Page 1

For All The School Community . Pupils . Staff . Parents . Old Birkonians . Friends . Visitors

Black Comedy p6 & 7 Year 2 pupils in Prep were very busy in their art lessons leading up to Sunday 18 March. They were creating pottery figures of themselves under the guidance of their art teacher, Mrs Smith. When they were happy with their models, the final glaze was applied and the figures were carefully placed in the kiln. There was great excitement when, hours later, the kiln was opened again to reveal the magnificent display of little Prep folk, complete with hats and scarves. The special Mother‟s Day gifts were ready to be put in a handmade gift bag (photo right), also decorated by their children with love. ‘Outstanding’ Early Years p12 & 13

The Bursar in front of Nuffield Place with his Wolseley and alongside, a smaller model, which belonged to Lady Nuffield.

Headmaster’s Nepalese odyssey p21

The Bursar‟s enthusiasm for classic cars has landed him with a unique task this summer. Now the owner of the late Lord Nuffield‟s Wolseley car, Mr Button has been asked to undertake a tour of National Trust properties during his summer holidays to help to raise funds for Nuffield Place, one of the Trust‟s recent acquisitions. Full story on p3.

James Green, PU, reports on House Music Competition 2012 p20

In Focus May 2012

Page 2

The Headmaster is pleased to announce the launch of the BIFTAS - the Book In Focus Token Awards. Book tokens will be awarded at the Headmaster ’s discretion for outstanding contributions by pupils to the School magazine. Jack Granby and Sparsh Garg My first experience of Oxford was when I went to an open day last May, when I made the decision to apply to Exeter College, partly due to the fact it‟s positioned in the middle of Oxford near all the pubs and tearooms, but also in the hope of joining the „Ultimate Frisbee‟ squad. I later decided to apply to study Biochemistry and to apply for a separate choral scholarship in September before the academic admissions process. I was invited to interview on December12th and 13th by Exeter College and LMH, the second college allocated to me. A tricky maths question was the first challenge thrown at me in my first interview, which I stumbled through, then I was asked to talk about my personal statement and other articles I‟d read related to biochemistry. After some comfort sushi to calm the nerves, I relaxed until noon the next day when I had my second interview at LMH, a long way away from central Oxford it seemed. This proved to be more of a conversation than an interview, after which I felt much better about my chances. Having waited an extra painful week after the other Oxford candidates had received their responses, I received the fantastic news of an offer of AAA. Anyone applying to Oxbridge should visit as early as possible and find out as much about the courses on offer. Just give it a go! Jack Granby The application process to universities, especially Oxbridge, can be quite daunting. After sending off my UCAS application to study Law, with much trepidation in early October, it seemed to take an age for any inkling of a reply from the „busy‟ admissions department at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Eventually they came back in the middle of November, and I was delighted to learn I was invited down for an interview and test on December 4 th and 5th - something to tell the grandchildren, I thought. When I got down there, rather than the red carpet being laid out, and being given a warm welcome, instead they gave me a test to do, part one of the selection process. Little did I know this would be the easy part. The next day I had two interviews – the first one was quite reasonable: it was more an informal conversation with a criminologist about my personal interests. The next interview, however, was gruelling. The man and woman interviewing me seemed to be well-rehearsed in the bad cop-bad cop routine: every answer I gave, they gave a quick-witted, razor-sharp retort, to the extent that I felt exhausted by the end, and completely demoralised. Nevertheless, it was a valuable experience that in hindsight I enjoyed greatly, and it was a complete surprise to me when they gave me an offer, although the bigger surprise was perhaps the fact that they gave me the very easy offer of A* A* A... My advice for any potential Oxbridge candidate is to throw caution to the wind and really go for it! What‟s the worst that could happen? Sparsh Garg

Reception recently enjoyed a wonderful day out to the World Museum. We began our day out with a visit to the Planetarium for “The Sunshine Show”, which taught the children to identify the colours of the night and day through songs and rhymes. We then headed „Under the Sea‟ to look at this amazing habitat teaming with life. Using videomicroscopes, this session looked at different underwater creatures and how they move. After lunch, we completed our visit with a session at the Bug House. An expert helped us to examine the ecology, adaptations and lifestyles of these amazing animals. Using real museum specimens and live animals, the children got the chance to interact with three really successful arthropod groups - the insects, arachnids and myriapods. We would like to thank all the parents who accompanied our trip for all their help and support. G Mudge and J Mayers

Allan B Lowey, U6, correctly identified all the animals in the February issue‟s quiz and claimed his prize (not, I hasten to add, an example of anything listed below). His answers: Meerkat Raccoon Otter Capuchin Monkey Lion (White Lion) (Technically not a subspecies, actually a genetic disorder called leucism) Llama Sugar Glider Fennec Fox Bearded Dragon Boa Constrictor Tortoise Parakeet

In Focus May 2012

Page 3

Many of those reading In Focus will be members of the National Trust. May I draw to your attention one of the Trust‟s most recent acquisitions: Nuffield Place, between Oxford and Henley on Thames. This was the home of Lord Nuffield from the 1930s until his death in 1963, when he bequeathed it to Nuffield College, Oxford. Last year the College gave Nuffield Place to the National Trust but the Trust now needs to raise £600K to cover the cost of preparing the house for opening to the public and to maintain it. This summer I am taking part in a two-week publicity and fundraising event to support Nuffield Place. Five of us, all members of the Wolseley Register, are doing a 2000 mile round-Britain tour in Wolseley cars that are between 50 and 80 years old, visiting over 20 National Trust properties. As well as direct fund-raising at the properties, we are seeking sponsorship and the Trust will use the tour to draw attention to its fundraising campaign. You may ask why I am involved. I have long been great admirer of Lord Nuffield and having researched his life in some detail in the last few years, I am convinced he is one of the greatest Englishmen of the twentieth century, yet, paradoxically, one whose name is fast slipping from public consciousness. Fifty years ago, he was a „household name‟ but he has few physical memorials and that is why I am so pleased that his house and its contents are being preserved. This is not the place to give even a short biography of Lord

Nuffield, but as William Morris he founded Morris cars (which in the late 1920s were responsible for 40% of all new car registrations in Britain) and was responsible for much of the success of the British motor industry in the pre-war years. He has been described as the „English Henry Ford‟. By the late 1930s, his Nuffield organisation owned Morris, MG, Wolseley and Riley as well as major commercial vehicle operations. That is just one side of this remarkable man. He was also a great philanthropist - indeed, putting his myriad gifts into today‟s currency, he remains this country‟s greatest ever philanthropist, having given away over £2Bn. His gifts were concentrated on medicine, education and social causes and it has been said that there is not a person alive in Britain today who has not benefitted from Lord Nuffield‟s gifts. He endowed Nuffield College, Oxford, and his charity, the Nuffield Foundation, continues his work to this day. I will be doing my 2000 miles in a car that was given as a gift to Lord Nuffield by the Wolseley workforce, in 1937, in gratitude for his benefactions to employees. If you would like to support the National Trust Nuffield Place Appeal, either with a donation or by sponsoring me on a per mile basis, please get in touch. Nuffield Place opened to the public last month and is well worth a visit. Clive Button Bursar

On 17 March, 2012 George Long, 4C, successfully passed his black stripe colour belt grading in Taekwondo. This now means a lot of training and preparation for his forthcoming black belt grading in October, 2012. However, on Sunday, 18th March 2012, George travelled down to Telford with his father for the Taekwondo English Championships at the International Centre, Telford. George had to undergo a succession of 5 individual sparring competitions. This was not an easy task, as George injured his ankle in the first competition which meant he had to compete for the duration of the competition with an injury. He made it through to the semi-finals where he was beaten by the eventual Championship winner. However, George successfully went on to come third in the Championship and achieve the Bronze in the GB Taekwondo Championships.

