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In case you managed to miss our good news this summer, a summary of our outstanding public examination results are reproduced again here. And they are wellworth repeating. We have flown in the face of the much -publicised national downgrading of exams and the resultant award of fewer top grades. We have bettered our results of last year which, incidentally, were also excellent. We are once again well ahead of all comparable local schools. The following highlights are extracted from our press releases: After getting the top A level results on Wirral and Merseyside, Birkenhead School announced its best GCSE results ever. The number of A* grades achieved by boys and girls leapt forward to 41%, with 74% of subjects being passed at A* or A. Over half of students walked away with at least 9 A* and A Grades and 87% achieved the new EBacc qualification. Amongst the girls Ece Mert and Si창n Round both achieved eleven A*s. Top performers amongst the boys, Andrew Sherman and Lewis Tran also achieved A* in all eleven of their subjects, including double A* star in Further Maths. A Level students achieved a

In Focus November 2013 stunning 85% of grades at A* to B, which represents an alltime record for Birkenhead School. They broke another record with an impressive 21% of all results this year at the challenging A* grade, which requires them to score an average mark of over 90% in their A2 modules. Three students secured places at Oxford and Cambridge this year. Matthew Rogers and Harry Sturgess each gained four A* grades. Matthew has a place at St John’s College Cambridge to read Law and a Choral Scholarship at Jesus College. Harry will be reading Engineering at Hertford College, Oxford, after some quite extraordinary results - he achieved full marks in eight out of the ten papers he sat this year in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry! Marco Galvani secured his place to read Music at Queen’s College, Oxford, where he also has a Choral Scholarship. The Headmaster commented “It’s almost unfair to single out individuals. There are so many star performances. This has been a golden year for our students, with simply outstanding results at every level. It is a pleasure to see our candidates well ahead in securing places on their first choice courses, many at Russell Group universities. “Now our GCSE candidates have excelled themselves, breaking every school record in sight. And all this despite the reported fall in the number of higher grades awarded nationally. It’s a great tribute to the way we teach and the high level of motivation amongst our students. And yet they are not one dimensional: the range of other activities which they are involved in – sport, music, drama, Duke of Edinburgh, CCF and so much more – ensures that they are rounded young people, well prepared to get the most out of life.”

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L to R: Andrew Sherman, Siân Round, Ecce Mert and Lewis Tran

In Focus November 2013

Page 3 meant a lot to them because rugby is their favourite sport and they are always keen to play. After the second trial, the squad was selected and Birkenhead’s own Bijan Hosseini (right) made the cut. He plays prop forward for the School team. Unfortunately, none of the others did but they had given it a good go and should be proud they were considered good enough to play at county level and honoured to be invited to the trials. Maybe next year ... Bijan is not the only one in his year to play for Cheshire though. Hannah Durband, Cameron Marshall, Max Eugeni, Harrison Wild, Max Beardwood and Will Harvey all play for Cheshire or West Cheshire hockey. With some talented sportsman in both Year 7 and Year 8 housed in Overdale, I feel there will be many more Cheshire honours in the year ahead. Seán Carpenter, Yr 8

Mr Rimmer with Sixth Form Prefect Sally Boffey and a group of Year 7s outside Overdale Back L to R Harrison Wild, Hannah Durband, Will Harvey Front L to R: Max Eugeni, Max Beardwood, Cameron Marshall

NEW HEAD OF OVERDALE As the Head Prefect of Overdale this year, I am enjoying the different challenges my position brings. After the first half term, I think things are going well. Everybody has been working hard and we have enjoyed our second Outdoor Pursuits trip together. It has been fun getting to know each other, especially the new pupils in Year 7 and altogether a very pleasant start to my new role. It has been a great experience so far and I am learning a lot too!


Seán Carpenter

WEST CHESHIRE HONOURS At the start of last half term half a dozen from the Year 8 rugby team were invited to West Cheshire rugby trials. On the appointed date, they all travelled to the training ground and practised basic rugby skills whilst they were assessed by the coaches. There were some talented players at the trials as the best under-13 rugby players in West Cheshire had been gathered together that day. All the BS boys gave their all and hoped to make a good impression and be recalled to the second trial, from which the squad would be selected The Birkenhead boys put in the same effort and determination at the second training session, one step nearer to making the illustrious West Cheshire team. It

On Friday 11 October, Birkenhead School hosted its annual immensely popular ‘Birkenhead School’s Got Talent’ competition. The judges are well-known to us; they were Mr Barlow, Mrs McGoldrick, Mr Blain and Mr Roden. It was a wonderful evening with a variety of acts - dancing, singing, comedy and drama. Some of the acts were Overdale pupils and they did well, even though they were up against older pupils. Dionne Lee in Year 7 played a fantastic piece of music on the piano. She said, ‘I thought the night was really fun and a great experience for everyone who took part'. The judges were very pleased with her performance because she is an excellent musician who practises very hard and creates a wonderful sound on the piano. From Year 8, there were three acts. First was Theo Hinton, who is new to the School and to Year 8. He had bravely auditioned to take part in the competition and performed a marvellous dance which he had choreographed himself. I think the audience enjoyed it and Theo said that the whole experience had been very exciting, though he was nervous at times. Nevertheless, he hopes to repeat the experience next year. Another newcomer, Maria Hernán-Gómez Alonso, also danced in the competition. Like Theo, though she was excited to be taking part, she felt very nervous but, despite that, she managed to dance brilliantly. Ctnd overleaf

In Focus November 2013 Last, but certainly not least, were singers Lizzy Howse and Holly FitzHerbert. Holly also accompanied their song on the piano! It was a wonderful performance and all their practising on the previous day and for their audition certainly paid off. Everyone agrees it is a fun and interesting way to raise money. It was also a fantastic experience for all those who took part. A great evening! Well done! Katie Leyland, Yr 8

Two years ago, I auditioned for a place in the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain (NCO). The NCO is an organisation founded by Vivienne Price where children from ages 7 – 14 are able to get together and experience what it is like to play with children of the same musical ability. There are 5 different 1 orchestras called: the Main Orchestra, Under 13s, Under 12s, Under 11s and Training Orchestra. Each year you have to re-audition to see if you are still good enough to be in the NCO. Last year I got a place in the Training Orchestra, a string orchestra only, where I was one of the oldest. This year I am in the Under 11’s which is a full orchestra! This summer, two days after my birthday, I spent a week in Port Regis, a 2 boarding school in Shaftesbury, Dorset, on a residential course. It was a large campus with various buildings in which we were able to practise. During that week, I did more music practice than I had ever done in my life! Each day, though, was also packed with fun things to do as well as two sectional and two full orchestra rehearsals. The first sectional rehearsal was 2-hours long when our tutor would help us with the piece, showing us the best way of doing things. My tutor was quite strict at the beginning but, as the days went by, I began to realise that she wasn’t as bad as we had thought. I was really proud to be made the leader of the 2nd violins. One of the best things about the school was that it had a gigantic tree house with monkey bars underneath, a slide, climbing frame, sliding pole and swings! Every day we had two and a half hours recreation time when we were able to go to the tuck shop, go back to our dorms or to play with friends. The social staff organized all our games and were really supportive and fun to be with. At the end of the course, we played our pieces in a concert for all our parents

Page 4 to see what we had achieved during the week. Normally, after the concert, we would just go home but this year was the 35th anniversary of NCO and so everyone drove to Birmingham for the big concert the following day in the Symphony Hall. All the NCO orchestras, conducted by Robert Hodge and Roger Clarkson (the new Director of the NCO), took part and the Under 11s played Pirates of the Caribbean and Striding Edge. It was definitely a night to remember! I enjoyed both the course and concert immensely and I can’t wait to go to the next one - if I get through the audition! Dionne Lee, Yr 7 3

Photos: 1. & 2. Dionne, 3rd from left, on stage at the Birmingham Symphony Hall 3. Members of all the NCO orchestras on stage at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. The U11 orchestra are performing.

Working out their strategy Overdale pupils playing chess on their giant outdoor board during a lunch break. One of Overdale’s pupils, Lewis Ng in Year 8, is also helping to run the Chess Club in Prep. Photographed right and below , Lew is directs the endgame.

In Focus November 2013

At the beginning of October, Year 7 went on a Geography trip to the Wirral Coast to study the coastal defences. The weather stayed fair and fortunately a gentle offshore breeze kept the sea reasonably calm. This was fortunate, as a north-westerly gale combined with the large tide would have been hazardous! The pupils worked hard and produced good fieldwork notes on how the defence systems protect the coast between New Brighton & Leasowe. In the afternoon, following a nutritious lunch, supplemented by chips and fizzy drinks purchased from the snack bar at Leasowe, Year 7 visited Thurstaston to study some large rotational slips which have caused the clay cliffs to collapse down onto the beach. S Gill

Sian Round, Ben Hillyer and Harri Jones have been running Drama Club for Years 7 & 8 this term on Wednesday lunchtimes from 1pm in Bushell Hall. Last half-term they explored improvisation techniques, including games such as Freeze, Bus Stop, World’s Worst and more. This half-term, they are looking at play and film scripts. Everyone from Years 7 & 8 is welcome; come along and find out more about it.

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As part of their Beyond the Curriculum programme, a group of Year 7s had a cookery lesson in the new Sixth Form kitchens with Suzanne Harvey and Lucy, who run the cooking courses in School. They concentrated on Ancient Roman dishes and cooked up an ambitious menu consisting of asparagus frittata, roasted fish with broccoli and couscous, and rustic bread. Fortunately, the pig’s brain was only for show! Mrs Washington, Head of Classics, talked about cuisine in Ancient Roman times - cooking techniques, the types of food people would have eaten and the differences and similarities between meals then and now. When the dishes were ready everyone sat down, dressed in togas and stolas, to eat. Tableware in Ancient Roman times consisted of bowls, pitchers and glasses and normally people would eat with their hands, though there were spoons and knives, but no forks. Diners would be given bowls of water in which they could wash their hands between courses. Everyone enjoyed the experience and Jamie Stanton commented on how surprised she was by how much she liked the asparagus frittata. She said that she would definitely cook it again!. Siân Round, PU

Ms Kate Stone is BS’s new maths teacher. She grew up in St Helens but this was interrupted at the age of seven when she moved with her family to South Bend, Indiana, for two years. Unlike the rest of her family who, by the end of the stay had even picked up the Indiana twang, Ms Stone missed her friends and was glad to return to St Helens. She attended St Edward’s College and from there she went on to Sheffield University. She comes from a family of teachers and has previously taught at Auckland College and Broughton Hall High School in Liverpool. Her hobbies include dress-making and watching sci-fi films. In her free time, she enjoys reading and one of her favourite books is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She enjoys music by The Pixies, an alternative American Rock band formed in the 80s. One of her most memorable holidays to date was when she went to Italy, where her sister is a teacher in Pistoia, a town near Florence, for the traditional Easter celebrations. Her first impression of Birkenhead School is that it is a welcoming place. In her teaching, she hopes to inspire her pupils and that they will learn to enjoy Maths as much as she does. Siân Round, PU

