James Norton: where did Happy Valley star go to school, when was he at Ampleforth College, who is his partner?

The actor has disclosed that he was ‘quite badly bullied for five years’

Happy Valley actor James Norton has revealed he sought therapy after being bullied at boarding school.

The 37-year-old who is best known for his role as Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC drama, recalled his school years as “complicated”, adding “I didn’t have the greatest time.”

Norton described boarding schools as “weird places” explaining the nature of being away from home and loved ones can cause some kids to “be rebellious” or “just bully someone”.

So, where did James Norton go to school and what has he said about his time there? Here’s everything you need to know.

Where did James Norton go to school?

The Happy Valley actor grew up in Yorkshire and attended Ampleforth College, which is often dubbed the “Catholic Eton”.

James Norton attends Charles Finch x CHANEL in March 2022 (Photo: Getty Images)

The prestigious boarding school costs up to £38,000 a year for pupils, yet in March 2022 it was rated “inadequate” by Ofcom. Reported by the Daily Mail in 2020 it was ordered to stop admitting new pupils due to “serious failings”.

An Ofcom report for the College in March 2022 said: “The arrangements to safeguard pupils, including the most vulnerable, at Ampleforth College remain ineffective.”

When was he at Ampleforth College?

Norton attended Ampleforth College for five yefrom the age of 13 until he was 18-years-old. Prior to that he had been educated at the Bramcote Prep School in Scarborough.

Pupils studying in the library at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire in 1952 (Photo: Getty Images)

Following completing his studies at Ampleforth he went on to study theology at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, graduating in 2007 with First Class Honours.

What has he said about his time there?

Norton has opened up about his time at the College during the Comfort Eating with Grace Dent podcast. In it he describes his school years as “complicated”, explaining “I didn’t have the greatest time.”

The Happy Valley actor said: “I was quite badly bullied for five years and I was at boarding school so I couldn’t leave. I’ve had a great therapist for the last four years, and it’s not from a place of drama.”

He continued: “I’ve realised that boarding schools are really weird places. We’re the only country that still sends our kids away voluntarily. You’re stuck with these people, and all these young kids are just deeply, deeply homesick and they’re just lost.”

Norton added: “For some of them, that pain manifests itself in being needy or rebellious. But some of them get angry and rather than crying out for their mum they just bully someone.”

Who is his partner Imogen Poots?

Imogen Poots is an actor who shot to fame in 2007 for her role as Tammy in the movie 28 Weeks Later. The 33-year-old who is from London, is also known for her performances in the Jimi Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is by My Side, The Look of Love, and Need for Speed.

Imogen Poots and James Norton at the Thom Browne Fall 2022 runway show (Photo: Getty Images)

Norton began dating Poots in 2017 after the pair met whilst working alongside one another during the West End production of Belleville at the Donmar Warehouse.

They got engaged in February 2022 with the couple reportedly being “over the moon”. Norton had previously dated Irish actress Jessie Buckley, between 2015 and 2017, with the couple splitting a few months before his relationship with Poots began.

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