In Focus May 2012

The Gardening Club for pupils in the Prep started in March and each week is adding to its membership. Before the Easter holidays, the children were busy pricking out annual seedlings under the guidance of Mr Gary Bowden (Estates Department), Mrs Sarah Jones (Catering Staff) and Mrs Sarah Williams (Prep teaching staff), who are in charge of the Club. The trays of plants are being kept in the Club‟s greenhouse until the warmer weather and they are mature enough for the young gardeners to fill the containers and hanging baskets which make the School campus look so pretty during the summer months. The School thought a gardening club would be a good idea because it would give the children a broader appreciation of their environment, as well as teaching them about plants, ecology and some gardening skills. And, of course, over time, they should save the School a little money! Later this year, for example, they hope to gather and store their own seeds ready for next year‟s planting. All the staff are very enthusiastic and committed to making the Gardening Club a success. Mrs Jones, who is qualified in Conservation and Countryside Management, has already signed up to the Jubilee Woods scheme and soon the Club will be learning about different trees as well as finding places to plant 61 specimens, among them wild cherry, silver birch, rowan and a single precious Royal Oak tree. The Club has got involved with the „Welly Road gets the boot in‟ community project and planted up more colourful Wellingtons and put them round campus. This project culminates on Sunday 13th May with the Oxton Secret Gardens Festival when hundreds of wellies will be on display along Wellington Road and at School. The Gardening Club has also sown a wild flower bed near the entrance to Nursery which will help children to recognise common wild plants when they come across them elsewhere in nature. In the future, Mr Bowden, a trainee Nurseryman, and Mrs Jones want to create some Victorian heated beds which consist of a base of manure with the soil on top. This method provides better insulation for plants and the heat generated by the manure below draws down stronger roots and tubers. They have plans too to „grow their own soup‟. They will decide what ingredients they would like in their soup, grow those ingredients and finally, when they have harvested their crop, make the soup in the Old School House kitchen. On cold, rainy days, there are still lots of things for the young gardeners to do such as keeping their gardening diary or games identifying woodland plants and insects or puzzles to help them learn about food chains and carbon cycles and always lots of planning for the next steps in the School garden.

Page 4

The Gardening Club is grateful to the Parents’ Association for providing funds for a greenhouse, garden tools and equipment.

In Focus May 2012

Is a conductor really necessary? Your chance to witness the truth when a member of the audience, who is a prominent member of the School community but definitely not a musician, is given a baton and put in front of an orchestra.

Page 5

Kenneth Woods: a view from the podium My musical highlights for the year From his blog 1- Schubert- Cello Quintet with Ensemble Epomeo, Suzanne Casey (violin) and Alice Neary (cello) at Two Rivers Festival This was my second visit to the Two Rivers festival with Ensemble Epomeo. On this occasion, we were joined by two wonderful colleagues for a performance of what might be the greatest piece of music ever written. TRF is purposefully tucked-away and low-key, but the audience was jam-packed with composers and fellow musicians (you could feel the intensity of the listening that was going on), and the atmosphere in the Bushell Hall is always inspiring. The high, high ceiling makes you feel like the sound is joined with the infinite. It was not one of those performances where everyone spends the night smiling and enjoying themselves - not everyone on stage was even sure it had gone well, so intent were we on the task at hand. Instead, our attitude was one of complete, total focus on doing justice to this most special of masterpieces. Fortunately, when I ran into friend after friend who looked like they‟d been crying for the better part of an hour, I figured we must have done something right, and I felt strangely haunted by the piece for weeks afterwards. I kept remembering my last page turn - it‟s a worryingly fast one. One can easily throw the part on the floor, not get the page over, or not get your hands back on the instrument in time for the next entrance. As it happens, the next entrance is the last of the many haunting duets for the two cellos. It‟s music of such supreme, unearthly beauty that I can never really believe the sound I‟m hearing is coming partially from me. The strange juxtaposition of something as mundane and banal as a dodgy page turn with music of spine-chilling spirituality seems to sum up the perpetual contradictions of the musician‟s life. Get that page turned, get the first finger down and the bow on the string, and suddenly, you‟re in resonance with eternity.

In March, Ellie Durband and Victoria Wilkinson, were chosen to play for Cheshire at both Lacrosse and Hockey U14. They are the only girls in Year 9 to play for both teams, Connie Sturgess in Year 8 also plays for both. Ellie (l) and Victoria (r) are pictured in their Cheshire Hockey strip.

Congratulations to Marco Galvani, U6, who recently achieved his Grade 8 piano with distinction at the Royal Northern College of Music. Shortly after he was also awarded Grade 8 Distinction in Singing.

In Focus May 2012

Page 6 1,2,3 Brindsley’s works of art.


Comedy is one of the most difficult things for amateurs to pull off. It‟s all in the delivery and timing, they say. Well, hats off to all those involved in the recent production of Peter Shaffer‟s one-act farce „Black Comedy‟. If you missed it, you missed a treat. The audience were totally on board from the start, thanks to the direction of Neil Frowe and Harriet Feeny and a very good cast. They say you need a good laugh once in a while and the audience came away having had exactly that. The play is written to be staged under a reversed lighting scheme: the play opens on a darkened stage. A few minutes into the show there is a short circuit, and the stage is illuminated to reveal the characters in a "blackout." The title of the play is a pun. The plot revolves round Brindsley Miller, a young sculptor, and his debutante fiancée Carol Melkett who have borrowed some expensive, antique furniture from his neighbour Harold's flat (without his permission) in order to impress an elderly millionaire art collector, Georg Bamber, who is coming to view Brindsley's work that evening, and Carol's father Colonel Melkett. When the power fails, Harold returns early, and then Brindsley's ex-mistress Clea shows up unexpectedly. From then on things slide into disaster for him. The actors obviously had great fun with their flawed and eccentric characters. Brindsley - the young and attractive but totally weak and vacillating sculptor (James Green); Carol - the fiancée who is silly and spoilt and totally in thrall of Brindsley (Siân Round); Miss Furnival - a repressed, highly-strung tee-total spinster who is inadvertently given quantities of alcohol and becomes a wonderful gibbering wreck (Cameron Donaldson); Colonel Melkett - Carol‟s slightly off-the-wall father who lurches from barking his orders to unnervingly quiet episodes (Gwilym Jones); Harold - the neighbour who is sly and manipulative and gets awfully wound up if he feels at all slighted (Tom Feeny - great accent too); Clea - Brindsley‟s ex is just there to cause mischief! (Abi ter Kuile); Franz - the German refugee electrician, an innocent caught up in the disaster (Ed Sherrard) and Georg Bamberger - the long-awaited millionaire buyer for Brindsley‟s art who becomes confused with Georg and ends up as a reverse Jack-in-the-Box (the one-night-stand actors were Mr Turner, Mr Hopkins and Mr Clark). One of the cleverest aspects of the play, and not totally grasped by some of the audience at first, was the spoof art exhibition of Brindsley‟s work. It was brilliantly conceived, even down to the catalogue, which also doubled as the programme. Titles of the Brindsley pieces on display included Stick in Bottle, Time suspended and Plinth. In the catalogue Brindsley is quoted as saying, ‘When I made Plinth, I always intended it to be empty‟ and about his sculpture My Life is a Melon (a broken worker‟s toolbag and various tools), he comments, „It is a salutary lesson in the necessity of work, yet maintains the necessary farce that the working state brings‟. It was so reminiscent of „real‟ modern art - Tracy Emin‟s „Unmade Bed‟, Damien Hirst‟s „The Physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living‟ (a shark in formaldehyde) or Martin Creed‟s „The lights going on and off‟ (lights going on and off in an empty room). It was a fine production to open in the „new‟ Bushell Hall Theatre.


Miss Furnival becomes inebriated

Harold is cross Miss Furnival sleeps it off


In Focus May 2012

Page 7

Bushell Hall theatre

Carol and Colonel Melkett lose the plot Keeping Harold’s stolen furniture in the dark

Georg disappears into the hole

Clea enjoys making Brindsley squirm

Harold comforts Miss Furnival

In Focus May 2012

Page 8

Year 1’s Trip to the Candle Factory and the Ice Cream Farm.

