Birkenhead School

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Birkenhead School
Birkenhead School High Res Crest.png
Motto Beati Mundo Corde
(Blessed are the Pure in Heart)
Established 1860
Type Independent day school
Religion Church of England
President Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead
Headmaster John Clark
Chaplain TBA[1]
Deputy Headmasters David Edmunds
Ralph Barlow
Chair of Governors Mr A Sutton
Location 58 Beresford Road
Oxton
Merseyside
CH43 2JD
England Coordinates: 53°23′08″N 3°03′18″W / 53.3855°N 3.0551°W / 53.3855; -3.0551
DfE number 344/6023
DfE URN 105123 Tables
Staff 80(approx.)
Students 803
Gender Mixed
Ages 3 months–18
Houses      Beresford
     Bidston
     Kingsmead
     Shrewsbury
Colours Red, Black          
Publication InFocus
Former pupils Old Birkonians
School Visitor Rt Rev. Peter Robert Forster, Bishop of Chester
Website www.birkenheadschool.co.uk

Birkenhead School is an independent, selective, co-educational school located in Oxton on the Wirral Peninsula in the north west of England. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Overview[edit]

The school is subdivided into

  • Nursery Department (for children aged three months to three years),
  • Pre-Prep (for pupils aged three to five),
  • Preparatory (six years from ages five to eleven),
  • "Overdale" (two years from ages eleven to thirteen)[2]
  • Senior School (five years from thirteen up to the sixth form at about eighteen).

Entrance is via the Prep School, by open competitive examination at 11, by Common Entrance at 13, or by interview at the sixth-form level. The school offers some assistance with fees to pupils who would not otherwise be able to take up a place at the school through a bursary scheme financed by the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust. This charity was established in 1998 and is currently supporting about sixty pupils in the school. A few scholarships are also awarded, based principally on academic ability, but occasionally as a result of exceptional sporting or musical potential. These give a fixed reduction in fee, independent of the parents’ financial circumstances. The school no longer has boarders.

The current headmaster is John Clark (since 2003). Previous headmasters include Stuart Haggett (1988–2003), John Gwilliam (1963–1988), Kenneth "KD" Robinson (1946–1963) and Warin Foster Bushell (1930–1946). At the Annual General Meeting of the Old Birkonian Society on 7 September 2013, John Clark announced his intention to step down as headmaster in 2014. In November 2013, the governors announced that Dr. Jerry Grundy will succeed John Clark as Headmaster from September 2014.[3]

As well as a strong sporting tradition, the school has a large Combined Cadet Force contingent and Chapel Choir. It also has a student council, created in 2003, which seeks to improve the lives of Birkenhead School pupils.

Quality of education[edit]

The last formal inspection of the school took place in February 2012 and focussed particularly on the Early Years Foundation Stage. The report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate concluded that the School was 'outstanding' in every category (Overall Effectivness, Leadership and Management, Quality of Provision and Outcomes for Children). A previous inspection report for the whole School (in 2007) commented that pupils have "evident self-esteem and positive, secure moral values… excellent relationships with teachers and other pupils, [they] willingly take on responsibility and recognise the importance of contributing to the social good. They have a good understanding of their own culture and that of others. Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary, and they have an excellent attitude to their studies in lessons."[4]

History[edit]

Birkenhead School was opened in Park Road North, Birkenhead on 9 August 1860 at first called Birkenhead Proprietary School. It started with 18 pupils but had grown to 30 by the end of the first term. By 1870 there were 85 pupils and so a new building was required. The school moved to its present site in Oxton on 2 November 1871. The school's motto was taken from the gospel reading for that day. The Chapel was opened in 1883. The Preparatory Department was established in September 1889 and moved to Beresford Road in 1893. During 1899 the ground alongside Beresford Road was leveled to create the school’s playing field.[5][6]

In 1905 the Noctorum ground, approximately 2.3 hectares (5.5 acres), was rented and subsequently bought in 1910. Buildings on Bidston Road were acquired in 1920 for use as a science block and in 1921 the Lodge in Beresford Road was purchased for the use of the school. The Fender Ground, 9.3 hectares, was acquired in 1922 and part was used by the newly formed Old Birkonian Football Club, prior to moving to an adjacent ground in 1926. Matches were played here until 1976, when the club merged with Birkenhead Park Rugby Club. As playing fields nearer the school were developed, Fender Field was later sold.[5][6] In 1931, "Junior School" was started in Overdale at the top of Beresford Road.

In 1948 the L.C. McAllester Memorial Ground, 4.7 hectares, was presented to the school. It was officially opened in 1952. A purpose-built science block on Bidston Road was built in 1958, and has since been expanded. In 1982 the Bushell Hall was opened for use by the main school, and the Preparatory School moved into the vacated Shrewsbury Road buildings. These included the original "big school" dating back to 1871, and the recently closed boarding house which at its peak had catered for over forty boarders. The vacated Preparatory School building in Beresford Road was then adapted to provide an extensive Music School, although this has subsequently moved onto the main School campus and the Beresford Road property sold and redeveloped as apartments.[5]

What was the headmaster’s house on Shrewsbury Road was acquired in 1988 so that by then the school owned all the properties in the block apart from the Holy Name Church on Beresford Road. In 1992, the Sports Hall was completed. In conjunction with Oxton Sports Club, an all-weather pitch was completed on the McAllester Field site, and also in 1992 the Preparatory Department’s purpose built Little School was opened in Kingsmead Road South. In 2001 a climbing wall was added to the Sports Hall.[5] The school opened a Nursery in 2006, catering for children from 3 months upwards. Building work to support the co-educational future of the school, including additional classrooms on Shrewsbury Road and an extension to the Sports Pavilion at McAllester Field to provide female changing facilities, was completed in 2009. In 2011 the redeveloped Sixth Form Centre on Bidston Road opened.

In 2000 the sixth form became co-educational. This was followed by the Pre-Prep Department (kindergarten) in 2006. Partly in response to the decision of Birkenhead High School to become a non-selective city academy, Birkenhead School became wholly co-educational in 2008 and girls currently make up around 28% of the school (38% of Prep).[7] In 2010 the first female chaplain was appointed.

In 1935 Birkenhead School became a Direct Grant school. Under this scheme it received a subsidy from the local education authority allowing fees to be based on the ability to pay, with some places being free. The Direct Grant scheme began to be phased out in 1976 and so the School became independent. An Assisted Places Scheme was introduced in 1980 but this was abolished in 1997. Bursaries and assisted places are now provided by the privately funded Birkenhead School Foundation Trust.[6]

Notable Old Birkonians[edit]

Notable masters[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.birkenheadschool.co.uk/teaching-staff-1
  2. ^ Overdale
  3. ^ Birkenhead School, "Appointment of new Headmaster". Retrieved 8 November 2013
  4. ^ http://www.isi.net/schools/6252/
  5. ^ a b c d School History
  6. ^ a b c Birkenhead School 150th Anniversary Brochure
  7. ^ Co-educational School
  8. ^ English Historical Review
  9. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20441887
  10. ^ "Christchurch Matters Trinity Term 2006 page 12". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Guinness Book of World Records". Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  12. ^ BUSHELL, Warin Foster, in Who Was Who 1897-2007 online, retrieved 24 May 2008 from BUSHELL, Warin Foster (2008)

External links[edit]