IN focus BIRKENHEAD SCHOOL MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 2017
Roundup Music Exam Results Sports Fixtures Departmental Highlights
News Students visit NASA Outdoor Classroom Opens
Achievements Â£2,300 raised for Claire House
We welcome children from all schools
An exciting range of holiday courses for boys and girls aged 4-15 years
4 - 5 YEARS
5 - 7 YEARS
7 - 15 Y E A R S
INSIDE THIS ISSUE 3
10 English 12
14 Classics 15
History / Geography
16 Languages 17 Maths 18 Science 20 Design and Technology 21
24 Sport 29 Co-curricular 30 Charity 32 PA / Ladiesâ€™ Committee 33 Chaplaincy 34 Sixth Form Leavers 36 Old Birkonian Society Bulletin
From the Headmaster Whether a current or former pupil, member of staff, parent or prospective parent, I am delighted to welcome you to the latest edition of InFocus. It serves as both a record of the many opportunities enjoyed by our pupils, but also a statement of our educational philosophy as a School. We believe in striving for academic excellence for all pupils while providing an outstanding breadth of opportunities so that every pupil can find their passion in life, and follow it throughout. In knowing each individual, Birkenhead School is a unique community and this edition provides a snapshot through which to celebrate it. Over the coming few years, I look forward to future editions of the School magazine capturing our celebration of being independent, having that freedom to inspire our pupils and to give them the skills to enrich their own lives and that of their communities. We will develop our curriculum and facilities accordingly and continue to produce young men and women that are interested and interesting, confident yet not arrogant.
The Good Schools’ Guide, reviewed in May 2017 says of our pupils that they are ‘Polite, articulate, confident, inquisitive and conscientious without any trace of entitlement or superiority.’ Of the School, its review finishes: ‘Its age may make it appear traditional to the outside, but there is a fierce streak of innovation running through all areas that indicates it does not rest on past glories.’ If we can live up to these accolades, I will be very proud of all who contribute to our community.
From the Head of Prep It’s the beginning of June and the School is a hive of activity. Exams are over, the children have found out who will be their Form Teacher next year and we’re all hoping for fine weather for our Sports Days. The second half of the Summer Term is a wonderful time of year where we see the culmination of a huge amount of endeavour and we gather as a community for some really special events, celebrating the year we’ve had and looking forward with excitement to the next one. The end-ofyear, though, is always tinged with sadness as we say goodbye to staff and pupil leavers. In this edition of InFocus, you will be able to read about the contribution of two wonderful members of staff who leave us this year. Dr Sue Jarvis is retiring after 19 years as Form Teacher and Science specialist. And Miss Jayne Millington is moving on after 27 years as a Teaching Assistant. Our heart-felt thanks go to Sue and Jayne and we send all good wishes for a very happy future. As I write, Year 6 pupils are busy rehearsing for their musical production, The Wind in the Willows, the pupils of Little School are practising the songs for their Summer Concert and Pre-Prep are rehearsing for their Summer Sing-along. Our brand new Outdoor Classroom is now finished and we’re looking forward to the grand opening. The build was undertaken entirely by our Estates Team and I would like to say a big thank you to Carl Williams, our Estates Manager, to Peter and Paul for their wonderful carpentry and joinery and to the whole Estates Team for their unstinting help and support throughout the project. And a big thank you to the Parents’ Association for the generous funds donated to help us furnish and equip this fantastic new space.
Well, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this issue of InFocus, which gives an insight into some of the amazing opportunities our children have had over the last six months. Just to entice you, I’ll mention a few: Nursery visiting the Senior Library; Reception visiting Chester Zoo; World Book Day with children’s author, Charlie Lea, who I’m delighted to say will be our Prize-giving Speaker this year; the Year 3 Caribbean Project; Year 5’s visit to the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry; the Sports Report; the Summer Concert; Sign Choir and Climbing Club. These unique and varied opportunities build confidence and skills, preparing the children for the future and giving them many happy memories of the past. So, as we embark on our Summer Holidays, let’s take time to have a good read of InFocus, reflecting on a really successful year as we look forward to the many opportunities ahead. I wish you all a very happy holiday.