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This summer, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Malawi and spend time working alongside projects which The Salvation Army in the UK supports. But, where do I begin to describe the experiences I gained whilst there? I landed in the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ with the rest of my team after what seemed like an eternity in the air. It was here that we first learnt what it meant to live on African time. Our group leader rang our African counterpart who informed us she would be

Squashed in the minibus

there in five minutes to collect us. After over an hour of waiting, our hosts finally arrived. Now for our next challenge – suitcase Tetris! How to fit fourteen people and twenty large suitcases into a VW camper van-sized minibus?! Mission accomplished, we travelled to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to the local version of Pizza Hut. Never had I imagined that my first meal in Africa would be my favorite Italian delicacy! After filling up on pizza, we piled back into the minibus and travelled another two hours through a stunning sunset along dirt tracks to reach our accommodation, Kayesa Inn - our home for the next four nights. The following morning, after an early start and breakfast of egg and chips, we headed off to visit the first project – Mchinji Anti-Trafficking Centre. This is a centre for children who have been rescued from the grasp of traffickers, enabling them to go to school and reuniting them with their families. This proved to be the most rewarding and enlightening place I have ever and probably ever will experience. During the next four days, we spent time with the children of the Centre, playing games and sharing experiences with them. I will treasure the memories of this forever. Watching the

Children playing with bubbles whist wearing their precious paper party hats

children take such pleasure in blowing bubbles and their delight in wearing paper party hats was heart-warming. As a group we had collected together stationery and toys to donate to the centre but one of the more unusual things we took with us was a ukulele. We had originally planned to use this as a tool to engage the children in singing. However, it was not meant to be. Gift, a young boy trafficked whilst in search of a job, picked up the ukulele, something which he had never seen before and began to play it! It was a humbling experience. Whilst we were at the centre, we also decorated their building with colourful murals and revamped furniture. It felt good to be able to do something to help the children and to leave our stamp on the centre. It was with sadness on Friday evening that, after sharing a meal with the Painting a mural in the children, we had to leave grounds of Mchinji to prepare for the second phase of our trip the following day. After another seriously early start, we set off on the next phase of our mammoth journey. After eight hours in the minibus, stopping only to visit a roadside market to buy tangerines and roasted maize (which tastes a lot like popcorn!), we arrived in Blantyre, the commercial capital of Malawi. Apparently, a youth mission team from the Our last evening at the Anti-Trafficking Centre

In Focus November 2013

A community bore hole project in Likhubula.

Page 7 were able, if only for a short while, to get internet access. This sounds extremely selfish after the poverty which we had witnessed. However, after 8 days without any contact with loved ones at home, it was a special time that we all valued and reminded us, once again, how fortunate we are here in the UK. The following day a walk up the third tallest mountain in Africa was in prospect. We were all very nervous about whether we would manage the climb but looking forward to seeing the beauty of Malawi from such an altitude. We began the walk at 7.30am and continued for what felt like hours through picturesque scenery and the sounds of wildlife all around us. The highlight had to be the opportunity to sit and watch baboons swing through their natural habitat whilst we ate our lunch, something I’d never dreamt I would get the chance to do.

North West of England is slightly less important than a visit by the Malawian President. Because of that, we were unable to stay where we had planned and were taken instead to different lodgings. Diplomats or not, this accommodation was a major improvement on the first inn we stayed in because it had constant hot water, as well as fried egg and sausages for breakfast!! Sunday brought a time of much needed rest and relaxation along with more pizza but on Monday we took off on another four-hour drive to visit communities who have been given pregnant pigs. This sustainable project teaches families to rear and look after their livestock and, when the piglets are born, be able to sell them on to earn money for themselves. We also visited a bore hole project which now provides clean, safe water for an entire community. It also means that women At the youth congress. Hannah 1st left, front row..

A baboon swinging through the trees on the side of Mount Mulanje and children do not have travel miles to collect water during the middle of the night and so they are less exposed to attacks along the road and the children are not exhausted when they go to school. This visit gave us such insight into how such a simple thing to us as, for example, access to a water supply can cause so much misery in people’s lives and how just a small amount of money can change it. That evening we arrived at the Likhubula Lodge where we

Wednesday, our last full day in Malawi, was a day when we were made to feel like royalty. We left Likhubula to travel back to Blantyre to attend a youth congress. After being marched in to the sound of over five hundred young people singing their welcome to us, we were given front row seats. The youth congress was completely different to anything held in the UK and was really exciting. As it reached lunch time, we were whisked away and taken to our own private dining room where we were given a feast of chicken, beef, goat, rice and nsima – the local food, made from the maize flour grown on their farms. The highlight for me was the opportunity to spend the afternoon looking after a seven week-old baby and a lovely conclusion to my time spent in Malawi. I felt as I’d left the UK for Malawi that I was about to experience things that could change my outlook on life forever, yet never in my wildest dreams did I expect to come home with such a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that I had perhaps had an effect, however small, on the lives of others. I am grateful for being taken out of my comfort zone and for being able to open my heart and mind to the desperate needs of those less fortunate than myself. Hannah Triggs, L6th

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Matthew Williams Oliver Sait Patrick O’Connor

Luke Naylor

Chris Way Alex Watkins

Francis Good Alex Saverimutto

Joe Doyle

Chris Morris

Alex Karus-McElvogue

Harry Sturgess Dimitri Kyriacou

On a beautiful afternoon at Noctorum, a large crowd gathered for the annual School versus Old Birkonians rugby fixture. Our newest Old Birkonians, having recently returned from a very successful rugby tour to Namibia and South Africa, as well as a whistle stop tour of Europe for some extra warm weather training, proved too strong for the inexperienced School team. School started off well under the new leadership of Francis Good but, despite some heroic defence, could not cope with the physicality the Old Birkonians were able to bring to the game. The crowd were soon treated to some magnificent running and offloading as the Old Birkonians powered to a 51 – 0 victory. And so we wish our Old Birkonians well as they set off on new beginnings around the country and hope that many of them continue to play the game, wherever they end up. D. Hendry

Mike Doneo Tom Cornall

Mike Doneo

Conor Boon

Dominic Maddox Will Gollins Ben Unsworth

Nathan Dimitrios

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When I woke up in an unfamiliar room on the first morning of the choir tour this year, I panicked momentarily. Shouts from Sixth Formers soon reassured me and reminded me where I was. It wasn’t madness, it was Truro! The events of the previous day came back to me. It had been a pretty average long bus ride for a School trip. There was extra singing, of course, but that was only to be expected. Upon our arrival at our accommodation, it took my roommate exactly three minutes to set off the fire alarm. We were pretty happy with that, until we found out that other groups had managed it in less. After unpacking, we were unleashed on the Multi-Use Games Area, or ‘muga’ as it was known, for a game of ‘playground’ football. After a day packed up in a coach, the game Chapel Choir in Truro Cathedral with the magnificent Reredos carved in Bath stone by Nathaniel Hitch (1845-1938) behind. was exciting to say the least. I’m not sure a real referee would have approved of the tactics only service-free day, so a trip to the Eden project had been used but anyway, not too many bones were broken. organised. We trudged round the Project in the roasting heat Next day we were up early to cook our own breakfast; it’s and humidity - and that was before we even entered the actual safe to say that some went better than others. Then we biomes! The Skywire was fantastic. It is the longest of its kind in went to Truro Cathedral to rehearse which was an Europe and the mere sight of this ‘wire of death’ is enough to amazing experience. Afterwards, we went to Truro scare off the fainter of heart, and not without reason. Some of bowling alley where we discovered some members of the the lighter-weight choristers (including myself) got stuck. Some Choir were much more competitive than others and which (mentioning no names but, Jamie Stanton) were doing so much turned to more overt aggression around the pound-coinscreaming and guzzling air hockey machine. The ‘good-natured war’ that turning they barely took place left several of us with significantly lightened made it half way. It purses. was a great It was after we returned to campus that the fun really experience though began when Mr Barlow and his gang of U6th thugs stole a and we all enjoyed it. chair from right under the noses of some L6th Formers. Afterwards, we went Luca Galvani and Co immediately declared war on the for dinner at the year above. The night turned nasty as brother fought ‘Warehouse Bistro’ against brother (Marco and Luca Galvani), friend against for a delicious meal. friend (Sam Berkson and Matthew Rogers), and teacher Having been against teacher (Mr Barlow and Mr Clark!). Hostages promised a night were taken (Sybil the Chair and Chris Morris) and hostage swim after the meal, videos were posted on Facebook. Fortunately, all chairs we were side-tracked were returned to their rightful owners before any blood by Dr Galvani’s was split. solemn claim that Next day, after an altogether more successful breakfast, James Corden was in we walked to the railway station. It was a bright, sunny a restaurant down and most people applied sun cream. Mr Barlow wore a the road. It turned out hat. Not just any hat - a ‘cool hat’. to just be someone We had a tour of Pendennis Castle by an incredibly who looked a bit like knowledgeable man, who even managed to beat Mr him so, having Barlow on the ‘cool hat’ front. The Choir sang in the castle wasted time on a wild which was a very cool experience - literally - the baking goose chase, we had hot sun couldn’t penetrate the castle. to get the bus back to A suggested trip to a beach afterwards was rejected our digs. because it would have meant more walking and in the The next day we opposite direction, so we elected for free time in Falmouth went to Flambards, instead. The Strangest Purchase of the Tour award has the Cornish and to go to Matthew Macdonald who bought a pair of quite much smaller expensive ‘Joker’ Converse shoes. If only I’d had a equivalent of Alton camera to capture the look on Mr Clark’s face when towers. I managed to It just goes to show, even Headmasters Matthew quoted the price and showed him the shoes. occasionally have fun! go on several rides Then, after a service including a piece by our resident eight times but it was composer, Galvani in G minor, we returned to campus for still a long, tiring and fun day, and we still had to sing in a another game on the Muga. The following day was the service to face at the end of it!