Eight boys from Birkenhead School helped the U13 Oxton Cricket Club squad to a really successful end to the 2011 season. After finishing runners up early in the season at the Chelford Festival (losing by 3 runs to Upton CC), they went on to win the U13's Cheshire League's Divisional Cheshire Cup. The team was captained by James O'Neill. Thomas Granby ended the season as leading wicket taker in the U13's Cheshire League with a total of 34 wickets in cup and league matches for both the U13's and the U15's. Laurence Kehoe deserves a special mention as he played well in several games - contributing in all disciplines - despite being two years younger than the rest of the boys! In alphabetical order the Birkenhead contingent of the team comprised:

To link our two science topics, „Materials‟ and „Light and Dark‟, we visited the candle factory and the ice cream farm. We started the day at the candle factory where we made our own candles. We learnt a song to help us: In the wax Out the wax Drip, drip, drip In the water, Out the water Wipe, wipe.

Thomas Granby Sam Johnson Lawrence Kehoe Daniel Knight

We needed a little help to twist the two parts of the candle together.

James Moores Owen Morris James O'Neill (Captain) Harry Unsworth

Thomas & Daniel Knight are in the centre of the front row holding the Trophy. Mr J Granby

We also made gorgeous candle holders to take home. Leah Pinker painted hers pink and purple and then added lot‟s of glitter.

After our lunch at the ice cream farm we went to their ice cream parlour for a tasty ice cream. Anna Leuf-Nicholls enjoyed hers! Year One would like to say a big thank you to all the parents who helped, we had a lovely day!

C M Bennett, Year 1 teacher

On Wednesday 14 March, I got the amazing opportunity to go to the European Premier of the film The Hunger Games. We got the train straight from School to get to London with just enough time to change and then pick up our tickets from a restaurant in the O2 arena. Then we ventured deeper into the arena, past the mobs of screaming people, to enter Cineworld, the place where the première was to be held. Just behind us were Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Lawrence - stars of the film. After being checked to make sure that we didn‟t have any recording equipment on us, we were allowed to enter. Our screening, surprisingly, had an audience of the size you would expect at the local Odeon or Vue. Other people were spread across similar screenings around Cineworld. We had to wait a while but eventually the producer, the director and all the stars came in to greet us. Then the film started. The film is the thrilling story of Katniss Everdeen and her gruesome adventure. Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and a girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younder sister‟s place for the latest match. It was so well filmed that it was easy to forget that it is actually just a film. I really enjoyed myself and I know that I will remember this experience for the rest of my life. Matthew Oulton, Year 7

In Focus May 2012

Page 9 and the RLPO the 12th Day of Christmas. Of course, as many of you will remember, BarLine have already performed on the same concert platform as the RLPO at Perfect Pitch, our 150th Anniversary Grand Finale concert last June. The boys in BarLine are Matthew Rogers (counter-tenor), Marco Galvani (counter-tenor), Jack Granby (tenor), Jamie Russell (tenor), Oscar Ratnaike (baritone), Tom Jarvis (bass), and Chris Morris (bass).

BOYS ARE ON SONG FOR SUCCESS Since it was formed, the a cappella group, BarLine have gone from strength to strength, regularly giving concerts around the region and often raising money for charity. As the group becomes more assured, their singing seems quite effortless. Each member sings an individual musical narrative but at the same time is acutely aware of the way it relates to the harmonic whole. Their great singing, however, is not just a case of having good voices but has demanded hours of practice to master an a capella repertoire. A recent reward for their hard work was an award for „Outstanding Musicality‟ in the youth section of this year‟s UK Voice Festival, the nation‟s only competition for unaccompanied singing. BarLine were representing the North West at the Festival and just missed gaining the overall award in the hotly-contested competition, losing out to a group from Reigate Grammar School. Organisers later commented they were „bowled over‟ by BarLine‟s „musicality, humour and intuitive understanding of the complex harmonies they were singing, as well as the professional way in which they presented themselves‟. The group was founded and is directed by Mr Barlow who previously trained the semi-professional “Five o‟Clock Shadows‟ which appeared on TV and radio as well as touring the country alongside such acts as Jools Holland and the Scissor Sisters. In the past year, BarLine‟s concerts have included appearing at the Jazz Evening to raise money for the World Challenge Expedition, a series for local primary schools, a charity event for Lymphoma and Leukaemia Research which raised £1,400, a project with Liverpool John Moores University and a workshop with Peter Phillips, Director of Music at Merton College, Oxford. Peter Phillips is also the founder and director of the internationally renowned Tallis Scholars. Mr Barlow said, “I first formed the group to take advantage of some of the great voices we have at the school. It gives members the opportunity to tackle a wide range of music, some of it pretty difficult, and in which one singer is responsible for each voice part. This kind of singing is tremendously rewarding, but challenging. Every note counts so nobody is able to coast!” The BarLine engagement diary is already getting full for this year as word spreads. Perhaps their most prestigious booking to date is on 6 December when they will appear in a Gala charity concert alongside the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; BarLine will represent the 6th Day of Christmas

Forthcoming performances: 26th April 2012 - Singing in the Community at Townfield Primary School, Prenton 9th/10th June 2012 - Recording session 15th June 2012 - Diamond Jubilee Concert, Christ Church, Willaston 16th June 2012 - Private Booking, Cheshire 17th June 2012 - Williamson Art Gallery - debut performance of works by Galvani 29th June 2012 - Melrose Hall, Hoylake - public concert 30th June 2012 - Private Birthday Party, Wirral 6th December 2012 - Concert in aid of Wirral Hospice, Christ Church, Port Sunlight 13th December 2012 - Royal Liverpool Golf Club Contact us at to enquire about attending one of our upcoming performances or booking us to perform at your event.

Toby Brown (5H), at fly half, and Jack Breheny (5C), hooker, played in the Lymm U10 side that succeeded in retaining the Cheshire Cup this year without conceding a try in the tournament held at Sandbach RUFC on 22 April 2012. After beating Caldy, Bowden A, Macclesfield B, Wilmslow A and Altrincham Kersal, Lymm won the closely contested final against Sandbach by 1 try to 0. The boys also enjoyed success playing in the Lymm side that won Festivals this season at Manchester, Littleborough, Vale of Lune and York. Toby Brown and Jack Breheny

In Focus May 2012

Page 10



L to R: Alex Ivory, Jack Walker, Mr Button, Tom Dodds 3


Well done to Jordan Hayward, Year 7, who won the U14 Newcomer Solo at the recent United Dance Organisation‟s (UDO) Detonation Street Dance Competition. Photos 3 and 4 above show Jordan in action and afterwards with the judges, stars of Britain‟s Got Talent ‟Diversity‟, and the dance group „A&P‟, celebrating his win. Jordan has been a member of the Anamal Dance Company in Hoylake for two years. In photos 1 and 2, Jordan is with the Anamal Company Youngastar team after they won the North West Region U14 Newcomer Team. What started as spontaneous, anything goes dancing by young people to the latest music has evolved into something less improvisational. For example, Street Dance has developed its own language to describe the various dance moves - Bankhead Bounce, popping, Jerkin‟ Memphis, Jookin‟, Crumping, Locking and many more. It is a dance style that is highly charged and energetic and most certainly belongs to the young.

Congratulations to Leo Westbrook on his recent selection for the England Double Mini Trampoline Team to go to Sweden to take part in the international Frivolten Cup from 16-20 May. The delegation of trampolinists, coaches and physiotherapists will fly out from Heathrow in their England track suits and land in Gothenburg for training camps before the competition. How exciting! We wish Leo well.