Prefects Announced The Senior Prefect team for the academic year 2017-18 has been announced, with congratulations going to: Edward Azurdia, Nikolai Baron, Edward Brodbelt, Elliott Casey, Joshua Coyne, Charlotte Cullen, Adrian Dyu, Caroline Hurst, Phoebe James, Paul Keenan, Shikhar Kumar, Safa Miller, Annabelle Morton, Matthew Oulton, Alexander Poulson, Jack Pritchard, Katherine Rutherford, Daniel Walker, Thom Walker, and Claudia Webster.
Overdale Prefects The Overdale Prefects have been announced, with Rebecca Hennessy named as Head Girl of Overdale and Alex Parkinson as Head Boy. Deputy Head Prefects are Cameron Walker and Olivia Watson.
The other prefects will be John Cottier, Charlotte Dowell, Dan Edwards, Amy Gaskell, Isabella Heckstall-Smith, Anoushka Kapoor, Jamie Price, and Scarlett Walters. Congratulations to them all.
The Overdale Prefect Team for 2017-18
Thank you to the Ladies’ Committee
Following an illustrious period of dedication and commitment to Birkenhead School, t he Ladies’ Committee will disband at the end of this academic year. The Ladies’ Committee have been a pillar of the School community for many years, with members offering their time to ensure the smooth running of many School events and activities, while also raising valuable funds. Wife of former Headmaster John Gwilliam, Pegi Gwilliam headed up the Committee from 1963 to 1988, followed by Stuart Haggett’s wife Joy who took the position until 2003. Alison Jones, a School parent, took over as Chair from 2003, with Sara Hatherly, the current Chair, now stepping down after
nearly five years. Ann Roberts, Sheila Brew, and many others were also very active on the Committee, and gave up much of their time to contribute and help with the running of match teas and the tuck shop facilities. The Ladies’ Committee have raised funds for many items for the School over the years, including cassocks for the Chapel Choir, sports kit and tour uniforms, sewing machines for the art rooms and cameras for the camera club. The Birkenhead School community are eternally grateful for the time, effort, and dedication of all of the members of the Ladies’ Committee over the years and wish them well for the future.
Reception Animal Adventure
New Outdoor Classroom
The Estates Team have been working hard on building a new Outdoor Classroom, which is located outside Old School House in Prep. Their tireless efforts and commitment to the project, as well as their skill and creativity, have meant that the beautiful new bespoke classroom has been able to be used during the Summer term for a range of different activities. The classroom provides an area where children can discover the outside world and gain additional experiences in their learning environment. Already, activities such as assemblies, lessons, reading, and seed planting have taken place, with music events and
holiday clubs also planning to use the space. Tremendous thanks are given to the Estates Team for providing the School with this wonderful asset.
In May the Reception children and staff went on a wonderful day out to Chester Zoo. They attended an informative session on ‘Curious Creatures’ and this gave them the opportunity to look at various objects and identify which
The classes had an opportunity to explore the zoo, which has over 15,000 animals and 500 different species. They saw giraffes, chimpanzees, penguins, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, elephants and lots more. Some even braved exploring the fruit bat forest. A fantastic day was had by all and the Reception staff and children would like to thank all the parents who helped on the trip.
Large nosed characters take over Birkenhead School The children of Junior Prep were thrilled to welcome one of their favourite authors, Jim Smith of the famous ‘Barry Loser’ series of books. Held in Bushell Hall, children from Year’s 3 to 6 gathered together for a workshop with Jim, where he showed them how to draw some of his famous ‘large nosed’ characters, and chatted with them about ideas for adventures that Barry and his friends could go on next. Jim told the children, “I decided I wanted to be a cartoonist as it’s a really quick and fun way to draw,” and suggested that they try creating their own characters and stories themselves. As a special treat, each child who had pre-ordered one of Jim’s books – including his brand new book ‘Barry Loser and the Birthday Billions’ had their own signed portrait drawn in to the front of their new books, much to the children’s delight. Hayley Sewell, Prep English Coordinator, said, “We are so grateful to the organisers of this event. Jim was a real inspiration to the children and they had a great time learning about his
animal they belong to. Then they had to sort animals into big, fast, underwater, colourful or nocturnal.
characters and how to draw them. We look forward to providing more events like this for our pupils in the future.” The event was organised with Linghams Booksellers in Heswall, and Egmont UK, who publish the ‘Barry Loser’ books. Owner of Linghams, Sue Porter, said, “What a brilliant day working with an excellent school. Thank you so much for letting us come, we loved it, and special thanks to Authors Aloud UK and Jim Smith.”