In Focus November 2013 When we got to the cathedral, we were all exhausted and several choristers, myself included, actually nodded off once or twice during the service - although we managed to revive enough to sing! The next day we went down to Swanpool beach for a session of stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking and afterwards ‘coasteering’ (aka cliff-jumping). It was all great fun, especially plummeting off fifty-foot drops into the sea (okay, maybe not quite fifty…). Later, we sang at a service where both Bronwen and Chris Morris had solos. On the last day, after a morning Eucharist, we had free time in Truro before our final service in the Cathedral. Those of us without parents to drive us home got onto the coach. It wasn’t long before we came to a standstill on the motorway. The slow grind north continued through the night and eight hours later, including an hour’s break at a service station, we arrived home. The choir tour was an incredible experience and one I hope to repeat. I would like to thank all the teachers, especially Mr Barlow for organising the activities and Mr Robinson for

Page 10 organising the music. To all non-choristers, I ask, ‘What are you waiting for? There is nothing else like this in the School, probably in the world, and you are missing out.’ Matthew Oulton, Yr 9

Solar Groups with Professor Moran and inset ‘The Training of the Shrew’ Year 9 and 10 Biology Solar groups recently welcomed Professor Jonathan Moran who came to talk to us about Pitcher plants. Professor Moran attended Glasgow and Edinburgh Universities where he studied zoology. Currently he works at Royal Roads University in Victoria, Canada. His research revolves around Pitcher plants and his studies take him to some of the most exotic places in the world, such as Borneo, Sumatra and parts of Indonesia. There are over 120 species of Pitcher plant in the world (and, says Porfessor Moran, probably a lot more!). These plants are typically carnivorous, feeding on small insects such as ants and beetles, from which the plants get their nitrogen. Insects crawl up to the peristome (the lip or rim) of the pitcher, where they feed on epicuticular wax crystals. Then they return to the hive or nest and bring back with them lots more insects. As these insects go further into the pitcher, they begin to slip off the wax on which they are feeding. To stop them getting out again, the plant has a mixture of enzymes and water at the bottom, out of which the insects

are unable to crawl and instead just slip back in again. Entire colonies can fall into these plants and are then digested by the plant for their nitrogen. This type of Pitcher plants is the most common; the ones in Mr Armstrong’s biology lab were used by Professor Moran to illustrate his talk. Other types of Pitcher plant get nitrogen in other ways. For example, one type of Pitcher plant in Borneo allows bats to sleep inside its pitcher because it gets its nutrients from the bats’ droppings. Another Pitcher plant has evolved its pitcher into the shape of a toilet, complete with lid. A tree shrew sits on this ‘pitcher toilet’, defecating as it eats. The plant then collects the nitrogen from the large amounts of poo deposited in the pitcher. Professor Moran calls it ’The Training of the Shrew’ on his Youtube video. Professor Moran’s talk on novel ways that pitcher plants extract nitrogen and his current and future research plans was truly fascinating. Matthew Macdonald, Yr 10

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In early October, 39 Year 2 children boarded the bus – destination Erddig Hall. After an introductory film, children and staff transformed themselves into Victorian servants and their adventure began. After being split into 4 groups, each group embarked on a different activity. There was making lemonade in the cold kitchen, pretending to be boy servants in the attic, preparing dough to be baked into bread and washing the towels in the laundry. Everyone had a fabulous day, but all were happy to be transported back to 2013 after such tiring activities! Zoë in 2A said, “I thought Erddig was fun. I really liked cleaning the attic,” whilst Alex in 2H said, “I loved making lemonade!” and Henry in 2M, “I liked helping get the beds ready.” A Hendry Year 3 are learning about the Solar System and Space this term. They had fun using the inflatable planets to recreate our Solar System and to orbit around the Sun. The children have learnt that the planets can be divided into two groups – the rocky dwarves and the gassy giants. Christopher commented, “Now I understand why some of the larger planets could float on water.” Earth, the third planet from the sun, is in the goldilocks zone (not too hot and not too cold) and therefore able to sustain life. E. Thuraisingham Q: How does the solar system hold up its pants?

A: With an asteroid belt

Nicholas Morgan, Year 9, gives up a great deal of his spare time to swimming because, to reach his level in the sport isn’t achieved without serious commitment. In July, Nicholas competed in the ASA Age group National Championships 1013 held in Sheffield. He took 39 seconds off his personal best time for the 1500m Freestyle, finishing 6th in the country in his age group. Since then, he has been moved into the High Performance Group 2 which requires him to train for a minimum of 7 sessions per week. He often swims in the morning before School, so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Nicholas is up at the crack of dawn (Nicholas usually sets his alarm for 5.05am - that extra 5 minutes is very important !!!), has his first breakfast and then he leaves for Europa pools at 5.30 am. He is in the water from 5.45-7.30am and back at home for his second breakfast before leaving to get to School on time. On Monday evenings he is at Liverpool aquatic centre for training from 7-9pm getting home for about 9.30 but homework has to be done before he is allowed to go swimming. On Wednesday, Thursday & Friday evenings he leaves home at 4.45pm to go to Europa Pools. He does 15-30 minutes land training and then swims from 5.30-7.30pm. He arrives home at about 8pm, has his dinner and then carries on with homework. Every two or three weeks he trains on a Saturday starting at 7.15am. Nicholas probably swims between 35,000-40,000m per week over 13-15hours The club Nicholas gets support from John Moores University, who provide sports psychology and nutritional support sessions to help cope with the training regime. Nicholas also has to have monthly blood lactate tests to help monitor any changes.

In Focus November 2013

Mrs Christine Walker came to BS initially to teach Philosophy to the 6th Form as part of their Beyond the Curriculum programme. Although still part-time, she is now a member of the RE department, teaching classes throughout the School. Living in Pensby, Mrs Walker originates from Belfast, although she came over to England to live some years ago. She studied Theology at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and then lived in London for a time, where her husband was a solicitor, before they moved back to Cambridge. When Mrs Walker’s husband decided to re-train as a teacher at Edgehill College, the family moved north they have 4 children aged 17, 15,13 and 2 - and both Mr and Mrs Walker taught at Calday for a few years. When asked what she does in her spare time, the reply was that there wasn’t a lot of spare time and that’s understandable with four children at home. However, that’s not all: it transpires she and her husband have also run their own business for two and half years - Voirrey Crafts at Brimstage Hall. Mrs Walker has always enjoyed handicrafts; her particular hobby is knitting - it’s very portable for when she has the odd five minutes to spare! She has already introduced handicraft sessions for children at Brimstage so, if not at BS, Mrs Walker is likely to be knitting a sock! One of the families biggest holidays was a 6-week tour of the USA, taking in New York, Washington, Florida, Las Vegas

Year 4 enjoyed a brisk Autumnal walk around our colourful campus. They were searching for signs of Autumn which would inspire them to create a piece of descriptive writing. ‘Dew lies on leaves like crystals, sparkling in the Autumn sun.’ wrote Charlie, 4C. ‘Gliding golden leaves make an avalanche of Autumn debris that litters the floor.’ from Ben, 4R. And Amy, 4R thought, ‘Early morning sun looks magical with the ghost-like trees fiercely protecting their last remaining leaves.’ whilst Anoushka, 4BC remembered ‘The whispering breeze encourages the leaves to pitter patter softly on my head’ . B Coyne, P Relph, N Crawford

Page 12 (not keen), Arizona (north rim of the Grand Canyon was amazing and quieter than the south side) and Los Angeles. Mrs Walker can always find time to read and favourites include works by Hilary Mantel and Barbara Kinsolver. Like many who work here, she commented on how friendly she found everyone and how responsive and open the students are. She also said that it is a lovely physical environment - a campus with so much outdoor space is a healthy place to be. Editor Jenny Hughes is a new member of the School Admin team. She grew up in Prenton, and went to Birkenhead 6th Form College and then on to Lancaster University where she got a degree in Culture, Media and Communication. She enjoys reading and watching films. Her favourite book is ‘Jane Eyre’ and her favourite film The Shawshank Redemption. She enjoys listening to a broad range of music, including classical, jazz and indie rock. Her most treasured memory was when her fiancé proposed last November. Her first impression of the School was that it was very friendly, with a warm atmosphere (though not always on a Monday morning in the Lodge during the winter) and very polite students. Isabelle Brown, PU

1W presenting their picture to the gallery which was on display throughout the summer holiday.

How excited 1W were at the end of the Summer Term to visit the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to present the gallery with their picture for the ‘Take One Picture’ exhibition. Miss Farnsworth, a student teacher from Edge Hill University, had helped 1W produce a picture of Grace Darling rescuing the survivors of the SS Forfarshire in 1838. They learnt a lot of new art techniques as well as having fun in drama and music with her. They role-played various characters from the rescue and the picture ‘Off to the Fishing grounds’ by Stanhope Forbes (shown in the background of the photo above).

In Focus November 2013

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On 8 October, Amy Naylor, Arran Byers, John Warburton, Danial Alam and Oliver Ainsworth visited the Athenaeum Club in Liverpool for a series of non-competitive debates for older children from schools across Merseyside. The BS team proposed that, considering the rise in youth unemployment in the UK, pupils would be better prepared for the world of work if they had one day off school each week to engage instead in real workexperience. Liverpool College Sixth Form opposed the motion but BS won the debate and their motion was carried by 18 votes to 17. Arran Byers made the opening statement The debates were held in the Athenaeum Library and Danial Alam closed the debate. A lunch and a tour around the Athenaeum’s expansive library followed. Of particular interest was a book signed by Florence Nightingale, as well as being allowed to hold some coins His most famous work is The Cruel Sea, which was made from 330 BC. The Library was founded in 1797 and holds into a film in 1953 by the Ealing Studios starring Jack the Nicholas Monsarrat Collection, a Liverpool-born writer. Hawkins. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day out. Siân Round, PU

2 1 On a glorious Saturday in September, the School Beavers and Cubs (20th Birkenhead) and parents (Photo 1) went on a sponsored walk to Hilbre Island. There were a lot of jellyfish, crabs and fish to be seen on the way and all really enjoyed paddling in and exploring the rock pools (Photo 2). By looking through Mr Britton’s telescope (Photo 3), seals were spotted basking on the sand spit. A couple of seals came to watch too, bobbing up their heads out of the water to see some unusual and rather excited mammals on shore. The Beavers and Cubs were exhausted after their long walk and a day in the sea air (Photo 4). A magnificent sum of £920 was raised which will go to Shree Jugeshwor School in Nepal. All the Beavers and Cubs who took part got a ‘Hikes Away’ badge (5) and an International Partnership award (6) for 3 their efforts. C Winn




In Focus November 2013

On Wednesday 11 September, Year 9 pupils set off on their outdoor pursuits trip to Snowdon. My main objectives over the next few days were to bond with fellow classmates and take advantage of every opportunity that arose. I was excited but also apprehensive, enthusiastic and optimistic! We arrived at a car park where you could get a train to the top of Snowdon and were spilt into different groups for various activities during the afternoon. My group leader was Mr Murdoch and we were to begin with abseiling. I’m not going to lie but I was filled with doubts when I heard this, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from having a go! At the top, our instructor, Tom, didn’t allow us past a certain point, so I couldn’t see how far down it was but I was still uncertain. Then I was on my way down. I had an adrenaline rush and really started to enjoy it. When everyone had finished their abseil, we still had time to try an abseil on another part of the mountain. Then it started to rain and conditions were getting very slippery. At first I refused to abseil but somehow the instructor changed my mind and I ended up going down the slippery mountain with my eyes closed and heart in my mouth. Even so, I managed to enjoy it. After a tiring afternoon, it’s safe to say that everyone was glad to get back to the youth hostel to unpack and freshen up for tea. After tea we divided into our groups and discussed what the plan was for the next day - a walk up Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales!. The next morning everyone was up bright and early for breakfast at 8 am. Everyone made sure that they had a hearty breakfast to generate energy for the challenging walk ahead. By 9.30, most groups had set off for the foot of Snowdon and at 10 our group was beginning the long ascent. At first, the ground was pretty flat but soon started to climb… and climb. We pushed on until a well-earned break for lunch at 1pm. By this time we had completed one third of the journey. My energy levels were still high at this point and I was eager to get on. When we reached the halfway point, I felt my energy levels and determination were starting to be tested. A little voice inside my head kept telling me that I must keep going. The group