HELP WANTED The Ladies’ Committee is looking for extra pairs of hands to help run the School tuckshops. If you can help, please contact Heather Thomas on:

07850 806 928

As we strolled in through the main doors, suited up and looking suave, the entire congress turned to look at the 3 well-groomed young men who had just entered the building. We casually drank champagne at 9 am with Lord Michael Heseltine and advised Sir Richard Branson that sending people to the moon was a fantastic idea....... In reality, we were three among many in the hectic foyer of the Liverpool Echo Arena which was hosting the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Our path to this festival which celebrated passion, potential and ingenuity in business began back in September. During the double free period before Thursday lunch, we had the option to do a range of different subjects in our Beyond the Curriculum sessions. The „Bursar‟s Apprentice‟ appealed to me most, a competition based on „The Apprentice‟ with Mr Button in the shoes of Lord Sugar. A number of tasks were set to be done in groups over a week. Favourites were the car wash and the final task to develop our very own business plan for a gap year. Unfortunately, any profit we made was handed to the Bursar, and never seen again. Many poor souls were fired along the way by the power hungry Mr Button. Being fired led to negative points, and some spent a lot of the competition with a score of below zero. But, we all learnt a lot about the reality of the business world and a trip to the Mitchell Group at Cheshire Oaks helped us to understand more. Finally, we counted up our scores in Mr Hopkins‟ office and it was revealed that I had clawed my way to the top of the greasy pole! My epic victory was rewarded with a ticket to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool (worth £180). Tom Dodds and Alex Ivory, in 2nd and 3rd place, were also given tickets after Mr Button managed to use his „contacts‟. So here we all were, surrounded by businessmen from all over the world. By the time we took our seats, my pocket was full of business cards and the networking continued as the man sitting next to me kept telling me to „give him a call. I‟m not sure what he meant but I smiled and nodded my head. The list of speakers for the day was incredible: Martha Lane Fox, Sir Richard Branson, Lord Heseltine and Sir Terry Leahy - just a few names among the politicians, successful businessmen and women and leading economists. There were a number of key themes - Lord Heseltine said the aim of a businessman is not to chase money or profit, but to chase success. Richard Branson‟s words of advice were: if you have a good idea, then the person who has to believe in it most is yourself. Almost all the speakers told us that you have to face the fact that businesses are going to fail, and that even Richard Branson spent many years living on the bread line and a number of his businesses crashed and burned along the way. There were less serious notes: for example, Richard Branson admitted he used to spend time getting high in a music store. It was certainly well worth the trip and the amount of knowledge picked up will be invaluable for the future. On behalf of the other participants in the Bursar‟s Apprentice, I would like to thank Mr Button for the time he spent putting up with us and a massive thanks for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress. Jack Walker, L6

In Focus May 2012

The U14 North England Lacrosse Championships were held at Queen Margaret‟s School, York, at the beginning of February. Birkenhead came top of their group after beating Altrincham Grammar 5-1, Queen Margaret‟s 3-2, Harrogate Ladies‟ College 7-1 and Sale Grammar 6-0. They then beat Withington Girls‟ School in the Semi-final 3-1. The final was against the hosts Queen Margaret‟s School whom we had beaten previously in the group stages. With the crowd on their side, this encounter was very different. It remained 1-1 after full time and 1-1 after extra time. It was then decided it would go to „Golden Goal‟. The girls made one final push, and in the first minute of the golden goal period, sealed the championships, with the winning goal coming from India Wild. This achievement is all the more special as this particular team have now retained their title from last year. The team: Lucy Rogers (captain) Maeve Black India Wild Rebecca Potter Annabel Saverimutto Victoria Wilkinson Annie Mills Sophie Hatherly Ellie Durband Sophie Dolan-Jones Millie James Gabriella Kehoe Alice Sherrard

The following girls have been selected to represent Cheshire Hockey – U13 – Connie Sturgess & Bronwen Morris. U14 – Ellie Durband, Victoria Wilkinson, Alice Sherrard & Annie Mills. U15 – Natalie Jones & Amy Green Mrs Alford-Swift, i/c Girls’ Sport

Page 11

Twelve boys from BS are part of the AC Pumas Royals U14 squad! This successful team is pictured with the Wirral Junior Premier League Trophy. The photo was taken just before the game in which they won the semi-final of the Cup (7-2). The Cup Final is scheduled for Sunday 20 May against Eastham Rangers. We wish them well. The team is captained by Callum Rooney, and Owen Morris is the League's leading goal scorer with a remarkable 23 goals so far from only 22 matches! In alphabetical order the winning team comprised: Alex Alman Owen Morris Will Brewster David Nevin Ethan Clawson Charlie Robertson Chris Ewart Call um Rooney Thomas Granby (Captain) Kyle Ho Henry Taylor Sam Johnson Mr J Granby

Year 2 spent an exciting day at the Maritime Museum. They explored “The Battle of the Atlantic” exhibition, the Piermaster`s House and took part in a re-enactment of life as an evacuee during the Blitz in Liverpool with “The Liverpool Ladies History Group”. The children tried on gas masks, collected shrapnel, sang songs to pass the time in the air raid shelter, and packed a pillow case ready to be evacuated. The children listened to stories about how to make ”Blind Scouse”, how girls personalised covers for their gas masks and what life was like in Liverpool at that time. S Sharman

In Focus May 2012

Page 12

The Early Years Team - Nursery, Pre-Prep and Reception - are celebrating the success of their recent Independent Schools Inspectorate inspection which took place over two days on 24 and 25 January 2012. The effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage was judged as „Outstanding‟.


The Inspection looked at how well the School met the needs of children in the Early Years Foundation Stage, the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation Stage, the quality of the provision and outcomes for children in. All four of these areas were deemed „Outstanding‟. 2

3 Photos 1-5: all in a day’s work for Pre-Prep children and Photo 6: Reception classes on their way to the World Museum.


The feedback from inspectors was extremely positive following their observations of lessons, play sessions, registrations and assemblies, informal discussions with children, examination of children‟s work, discussions with senior members of staff and with the Governor responsible for the Early Years. The Early Years Team would like thank all those parents who participated in the pre-inspection questionnaires and who were interviewed by the inspectors and to all those associated with the School who helped make this inspection such an overwhelming success. 5

Jan Dorney, Nursery Manager



In Focus May 2012

Page 13

Faster! Faster! - out for a walk.

Follow me and be careful you don‟t fall in the water!

Above: concentrated effort in Reception

Sand artist!

Safe in the den.

Key person time.

Let‟s go fly a kite!

Happy days!

One, two, three, four, catch the monkey by the paw!

Building blocks of life.


Let‟s get messy!

In Focus May 2012

Page 14

Birkenhead School Choral Society‟s 40th concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall took place on 17 March this year. Each of the main works in the programme was a popular piece of music depicting the composer‟s attitudes to war and peace. It was delightful to have such an enthusiastic audience to hear them. Elgar‟s cello Concerto was played by Alice Neary, a young soloist who already has an international reputation, accompanied by the Liverpool Sinfonia. The hushed attentive atmosphere during her performance was testimony to her musicality and wonderfully evocative playing of Elgar‟s masterpiece, which was also his last major work. It is his personal lament for what WWI meant to his generation. In the second half, Choir and Orchestra performed „The Armed Man: a mass for peace‟ by Karl Jenkins, a modern work which was commissioned by the Royal Armouries to commemorate the Millennium. It is a dramatic work which incorporates a wide variety of musical influences. These range from a 15th Century musical theme, a Muslim call to prayers, plainsong, movements from a Mass and include words by Dryden, Swift, Kipling, Mallory and Tennyson. The music depicts moods ranging from menacing military marching to the uncontrolled cacophony of mass destruction and the desolation in the aftermath of war. The final section is the affirmation that peace is better than war and faith that change is positive and possible. It ends with a prayer for peace. On stage were almost 300 hundred performers - 63 orchestral players and 224 singers including Prep Choir, the Cantata Choir, School Chapel Choir and Birkenhead School Choral Society. The latter has put on at least one concert every year since 1980. It has performed most of the major choral works and done nine Gala Charity Christmas concerts which have raised over £70,000 for various charities, including the two Wirral hospices. This is a record of which we can be justly proud - a rare achievement for a school. Thanks, of course, are due to the many people supporting in the wings and back stage. However, very much centre stage is Graham Ellis, our Director since the Society‟s inception. He has led us in every one of the concerts since 1980. His musicianship, vision, sheer hard work, patience (and sometimes impatience!) and his unique sense of humour have made it all possible. We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. 32 years worth of wonderful memories! Thank you, Graham. Mrs V MacLean, Rehearsal accompanist

Photo right: Year 9 students during a recent Geography field trip to Southport where they carried out environmental quality questionnaires and surveys.