Nursery Water Babies Children in Nursery have been delighted with the warm weather as it has meant that they have been able to have lots of fun in the sun in their very own paddling pools. Nursery have recently benefitted from funding from the Parents’ Association so that they will be able to purchase additional outdoor play equipment to keep their young minds active through play.
Dr Jarvis Retires
It is with a certain sadness I bid farewell to my colleague and good friend, Sue Jarvis. Having had a varied career with MAFF (now DEFRA) as a government scientist and then eight years working for Unilever, Sue joined Birkenhead School in September 1998, having completed her PGCE at Chester University. She has imparted her vast scientific knowledge to many pupils, having taught Science to pupils ranging from Year 3 to Year 9, in addition to being a Prep Form teacher. Sue will be remembered for making lessons fun and inspirational. Mr Lindberg was heard to say, ‘Dr Jarvis is a walking health and safety hazard,’ as she attempted to teach Thermite Reaction to Year 9s dressed in a toga! Sue’s laugh is extremely infectious and brightens up the staff room every day – something which we will all miss. With any
activity the pupils carry out, you will always find Sue participating fully: dressing up as Dolly the Sheep, an American soldier and a Roman Senator to mention just a few. My favourite memories have been from PGL holidays where she capsized her canoe numerous times and then realised she did not have any dry clothes left! During her retirement, she is hoping to travel, continue her love of reading, grow vegetables and gain some wine qualifications. Thank you for the great impact you have made on Birkenhead School during your time here, Sue, and, on a personal note, a special thank you for your advice and great friendship over the years. We wish you well in your retirement.
Attempts to clone Linda Garner fail Mrs Linda Garner came to us as a Science technician in 2003 from Upton Hall School. Despite our expertise in the Biology department, we have been unable to perfect the cloning of Linda before her retirement. Let me describe some of the failed attempts that were produced: One of the unsuccessful cloning attempts (code: EFFIC-0) produced a copy of Linda that was void of her remarkable efficiency. While the physical form looked like Linda and even possessed the softer human qualities that make her a delight to work with, EFFIC-0 was unable to multitask and cope with competing demands. The real Linda, however, is able to organise lab equipment in several classrooms downstairs, while simultaneously clearing away used equipment in several classrooms upstairs. There is a window of only a few minutes to achieve this, unless you count the break times and lunchtimes that she often works into. The real Linda can regularly accommodate immediate requests, often bordering on the unreasonable. Another failed cloning attempt (code: MINDR-0) produced a version of Linda that, unfortunately, could not read minds. Perhaps it would be unfair for our advert for a new technician to include ‘mindreading’ as one of the desirable characteristics, but we will certainly miss this element of Linda’s skill set. On many occasions, we would approach her with an idea, only to discover that a better design was already being implemented in the background. Like the real Linda, however, MINDR-0 was able to interact very well with the pupils in the context of science clubs and fairs and contribute to the wide co-curricular
programme in her characteristically inconspicuous manner. A recent clone (code: SOLUT-0) showed a lot of promise as it mimicked the real Linda’s eagerness to attend technician courses and conferences and bring back and implement lots of innovative ideas in the department. It was also a valuable contributor to a number of technician forums and groups; no doubt of great help to technicians in other schools who knew her by name only. However, this clone could not have masqueraded as Linda for long. One distinguishing feature of the real Linda is that she would not only approach us with problems, but would accompany them with a variety of pre-thought solutions for us to take our pick. The clone attempt that came closest to the real Linda was EXTRA-0. This copy had a meticulous approach to its work and was able to modify practical activities to make them really work for the pupils, but it did not go the extra mile. Among the many examples that could be mentioned, the real Linda would spend any quieter periods (a relative term), reading through scientific articles and cataloguing them according to keywords or watching useful TV programmes and writing helpful summaries of each timed section. It goes without saying that we will miss Linda from Birkenhead School and I can imagine that for some time to come, we will discover things that she did that we were not aware of in order to maintain the smooth running of the department. We wish her the very best for her retirement, with all of the joy that comes with spending more time with family and hobbies. Many thanks from all of us!
