Founded in 1859, Bishop Cotton School Shimla is one of the oldest boarding schools in Asia. With its strong pillars of heritage, the school is a leading name for overall personal development of boys. The school’s mission is to strive for the highest standards of total education, empowering men rooted in Indian culture to grow into committed and good human beings contributing to the nation. The Bishop Cotton School’s motto is “Overcome evil with good”. It ranks among the best residential schools of India according to media such as The Times of India, Outlook, and Education World.
Address: Shimla Bypass, Near, Khalini, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171002
The school was founded by Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton, a graduate of Cambridge and a school in Westminster. He was appointed as the assistant master at Rugby school by Dr Thomas Arnonld. There is a reference of him in Thomas Hugh’s famous book, “Tom Brown’s School Days”. After being selected as the Bishop of Calcutta by Queen Victoria, he decided to start a public school on a hill station. Huge donations were made by the church, out of his efforts. The school started with 34 students in 1964. It went by the name “Bishop’s School”. Because of the paucity of space with the rise in strength, Bishop Cotton rooted for a change in site. Thus, after personally surveying nearly 10 sites, he approved of Knollswood in Shimla. Foundation stones were laid for the construction of new buildings.
In a tragic accident, Bishop Cotton drowned after a fortnight. To commemorate the effort of its founder, the school now goes by the name Bishop Cotton School. From then, the school has stood the test of time and survived grave incidents like the great fire of 1905. With its achievements, its legacy has only grown.
Bishop Cotton School is one of the first of its kind to begin the House System and organize games and appoint prefects to monitor discipline within each House.
The four houses have the name of the people who provided financial help to the school after The Great Fire of 1905.
- Curzon House – 1909, motto Facta Non Verba. after Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India (1899–1905).
- Ibbetson House – 1907, motto Nec Impetu Nec Imperio, after Denzil Ibbetson, the Governor of Punjab (1907–1908).
- Lefroy House – 1906, motto Mutare Sperno), after George Lefroy, the third Bishop of Lahore.
- Rivaz House – 1908, motto Servamus, after Charles Montgomery Rivaz, the Governor of Punjab (1903–1907)
The school offers classes from 3rd to 12th standard. For 3rd to 8th, they follow their own curriculum. 9th-12th are based on CISCE syllabus. The academic session runs from May to March. There are 3 terms with proper vacations so that the students do not feel homesick. Laboratories are used for experiential learning. The school teaches the boys to aim high in their tertiary of education. Remedial classes and 24*7 support of the resident teachers ensure excellent results in board examinations.
The Bishop Cotton School campus is majestic, with its aesthetic appeal and modern technology. The classrooms are airy, spacious and comfortable. It has well equipped laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science. Moreover, there is an internet browsing centre at the campus. The boys of similar age and house live together in dormitories. They are under the direct control and supervision of their House Masters, Captains and Prefects.The school has a hospital to ensure the health of students. The medical staff is always present, the visiting doctors come thrice a week. The visiting doctor is available at any need of hour. The school library has a stock of more than 12,000 books from all over the world. It consists of novels, periodicals and magazines to keep the students aware of national and international affairs.
The food served at the dining area is healthy and sumptuous. It includes North indian, South indian, Chinese and continental cuisines. Moreover, the popular canteen Chipu’s is famous among the boarding schools in India.
Sports remains an important part of curriculum at the Bishop Cotton School Shimla. The infrastructure provides for a plethora of games and sports. It offers Cricket, Soccer, Hockey and Swimming according to season. The students play tennis, squash, table-tennis, badminton, basket-ball, volleyball throughout the year. Athletics, gymnastics and physical training are also popular among the boys. The coaches at the school are nation level players and persuade every boy to participate in boxing and marathons. Achievers receive Ludorum, a championship trophy at the end of the year. The champions who display skills of a high standard get full School Blazers and sashes.
Bishop Cotton boys are ahead in all walks of successful school life. Debating and Elocution are extremely popular at the school. Slater Debates which happens at BCS is one of the most prestigious inter school debate competitions.
Music is close to the heart of every Cottonian. The students learn Indian vocal and instrumental music, western vocal and instrumental music, brass band and choir. The School Band, ‘The Sphinx’ consists of the best musicians who hold concerts for various occasions. Their Annual Music Fest ‘Sparks’ attracts school bands from different places each year. The theatre club performs a production every year. They learn to handle lights and sounds. To cater to the varied interests of students, the school offers several clubs with run along with the academic curriculum. The Nature Club, Meteorological Club, Creative Writing Club, Middle School Book Reading Club, Automobile Club and The Quizzing Club.
Outdoor Trips and Adventure Sports
Bishop Cotton School is famous for its exciting activities: mountaineering, trekking, rock climbing and NCC tours. The school understands the role of adventure sports in disaster management, strength and courage building in young boys. For this purpose, the school has an artificial rock climbing climbing wall and obstacle course. Army personnels design these keeping in mind the safety of the boys. The treks are under the supervision of the school staff. They include hiking, survival training, nature appreciation, wildlife conservation, adventure sports etc. The school organizes one mountaineering expedition every year which includes staff and student mountaineers. The school sends students for basic and advanced mountaineering courses to prepare them for the expeditions. Six successful expeditions have been organised so far to the most technical, adventurous and difficult peaks in the Himalayan range with heights of over 20,000 feet.
Social awakening at an early age is the foundation of responsible citizenship. The Bishop Cotton School ensures that the students learn to understand society and get a glimpse of the issues that exist. The school motivates the boys to participate in the social service projects taken up by the school. The projects include a Learning Centre for special children, The Cancer Care project which also includes adoption of the Paediatric Cancer Ward, where the students visit the cancer wards at the Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, paper recycling plant and tree plantation schemes and forest adoption schemes. Such projects include virtues of empathy, social service and hard work among the boys.
Highlights of the school
Shooting Range: The inclusion of shooting as a regular sport is a unique feature of the Bishop Cotton School. The students take it up with complete enthusiasm and responsibility under the expert supervision of the coach. Every year, the school produces young state and national medal winners. The students win laurels in the state of Himachal Pradesh and win gold medals at the all india level.
The Mitre: The Mitre is the biannual newsletter of Bishop Cotton School. It is a student led platform which talks about the events and achievements of the term. It is a delightful combination of articles, editorials and features.
Bishop Cotton School is an environment in its own right: from the academic mettle, to inter house competitions, sports, plays and mountain treks. Every achievement of the boys gathers praise. The schools nurtures with values that will always remain a part of them. The rich heritage gives rise to young, self assured, bright and brilliant men. After their 12th, the students leave the campus with knowledge, skills and trunks full of memories.
Generally Asked Questions
1 Which board is the Bishop Cotton School affiliated to?
The school has its own curriculum for classes III to VIII. Classes IX to XII follow the CISCE syllabus.
2 Who are the notable alumni of Bishop Cotton school?
Bishop Cotton School has produced many successful personalities in all walks of life. Some of them are Ruskin Bond, Fali Nariman, Kumar Gaurav, Lalit Modi, Ratan Tata etc.
3. What makes Bishop Cotton School special from other boarding schools in India?
The pastoral facilities, sports and extra curricular activities, excellent academic record and the reputation of the name itself makes Bishop Cotton School special among boarding schools in India.