunteers Award in recognition of the voluntary work that they have carried out. The award celebrates the contributions that students have made to their community, and looks to inspire others to follow their lead.

Extra Curricular Activities

Leisure Activity Programme

The Leisure Activity Programme takes place Monday to Friday between 4:30 and 5:30pm. Most activities are supervised by an adult (usually a member of the teaching staff) though some may be run by senior students or external experts. Typical selections of the activities offered are listed below. The activities, which number over 100 per week, vary from term to term.

A series of lectures and workshops, which are of general or careers interest, are held weekly for College students to attend. They are referred to as ‘College Specials’ and College One and College Two attend them on alternate weeks.

Comments below are from the Independent Schools Inspectorate report on Bootham School, January 2014

“Throughout the school there is an extensive range of extra-curricular activities that successfully promote pupils’ intellectual, aesthetic and physical development. A well-developed programme of visits to places of educational and cultural interest, including for children in the EYFS, greatly enhances pupils’ all-round learning and development.”

Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme

Students can participate in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. The award is offered at Bronze, Silver and Gold level. Sections include – Volunteering, Skill, Physical Recreation and Expeditions. The award requires commitment from the students and is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills or to develop interests. Giving service to the community and developing lasting friendships are also a key feature.

Trips and Visits

Trips and overseas visits take place every year, from visits to local attractions and museums to Biology tours to South America or Classics trips to Italy, Greece and Turkey.

News and stories

Sport News & Results

Sport News & Results

Basketball The U14 team matched the U16 team's success this week in winning the York and District basketball final against All Saints. The team lost to the same team last year, but have worked hard all year to develop and progress and deservedly won the close game....

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ICE Workshops

ICE Workshops

Another amazing ICE workshop for children from across York, in Reception to Year 2, this week at the Junior School.   There were lots of different Workshops to inspire and challenge the children.  They could create their own games in computing, be a Mini Masterchef,...

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This week at the Junior School

This week at the Junior School

Through the Ages... Year 2 did a fabulous job of building their own walls from wattle and daub in their Outdoor Education session, as part of their Houses and Homes Through the Ages topic!     Snappy Work! Year 2 also really enjoyed their drama workshop at...

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