Goodbye to Mrs Millington Jayne Millington has had a long and loyal association with the School dating back to 1993 when she joined as an NNEB working in Kindergarten spanning seven years, working alongside Cerys Cooper, Sandra Porter and Lee Mortimer. After a brief spell in Little School, Jayne and her family moved to live and work in Holland. In 2007 the school welcomed Jayne back, and over the next ten years she has worked in Reception, Year 1 and 2 but for the majority of this time worked alongside Allison Bentley-Jones and the team in Pre-Prep. Mrs Bentley-Jones said, “I first worked with Jayne on my arrival at Birkenhead School in September 2008. Warm and welcoming from the very start, she helped me to settle into the school and quickly became a good friend as well as a colleague. After her move from Pre-Prep to Little School, we still met to catch up and chat about our lives. I know that she will make the most of her new opportunities, both personally and professionally.”
Chaplain Sian Howell-Jones Sian joined the School as Chaplain in 2014 at the start of the Lent Term. Since this time she has contributed greatly to our School community, not only in Chapel and as an RE teacher, but in the b r o ad e r pa st or a l ma t t er s t h at characterise life within a community. A graduate of Music, Sian has helped uphold the fine musical tradition of the Chapel Choir and has led our worship in both weekly Chapel services and School Assemblies in Bushell Hall.
Throughout her time, Sian has skilfully delivered thought provoking messages equally applicable to Prep or Sixth Form students and has provided pastoral support to pupils, staff and parents, both past and present. We wish her every success as she relocates to Blackburn and trust that she will always be welcome on visits back to the Wirral.
Steve Clark retires
Steve brought a wealth of industrial experience into the classroom. Having been at Shell Research for more years than he would care to mention, he rang the school and asked to observe some lessons. Shortly after that, having finished his PGCE he joined us in 2009 teaching both Physics and Chemistry. He has always put the students first and selflessly given of his time. This extended outside the classroom most notably with squash, Duke of Edinburgh and as an Overdale form tutor. Steve and Gill’s hospitality
was legendary from parties with infamous Woo Woo cocktails, to weekends away at their cottage in Wales. Sadly, Gill is no longer with us and Steve leaves to support their daughter Hattie and three older children. I know we will see Steve popping in and out of school as he has many friends here. Let’s hope he is still unfailingly optimistic and wearing his Dr Who coat and scarf!
Science teacher Jonathan Edwards Jonathan joined us as a supply teacher to cover for Steve Clark. He brought an encyclopaedic knowledge of Wirral schools and a wealth of experience to the classroom in both Physics and Chemistry. It is not easy slotting into an existing timetable but he has just got on with it and coped admirably with a high work load including as an
Overdale tutor. He has been a most reliable and caring colleague who thought nothing of giving up his lunch hours to help those who needed it. The students have enjoyed his lessons over the past couple of years and we all wish him well for the future.
Mrs Lloyd-Johnson joined Birkenhead School as Head of Art in the Spring of 2015. In the relatively short time she has been with us, she has made a most positive and lasting impact. Having previously taught at Bishops in Chester and with a background in three-dimensional design, Mrs LloydJohnson brought fresh ideas to Birkenhead and has encouraged many through her inspirational teaching. Alongside being an energetic and efficient Head of Department and Form Tutor, she has established new activities, such as the ever-popular Photography Challenge (with chocolate prizes available to both staff and pupils), run a Beyond the Curriculum Photography course for Sixth Form, set up the ‘birkenheadschoolart’ Instagram page and been involved in numerous activities including charity work, film work, and Duke of Edinburgh, as well as accompanying trips both in the UK and abroad. I personally feel fortunate to have worked alongside her, and in this too short a time, have also learned many new skills; her ‘radiator’ disposition has made her a ‘brill’ colleague and friend, and I will greatly miss her enthusiasm for wire, Black Labradors, and cups of tea. As well as being an excellent teacher, Mrs Lloyd-Johnson will be missed for the personal and empathetic manner she has shown to so many pupils in her time at Birkenhead School. We wish her all the very best with her new post as Head of Art at Abbey Gate School.
