Birkenhead School

Address
58 Beresford Road
Oxton
Prenton
CH43 2JD
Tel
01516 524014
Fax
01516 513091
Email
Web
If you are a representative of Birkenhead School and wish to add to or amend the information we hold on the school please click here

Birkenhead School, Prenton is an independent school for boys and girls aged from 3 to 18.

Local authority:

Wirral

Pupils:

725

Religion:

Not Applicable

Fees:

£7,035 - £10,320 pa

Open days:

Last Saturday in September and visits at any other time.


Properties

Properties for rent:

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Linked schools

Linked Schools: Birkenhead Prep School

Good Schools Guide Review Snapshot

The Wirral is a pretty conservative place, and the school is happy with its own traditional elements: little boys wear caps, prefects wear gowns, and the head enters assembly to the head of school's cry of 'School!', whereupon...
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School Self Portrait

Birkenhead School is an open and happy community in which endeavour and achievement flourish and where everyone is valued for his or her own personal qualities and talents.

The School offers a well proven route to academic success and, with superb resources and a highly qualified and dedicated staff, seeks to enable each individual to reach his or her full potential. We aim to make the experience... Read More

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The Good Schools Guide Review of Birkenhead School, Prenton, CH43 2JD

Click here to read Our View on this school

Headmaster

Since 2003, Mr John Clark MA (fifties); read modern languages at Exeter College, Oxford, taught at St Paul's School, head of department at Whitgift, deputy head at Birkenhead 1996. A charming, civilised man; apparent diffidence masks a quiet authority; 'Outstanding,' says a happy parent. He knows exactly what goes on in the school, is respected by pupils for this. A good listener; compares favourably with more pushy and gimmicky heads in his concentration on the proper business of education, his excellent communication skills and readiness to take his position seriously, but not always himself. Not to be detected talking or writing about 'learning platforms'. Loves the 'huge family' of his relatively small school in a realistic, grounded way. Ably backed up by energetic deputy, Mr David Edmunds.

Mr Clark is retiring in July 2014. His successor will be Dr Jeremy Grundy, currently head of Akeley Wood School in Buckingham. PPE at Oxford and PhD in philosophy at McGill University in Montreal; lectured there for three years before joining St Albans School as head of philosophy and RS. Thence to Magdalen College School as head of philosophy and head of sixth form before joining Akeley Wood. He is married to Ginny, and they have twin teenage sons. Keen sportsman and musician.

Academic Matters

Strong pretty well all round, results well ahead of local selective grammars, its main competitors. In 2013 A level: 22 per cent A*/A, 85 per cent A*/B. Majority opt for maths and science (excellent results); largest humanities entries in history, economics and English. GCSE 75 per cent A*/A. Clearly policy of offering (and staffing) wide option range across only three-form entry pays off in terms of small classes and sets, eg language choice from Latin, Greek, French, German, Spanish. Separate sciences for most to GCSE.

Special needs coordinated by staff member, now helped by three part-time learning support teachers. Parents pay for one-to-one tuition. Not much staff turnover - very nice place to teach and live. A general impression of fervent commitment to setting high classroom standards - and indeed to life outside the classroom.

Games, Options, the Arts

Games record amazing for size of school: cricket and rugby have been strong in the recent past. Most of the usual sports, soccer in sixth form. Senior girls' teams in hockey, netball, lacrosse and rounders. Policy of sport for all, through which individuals find their niche and improve fitness: 'We're not simply interested in natural athletes.' Enormous range of outdoor activities: CCF (all three sections), shared with local RC girls' school; D of E (25 taking gold level); 'biggest scout troop in Birkenhead'. Usual tours and expeditions.

Lively music: choral concerts with Liverpool Sinfonia; much instrumental tuition; chapel choir, claimed unique among day schools in holding weekly evensong during term, involving pupils from age 10 to 18. Active drama.

Background and Atmosphere

Founded 1860, became direct grant, then independent in 1976. An unusual campus, hinted at in suburban address. Walking along the four comfortable, tree-lined roads that define the school, you won't guess at the existence of a lively school of 700 lurking behind the screen of large houses and sundry buildings. In fact an agreeable jumble of old and new, including a handsome Victorian chapel and fine cricket field. Years 7 and 8 housed in an elegant mansion, with its own playground and year 8 prefects, helping transition to serious senior school.

At present a handful of girls in the sixth, but they're building up in the prep school and through the school. Co-education originally planned with Birkenhead High School, which has now become an academy, so school is going it alone - to everyone's relief, it seems. Integration of girls has gone smoothly, and should continue; campus is a civilised place, and supervision of all ages discreet but effective. Recent ISI inspection noted 'exemplary' pupils' behaviour.

Liverpool proper may be just across the water, but it feels miles away. The Wirral is a pretty conservative place, and the school is happy with its own traditional elements: little boys wear caps, prefects wear gowns, and the head enters assembly to the head of school's cry of 'School!', whereupon all stand up. Trendy potential parents may not like this.

Recent developments include an extension to sixth form block and improvements to pavilion; a swimming pool is a gleam in the eye. Superb termly newsletter, In Focus, full of pictures, is the brainchild of the head's former PA, who continues to run the school's marketing.

Pastoral Care and Discipline

Traditional day school system; interlocking staff responsibilities mean it's very hard to fall through the pastoral net - commended in ISI report as outstanding. Report also quotes a boy: 'We don't do bullying here'. One expulsion for drug use in last five years; pupils can be temporarily excluded for rudeness and vandalism - hooray!