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was now approaching more difficult elements on the walk that required skill and willpower. Around 3pm, the group reached cloud level. The conditions became colder and wetter. Tom said the forecast for that afternoon was for rain at 4 o’clock, so the team must push on quickly to avoid a soaking. The mountain was becoming very steep but around 4pm, on schedule, we were happy, proud and relieved to have reached the summit at a height of 1,085 metres above sea level. We felt this was a tremendous achievement and a well-earned reward awaited us in the form of a warm drink and refreshments from the café at the top of Snowdon. Whilst resting before the climb down, Tom confessed that our group had followed the longest and most challenging route and was a huge accomplishment. Unfortunately, just as we set off down the mountain, George Last sprained his ankle and we were caught in a dilemma. We needed to get off the mountain as quickly as possible but George could hardly walk. To save time, Tom heroically carried him on his back. Nevertheless, Tom was not a miracle worker and he started to tire. At this point, Mr Murdoch called Mountain Rescue to come to the aid of George. This required calm and patience from the rest of the group because the conditions were now extremely wet and cold. We worked well as a unit to keep our spirits high. At around 6.30pm the Mountain Rescue team arrived at the scene and assessed George. We were still above the clouds and it had to be decided who was going to stay with George and who was going to lead the group down the mountain. At around 7pm, another instructor met the group to escort us down the mountain, leaving George with Mr Murdoch and Mountain Rescue. Finally, at around 8pm, the group reached the foot of the mountain. Breathing a sigh of relief, we completed the journey back to the youth hostel where a hot meal was waiting for us. That night, as you can imagine, I slept extremely soundly. The next day was our day of departure. After breakfast, we had one final activity before going home. My group’s activity was raft building. After some strong teamwork, we successfully tested our raft on the nearby river. We were given the option of whether to go in the water or not but, true to form, I decided to go in, braving the freezing water. On the way back to Birkenhead, I reflected upon the experience. It had been another amazing trip that had, I felt, tested me to the limit of my endurance and, it is fair to say, I was glad to get back to some home comforts. Charlotte Cullen

In Focus November 2013 On Tuesday 15 October, Year 7 set off on their Latin Trip to Chester, which had once been the largest Roman fortress in Britain, and we were about to find out more. We were split into groups, some visiting the Grosvenor Museum first, whilst others went to the amphitheatre and the Dewa Roman Experience. In the Museum, we were given a talk about Chester and the artefacts which still exist from Roman times. The Romans came to Chester, known by them as Deva Vitrix (after the spirit of the River Dee), in the AD70s and proceeded to build a military base there (castra). This became one of the most important in the Roman Empire, considered to be as important as Londinium, and endured for 200 or more years. The Romans built Chester for their 20th Legion as a strategic position at the centre of Roman Britain, with plans to sail from the River Dee to invade Ireland and North Wales. Our group went on to look in more detail at Roman artefacts, their cuisine and the design and structure of Roman dwellings. We also had to solve the murder mystery of a boy from Roman times using the clues provided by various artefacts laid out on the table. We also talked about the everyday clothing a Legionary would wear. After lunch, we visited the Dewa Experience, going back in time to discover how the Romans lived and how they spent their days. We also went underground to look at parts of an archaeological dig. One part of the dig showed the different layers of building foundations which had been built on top of the Roman layer. Finally we saw the remains of the amphitheatre which was less than half the size it would have been when it was originally built. The Romans would have used it for training soldiers and later on, as Romans and their way of life became accepted in Britain, for entertainment and as a public space. Kevin Wu On our Latin trip, we were interested to learn that Chester comes from the Latin word castra, which means military stronghold, fort or fortress. Before we explored Webster’s Gallery in the Grosvenor Museum, a Roman soldier from Legio XX Valeria Victrix, gave us a talk on Roman weapons and life. Next, we looked at the carved tombstones on display and answered questions about them. We had another talk about where different buildings had been situated during the Roman occupation and Roman cooking utensils, a hypocaust, or Roman heating system, and other Roman artefacts were laid out on tables for us to examine. After lunch, we walked to the Roman amphitheatre, which was fascinating. It used to be an oval shape, but archaeologists have excavated a semicircular arena and created a 3D painting to create a realistic view of what it would have looked like. We went on to the Dewa Roman experience, where we looked at Roman archaeology and explored the history of Chester. The museum had many other interesting Roman artefacts on display and a room with hands-on activities. It was a very interesting trip and I would like to thank all the teachers who took us. Ellie Simpson

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In Focus November 2013

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Street dance finale!

That morning I awoke with excitement because finally it was the day I was going to the Conway Centre on the Year 8 Outdoor Pursuits trip. I drew back the curtains and I wished I hadn’t. Rain bounced against the window pane before running down the glass. It made me irritable. ‘Typical’, I thought, ‘The day I go away it rains!’ Well, that’s the last time I listen to the BBC forecast. My shorts went back in the wardrobe and out came my joggers. When I got into School, I could feel the buzz of excitement. After climbing over a pile of suitcases the equivalent of Everest, I reached my Form room where I had an in-depth discussion about the accommodation. Chilling tales had been passed down from older siblings. Then our Form Tutor, Mr Clark, arrived and gave us a few puzzles to keep us occupied whilst we were waiting to set off. As we left the classroom, the height of our Everest diminished as we collected our luggage. The coach journey passed in a blur of conversation, music and Doodle Jump, and the next thing I knew was that I was staring at a 5-storey block of grey stone with some glass in it. Fortunately, the boys were staying in a cottage called “Penrew” (the girls got the pleasure of the stone block). In our rooms, we discovered that only half the chilling tales were true. Yes, the duvets were wafer thin and there was grass in the beds. However, there was no sign of the local rat or the suspicious yellow stain on a mattress. After a guided tour around campus, we headed to our first activity, Business Games. We had to get as many points as possible for our team by completing challenges involving physical and mental skills. That night we ate dinner and afterwards did street dancing which was fun for the first forty-five minutes, until I rolled and landed on my already damaged knee. Next morning at 7.30am, Mr Roden literally kicked the door down and ordered us to get up. It looked like the day was starting well. After sausages and hash browns, I prepared for my sailing activity. An hour later I was sitting in a Hawk 20, a large keelboat. Our route, a 6-mile round trip down the Menai Straits. On the way out we just sat for the most part because the wind was behind us, but we saw a lot of wildlife. Later, the wind and rain picked up and on the way back I was helming and had a battle to keep the boat straight. Let me assure you, with £18,000 worth of boat in your hands, you don’t want to capsize. That night we created our own masks in the art room which was relaxing after a full day of activities. After I had finished

Calm waters

my Union Jack mask, I turned in for the night. The next morning was the activity we had all looked forward to the most - raft building. Adding to the few points our team had made during the Business Games on the first night, now we successfully built - and sank - a raft. As soon as I arrived home, I dived right into the shower and, as the warm water trickled down my back, I thought, “I have had an amazing experience; I only wish the showers had been warm.” Gregory Wilkinson

Gregory right working on the team raft


In Focus November 2013

Last term when we were in Year 4, a Sixth Former, Luca Galvani came down from Seniors to teach us a special Spanish lesson. We had been learning Italian with Mrs Goldstone all year, so some of us found it a bit confusing when Luca taught us the numbers in Spanish, as they are quite similar. It was a fun lesson, though. Luca told us a few facts about the countries where Spanish is spoken and we practised how to greet one another in Spanish. My favourite part of the lesson was when we played a number game with a giant yellow dice which we had to throw at other pupils so they could say the number in Spanish. When I went on holiday to Javea this summer, I was able to use some of the phrases we had learnt. We have now started German in Year 5, which I am really enjoying. I am also looking forward to starting Chinese in Year 6 with Mr Murdoch. Jimmy Sergi 5P

On 16 October, a very excited group of Pre-Prep children and some equally excited parent helpers boarded a coach to take them to Underwater Street, a children’s discovery centre on the waterfront in Liverpool, for their first ever school trip. Once there, we were able to explore a m yriad of interesting activities including dressing up, lantern making, fridge magnet painting and working on a “real” construction site. We were also treated to a Science Show, where volcanoes erupted and rockets flew, all powered by vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice. The children were enthralled. Some favourite activities were standing inside a giant bubble, panning for gold and, most randomly, painting a real mini car that stands in the corner of the room specifically for that purpose. The children arrived back at School tired out, but full of stories that would make their first school trip a happy memory. A Bentley Jones

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Pre-Prep children have been using all their senses as part of their “Ourselves” topic. To explore their sense of sight, they made glasses with coloured lenses to give them a different view of the world. The children added lots of coloured gems to the rims to make their creations extra special. They then enjoyed a walk around the Pre-Prep grounds, peeping through their glasses to see how the world around them looked. Bobby said, “Wow! Everything’s gone red! “ Dylan looked through his glasses and said, “If I look through this eye, everything’s red, but the other eye makes everything yellow” Imogen Holmes particularly enjoyed decorating her glasses: “I’m putting blue jewels all round in a circle. I like the blue ones, they are very sparkly”

Chloe and Sophie modelling their jewelled glasses.

In Focus November 2013

Just after the start of the Michaelmas Term, Lower Sixth went on their Outdoor Pursuits Trip. After an early start, an excited L6 clan set off by coach on the long journey to Keswick, interrupted briefly to call at the most expensive motorway services in Britain - Tebay services. As soon as the group arrived in Keswick, we hopped on a boat across Ullswater to start a three-hour ramble around the lake, during which we took in the beautiful scenery and fresh air. The purpose of all this, of course, was ‘team-building’! Finally, the teachers let the Lower Sixth relax at their abode for the night: the finest establishment in Keswick - the Youth Hostel! Here chefs cooked up a delicious meal of sausage and mash or, for the vegetarians, vegetable lasagne and to finish, delicious sticky toffee pudding. Then we set off again on foot to the Theatre by the Lake to see a performance of ‘An Inspector Calls’. Despite the fact that half of the year had studied the play for GCSE, we all thoroughly enjoyed the well-acted performance and especially the interpretative dance at the beginning. At first people also had reservations because it was all set in one room but by the end of the play, they found it had made no difference and was a very effective way of staging the play. Exhausted by the day’s activities, everyone fell straight to sleep without any talking. In the morning, the chefs had prepared a full English breakfast for us before everyone went off to Keswick Adventure Centre for a variety of outdoor activities including rock climbing, kayaking, high ropes and Ghyll scrambling. I chose rock climbing and high ropes, really in order to avoid any chance of getting wet! Outdoor activities really aren’t my ’thing’ but I realise it gave me a good opportunity to get to know new people , as well as bonding with people I already knew. At the end of the long day, it was back onto the coach for the journey home, stopping again at the Tebay services where everyone was given £10 to buy dinner, though this barely covered the cost of a drink due to the extortionate prices. Again the group set of for what they thought would be an uninterrupted home run but a further comfort break was necessary for one of the teachers. Nevertheless, we would like to thank all the teachers who accompanied us for a greatly enjoyable trip. Siân Round, PU

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In Focus November 2013

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Recently, Duncan Hendry from Seniors and Natalie Crawford from Prep joined hundreds of other runners to brave the cold on Sunday 26 September for the 13-mile Wirral Half-Marathon race. The pair were raising money for two worthwhile charities, Duncan for SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity), while Natalie, whose brother is in the RAF, raised funds for Help For Heroes. Both completed the inaugural Wirral-Half Marathon with times of 1 hr 47.39 for Duncan and 1 hr 51.51 for Natalie. Duncan said: “We are delighted to have already raised more than £1,300 between us for our charities, thanks to donations from family and friends, as well as the staff and pupils at Birkenhead School. Natalie and I are really grateful for everyone’s support. Duncan said, “I have done a couple of 10Ks so really had to step up a notch for this one. The Smiling at the start of the race. course was tough going but we have put a lot of And still smiling at the end of it! time and effort into training and the money raised will go towards two fantastic charities.” Natalie added: “It was great to have Duncan as a training and running partner because we were both able to really encourage and push each other. As we both live in Heswall, a run home from School became a regular part of our training and we had lots of people from the School waving and giving us support when they saw us en route!” If you wish to make a donation, you can still visit their Just Giving pages or contact them directly.