Congratulations to Andrew Crosby who has been appointed Captain of Junior Golf at Caldy Golf Club.

The House Golf Competition will be held at Caldy G.C. on Sunday, 24 June at 1:30pm. The Competition includes a match of pupils v Staff, Parents and Old Birkonians playing for the Daniel Garforth Trophy. If there are any parents who wish to play in this match, would they please contact Mr McGrath on J McGrath, i/c Golf

In Focus May 2012

Staff enjoyed it but pupils weren‟t quite so sure. At the end of February, 63 Year 9 pupils and 5 staff went to the Octagon Theatre in Bolton to see David Thacker‟s production of Shakespeare‟s tragedy „Macbeth‟ which the pupils are studying as part of their English curriculum. Macbeth is often referred to as the Scottish play because there is a superstition that saying Macbeth inside a theatre will bring down disaster on the production. It was, by all accounts, one of the more graphic and shocking productions of Macbeth; for example Lady Macduff, rather than being allowed to flee from Macbeth‟s heavies, is raped and slaughtered alongside her children. The shortest of Shakespeare‟s plays, this production was fast-paced, so that the violence, murder and evil seemed compacted into an even shorter time frame. This emphasised the rapid downward spiral from when Macbeth loses his moral compass, allowing his greed and ambition to get the better of him, to his defeat and death at the hands of Macduff. Extracts from Year 9 reviews below: Macbeth falls down the Hole of Doom The venue was Bolton Octagon Theatre. I had been told that it was a good venue for plays but I disagree: the stage was too small and there was a bar at eye-level where we were sitting in the Gallery which meant we had to lean over the bar to be able to see the play. The opening was quite a dramatic with Macbeth in the midst of battle. The set was quite good and I especially liked the device of the hole in the floor which was used as the witches‟ cauldron and for the „dead‟ bodies which had to be taken out of the action. The luminescent lighting was also used well, especially the light that came out the hole in the floor and followed the witches when they moved among the audience. Some of the scenes were quite violent and my eyes widened in horror when Lady Macduff was raped and her son murdered. I think everyone jumped off their seats when she started screaming and again when the little boy was stabbed. Henry Taylor If only I saw a dagger before me Lady Macbeth may have found it difficult to wash her hands of blood and guilt, but I seemed to find it impossible to wash my hands of this slow moving and slightly confusing performance. Banquo, however, played by Colin Connor, was for me the star performer with his convincing and chilling ghost scene which had everybody on the edge of their seats. . The play started off with the frightening and memorable scene of the three witches all dressed in black, chanting and dancing round the pit of fire centre stage. The pit was used imaginatively in different ways through the play. Very few props were used and

Page 15 this made the main focus on the acting. The relationship between Macbeth and his wife came across well. At the beginning of the performance you could see how much they loved each other and, as the play progressed, they made it clear that their relationship was deteriorating, not only from the words but also from the way they changed their body language and tone of voice. One actor seemed to want to try out a range of accents in his performance which ranges from English, to American, to Irish, to Scottish and back to English towards the end! Overall, however, the Octagon‟s production was both educational and useful to our English lessons, although I wouldn‟t recommend it to anyone looking for a fun day out. Alexandra Scott Scot or Not? During the first few scenes of the Octagon Theatre‟s Macbeth, Scottish accents flourished giving us a real sense of the play‟s location. Unfortunately, as the play progressed other accents took over and we began to ask whether it should have been called the „English„ or even the „American‟ play This production was performed „in the round‟ which was effective during the battle scenes. The actors made good use of the area given to them and performed outwardly to all areas of spectators. There was very little set, the odd table, maybe a chair or a glass, but this was successful in performance as we focussed on the characters and not on the scenery. Costumes were plain, nondescript coats, shirts and trousers for men and dresses for the women. I found them a bit too basic because costumes help to distinguish characters so the fact that everyone looked very similar was confusing at the beginning. Banquo and Macbeth were wearing the same coat which made it very difficult to understand who was on stage at first. It was only as the characters‟ personalities developed and the plot thickened that we understand fully who was who. The costumes that stood out for me were those of the weird sisters who wore long flowing black cloaks and black masks. The audience was horrified as they peered down at their reflections and moved in a creepy manner. Everyone felt a chill run down the back of their spine when they chanted „Fair is foul and foul is fair‟. Another performance that stood out for me was Lady Macduff. She was convincing when Macbeth‟s supporters came to kill her and her family as, screaming and protesting, she tried to save her son‟s life. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, failed to show her seductive side and ruined the scene where she is trying to wash the blood from her hands by being too over-the-top. Although on the whole I would not recommend seeing the Octagon‟s version of Macbeth, experiencing it on stage helped me to understand the play more than I did. Eleanor Hilton

A parent recently parked across the drive of a resident of Kingsmead Road South – it was the third time in a week that his drive had been blocked - and he was unable to get his car out of the drive and, as a result, missed his doctor‟s appointment. There was also an incident a few of weeks ago when a parent pulled across the same drive just as the resident was reversing out. The ensuing bump was blamed on the resident. Could parents please be aware that the roads around School are extremely congested at the start and end of the school day. Local residents are normally very accommodating but please be aware that they may need to leave or access their properties at your pick-up and drop-off times. Ideally, drop off away from the School perimeter.

In Focus May 2012

Page 16

For World Book day this year, Pre-Prep, Little School and Year Two dressed up as their favourite character form a book. We all looked gorgeous in our costumes and want to thank Mummies and Daddies again for their hard work.

Back row l to r: Dan Cooke, Jack Corran, Lawrence Keyhoe, Patrick Carpenter Front row l to r: Max Hatherly, Will Haydon-Wood, Sam Pilkington, Sean Carpenter On Monday 19 March, eight Year 6 boys travelled to the Grange School, Northwich, for the annual AJIS Sevens competition. After our warm up, we played our first match against Kirkham B. We couldn‟t wait for the tournament to start and got off to a flyer. With some good attacking, we were 28-0 up at half time and, by the end of the match, we had won 49-0 with particular strong performances from Dan Cooke and Patrick Carpenter. We waited two matches for our next match against Grange B who we beat as convincingly 69-0, with some scintillating runs by our backs, Will Haydon–Wood and Sam Pilkington. In our final group game, we played Stockport Grammar and, with another solid performance, won 55-0. We were now through to the knock-out stages. In our quarter final we played Liverpool College and, with some robust work from our forwards, Lawrence Kehoe, Sean Carpenter and Jack Corran, we defeated them 40-0. After a good performance against Liverpool College, we now faced Grange A in the semi final. With Max Hatherly in commanding form, we ran them ragged, scoring six tries without reply and booked our place in the final. We watched Merchant Taylors‟ vs Kirkham to see who we would play in the final. Merchant Taylors‟ managed to beat Kirkham, so we would play them. We were now ready for the final, feeling excited but a little apprehensive. We needn‟t have been as we played some of our best rugby of the day and won 33-0 with 4 tries from Will Haydon–Wood and 1 from Sam Pilkington. We did not concede one try in the whole tournament. Will Haydon-Wood, 6S

L: Mrs Winn, Jacob Wilson and Oscar Jennings had an animal theme. R: Agatha Boardman and Molly Anderson in Year1 really enjoyed our work on the Wizard of Oz so they dressed up as Dorothy.

The Pre-prep children above, who joined us for assembly, and Reception children below all looked fantastic in their costumes.

Amelia Kelly, Yr2, has been learning about WWII. She looks fantastic as an evacuee. Ellis Dowdall, Yr 2 makes a great Gingerbread man.

