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Birkdale School

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Birkdale School
Oakholme Road

, ,
S10 3DH

Coordinates53°22′28″N 1°30′17″W / 53.374510°N 1.504785°W / 53.374510; -1.504785Coordinates: 53°22′28″N 1°30′17″W / 53.374510°N 1.504785°W / 53.374510; -1.504785
TypeIndependent school
MottoRes Non Verba
(Actions not Words)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
FounderMaurice Asterley
Head MasterPeter Harris
GenderMale, coeducational 6th Form
Age4 to 18
Enrolment~1,000 pupils (inc. Prep School)
HousesGriffiths, Asterley, Hall and Heeley.
Colour(s)Red     , Dark Blue     
PublicationThe Birkdalian
Former pupilsOld Birkdalians
Partner SchoolsPeace Garden School, Nepal

Birkdale School is a Christian independent school for boys aged 4–18 in the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire in England, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Since 1995 girls have been admitted to the Sixth Form.


Birkdale was founded in 1904 by Maurice Asterley as a preparatory school for boys between the ages of 4 and 13 to provide a Christian education and takes its name from its first home, Birkdale House on Newbould Lane.[1] The school moved in 1915 to the Oakholme building under Griffiths' leadership (1909–1939).[citation needed]

At the start of the Second World War, the school evacuated to Derbyshire under Roberts, Head Master in 1939. After the war, Roberts moved his pupils to Uttoxeter creating Brocksford Hall School, whilst twenty boys returned to Oakholme Road under Heeley in 1942 who later became Head Master in 1943.[1] The Westbury building was purchased in 1946 from Thomas Cole of Cole Brothers (now John Lewis) to allow for the continued expansion of the school. The Endcliffe building on Endcliffe Crescent was purchased in 1975 with the Grayson and Johnson Buildings following in 1994 and 1999 respectively to create the current school and campus.[citation needed]

The period of greatest growth within the School was overseen during the tenure of the M. D. A. Hepworth, Head Master from 1983 to 1998. More recently, an extension of the Grayson Building was built to house the Sixth Form common room and an extension was also built on the back to allow space for the Modern Languages department and additional science laboratories. The Octagon, a music practice room designed to amplify sound was added to the original Oakholme Building in 1989. As part of a major building project, which saw the construction of a large sports hall over the site of an outdoor swimming pool, the Caxton building was built to house the DT and IT departments.[citation needed] The science labs and Heeley Hall were built recently.[when?]


The Johnson Building

Birkdale has six main buildings: Johnson Building, Grayson Building, Endcliffe Building, Oakholme Building, Westbury Building, and Science Block.


There is a House system employed at Birkdale, four in total, each named after old Head Masters. In the senior school, each house consists of a House Master who is a member of faculty, a House Captain who is a member of sixth form, and a dozen House Prefects also from the sixth form, chosen by faculty. Their roles consist of holding house assemblies and organising house events.[citation needed]

House Name Named After
Asterley Maurice Asterley 1904–09
Griffiths Alban Griffiths 1909–39
Hall John Hall 1963–83
Heeley Howard Heeley 1943–63

The Prep School has a slightly different house system, with a house dedicated to J.G. Roberts, Head Master 1933 - 43, and one to the family of Sir John Osborn, Conservative MP for Sheffield Hallam 1959 - 1987, of Osborn House, the current site of the Preparatory School. Martin House is named after Cyril Martin, who gained the Military Cross in the First World War and the George Cross in the Second World War. Westbury House is the fourth house.[2]

The Birkdalian[edit]

The Birkdalian has, since the mid-twentieth century, been the school magazine. Currently published once a year late in the Christmas term it provides an account of a year in the life of the school. Articles are written by staff and pupils and edited by a small group of staff and senior pupils.[citation needed]


The current Head Master is Peter Harris, who was previously the Principal of Ewell Castle School and taught Geography at Birkdale between 1998 and 2009. The previous Head Master was Paul Owen, who took over the role from R. J. Court in September 2010 after 12 years. Previously he was the Academic Deputy at Wellington School in Somerset. The current Deputy Head is Nicholas Pietrek. The previous Deputy Head Master was Alastair Gloag, from King's School, Gloucester (now head at Rishworth School). He replaced Andrew Johnson, who left at the end of the Summer Term 2006 for the post of Head Master at Stonyhurst College.[citation needed]


Badminton at Birkdale School

The school's sporting facilities include playing fields at Castle Dyke, located on the outskirts of Sheffield. On campus the school has a sports hall and an attached gym.[citation needed]

During the 2007–08 school year, the U16 Rugby team reached the national quarter final of the Daily Mail Vase.[3]

Head Masters[edit]

Head Master Years Active
1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s
Maurice Asterley   1904–09  
Alban Griffiths   1909–39  
J. G. Roberts   1939–43  
Howard Heeley   1943–1963  
John Hall   1963–83  
The Rev'd Michael Hepworth   1983–98  
Robert Court   1998–2010  
Dr Paul Owen   2010–2018  
Nicholas Pietrek   2018–2018  
Peter Harris   2019–


Peace Garden School, Nepal

As part of the school's charity projects it has developed strong links with some institutions in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. Most notable are the Peace Garden School, for which the school has helped raise money for a new school building, and a leper colony on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where Birkdale is helping to build new facilities and a new school. Money has also been granted to other schools to help purchase equipment or develop facilities.

As with other school charity projects, the money is raised through charity events and fund-raisers (as opposed to taking it from the school accounts). Since the year 2000, trips have been run once a year to Nepal for pupils and teachers. These involve volunteer work teaching or otherwise working at the schools and leper colony as well as a trek in the Annapurna region and a visit to the Chitwan jungle. The trips are considered crucial in maintaining strong personal links with contacts in Nepal, and helping charitable funds to be focused effectively.

As well as links with Nepal, the school has begun to form links with J. E. B. Stuart High School in Virginia, USA, following on from a teacher exchange.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Birkdale School - Actions not Words" (PDF). Birkdale School. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Prep Handbook" (PDF).
  3. ^ Sheffield Telegraph, 25 January 2008
  4. ^ a b c d e "Birkdale | Junior and Senior Boys Independent School | Yorkshire | Guide to Independent Schools". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  5. ^ Guide to Independent Schools, 2005 Archived 24 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Citation needed
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ [3]