This year’s Sixth Form Friday Lecture series started off with an informative lecture about studying in Scotland from the Senior UK Student Recruitment Officer at the University of Glasgow, Dr Kate Barrie. This had a great influence on the U6 and many of them have now applied to Scottish universities. The next week, we had a lecture from Freddy Naftel about the Holocaust. This was an eye-opening lecture which made everybody reflective. Our third lecture was from the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors, Julia Moore. She talked about presentation and communication skills which will be very useful for future interviews and presentations. Dr Michael Moreton is an OB who now works as a doctor, specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in China. He told us about medicine in Chinese hospitals as well as giving us exciting information about China in general. Just before half-term, we had a lecture from the National Blood Service which told us about why we should give blood and how it is done. Although this made a couple of people feel faint, it definitely spurred people on to become a donor. The Sixth Form enjoys the Friday Lectures because they are so varied, informative and not necessarily related to our courses of study. They often give us a new perspective and certainly widen our horizons. Siân Round, PU

Pupils at Birkenhead School honoured the fallen this Remembrance Day by planting a field of crosses and poppies. The 183 crosses – planted by 183 pupils from Year 3 to Year 13 – represent the members of the School who died in World War One (96), World War Two (86) and the Korean War (1). The planting followed traditional Prep and Senior Memorial Services and two minutes’ silence at 11am on Monday 11 November. The two parts of the School gathered alongside the School Field, and after a lone bugler (Andrew Sherman, L6th) played the Last Post, 183 pupils placed crosses with poppies in the grass. Each cross represents one of the brave members of the school who lost their life to war. “This is a historic school with a strong focus on community and respect and we recognise the importance of remembering those who gave their lives. The pupils always observe the silence impeccably and this year was no different. “The small field of crosses and poppies will remain in place throughout the week as a reminder of those made the ultimate

In Focus November 2013

Mr Bell’s honeymoon highlight!

I arrived at Birkenhead school as a single man and was amazed at how helpful the staff were at trying to find me a wife. Many colleagues kindly offered to arrange dates with their friends, relations or just about anyone they could think of! Mr Gill however, took it to a whole new level!!! After the school skiing trip, he told me he had seen an advert for an American dating website and had signed me up. In no time my inbox was full with offers from Minnesota to Montana. The final straw came when Mr Blain approached me saying that he would like to get me a date with his neighbour “Big Laura” (I could only hope he was referring to her height). This was the push I needed to take matters into my own hands. I quickly arranged a date in London with Nadia, a stunning Brazilian lady who was a friend of a friend. The more time I spent with Nadia, the more I realised how amazing, beautiful, funny and talented she was. I then started to worry that she was completely out of my league. However, my powers cannot be underestimated and in the end I managed to win her over! It’s truly astonishing what you can do with hypnosis! Most people know that I’m a big fan of football. So by dating a Brazilian woman, I thought all my dreams had come true, as she came from the nation of football fanatics. Sadly, out of 95 million Brazilian women, I had to pick she was the only one who had no interest in football. However, since she has fallen in love with me, she has also fallen madly in love with my team - the mighty Reds, Liverpool. The only slight problem is she doesn’t seem to know it yet. Once the news of my marriage broke in school, I was inundated with offers from pupils wanting to help out at the wedding day. There were so many offers for bridesmaids, that only a few made the cut. I know George Scott and Liam Owen were heartbroken and distraught when their offer wasn’t taken up. On the morning of 13 July 2013, the sun was shining, the church was packed and the threat of Mr Blain turning up with “Big Nev” (his dog) or even “Big Laura” never materialised, so everything was going to plan. Still, I have to confess there were quite a few nervous moments as I waited for my bride who was 25 minutes late! Yet, when she finally walked down the aisle looking stunning, all was well in the world again! After the church service, we headed off in a beautiful vintage Rolls Royce to the Hilton Double Tree for our reception. We had a lovely time but in hindsight I should have warned our guests that my best man suffers from a rare medical condition that causes him to invent fanciful stories - and unfortunately he was in full flow that afternoon! The worrying thing is that he really believes the stories to be true, so I was glad that everyone humoured him during his speech. Even Richard Watson, an Old Birkonian, couldn’t let the occasion pass without getting to

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his feet and adding a few carefully chosen words about the groom. Unfortunately, Mr and Mrs Bell most of the content cannot be repeated in print. The reception was followed by a disco and there are rumours circulating that the bride and groom along with nieces and nephews have been caught on video doing the Gangham style. It was also suggested that a large sum of money was paid to stop it reaching Youtube. I personally couldn’t comment!!!! A few days after our big day, we jetted off to Brazil for our honeymoon. Our first destination was Rio de Janeiro and our hotel was located by the beautiful Copacabana beach. The scenery was stunning and it was very touching that the newly elected Pope dropped everything in his schedule to come and bless our marriage, but I’m still not sure what the other 3 million people were doing there? One of the first things that I organised in Rio was to take my new wife to the newly refurbished Maracanã stadium to watch Vasco play Fluminense (with Vasco winning 4-2). So, let it never be said that I am not a romantic! Among many other beautiful touristic sites in Rio, we visited the Cristo, Sugarloaf Mountain and a ‘favela’ which were all truly amazing in different ways. We also had the unexpected experience of being mugged at knife point in the city centre. Thankfully we were unharmed but my wife had her camera, phone and sun glasses taken. Surprisingly they didn’t take anything from me, something Nadia attributes to the notion that even the criminals in Rio have taste - cheeky thing! After Rio we travelled north to a beach resort in Fortaleza. One of the highlights there was having a go in a dune buggy which was certainly not for the faint hearted! When we got tired of beaches, swimming with turtles, kayaking, water parks, cycling and eating far too much ice cream, we moved on to Conquista where I met Nadia’s family and had another wedding celebration. Her family were so warm, welcoming and generous - I felt like royalty. However, I wasn’t impressed when one of her brothers and his friend said I looked liked Chewbacca (the character from the Star Wars film). Luckily a diplomatic incident was averted when I later found out that they had been saying Schumacher (Michael Schumacher) and not Chewbacca! I guess I can live with that! We finished off our trip in Salvador, which was spectacular and full of history and culture – the perfect place to end our Brazilian adventure. We then flew home to cap the most amazing summer of my life! DA Bell

In Focus November 2013

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Joan Waddell BPS 1997-2013 This term sees the retirement of one of the most recognisable and popular members of The Prep, as Joan Waddell calls time after 16 years of distinguished service to the school. I first met Joan in 1997 when she was appointed as the full time nurse, which was handy for me, as during her first week in the role I managed to gash my hand on a Stanley knife and required a hefty bandage. Joan was duly there to administer the necessary First Aid, along with a large dose of TLC. Leaving the Medical Room (complete with sticker and ice-lolly) it was clear to me that the School was to benefit hugely, now that Joan was among its ranks. It wasn’t long before Joan’s role was extended far beyond tending to nose bleeds and, in less trivial cases, performing minor surgery. Having trained as a classroom assistant, she began working with children across the Primary age range and her ability to engage with young and old alike quickly became apparent to everyone. The confines of the school day were to prove no barrier to Joan, as she undertook the position of After School Care Leader, a role with which I was to assist for a number of years. Indeed, it was under Joan’s tutelage, that my skills in tying shoelaces, wiping runny noses and mass producing jam toasties became finely honed. Joan’s unflappable nature, coupled with an ability to turn her hand to almost anything, ensured she was becoming involved in seemingly all aspects of school life. School trips ran like clockwork, coach company operators were permanently on standby should a fixture require transport, cups were ‘magically’ engraved in time for sports day, charity events appeared to organise themselves. In fact a whole host of teaching and administrative jobs all seemed to become part of Joan’s unending remit. I can categorically state, without fear of contradiction, that if the school had a gerbil, Joan would be the person who would feed it. Joan, it falls to me, on behalf of all the staff and pupils of the School, to wish you a long, healthy and happy retirement. Whilst you casually embark upon your new life of leisure and relaxation, spare a thought for all of us, who are now left with one imponderable on earth are we ever going to replace you? M Stockdale

Rachelle Barton, an Early Years Practitioner in the Nursery and Fun Club Supervisor, and Angie Pratt, an Early Years Practitioner in Pre-Prep, have both celebrated success recently by achieving a Foundation Degree in Early Years Leadership. Both said they were delighted and have now embarked on a third year BA Honours in Early Years Leadership. Photo: Congratulations to them both, pictured at Edge Hill University after their award ceremony. J Dorney

The Michaelmas term has witnessed an exciting new addition to the Prep Curriculum, in the shape of Future Skills Development. This unique and engaging subject aims to prepare children for the skills they require for school, higher education and ultimately their future careers. Pupils in Years 3 to 6 have been participating in a vast array of interesting activities that target their skills development in areas such as communication, teamwork, self-management and critical thinking. Philosophising over mind-expanding questions such as ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Where does the sky begin?’ has initiated great debate in the Year 5 classrooms as part of the Philosophical Enquiry module. One pupil, Aoife, explained, ‘I enjoy the challenge and freedom of thinking about questions with no right or wrong answer.’ Teachers have been delighted by the enthusiastic reaction of children to the programme. In Year 6, pupils have eagerly engaged in learning sign language and taking on the ‘blindfold maze challenge’ as part of their communication module. Archie F in Year 6 commented, ‘The practical nature and variety of activities makes each lesson really fun and interesting.’ Whether it’s debating the big questions or learning new ways to communicate, Prep pupils can look forward to a bright and skills-rich future. R Halpin

Barbara Moore is a laboratory technician in the Chemistry Department. Coming from the local area, she studied at Park High School and then went on to do a Chem istry degree sponsored by Unilever. She worked as a research chemist for the Company for thirteen years before deciding to apply for the job at Birkenhead School. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music (except rap and heavy metal) and reading. Her favourite holiday was to Disneyland Paris and her most treasured memory is of her graduation. Although she hasn’t seen much of Birkenhead School, her first impression is that there are a lot of opportunities for budding scientists and she is looking forward to her time ahead here and getting to know more about the School. Sian Round, PU

In Focus November 2013

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by Elliott Casey Do we have to cross the starting line at the beginning of a never ending? Yes, we have to go. Finding it hard to get the engine roaring, Just we leave the pit box.