In Focus May 2012

L to R: Alex Scott, the Mayor Councillor Moira McLaughlin, Eleanor Hilton and Rosie Anderson On a rainy Wednesday afternoon at the end of March, we went to Wallasey town hall to give our „Ban the Burqa‟ speech to the Mayor of Wirral. Whilst at the Town Hall, we met up with Birkenhead Community College‟s team, the winners of the senior Rotary Youth Speaks competition‟s first round. In their team were Holly, Max and John. Max, a soon-to-be Cambridge student, had made a great first impression with us at the first round of the competition, pointing out the flaws in our argument, whilst he munched on his never ending pile of bananas. Later meeting him at the Mayor‟s parlour, to our surprise, he was still ploughing through

Page 17 a banana! After a few sandwiches with the Mayor, we gave our speech. The Mayor told us it was very well prepared but she didn‟t hesitate to add that she didn‟t agree with our speech one bit! Never mind, we couldn‟t please everyone and we understood our topic was very controversial. Mrs McGoldrick assured us that we had still performed very well. Birkenhead Community College gave a fantastic speech on „Broken Britain‟ and Holly wowed and inspired us with her professionalism and the way she could recite the whole of her six minute speech! The Mayor showed us the Council chamber where the decisions are made by the Wirral Borough Council. It was very interesting. On the whole, it was a very enjoyable afternoon out and we would like to thank Mrs McGoldrick for chaperoning us back and forth, the Mayor for having us, and the Rotary Club for arranging our trip. On 25 April, after a break of over a month, our burqa knowledge was a little lacking and it was time to perform our speech again, this time for the Rotary Club! As we arrived at Prenton Golf Club, we were greeted by some familiar faces, our coach from the first round, Ken Elliot, and one of the judges, who always seemed to be with us every step of the way. We were waited on hand and foot, only to highlight our lack of table etiquette when Eleanor played mix and match with the several knives and forks for different courses! After eating a delicious meal, it was time to perform our Burqa speech for the last time. Despite only a couple of rehearsals, we were told it was the best performance we‟d ever done, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The members of the Rotary Club were extremely encouraging, and we hope to be given the opportunity to go back and present a speech to them again. Eleanor Hilton, Alex Scott and Rosie Anderson

At the Rotary Club lunch. The team won the first round of the Rotary Club Youth Speaks competition and went on to represent the area at the regional stage. Max Eugeni, who plays at Oxton Hockey Club was selected to play U13 hockey for West Cheshire whilst still in Year 6. The season finished with West Cheshire successfully getting through a 2-day festival in Blackpool where the squad‟s 2 teams were place 1st and 2nd and went through to represent the North West in the Northern Finals. Max, who plays in defence and midfield, played on both teams in the finals at which the squad was placed 2nd and 4th.

Luke Weller, Year 11, Jack Redhead, Year 10, and Oliver Ainsworth, Year 10, all play for the Neston U16 Boys‟ Hockey team. The team qualified for the National Final of the Boys‟ U16 Championship to be held at Cannock.

In Focus May 2012

Page 18

by the No 1 Overdale Detective Agency

The case of the mass poisoning at Burkenhare School (not a spelling mistake) on Friday 11 November 2011 was solved by detectives from Years 7 and 8. One of the four suspects - Mr Wayward (Head of Science), Mrs Garnet (School Cook), Mr Stones (School Caretaker) and Mr Emerald (Science Technician) - had contaminated the custard powder. 26 pupils were taken to hospital and a few days later one child, Miss Hermione Groaner (17 yrs), died. The culprit was now a murderer! There were no fingerprints and there were no signs of a forced entry. The only sign that someone had been in the building was soil on the kitchen floor. We added dilute nitric acid to each sample of soil taken from the suspects‟ shoes. If it fizzed, it contained carbonate. If it didn‟t fizz, we split the mixture into two and added another chemical called barium chloride. If it went cloudy, it contained sulphate. We did this to each of the suspects‟ soil samples in turn and found that samples taken from the crime scene matched samples taken from Mr Wayward‟s and Mr Emerald‟s shoes. Next week the detectives received a press release which said there was a suicide note. Later we all got a copy of the note. Supposedly, Mr Emerald had killed his wife and committed suicide. Tests on samples of the clothing worn by the two suspects, however, found explosive residue on Mr Wayward‟s clothing but none on Mr Emerald‟s. If it had been suicide then Mr Emerald‟s clothes would have contained explosive and lead residues. This meant that Mr Wayward must have fired the gun. We then analysed the suicide note ink with chromatography paper and found that the suicide note was a fake and was actually written by Mr Wayward. On the last week of the investigation, we were all notified that Mr Wayward‟s patio had a dead body under it. Tests on the length of the femur showed that it was probably Mrs Emerald‟s. We also found out that Mr Wayward had had an affair with her several years ago. We also analysed hair samples from the crime scenes and the hairs from Mrs Emerald‟s hair brush matched those on the body.

Above: Crime scene investigations This confirmed the theory that the skeleton was Mrs Emerald‟s. The results all pointed to Mr Wayward being a poisoner, a murderer and a philanderer! Edward Brodbent, Year 7, Overdale Science Club

Brass Ensemble wins at two Festivals! At the Wirral Festival of Music, Speech and Drama in March, the Birkenhead Schools‟ Brass Ensemble came first in the Band Class with 88 points - a distinction! Calday GS came second with their big band. The judge commented on the excellent full band sound from the trumpeter, some good trombone work in the central section, an excellent start on drums and a very good ending to their presentation. At the end of February, our Brass Ensemble entered the Chester Competitive Festival of Performing Arts for the first time in a few years. The music section of the Festival was held at the King‟s School, Chester. Again the band was placed 1st with 88 points in the Open class, which pitted them against adult players. They brought home the large Hilda Catherall Trophy and Intetech Award of £50. Second were Porthywaen Youth and Training Brass from Oswestry, with Valley Brass and Audley Training Band in joint third. The judge commented on the terrific start with the Bacharach piece, sensitive percussion accompaniment, lovely trumpet solo capturing the mood of the piece well and finally, „what an enjoyable, well-prepared, well-played programme‟. At the Chester Music Festival were: Trumpets - Ellie Corlett, Alex Davies, Jonathan Mansfield, Andrew Sherman; Horns - Christopher Lansdown, Ethan Lee; Trombones - Edward George, Tom Jarvis; Euphonium - Conor Ainsworth; Tubas - Jack Billington, Neil Lawrence; Drums - Gwilym Jones

In Focus May 2012

School production of Peter Pan by JM Barrie May 2012

The photograph above has appeared in the media worldwide - the Duchess of Cambridge talking to Elliott Casey, Year 7, in the Oncology Ward at Alder Hey Children‟s hospital which she visited on Valentine‟s Day this year. During their conversation, Kate told Elliott in confidence the name of the couple‟s new puppy, which he kept to himself until Lupo became public knowledge.

Elliott Casey was determined not to miss his invitation to lunch with the Headmaster just before Easter. Mr Clark commented: “It was great to see Elliott in School. He seemed to enjoy his six-course lunch and his friends were very pleased to see him. When the lunch ended at 2.30 pm, they went back to lessons as Elliott headed off for his radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Hospital, which he had delayed in order to attend the lunch!” Elliott comes into School and attends lessons when he can, and stays in touch via Skype and other electronic means. We wish him well as his treatment continues.