Pupils and Parents

Pupils mostly from the Wirral and as far as Chester; some walk, some use public transport, many use school bus system shared with Birkenhead High. Pupils seem articulate, confident, happy with work ethos, and yes, a touch conventional. Their alternative sixth form prospectus is worth a read, though hardly very shocking. Parents mostly professional and business, heavily committed to all aspects of school. Flourishing former pupils' society, sharing In Focus with school. Most famous old boy was FE Smith, Lord Birkenhead.

Entrance

Increasingly from own prep - existence of local grammars draws state primary pupils away at 11+. May have been a brief wobble over numbers before the co-education decision, but situation now seems to have steadied, as many parents opt for independent education from the start. Prep pupils not tested at 11+ unless applying for a scholarship - assessed internally, and those not likely to make grade flagged up in good time for parents to find alternative schooling. External candidates tested in English, maths and VR. GCSE hurdle for A levels.

Exit

A few leave at 16+. Vast majority to good universities - most to Russell Group, especially Durham, a handful to Oxbridge each year - to read hard subjects: law, medicine/dentistry, engineering popular.

Money Matters

About six academic scholarships a year, a few at sixth form level, some limited-term for music; usually 10 per cent of fees. Birkenhead Foundation Trust bursaries support about eight pupils a year - full remission possible.

Our View

A confident, humane, non-flashy school in the best grammar school tradition, offering an astonishing array of opportunities for personal development in and out of classroom. Not as driven as some famous ex-grammars in urban areas. It feels nearer Chester than Liverpool, more like Bootham than, say, Bolton. Head's claim of an 'open, happy community' rings true, but parents of young thrusters shouldn't be put off.


Special Education Needs Survey


SEN Statement

The School has in place a well established programme to support pupils with Dyslexia and is also able to support pupils, through mentoring or other measures, with other conditions such as: Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, Asperger Syndrome and Autism.

Most pupils attend one 40 minute period a week, either individually or in small groups. Prep pupils are taught at a fixed period each week, while Senior pupils' lessons take place on a rolling rota to ensure that they do not miss the same lesson each week.

January 2013

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Aspergers Syndrome MildTicked
Aspergers Syndrome ModerateTicked
Aspergers Syndrome SevereTicked
Autism MildTicked
Autism ModerateTicked
Autism SevereTicked
Semantic Pragmatic DisorderTicked
Other AutisticTicked

Behavioural Difficulties

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Attention Deficit Disorder MildTicked
Attention Deficit Disorder ModerateTicked
Attention Deficit Disorder SevereTicked
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders MildTicked
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders ModerateTicked
Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders SevereTicked
Emotional and behavioural difficulties MildTicked
Emotional and behavioural difficulties ModerateTicked
Emotional and behavioural difficulties SevereTicked
Conduct DisordersTicked
Obsessive Compulsive DisordersTicked
Oppositional Defiant DisordersTicked
Tourettes and other tic disordersTicked

Genetic and related Disorders

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Down's Syndrome MildTicked
Down's Syndrome ModerateTicked
Down's Syndrome SevereTicked
Fragile XTicked
Other geneticTicked

Learning difficulties

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Moderate learning difficultiesTicked
Profound and multiple learning difficultiesTicked
Severe learning difficultiesTicked

Specific learning difficulties

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Dyscalculia MildTicked
Dyscalculia ModerateTicked
Dyscalculia SevereTicked
Dyslexia MildTicked
Dyslexia ModerateTicked
Dyslexia SevereTicked
Dyspraxia MildTicked
Dyspraxia ModerateTicked
Dyspraxia SevereTicked
Other Specific Learning Difficulties MildTicked
Other Specific Learning Difficulties ModerateTicked
Other Specific Learning Difficulties SevereTicked
English as an additional languageTicked

Sensory Impairment

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Hearing Impairment MildTicked
Hearing Impairment ModerateTicked
Hearing Impairment SevereTicked
Multi-sensory ImpairmentTicked
Speech and Language DifficultiesTicked
Visual Impairment MildTicked
Visual Impairment ModerateTicked
Visual Impairment SevereTicked

Medical and Related Needs

Currently no provision for.Can provide for but no experience of Experience of Now provide for in school Centre of Excellence for.
Cerebral Palsy MildTicked
Cerebral Palsy ModerateTicked
Cerebral Palsy SevereTicked
"Delicate" childrenTicked
EpilepsyTicked
Eating disordersTicked
Physical Difficulties (Not indicated elsewhere.)Ticked
OtherTicked

General Questions

Are all children tested for SEN on entry to the school?
Please outline the screening programmes used by the school.
How many children with statements of need or equivalent do you have in the school?1
Do you make special provision for exceptionally gifted children?
Please outline what is on offer for such children
Please indicate if the school has or has available to it any of the following:
Behaviour Support Unit.
Learning Support Unit.Ticked
Pupil Referral Unit.
Other withdrawal.
Specialist language centre
Schemes or Initiatives such as SHARE or Playing for Success.
Please indicate if the school has any of the following characteristics:
SEN accreditation, for example by CRESTED?
Centre of excellence for SEN that is Not already outlined?
Good wheelchair access
Provides outreach support?
Receives outreach support?
Do children with SEN participate fully in sport and other extracurricular activities?Ticked
Please provide information on staffing. Does the school have:
A SENCO or equivalent?Ticked
Staff who will administer prescription medicines to a childTicked
Qualified teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment(please say how many, in full-time equivalent).Ticked0
Non-teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment(please say how many, in full-time equivalent).
Please list specialist qualifications held by teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment.PG Dip Prof Studies in Education (Teaching of Pupils with SpLD); Advanced Certificate in Remedial Education; Diploma for Teachers of Learners with SpLD; PG Dip SEN
Please list specialist qualifications held by non-teaching staff with learning support or SEN commitment.

Birkenhead School Catchment Area Map

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