The Reception children have settled in well to their new school routine. During the first few weeks, they had the opportunity to tell each other about themselves and their families. The children then began to think about their School ‘family’ as part of the ‘People Who Help Us’ topic. They toured the school, meeting many of the friendly and very helpful staff including the Nurse, the Catering Team, the Estates Team and the Head of Prep’s PA, Mrs Askew. The children also received two very special invitations to visit Mr FitzHerbert and Mr Clark. Following these successful visits, the Reception children then invited the Year 6 to visit them as part of the Buddy Reading system. The purpose of this system is to nurture a love of books and an enthusiasm to read as well as to build friendship bonds between the different age groups. Every Year 6 pupil has been assigned a Reception buddy. During the first week together the children enjoyed showing their Year 6 buddies around the classroom. Each week they now share a wide variety of books with them during the session. All the children involved thoroughly enjoy their time together and feedback from the Year 6 children has proven to be very positive: ‘It’s a great experience for the Reception children to help develop their reading skills and it’s a lovely way to work on our communication skills too.’ Emmeline Barry ‘I’m so impressed with the standard of reading that the Reception children are showing.’ Cameron Brown ‘There is a real feeling of achievement helping your buddy to read and enjoy a book.’ David Turner The Reception staff would like to thank everyone involved in helping to lay those school family foundations for our Reception children. G Mudge

As we all drive towards the concrete jungles. Ingesting the fumes of the racers, All turning round into the first corner, Beginning the long and challenging race. All of us feeling stressed and tired. Speeding through each turn and corner as it comes. Never seeming to end. Asking ourselves when it is ever going to stop. As we grit our teeth, Through the hours of hard laps, We remind ourselves, What is waiting for us at the end the race. As we see the chequered flag round the bend, Passing the finish line never feeling so glad. Returning back to the pit box, Turning off the engine for another day.

Through the charity Starlight, who had approached Bernie Ecclestone on his behalf, Elliott was granted his wish to meet his F1 heroes during a wonderful trip to the Monaco Grand Prix in May. There is a great video of Elliott’s experiences on the Starlight website.

Bernadette Coyne is a new addition to the BPS staff. Following a degree in English and History, she studied for her PGCE at Durham University before embarking on an MA in Local History. She has taught at several primary schools, including Birkenhead High School and Merchant Taylors’ Boys’ School. She then worked as a lawyer for a year but decided to return to teaching. In her spare time, she enjoys musical theatre and travelling, and loves any film which makes her laugh. Her favourite holiday was to Florence in Italy which she describes as a beautiful city. She remarks that her worst experience was tearing a ligament in her ankle on a D of E expedition. The best part of her job is the happy, smiling faces of the children and the worst part is definitely the marking. She hopes in the future to carry on enjoying her life as much as she is now. Siân Round, PU

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An Allegorical Poem by Charlotte Cullen As I start my long hard climb Not worrying about the time There’s a voice inside that tells me no But my heart tells me to go Sometimes the mountain is steep So my spirit I must keep And occasionally I stumble But I try hard not to crumble There are many struggles that arise Every time a little part of me dies Keeping my faith high Constantly asking why People I meet along the wayfriend or foe? I just don’t know Every chance I take Are decisions I have to make Though it seems hard to bear I know I will eventually get there That’s the climb. Year 9 have been studying Allegorical poems in their English classes. Perhaps the most famous Allegorical poem is John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. See also Elliott Casey’s poem on P22.

Kelvin Britton, now in his 28th year as Group Scout Leader, has known and worked with Yvonne for 25 of them. They have had many adventures together over the years and their teamwork is one of the main reasons 20th Birkenhead has endured and gone from strength to strength. Kelvin says that Yvonne, in her role as Akela, has always ‘delivered’. ‘She has always been ’handson’ and prepared to put in the large amount of time and effort it takes to run a Cub pack. She is a safe pair of hands, instilling confidence in parents and cubs alike, although she still manages to give her cubs enough leeway to push themselves and explore their boundaries’. Kelvin observes, ‘In 28 years, we have filled in 2 accident forms about minor incidents and neither of those were to do with Yvonne’. Above all, Yvonne has a great sense of humour— ’Well,’ says Kelvin, ’You’d have to, to work with me all these years!’ There are many memories, of course. Yvonne has been involved in the Gang Shows for more years than Kelvin. He recalls when Yvonne won Best Actress, the same year he was awarded Best Actor as the village idiot! Then there are the

“I have wholeheartedly enjoyed every moment of my twenty five years as Akela of the Birkenhead School Cub Pack!” Yvonne Hazlehurst has given so much to so many over a quarter of a century as Akela, and although she is stepping down as “leader of the pack” she still plans to check up on the cubs to make sure they hold to their promise: “We will do our best.” Yvonne came from a background of Guiding in Greasby and she went on to become a founder leader of the Beaver Colony at 2 nd Greasby Methodist Scout Group. One day, she happened to turn up at Birkenhead School in her uniform when collecting her son, Andrew. Mrs Sue Caroe, Andrew’s Form teacher, was the Akela at that time and she asked Yvonne if she would like to come and help at Cubs. Before long, she found herself being interviewed by Mr Franklin (Head of Prep), and the Group Scout Leader, Freddie Wakelin, OBE. Yvonne was appointed as Akela and the 20 th Birkehhead Pack went from strength to strength. Her contribution to the enrichment of children’s lives is second to none and she has enjoyed every minute of it. “As Akela, I have been privileged to be a part of many young people’s lives both in school and throughout the District, as they have grown and developed into adults.” She has arranged countless cub camps and outings and she has always tried to emphasise the “out” in “Scouting” by having at least one trip per term. Yvonne feels she has been very well supported by many parents, teachers and assistant leaders and she hands over the pack with great confidence to Gillian and Emma Fairclough, who have been her assistant leaders for a number of years. “Akela’s great fun,” beamed Bobby, a new recruit to cubs. “Just the other week we half-filled bottles with water and then pumped air into them. Bang! They took off like rockets! She also lets us put chocolate in bananas and cook them on the camp fire.” When asked what she will miss most, Yvonne replied, ”The children.” Cubs, parents, teachers, assistant leaders and friends everywhere will miss Yvonne very much and we all wish her a long and happy retirement. H FitzHerbert

countless trips and camps. 20th Birkenhead was one of the first scout troops to visit Poland in 1996 when the country was pushing to be accepted into the World Organisation of Scout Movements. ‘When we went, there were still strong remnants of Communism. We stayed in a Polish ’holiday camp’ which was a bit of an eye-opener’, laughs Kelvin. And this year, the School Christmas Bazaar, once a wholly Scout event, will celebrate its 61st year. Yvonne has been a prime mover for over a third of them. Yvonne will know well one of 20th Birkenhead’s special catch-phrases, born out of a trip to York some years ago - ‘Don’t forget to put the safety catch on the squirrel!’ We shall leave it there. Happy retirement, Yvonne. PU

In Focus November 2013

Marco Galvani, one of this year’s crop of OBs (see also page 2), was a composer for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain which performed at London's Albert Hall in August as part of the BBC Proms. The NYO’s Principal Conductor is the renowned Vasily Petrenko, who is also Chief Conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic. Marco said: "It has been a fantastic summer with some real highlights. Being involved in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Albert Hall with Vasily Petrenko and the National Youth Orchestra was amazing.” "I was very proud to have some of my own work performed by the orchestra at the Tate Modern and I was also invited to go to Portugal in September with Queen’s College, where we performed eight concerts in ten days. "Birkenhead School's summer Choir tour was another highlight as I was lucky enough to conduct the choir performing one of my pieces. "It was thrilling to hear the Willis Organ at Truro

Mrs Parry-Jones grew up in Buckinghamshire in West London. She went on to study at Bristol University and graduated in 1978 with a degree in Zoology. Her teacher training was in Liverpool and from there, she went on to teach at Neston High School for 20 years, followed by Birkenhead High School for 13 years. She has 3 children who all live and work in London; her son works on the London Metal Exchange, and her twin daughters are both accountants. Mrs Parry-Jones is keen on sports, enjoying playing tennis, swimming and skiing. Her favourite film is the ‘Shawshank Redemption’ and her favourite book is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. She enjoys listening to music by David Bowie, The Killers and Mumford and Sons. Her most treasured memory is of her children’s graduations. Her worst memory, on the other hand, is of an occasion during her student days when she went sailing and had to be rescued by the RNLI. Her first impressions of the School was that it had a lovely spacious campus. The aspect of the job that she most enjoys is being in the company of young people and the worst is piles of marking! Isabelle Brown, PU

Page 24 Cathedral, which is widely regarded as one of the finest instruments in the country, accompanying my piece with the Choir in full voice.” For the past nine years, Marco has performed with the Chapel Choir every Sunday and for the past two years he has spent his Saturdays at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. He said: "I've played with orchestras and sung in choirs for a long time, but my love for composing music has really developed over the past few years. I enjoy operas, musicals, symphonies, choral works – the whole spectrum. I've got a lot of friends who play instruments which has helped me to compose – you get a feel for how people play which influences what you write for them. Certain events can be inspiring and, when writing religious choral music, I am guided by the words and how they feel. “It's great to experiment with music and try out different techniques and I’m very grateful to BS; the teachers have always supported and encouraged me and given me many opportunities to perform my work at School concerts and private events." We wish him well at university and look forward to hearing more of his music in the future. Editor


Jung went to Mainz University in Germany where she completed MA degrees in English Language & Literature, Medieval & Modern History, and Geography. As part of her courses, she spent a year reading History at Oxford University. Initially, she worked at Glasgow University teaching German, but wanted to return to English Literature and has been working towards a PhD on Daniel Defoe for the past 4 years at the University of Worcester. She has always enjoyed teaching and was told that she had a flair for it, although BS is the first secondary school that she has taught at. Miss Jung has had a good first impression of the School and thinks both staff and students have a good work ethic. In her spare time, she enjoys water sports. During her year at Oxford, she learnt to row and joined the college team. During her time at Worcester, she became very involved in Worcester Rowing Club, culminating in racing at Henley and braving the Tideway in London. She also enjoys sailing and one of her most vivid memories is sailing down the English Channel on a traditional tall ship at dead of night – trying to dodge the crosschannel ferries. The wind was increasing; somebody had to climb the mast and pack away the topsails. Miss Jung (wary of heights at the best of times) and other crew members climbed the mast and then edged out onto the yard – the motion of the ship causing the mast to dip and sway like a rollercoaster. The dark, of course, made the job much worse, so that clipping on the safety harness was essential. Two moments stick in Miss Jung’s mind to this day: the feeling of fear at the top of the mast when she briefly lost her footing – and even more terrifying the emotion when she arrived back on deck and realised she had completely forgotten to attach her safety harness. “Scary to think how easily one could have fallen overboard and been swept away.” As a student, she has enjoyed taking part in various exchanges, not least studying at Oxford, which have enabled her to experience other European cultures. She lists one of her favourite composers is Bach, whom she enjoys listening to while she is working. She is also partial to 18th Century Literature and one of her favourite authors is Eliza Haywood. One of the things she misses living in this country though is German bread! Jacob Swan, PU