Page 19

What are better, birds or fish?......Not the first question we expected to hear as we arrived at Liverpool Town Hall for the regional final of the European Youth Parliament on Thursday 9 February. However, regardless of how trivial the warm-up debate may have seemed, which saw some ingenious interjections by Louis McGrath condemning the evil seagull population, the team highlighted their debating prowess from the very off. Team INTA (the Board of International Trade) consisted of Matthew (Boris) Rogers, Nick (Clegg) Gill, Josh (Griffin) Parr, Jamie (Lord John) Russell, Harry Sturgess, Jack (Pickles) Walker, Ashley Williams and Louis McGrath. There were six main debates during the day on a variety of European political topics, such as the riots across Europe, aid to Africa, and of course, the Eurozone crisis! Each debate would be represented by two teams, one proposing and one opposing, with introductory and concluding speeches from members of both. Acclimatizing to the magnificent debating chamber of the town hall took some time, but by the third debate, on Europe‟s future with the BRIC nations, we began to take control. The proposing speech was delivered in flamboyant Disraelian style by our very own Nick Gill, whilst a confident and assuring defence of our motion was argued by Josh Parr. The rounding success of the motion was never in doubt when the summary was executed with meticulous detail by PM Rogers, ensuring the most comfortable victory in all six debates when it came to voting. It was not only the passion, detailed statistics and humorous anecdotes that made us stand out as team, but also the unity and input from all members. The Rt Hon. James Russell and Jack Walker rather fancied themselves as witty members of the team, whist The Rt Hon. Harry Sturgess and Louis McGrath provided clarity and unassailable facts. Foreign Secretary Ashley Williams laid the icing on the cake with his convincing speech on the French motion at the end of the day. The hard work paid off as, for the second consecutive time, Birkenhead School won the regional final, defeating the 11 other teams. All team members had a thoroughly enjoyable, yet taxing day as young politicians, and many thanks have to go to the Chief Whip, Mr Hopkins, for his guidance and encouragement. The team looks forward to representing the School in the national finals taking place after the summer, for what promises to be a truly incredible experience. Matthew Rogers and Nick Gill, L6

In Focus May 2012

This year‟s House Music was the first House event to take place in the recently refurbished Bushell Hall. As usual, it was the same rule-set: the four Houses Beresford, Bidston, Kingsmead and Shrewsbury - had to prepare a set of three songs each. The songs were divided into three categories – Instrumental, with at least two participants; Open, where anything could be performed but with at least four performers; Vocal, which this year revolved around the theme of Liverpool and had to have at least twelve performers. Of course, the judge was the venerable Mr Barlow who uses his vast and extensive knowledge of modern pop music to arbitrate as fairly as possible, and who could forget that charismatic compère, Mr Roden, who cheerfully greeted everyone by telling them to turn their mobile phones off. Shrewsbury came last, but not after putting up a typical Shrewsbury „good fight‟. Their instrumental section was spearheaded by Big Band veterans Max Keeling and Neil Lawrence, who brought some Glenn Miller to the proceedings. Their „Open‟ was drastically different, with Upper Sixth-former Andrew Hoyland making his first (and sadly, last) appearance as a „singer‟, performing „Dani California‟ by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Suited and booted, he lacked what some would term the „sex appeal‟ of Anthony Kiedis, RHCP‟s lead singer, but he made up for it in sheer class as he strode confidently onto the stage. Sadly, their Vocal section was far less exciting. As the theme was Liverpool, Shrewsbury had the novel idea of performing a song by Liverpool‟s best known band, The Beatles, and two other Houses obviously followed suit. They performed „Hey Jude‟, and it was either a groundbreaking expression of ennui in modern society or an awkward, under-rehearsed jumble of quiet mumblings - and then, for some unknown reason, a dance-off between Gabriel Jones and Ewan Baker. Kingsmead were a close third, despite an eclectic mix of songs. Their instrumental was an interesting rendition of “Hocus Pocus” by Focus, complete with Oscar Ratnaike donning a Viking helmet and yodelling, while Gwilym Jones bashed loudly and without mercy on his drum kit, James Green looked clueless on the bass, Tommy Keenan struggled to be heard over the madness and Harry Smethurst shredded his guitar strings. One of Mr Barlow‟s standout comments on that performance was “loud”. Their Open was “Bohemian Like You” by The Dandy Warhols, with exactly the same set-up of performers. Another interesting comment was “loud”, and it seemed there was a trend emerging with Kingsmead‟s set. Thankfully, their Vocal piece was not. Also inspired by Liverpool, it was another Beatles song: “Day in the Life”. It was less of a jumble of mumbles, but was still criticised for its lack of coherence. Of course, this was the only song in which the performers appeared to have a mental breakdown halfway through and started screaming and wailing as random guitar strings were struck, random piano keys hit, and random drums flailed before returning to relative normality. Again, Mr Barlow complained the guitar was “too loud”. Coming in second were perennial runners-up Bidston. There was

Page 20 more diversity in their set than any other House, as evidenced by the fact that their instrumental section was a classical piece performed by trombone, saxophone and piano. They also played to their strengths well in the Open section. Their already polished set was topped by a rendition of „Valerie‟ by The Zutons, the only Liverpool-related item not to include The Beatles, which was welcome. It included a memorable bass solo by Sam Berkson that added a fitting conclusion to a set of songs that managed to be diverse but not crazy (looking at Kingsmead here). Beresford won - yet again. It would be all too easy to put this down to the lethal partnership of the School‟s resident „Music People‟ - Marco Galvani and Sam Davies, but that might be belittling their set somewhat. They opened with a new instrumental take on recent internet smash hit “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye, in which the players in the ensemble changed instruments as the song progressed almost seamlessly, apart from Jimmy Russell, who played the triangle very well indeed throughout. It was right to keep him in the area of his expertise. Sadly, Mr Barlow, who has been weaned on a diet of grumble pie and Bach all his life said it was “quite frankly, nice, but just a bit boring.” Beresford continued in their inoffensive vein with that most inoffensive of songs: “I‟m Yours” by Jason Mraz, fully using the talents of Jimmy Russell and Marco Galvani, who recently won Birkenhead School‟s Got Talent for doing something very similar. However, they saved their tour de force for the Vocal section: a version of The Beatles‟ “Hey Jude” that was actually good. It was notable for having a conductor in the form of Sam Davies, an addition Mr Barlow praised at length, probably a bit too much. However, it was not obvious who had won until the final unveiling of the results – in fact, they were very close indeed. Not of course for Shrewsbury and Kingsmead, who languished behind in the competition, looking somewhat like two lumpy St Bernards trying to race against two musical Whippets. When Mr Barlow finally announced the winners, he praised Beresford for their inclusiveness in bringing together talent from throughout the whole School into their show and their range of musicality. It was a very enjoyable – and different – House Music competition. James Green, U6th Thank you to James Green, a stalwart of the Publicity Unit for the last two years. He has almost singlehandedly covered the major events of School life for In Focus. Always reliable, his pieces have been informative, fair-minded and above all, humorous.

L6th students were measure river channel profiles, discharge & changes in the size of stream bed load in the River Alyn near to Loggerheads.

In Focus May 2012

Mr Clark journeyed to Nepal during the Easter holiday to see, first hand, the life -saving work of the charity the School supports – and witness improvements in treatments thanks to equipment funded by staff, pupils and friends of the School. He visited the Kanti Children‟s Hospital as part of the School‟s commitment to So The Child May Live – a Liverpool charity with close connections to Alder Hey Children‟s Hospital working to support health care for sick children in Nepal. There he saw how the hospital‟s electric dermatome, a piece of skin grafting equipment bought by the school at a cost of nearly £6000, was improving results for badly burned children. In the past four years the School has raised £6,740 for So the Child May Live. The Headmaster met the Director of the Hospital, Dr Bimal Dhakal, plus two of the consultants, and visited a surgical ward and the burns and oncology units. He said, “It was a moving and at times shocking experience.” Whilst there, he handed over a cheque for £1,050, a proportion of funds raised from our Perfect Pitch concert last summer, which saw the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform on the School‟s cricket pitch. This brings our contribution to almost £8,000. “I was able to see the dermatome, which we bought two years ago, and meet the surgeon, Dr R. P. Chaudhary, who had used it that morning on a young burns victim, whom I then saw recovering on the ward.” So The Child May Live draws on the goodwill and expertise of medical staff at Alder Hey Children‟s Hospital. Mr Clark was accompanied by Professor Barry Pizer, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Alder Hey, and his wife Jenni who also happens to be our School Nurse. Both are trustees of the charity, which provides equipment, training and development help for the hospital in one of the most beautiful, yet poorest places on earth. The focus of support is, at present, on helping the hospital to improve services in childhood cancer, burns, child development and advanced paediatric life support resuscitation training The charity also supports a health clinic in Jaganathpur, in the south of Nepal, the only medical facility for miles around and fully funded by So The Child May Live. Nepal is one of the world‟s poorest countries with a per capita GDP of only $1500. Provision of health services is constrained by low government spending, rugged terrain and lack of health education. Life expectancy in Nepal is 67 Years and almost half of the population is under 14 years old. Infant mortality is around 45 deaths per 1000 births. Only around half of the population has access to safe drinking water and consumes less than 30% of recommended calorie intake. Postscript: The Headmaster also presented the hospital with the award winning giant Beano Cartoon page which children in Prep created as one of their art projects last year. Inevitably, the page had to come down from the Prep art room wall to make way for this year’s projects. The School is delighted it has gone to a good home and will decorate a wall on one of the children’s wards in Kanti. It was quite a logistical exercise transporting the massive artwork in a giant tube from BS all the way to Kathmandhu but we think it was worth it, if it serves to brighten the day of some poorly Nepalese children.