With thanks to Neil Frowe
Neil Frowe (OB) joined the staff of th e E ng lis h D epa rtm e nt in September 1990, having previously taught at St Aidan’s School in Carlisle and also, importantly, worked for a time in the professional theatre. His love of theatre and technical expertise, particularly in lighting, were to prove invaluable during his 25 year career at Birkenhead. This was a time of expansion for the English Department, with the introduction of Theatre Studies and English Language A Levels, alongside English Literature. Neil was the obvious person to take charge of Theatre Studies and proved to be a highly successful teacher of several generations of students. Neil is a polymath, w hose intellectual versatility enabled him to teach at different times in the Modern Languages Department and Prep, when the need arose. His fluency in French proved invaluable when the School was successful in a bid for Erasmus funding for Dialogue 2000, an exchange project with a school in Avignon which ran for
Art teacher’s lasting impact
three years. He organised visits to the Lake District for the visiting staff and students and also accompanied our pupils to Avignon. Soon after he arrived, Neil joined the RAF section of the School Combined Cadet Force as an officer, throwing himself wholeheartedly into the role and eventually becoming the Contingent Commander during a period when the CCF operated jointly with Upton Hall School. Another of his keen interests was photography; during his time at School he took many wonderful shots of various drama productions and other events, as well as imparting his skill to others through the Photographic Club. Neil discovered the joys of fatherhood later than some and bought a bright yellow bicycle with two child seats, on which he would sometimes arrive at School. Now that he and his wife have another addition to their family, I am not quite sure what will happen to the bicycle, but the whole family have our best wishes for their future.
Graeme Rickman’s ‘loan spell’ comes to an end It is with a great degree of sadness that we bid farewell to Graeme Rickman, officially our cricket professional, but unofficially our cricketing ‘guru’ who over the last 8 years has masterminded cricketing success which is the envy of many schools in the North West. Whilst few would realise it from his incredible enthusiasm for each and every team and player, Graeme has never actually been an employee of the school. He has been ‘on loan’ from the Cheshire County Cricket Board where he is their Coach Education Officer. At the end of a long day when the rest of us were heading home to our families it would not be unusual for Graeme to be heading off to Wilmslow instead to deliver a course to ‘would be’ coaches, only to return to school ‘bright and breezy’ the following morning. Graeme’s success as 1st XI coach has been outstanding, the last two seasons being particularly worthy of note. It is particularly fitting that he leaves us on a ‘high’ taking the 1st XI to the prestigious Sir Garfield Sobers Cricket Festival in Barbados this summer, his third overseas tour with the school having been to Barbados in 2011 and Antigua in 2014. Birkenhead’s loss will be Cheshire’s gain as Graeme returns to full time work for the Cricket Board. He will be sadly missed here but will, no doubt, continue to encourage and develop young cricketers throughout the county, instilling in them the love and passion for the game which he has. We wish him every success for the future.
Art and Architecture
With this in mind, a new scheme of work has been introduced to Year 8 which teaches elements of perspective and key features of Architectural styles,
Abstract and Modern Prep Projects
Over recent years, a number of students studying Fine Art at A Level have chosen to take their creativity to the next level through opting to read Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design, and similar at university; this year we were delighted when James Watson received an unconditional offer to study Architecture at Nottingham University.
alongside investigating artists such as M C Escher and Louis Lozowitz. Could 2022 be a bumper year for Birkenhead architects?
Year 4 have been working on their class projects which are based on Abstract and Modern Art. Each class produced a large canvas with influences from different artists. 4B looked at Matisse, 4C at Paolozzi and his industrial designs and 4H (pictured) discovered Jackson Pollock. Each child was given a square of the canvas to complete.
James Watson 'Royal Liver Building' Drypoint and spray paint
Year 8 Perspective and Architecture
Year 3 have been looking at the work of Wassily Kandinsky this year. They have used oil pastels and have printed concentric circle designs. They have also created their own Kandinskystyle Abstract paintings.