In Focus November 2013

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Mr Fitzherbert joins a Reception Class

BS Maths Department organised and hosted a Maths Challenge for Year 5 pupils from primary schools across the Wirral. Eight schools sent teams of four pupils and a teacher to the event, which involved a variety of classroom-based problem-solving challenges, sports activities and teamwork exercises. Avalon School, Black Horse Hill Junior School, Dawpool Primary School, Higher Bebington Junior School, Redcourt School, St Winefride’s RC Primary School, The Firs School and Woodchurch Road Primary School all took part in the challenge. Over the years BS has built up and maintained its ties with local primary schools through events and outreach programmes in Music, Drama and Science. Mrs Salter, who organised the UK Mathematics Trust Challenge said: “The Maths Department wanted to organise something that could become an annual event to which primary schools could look forward before the summer holidays.” There were four rounds in the competition – three in the morning where the teams sat down to think about solving maths problems; then, in the afternoon, the final round involved a lot of physical activity. There was even a relay race in which the runners had to answer maths questions at the same time. Mrs Salter thought that the enthusiasm the children showed was fantastic and the feedback from the primary schools was very positive. They thought the day had been both fun and educational. The teachers said it had really encouraged teamwork and created a friendly environment which enabled all the pupils from the different schools taking part to mix with each other throughout the day. There were prizes and certificates for the winners, who were St Winefride’s RC Primary School in first place, Black Horse Hill Junior School in second and Redcourt School in third. Mrs Salter said, “We’d like to thank everyone who took part and we look to welcoming the schools back next year.” Photo above : The winning team from St Winefride’s Catholic Primary School (from left): Naseem Veevers, Rowan Milner, Joshua Melton and Regan Cowell

Mr FitzHerbert is the new Head of Prep, succeeding Mrs Skelly who retired at Easter. He went to Blundell’s School, in Devon, and graduated from Nottingham University. During his University years, he was heavily involved in drama and almost embarked on a career in theatre. Following his experiences working in Theatre-In-Education, he decided to become a teacher at his old prep school in Devon, where he then studied for his PGCE on the job. He and his wife went on to spend 3 years teaching in Lima, Peru, which is where their love of travelling began. After teaching back in the UK for another ten years, they moved with their children to Spain for Mr FitzHerbert’s first headship at King’s College School, Madrid. Mr FitzHerbert was drawn to Birkenhead School for a number of reasons, but he values in particular the Christian ethos, the through-school education and the great breadth of opportunity for children, whatever their interests. He believes care and respect are the key to a happy and successful education and he feels that combining the School’s sense of tradition with a modern outlook will be an important part of its future development. He has already started to bring some fresh ideas to the School with the “Future Skills” programme, which teaches pupils techniques and skills in communication, teamwork, selfmanagement and problem solving – preparing them for the next stage of their education and ultimately their future careers. Mr FitzHerbert first visited Birkenhead School when he came for interview last October. After a late flight from Madrid, he was shown around the entire campus by Mr Clark in the dark; fortunately he had a tour by daylight the following morning with Marco Galvani, who had just been offered a place at Oxford to read Music. What made an immediate impression was the sense of pride Marco had in showing where his educational journey had begun. Mr FitzHerbert has enjoyed many sports over the years and is still a keen swimmer and tennis player. He believes it’s important to keep fit, but finds that life is often too busy for him to get to the tennis court. He says that Birkenhead School has given him an amazing induction and that he already feels part of the strong School community. On behalf of everybody at Birkenhead School, we would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr FitzHerbert and his family. Jordan Hart, PU

In Focus November 2013

At the end of September, art students from the Sixth Form visited public art galleries in Merseyside; they included Tate Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery and Lady Lever Art Gallery. The purpose of the visit was to acquaint students with the permanent collections of these three major local galleries, as well as their current exhibitions. These quite different collections inform and illustrate students’ A Level studies as well as perhaps guide and inspire their individual projects. Each student approaches the work of an artist in an individual way and will also find one artist more appealing and relevant to their studies than another. For example, the Tate visit gave them the opportunity to see a touring exhibition of Russian artist Marc Chagall, as well as the permanent exhibitions of leading contemporary art. At the Walker Art Gallery they saw previous winning entries of the Biennial John Moores Contemporary Painting Competition, one of the most prestigious competitions in the country. There is a £25,000 prize for the winner, as well as international recognition. Arguably the most famous recipient of the prize to date was David Hockney in 1967. The first competition was held in 1957 and the Prize is named after Sir John Moores (1896 - 1993), a well-known local philanthropist. The competition culminates in an exhibition held at the Walker Art Gallery every two years, which forms a key strand of the Liverpool Biennial Arts Festival. The Lady Lever Gallery had on special exhibition of some beautiful preparation sketches by Burne-Jones, a leading pre -Raphaelite artist, as well as its permanent collection of Victorian paintings, Greek sculptures and fine collection of Wedgewood. A Blain

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Team talk

On a glorious Wednesday afternoon at Noctorum Field, the 1st XV took on Calday Grammar School in the Natwest Cup. Supported by an encouraging crowd, the School started off well under the leadership of new team captain Francis Good. Alex Saverimutto scored the first try of the match, putting the team in good stead for the remainder of the game. At half time it was a draw with both teams having scored 17 points and the team kept going strong. However, despite our team’s best efforts, Calday went on to victory with a final score of 29-22. Hannah

In the thick of it

Congratulations to Kevin Wong, in U6th, who has been named

Wirral and Cheshire Schools Physicist of the Year by the Ogden Trust. Tim Kernaghan, who joined the catering team last year as a chef, is originally from Scotland but came to Birkenhead in 2001 after qualifying as a Painter & Decorator. Unfortunately, an allergy to paint put paid to that career. Since then, he has become a family man with a wife and two children called Adam and Ryan (aged 9 and 12). In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and playing football, as well as taking his boys to their football matches and watching them play. His worst experience was when he nearly chopped off his hand off with a hand saw when he was on his Painting and Decorating course (we do hope he doesn’t have the same problem with kitchen knives!). In his opinion, the best part of working in the kitchen is serving the children and staff at lunchtime and getting to know everyone better. Tim’s ambition is to progress further in his catering career.

Like Tim, Kris Butler joined the catering staff last year as a trainee chef . Unlike Tim, however, Kris is a local boy who worked in roofing with his dad for four years after leaving school. He has three brothers and lived with his grandma for a while until he bought his own house with a friend. His hobbies include disc jockeying and Go Karting. Highlights for Kris to date have been passing his driving test and a holiday to West Palm Beach, Florida. He also thinks the best part of working at Birkenhead School is getting to know the children but the downside is having to get up so early to come into work. One day, he thinks he might like to work abroad. Fay McFarlane, PU

In Focus November 2013

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7 14








5 3


2 4

15 1

Student Council 2013/14 Following a busy October in which the Student Council organised the hugely successful Birkenhead School’s Got Talent, the Council held an election to appoint the council members for this academic year. After a hugely competitive election process across all years to elect 2 members from each year, I am pleased to announce the following are this year’s Council members: Mairead Anderson



Toby Brown



Jamie Cottier



Harry Lloyd Craig Wynne


4 5

James Hennessy


Not on photo

Tom Corran



Henry Dean



Elliot Kirkbride-White



George Kirkby



Dominic Fowler-Williams



Robert Hilton



Frederick Gollins



Matt Dixon



Linh Mah UVIMH 15 We hope they carry on the good work of the previous council who were arguably the most successful and engaging Council for some time. This momentum shall be carried forward this year by Arran Byers (Photo: 16) (Chairman of the Student Council) and Sam Berkson (Photo: 17) (Deputy Chair of Student Council) who both look forward to working with the whole School to build on the Council’s reputation and hopefully the School’s reputation also. If you were disheartened not to gain a place on this year’s Council, do not despair as special measures may be taken through the course of the year to develop the Council if it is seen fit to do so. Plans for this year range from improving our environmental awareness, charity work and, we hope, working on upgrading current common rooms. This is all dependant though on your cooperation, support and endearing spirit to help this new council shape a better School for us all. A Byers, U6th

Linh Mah and Matt Dixon, two of the new representatives on the Student Council, gave their perspective on its aims. Linh, who joined the School this term, was a Council representative at her previous school. She hopes her previous experience will make her more useful: for example, in sharing how things worked at her old school and whether one approach worked better than another. Both believe it is important to have a Council because it is a convenient vehicle through which students can give voice to their ideas for change and share feelings or concerns. The Council can also, for example, help to promote and raise awareness of individual endeavour or group events relating to fundraising for charity. Council members are well-known to students, particularly those representatives of a particular year. As such, they are perhaps more approac hable than teachers , particularly for the younger students. As Matt put it, ‘We act as the buffer between students and staff’.