Page 21

John Clark presents the proceeds of the School's latest fundraising to Kanti Director Dr Bimal Dhakal. L to R: Dr K. Prasad Sah (Conusltant Paediatrician), Mrs Jenni Pizer, Mr John Clark, Dr Bimal Dhakal, Prof. Barry Pizer (Alder Hey)

John Clark with surgeon Dr R P Chaudhary and the electric dermatome

Young boy after operation using the Birkenhead School dermatome.

In Focus May 2012

On the Leadership Course at Nesscliff

Page 22

2nd Lieutenant James Barnes tallies the scores

Alex and Sophie Macaulay receiving their Pair medal for winning the rifle shooting competition.

Range practice at Sealand

Captain A Joseph I’ve got you in my sights!

The team prepares for competition Preparing for the night at Warcop The Sportsman‟s Dinner held at the end of March was an overwhelming success and raised nearly £10,000 for the Hockey Tour to South Africa this coming summer. Many businesses connected with the School gave their support and, of course, the 250 people who attended on the evening. Bill Beaumont, the guest of honour, is pictured left with Will Roberts, OB 1983-1996, whose company, Charles Stanley, were one of the evening‟s sponsors. Mr Edmunds, who organised the event, would like to thank the following for their support: Charles Stanley, LT Print Group, Mason Owen, Cammell Laird, Griffiths and Armour, McEwan Wallace, Anderson Harkins, Brabners Chaffe Street, Alfred H Knight, Caledonian Breweries, Peter Gilding and Company Ltd, Bermans, Currie Business Services Ltd, Delta Services (GB) Ltd, Auger and McLintocks Chartered Accountants. And at home, thank you to the Catering Staff who provided a fine meal and an unstinting and professional service to our guests throughout the evening. Our Estates Team ensure that our Campus always looks first-rate. They always provide the muscle power (and patience) and to see that everything is in place at these events and are always back again to clear up for us afterwards.

Apologies to Andrew Mills who was missed off the list of „thank yous‟ for those involved in the hugely successful „Murder Mystery‟ evening, which also raised over £800 for the Hockey Tour. Mr Mills was responsible for supplying the special lighting and photography on the night. A very belated „thank you‟.

In Focus May 2012

The last few months have been relatively quiet for the CCF, but that doesn‟t mean we haven‟t been busy! Aside from our exciting and varied weekly training programme, we‟ve been busy preparing our shooting team for the regional and national target rifle competitions that are happening throughout the Summer Term. We‟ve spent a good few cold mornings on the Sealand Ranges in North Wales, setting up targets, obliterating them with hails of accurately placed shots from some really talented marksmen, before the drudgery of cleaning the rifles! But we hope the hard work will pay off in the coming months when we enter the County of Lancaster Rifle Association‟s Regional Competition at Altcar Ranges in Formby. Many of our young cadets will be competing in their first formal competition. It‟s all fingers and toes crossed for some silverware as we head off down to the National Shooting Centre at Bisley to take part in the Schools‟ Meeting, where the cadets who make up our shooting team will spend five days competing against both cadet and civilian rifle teams from schools across the UK- and some Commonwealth teams as well! But it‟s not just about shooting. In January, eight cadets trained and qualified for their Cadet Radio User qualification. Jamall Bell, Callum Andrews, Otto Dawes, Ben Appleby and four of our girls from Upton Hall School undertook a course in radio communications, examining the theory of radio, voice procedure, security, tactical radio use, using military radio sets and, of course, having some fun in the process! Under the instruction of our Signals Training Officer Major John Langan, our eight cadets became the first to qualify for this award in a number of years. Royal Navy cadets also got a treat in March as they headed over to the docks in Liverpool to visit HMS Liverpool before it was decommissioned. The party of cadets were given a VIP guided tour of the ship, had the opportunity to get some hands on experience of some of the Royal Navy‟s most interesting pieces of equipment. Then they were whisked away for lunch, also aboard the ship. Over the Easter break, a group of ten cadets left the Wirral for five days and headed off to Warcop Training Camp in Cumbria where they took part in an arduous battle camp. Working alongside cadets and staff from Oldham Hulme Grammar School, the team took part in blank firing exercises, testing their skills and drills in weapons firing, section attacks, battle procedure, patrolling, living in the field, cooking and living off ration packs, as well as constructing improvised shelters. It is also a pleasure to congratulate Colour Sergeant Alex Macaulay, who will be departing from the CCF at the end of the academic year when he moves onto University. Alex has achieved a lot this year, having spent the last eleven months as the Mayor of Wirral‟s Cadet Representative-his tenure finishes at the end of May. He has also been

Page 23

recognised for his commitment and skill in target rifle shooting through the award of School Colours, having represented the School at a number of competitions and range practices over the last few years. And if that wasn‟t enough, Alex recently attended the prestigious and arduous Army Cadet Leadership Course at Nesscliff Training Camp in Shropshire. He spent a week carrying out a range of physically and mentally challenging tasks. Alex completed the course with a „Good‟ grade, the second highest grade achievable. A massive congratulations and thank you goes to Alex for his hard work and commitment to the CCF. We‟ve also been fortunate enough this term to welcome three new members of staff onto the CCF team. Mr Hill has taken on a position as an Army Section officer with the CCF, alongside ex-cadet Sophie Macaulay. The pair have both recently received their Queen‟s Commissions and have received a promotion to Second Lieutenant. RAF cadets have also recruited a new member of staff and we are delighted to welcome Miss Seed, a teacher from Upton Hall School, who will be taking over the command of the RAF Section. But that‟s just a taste of what‟s been happening over the Lent Term. The Summer term is shaping up to be bigger, better and bolder with some beautiful weather (we hope!!) and an even more exciting and challenging training programme to gear us up for annual camp in July. The CCF is recruiting! If you’re in Year 8 or above, you can join the CCF. We train every Wednesday evening after school until 6.00pm. Come along on a Wednesday, or pop into the CCF hut on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday lunchtime for more information. Captain A Joseph

L to R: Harry Sturgess, Charles McCulloch and Tarun Kodavatiganti In early March, Tarun Kodavatiganti, Charles McCulloch and Harry Sturgess took part in the annual RSC Young Analyst Competition at Liverpool University. They had to carry out a range of practical techniques in order to determine the composition of popular soft drinks. They achieved excellent results which were very close to the expected values quoted by the organisers. P Lindberg

In Focus May 2012

Page 24

World Book Day - see page p16

3, 4, 5, May 2012 another visually s t u n n i n g production - full review and more photos in this summer’s bumper In Focus

Publicity photography N Frowe

Profile for Birkenhead School

In Focus, May 2012  

The School's magazine for May 2012.

In Focus, May 2012  

The School's magazine for May 2012.