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BCS inspire the ‘Cotton Connection’ UK tour

Bishop Cotton School goes international with exchanges and cultural tour.

Bishop Cotton School (BCS), Shimla has continued its global engagement with a number of student exchanges and an extensive cultural tour to the United Kingdom, that will energise the young Cottonians who were lucky enough to take part.  

The ten-day UK cultural trip (18th-28th June 2023) made extensive use of BCS’s historic links with some of the most famous and best schools in England.  The ‘Cotton’ connections allowed the BCS boys aged 11-18 to interact with British students, make friends and gain a different perspective on life.

Director of BCS, Simon Weale, said; ‘We aim to offer all of our boys the chance to visit other countries and cultures. It is vital for them to realise how we are all interconnected.  Such trips are eye opening for staff and boys alike and show Bishop Cotton students that they are valued as citizens of the world who have the education and soft skills to thrive wherever they go’

One BCS boy said “From the moment I arrived, I was captivated by the charm of the UK. The bustling streets of London greeted me with their iconic landmarks such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. In Bath I marveled at the beautifully preserved Roman Baths and Georgian architecture’

George Cotton, the founder of Bishop Cotton School, started his career as a Housemaster and teacher at Rugby School before becoming Headmaster at the world famous Marlborough College (alma mater to the Princess of Wales) before moving to India where he founded BCS Shimla in 1859. Thirty-four BCS boys visited these schools and were warmly welcomed into boarding houses still named after Bishop George Cotton. 

The BCS group, who come from all over India, performed a street skit about modern India and performed several regional dances from Himachal, Rajasthan and Gujarat together with a fusion Bollywood routine.  They were shown round the schools by their hosts and were able to enjoy a number of activities including playing chess and football against one another.

Traveling along with the tour party was writer and Old Cottonian Raaja Bhasin who joined the group and could give historical talks along the way to inform the gatherings just how significant Shimla was as a location in the foothills of the Himalayas.

The cultural tour itinerary also took the group to Oxford University, a visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace and then a chance to watch one of his plays at the Globe theatre, a visit to the historic cities of Bath and Bristol and then a few days in London where amongst the many places visited were the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter studios, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and the Natural History Museum.

The tour party presented each host school with a traditional Himachali hat and a 2023 BCS tour shield as a gift from Shimla, in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Student Exchanges

Four Senior boys from BCS were lucky enough to experience student boarding life in the United Kingdom by spending a six-week period at two other leading UK independent schools for the summer term.  BCS hosted five students from Wrekin College in April and three BCS boys went to Wrekin where they attended lessons as full-time students.  Another BCS boy, Kabir, joined Culford School for the summer term where he represented the school team at cricket and football.  All four boys received valuable exposure to new experiences and cultures which will equip them for their future lives.  

New College, Oxford University where scenes from Harry Potter were filmed

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