Anna Rushton is amongst the latest additions to Prep. She studied at Homerton College, Cambridge University, where she took one of the extra-curricular activities Cambridge is renowned for - rowing. She spent 2 years teaching at an RAF base in Cyprus, which she found enjoyable but challenging, because students were never in the class for very long. Whilst in Cyprus, she spent a lot of her spare time enjoying water sports and even tried her hand at flying a light aircraft! Her favourite films are ‘chick flicks’ and she also enjoys romantic books. W hen ask ed what her first impression of the School was, she said it was the friendly atmosphere and she has been overwhelmed by how welcoming everyone has been, stating “It’s the best school I’ve ever worked in”. Jordan Hart, PU

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Sameer Alam James Austin Alex Barria-Norton Eleanor Bates Sarah Bibby Andrew Crosby Bruno de Blaquière Nathan Demetrios Michael Doneo Joseph Doyle Alastair Forster Marco Galvani Nicholas Gill William Gollins Alice Hancock Callum Hepton Jack Hulmes Alexander Ivory Tom Jarvis Gabriel Jones

Biochemistry Criminology Portuguese (Beginners) and Spanish Law and Criminology Chemistry with Study Abroad Sport and Exercise Science Medicine Law with Business Studies Ancient History Sport and Exercise Science Gap Year Music Politics and Economics Chemistry Criminology and Sociology Accounting and Finance Mathematics Business Management Mathematics of Finance Chemical Engineering

Liverpool Leeds Metropolitan Nottingham Sheffield Newcastle Leeds Metropolitan King's College London Liverpool Newcastle Loughborough

Tarun Kodavatiganti

Mechanical Engineering


Demitri Kyriacou

International Business +a Year in Industry


Georgia Lamb

Human Communication Sciences


Ian Loch Charlotte Lytollis

Mechanical Engineering Gap Year


Charles McCulloch



Harry McGee

Physics with Astrophysics (4 years)


Louis McGrath


Imperial College London

Oliver Mills Jonathan Moia Christopher Morris Mackenzie Newton-Jones Harley Price Oscar Ratnaike

BTEC English Medicine Business Studies Accounting and Finance Drama

Wirral Metropolitan College Liverpool John Moores Leeds Northumbria Swansea Huddersfield

Matthew Rogers


Cambridge (St John's College)

Jamie Russell



Aarush Sajjad Edward Sherrard Harry Smethurst Jake Sowerbutts Rohith Srinivasan Edward Stott Henry Sturgess Emily Subhedar Georgina Sudderick Edward Thomas Samuel Thompson Jack Walker Alexander Watkins Jack Watson Thomas Weller Jonathan Welsh Ashley Williams Thomas Williams Thomas Woollons Ben Winskill Zarif Zaman

Biochemistry Dentistry Music Criminology Medicine Zoology Engineering (4 years) Psychology Trainee Accountant Archaeology & Ancient History & Geography Real Estate Economics with Management Science Gap Year Law Physical Geography Chemistry (4 years) International Business Gap Year Economics Employment Chemical Engineering

Liverpool Newcastle Newcastle Chester Sheffield Leeds Oxford (Hertford College) Newcastle Howard Worth Accountancy Birmingham West of England Edinburgh

Oxford (The Queen's College) Nottingham Newcastle Sheffield Hallam Brunel Bath Sheffield Sheffield Newcastle

Southampton Aberystwyth Nottingham Leeds Newcastle Manchester

In Focus November 2013

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During the summer holidays, Indira Sharma (Year 6), Tiya Sharma (Year 4) and Aaliah Barwick (Year 4) took part in a Triathlon organised by ’Human Race’ at Eton Dorney, Windsor. They did a 100m swim, 3KM bike ride and a 1km run. Despite it being almost 30 degrees celsius, Tiya managed the events in a time of 0:26:24, Indira 0:22.49 and Aaliah 0:25:02. They all agreed, “We had lots of fun!”

Congratulations to Shikhar Kumar in Year 9. After competing in the Junior Mathematics Individual Challenge last year, Shikhar was one of 1200 British students invited to participate in the Junior Mathematical O l ym piad or ganis ed b y the Mathematics Trust. It consisted of a 2 hour paper with more challenging Maths questions. He was in the top 25% of scorers and received a certificate of distinction and a bronze medal. The colour of the medal was determined by the scores across the two sections of the paper.

Congratulations go to Emily McNiffe in Year 7 on her recent success in bringing 4 trophies home from a recent competition organised by her club, Birkenhead Karate Academy. She is now looking forward to competing in the regional competitions next April. Emily has been learning Karate for three years and has reached her 4th grade, the Yellow belt. She hopes to get to the next grade, her Blue belt, soon. There are 10 Karate belts in all, ranging from White to Black. We wish Emily luck in her next competitions.

Jack Granby, who left in 2012, and Marco Galvani, former members of BarLine and Chapel Choir, were re-united in song at Oxford University recently when they sang together at a concert given by the choirs of Exeter College and Queen’s College, where they are studying Chemistry and Music respectively.

OB Team 2013

1st XI 2013

Kneeling l to r: Tom Warren, Richard Jones Standing l to r: Tom Weller, Luke Weller, James Knight, David Duncan, Charles McCulloch, Ed Thomas, Tom Hallett, Ian Loch, Sean Smith, Ed Sherrard, James Boumphrey, Robert Mathew-Jones, Ollie Mills,, Tom Betts, Nick Warren

Back row l to r: Oliver Gilding, Josh Bramwell, James O’Neill, Oliver Ainsworth, Dominic Fowler-Williams, Luca Galvani, Devan Darshane, Harrison Catherall Front row l to r: Oliver George, Jack Redhead, Edward George, Robert Chapman, Luke Filer, Sam Berkson, Kyle Ho

The hockey match between OBs and the School’s new 1st XI during the Old Birkonian weekend was a good way to catch up with former and current pupils from a wide range of years. As well as being competitive, it was a good laugh. I would like to say thanks to Mr Edmunds and Mr Aldridge for umpiring the game. I would also like to wish the 1st team good luck this year! The OBs, by the way, won 7-2. Ollie Mills

In Focus November 2013

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Having represented Pennine Pumas at the Futures Cup in Cannock during half term, Annie Mills, Year 11, has now been selected for England U16 Hockey NAGS Assessment Camp at Lilleshall on the 16 and 17 November. If she is successful at the assessment camp she is then in the U16 England hockey squad. Annie with the cup after the Penine Pumas won U16 age group for the first time ever!

An extract from Cameron Marshall’s account of Year 8s Outdoor Pursuits trip. We were heading towards a bridge, so we all had to concentrate. If we hit the support pillars, our boat might sink! The keel boat swayed from side to side as we entered a small whirlpool and water sprayed up, drenching us to the skin. This was going to be tough. We were sailing down the Menai Straits to Beaumaris where we would stop for lunch but the waves were getting bigger by the minute and it was taking longer than planned … As I looked back, I saw the Conway Centre disappear round the bend. Then I remembered my family waving goodbye only the morning before. On the coach, Max Eugeni was sitting next to me and we babbled away about how good the trip had been last year and our hopes for this. Suddenly -“Jibe Ho!”, cried our instructor. We were about to turn and everyone needed to be ready or the wind could blow us over as easily as if we were a feather. The rain poured down faster than bullets, crashing down hard on our heads – we were going to be sopping by the time we got back. Eventually, we docked safely at Beaumaris – it always reminds me of Balamory with its different coloured houses. With that wonderful view, we ate our lunch then settled down to rest, but it was short-lived as we needed to head back to the Conway Centre for tea. Although the journey back was undeniably hard, everyone had a great time. We had to focus now and be ready to change sides at any moment. Everyone in our boat had a go at steering and it was great fun, although when it was your turn, you felt everyone else’s lives were in your hands for those few terrifying moments when you tacked and water came gushing over the sides. Then someone would quickly balance out the boat and all were safe again.

by Abi Saverimutto I woke up with great excitement about my trip to Cornwall with the Chapel Choir accompanied by brave teachers Mr Barlow, Mr Clark, Mr Smale, Mrs Nolan and of course our musical director Mr Robinson. Then it dawned on me that I was about to endure an eight hour coach journey! Nevertheless, it all went quite smoothly with the help of a few travel sickness pills. We stayed at the University Campus which I thought was really nice. All the girls had our own flat with en suite bathrooms and a kitchen. We had a choir practice on arrival followed by dinner and a few games, but then extreme tiredness struck. The first night was tough for me though, because I had consumed more than my body weight in sweets on the journey, I was hyper all night! For the first three days we cooked our own breakfast with the lovely Mrs Nolan to help us which was fun. Seeing Truro Cathedral and rehearsing in it for the first time on the Tuesday was impressive. I thought it was a beautiful design. We all went to Truro Bowling Allley afterwards but I was pretty disappointed with myself for not getting any strikes, but you can't win 'em all! After lunch, we had free time to explore Truro, which I thought was pretty. Each evening the choir sang at Evensong in the Cathedral, a great experience which was always followed by a yummy dinner and free time in the multi-use games area. On Wednesday we caught a train to Pendennis castle and had time to explore before rehearsing in a room with fantastic acoustics. Thursday was our visit to the Eden Project. It has the longest zip wire in the UK measuring 660m long! The bravest amongst us got kitted out, and I was very impressed with Mr Smale for going first in our group. When it came to my turn I was filled with excitement and fear, but it was amazing and I felt like I was flying like a bird looking over a little lego construction. It was exhilarating! That Thursday evening we all went out for a fancy dinner at Falmouth "Warehouse Bistro". So I put on my "glad rags" and I think I kept everyone in the restaurant entertained with my magic tricks. I even made £1 profit to spend in Tesco Express on the way back to campus. Yes, more sweets! My room mate Jamie Stanton and I were very excited on Friday morning when we awoke, as we were all going to Flambards Theme Park. It was great fun there and Sam Bowler won the award on the Space Saucers for the best impression of being dead for the entire ride. Well done Sam! Then it was back to the Cathedral for Evensong, dinner, more games, then sleep - another great day. We all hit Swanpool Beach on Saturday for water-based activities. What a sight we all looked in our wet suits! The girls canoed and stand-up paddle boarding with a very nice instructor, but the water was freezing even though the weather was glorious. I was terrified at the prospect of the next challenge! It was basically jumping off the cliffs into the water, obviously under safe instruction. Anu was very eager and enthusiastic about it, so I pulled myself together and just went for it! It gave me a massive BUZZ as I hit the water, even though my wet shoes came flying off! I felt a bit sad on Saturday night when we had to start packing; I didn't want the holiday to end. On Sunday morning the Choir sang in a packed Cathedral for the Eucharist. It was a lovely experience to have such a huge audience there to hear our singing. I can honestly say that I had a superb holiday with great company and many happy memories, especially as it was my first time away from home! I would like to thank all the teachers (and Mum & Dad) for giving me this opportunity, and I can't wait for the next Chapel Choir adventure!

In Focus November 2013

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BIRKENHEAD SCHOOL 3 months to 3 years Full and part time places available Full days 8.00am -6.00pm Mornings 8.00am – 12.30pm Afternoons 1.30pm – 6.00pm By selecting Birkenhead School Nursery you are choosing for your child to enter the first phase of our Early Years provision that cares for children ages 3 months to 3 years. As your child becomes a rising three they will steadily progress through to our second phase where they are cared for and educated in the Pre-Prep situated in Kingsmead Road South. The Nursery is open 50 weeks of the year 8.00am to 6.00pm. The Nursery has its own secure outdoor play area, with natural shelter where the children can enjoy fresh air, whatever the weather. The outdoor baby terrace means, even our youngest children can experience variations in weather and can be offered freedom to explore and be physically active and exuberant. Being situated within the superb grounds of Birkenhead School, we have easy access for walks and exploration of our natural environment. The Nursery has achieved ‘Health Promoting Early Years Status’ in recognition of our knowledge and application of personal social education, healthy eating, physical activity, active play and emotional health and well being. In support of this status, our Nursery Chef prepares and cooks nutritionally balanced meals, tailored to children’s individual dietary requirements and the School Nurse, who specialises in paediatric nursing, gives guidance on medical issues. Every child deserves the best possible start in life and support to fulfil their potential. A child’s experience in the early years has a major impact on their future life chances. We provide a secure, safe and happy environment that lays the foundation for your child to make the most of their abilities and talents as they grow up. For further information or to arrange a visit, please contact Jan Dorney on 0151 651 3041 or e mail

In Focus November 2013

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In Focus, November 2013  

The School's magazine for November 2013

In Focus, November 2013  

The School's magazine for November 2013