Birkenhead High School Academy
|Established||1884 (2009 as an academy)|
|Headteacher||Mrs Chris Mann|
|Founder||Girls' Day School Trust|
|Location||86 Devonshire Place
|DfE URN||135877 Tables|
|Colours||Black and White|
|Predecessor school||Birkenhead High School for Girls (until 2009)|
Birkenhead High School was the main Wirral private girl's school, but in 2010 became an non-fee paying Academy. It remains a member of the Girls' Day School Trust, a national educational charity based in London. The school has sports facilities with a number of tennis courts, all weather pitches, gymnasium and swimming pool. In addition to a wide academic curriculum, aided by IT facilities, there is a music and drama scene and a range of after school clubs.
It is situated on Devonshire Place just north of Trinity with Palm Grove Church. The school lies within the parish of Christ Church, Birkenhead although the tennis courts are in the parish of St Saviour's, and the playing fields are in the parish of St. James, Birkenhead.
The High Schools Company opened Birkenhead High School for Girls in 1884 in a building on Village Road in Oxton, Birkenhead. In 1901 it was purchased by the Girls' Public Day School Company (GPDSC). The school moved into 86 Devonshire Place in September 1905. In 1918 the school acquired 31 Devonshire Place to be the home of the junior school. During World War Two the girls were evacuated to Shrewsbury High School. 
- 1917-1923 Edith Mabel Lucy Lees, (1878–1956).
- 1923-1930 Jessie Margaret Hunter McCaig (d. 1965).
- 1930-1952 H N Stephen, (1891–1984).
- 1952-1963 Phyllis Edith Winter.
- 1964-1970 Irene Hindmarsh, later to be Principal of St Aidan's College, Durham University from 1970–1988.
- 1971-1986 Freda Kellett.
Transition to Academy
Parents of pupils at the school were informed in September 2007 that the school was to become an Academy, with the GDST (Girls' Day School Trust) as the founding sponsor, so that the benefits of the schools might reach a wider cross-section of the community. Since then the facilities have been improved with a £12million building project.
As part of the state-funded system the Academy no longer charges fees. Fair banding is used to ensure a comprehensive intake of the full range of academic ability. Sixth Form admission is six GCSE passes at Grade B or above, including English and mathematics. The school's particular specialisms are Music and Mathematics.
Local response to Academy decision
In response to the school's decision to become a state-funded all-ability Academy, and the consequent abandonment of the planned merger between the schools which had been actually initiated by Birkenhead High School, the neighbouring Birkenhead School became fully co-educational in September 2008, stating that it had "the desire to play our role in providing a selective and independent choice for all children on Wirral, whether boys or girls". Subsequently it has completed a £2m investment to support its co-educational future and deal with increased numbers. Currently around 28% of its pupils are female with its initial intake primarily from Birkenhead High School Academy.
Academic Performance and the Impact of Academy Status
In 2009, the last year of Birkenhead High School as an independent selective school, it achieved the best A level results in Wirral, measured as points per entry, together with Birkenhead School, a co-educational independent selective school.
In 2011, Birkenhead High School Academy received national recognition for the proportion of top grades achieved by its pupils in the GCSE examinations. It qualified as one of the top 10% of non-selective schools in England, where at least 19% of students gained 5A*-A grades, including English and Maths, proving itself to be one of the best schools in the country.
Notable former pupils
- Ann Bell, actress
- Sybil Crouch, Director since 1990 of the Taliesin Arts Centre
- Dame May Curwen CBE, administrator, president of the British Council for Aid to Refugees and National General Secretary of the YWCA of Great Britain from 1930–49
- Nicola Horlick, fund manager
- Penny Hughes, businesswoman
- Marian Lines, actress and writer
- Dame Mary Marsh, Chief Executive from 2000-8 of the NSPCC
- Dr Vivienne Nathanson, Director of Professional Activities since 1996 at the British Medical Association (BMA), and Professor at the Durham University School of Medicine and Health
- Jane Platt, chief executive, National Savings and Investments.
- Patricia Routledge CBE, actress.
- Dr Sheila Shribman, doctor, national clinical director for children.
- Dr Dorothy Thompson, papyrologist, President from 2001-6 of the Association Internationale de Papyrologues, and wife of Michael Crawford (historian)
- Charlotte Voake, children's author and illustrator
- Dame Frances Yates OBE, historian.
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- "Bridge across Devonshire Place:: OS grid SJ3088 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!". Geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- "Christ Church Birkenhead:: OS grid SJ3087 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!". Geograph.org.uk. 2007-12-10. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- "Birkenhead Lawn Tennis Club:: OS grid SJ3088 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!". Geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- "St. Saviour's Church, Oxton:: OS grid SJ3087 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!". Geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- "Sports field for Birkenhead High School GDST:: OS grid SJ3088 :: Geograph Britain and Ireland - photograph every grid square!". Geograph.org.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- Magnus, Laurie (1923). The Jubilee Book of the Girls' Public Day School Trust, 1873-1923. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 166–167.
- Girls’ Public Day School Trust (1972). The Girls’ Public Day School Trust 1872-1972. pp. 33–36.
- Institute of Education Archives, 'From File 'Miss Edith Mabel Lucy Lees Ref: GDS/15/3/47, Records of the Girls' Day School Trust, retrieved 01/08/2010
- Institute of Education Archives, 'From File 'Miss Jessie Margaret Hunter McCaig Ref: GDS/15/3/58, Records of the Girls' Day School Trust, retrieved 2010-08-01
- Institute of Education Archives, 'From File 'Miss Stephen Ref: GDS/15/3/66, Records of the Girls' Day School Trust, retrieved 2010-08-01
- Institute of Education Archives, 'From File 'Miss Winter Ref: GDS/15/3/93, Records of the Girls' Day School Trust, retrieved 2010-08-01
- Institute of Education Archives, 'From File 'Miss F Kellett Ref: GDS/15/3/120, Records of the Girls' Day School Trust, retrieved 2010-08-01
- Birkenhead High School Academy (November 2008). "Admissions". GDST. Retrieved 2009-02-06.[dead link]
- Birkenhead High School Academy (November 2008). "Our specialisms". GDST. Retrieved 2009-02-06.[dead link]
- Birkenhead School (2 May 2008). "Co-educational School". Birkenhead School. Archived from the original on 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Daily Telegraph (8 Apr 2010). "2009 A Level league table". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- SSAT:Wirral Globe (4 July 2011). "Adademy's GCSE results top class". London: Wirral Globe. Retrieved 2010-07-04.
- Hartley, Cathy, Leckey, Susan (2003). "Curwen, Dame May(1889–1973)". A Historical Dictionary of British Women. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
- "'I learnt I could beat the boys'". BNET UK. 1997. Retrieved 2008-06-12.[dead link]
- "The Times". The Times (London). 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- "Professor Vivienne Nathanson - Durham University". Dur.ac.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- "'I learnt I could beat the boys'". BNET UK. Retrieved 2008-06-12.[dead link]
- "Patricia Routledge". British Musical Theatre. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
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- "Faculty of Classics - The Faculty - Dr Dorothy Thompson". Classics.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
- Trapp, J. B (2004). "Yates, Dame Frances Amelia (1899–1981)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.