Into Space Film Premier The Film Club aired the their first short film in assembly earlier this year, which was made as part of a national competition. The film, entitled ‘Ad Infinitum’ was made as an entry to the Into Film: Into Space competition, and is inspired by British Astronaut Tim Peake's journey to space. The story follows a boy who has an idea to make his own rocket and when his efforts are unsuccessful, his friends come to help make his dreams come true. Jack Hodgson, Year 10, one of the directors, said, “The message of this film is that working together, rather than alone, helps people to reach their full potential.” He continued, “We’d like to thank everyone who took part in making this film and are grateful for having the opportunity to be able to produce something that we are genuinely proud of.” The project was a cross-curricular venture for Art, Science and English and included over 30 members from Years 7 to 13.
English World Book Day Birkenhead School’s celebrations of World Book Day on 3rd March far exceeded just that of a single day, with events and activities taking place over an extended period. In Years 5 and 6, the classes were joined by author Charlie Lea from Read Now Write Now for a session on creative writing. They discussed techniques such as setting the scene, characterisation, how to build up drama or tension, and creating atmosphere. Throughout Prep, each child chose a book from home to enter into the Big Book Swap. Each child then was able to take home a new book to read. Children from Years 4 and 5 visited the Infants to read their new books together. Pre -Prep children also brought in their favourite book and shared this with a reading buddy from Year 4. Students in Years 6 and 7 joined together for a morning of fun with a Treasure Hunt in Bushell Hall where they had to match clues with the titles of books. There was also a ‘Reading Game’ in the Senior Library where the students had to judge a range of books just by their covers and the descriptions on the back. This encouraged discussion between the groups and often compromise over which would be the winners. Upstairs in the Meeting Room, Head of English, Mrs Ballantyne, had the groups making their own ‘dens’ out of tables, chairs and tarpaulin sheets, after which they settled down for marshmallows and story time with a spooky ghost story entitled ‘Room 13’. Children in Junior Prep also took part in a 500-word creative writing competition. The winners were Year 3: 1st Faith Johnson, 2nd Nikhil Gungaparsad, 3rd Hannah Coward; Year 4: 1st Adam Jones, 2nd Lucy Parfect, 3rd Ambreen Islam; Year 5: 1st Sophia Campbell, 2nd Aaron Barker, 3rd Charlotte Dubourg; Year 6: 1st Bryce Edwards, 2nd Jessica Rooney, 3rd Han Khoo. The runners-up won a chocolate prize each and the World Book Day celebrations culminated when the winners were invited to Linghams Booksellers in Heswall to choose a book from their selection and enjoy a treat at the in-store café. World Book Day activities were run as part of the English Enrichment Programme throughout the School, which hopes to encourage a positive relationship between students and reading and writing, which they will embrace throughout their lives.
The Chris Salmon Poetry Extravaganza By Holly FitzHebert (Year 11) After seeing a poster advertising the Chris Salmon Poetry Extravaganza on the English department notice board, I decided to look it up and saw that the theme was ‘Space’. I wrote my poem entitled ‘This Space’ and sent it off in the 16-18-year-old category. Soon after, I received a letter in the post telling me that I had come third in my category and that I had won £25 and also the chance to go to a poetry workshop with the famous poet, Levi Tafari! At the workshop, I got to hear Levi Tafari perform a number of his poems which was a truly amazing experience. I also got to read out my poem and received feedback from Levi himself and I loved it when he asked me, “Do you write songs? I can tell by the rhythm of the poem.” We then got into a conversation about music and poetry as he used to have a band! I am so grateful that I got the chance to have such an unforgettable experience.
This Space Hours no longer a concept, Days all blur into one. Light years away from you Is how I feel I have become. Drifting away, No gravity to hold me down. I’m lost our here Knew I never should have left the ground.
The aim was to obtain an orbit, Maintain a steady path, Instead I’m furthering the distance Each star that I pass A reminder of the light around us Before darkness swallowed us whole, Reminiscing to the moment We were lost in this black hole. This nebula between us, Separates me from you. It’s filling up the void Which I’m longing to get through. The nothingness, the emptiness Both physical and of the mind, I no longer have the security Of you by my side. Our collision would destroy us both And that I can’t erase, There is no way to reach you In the vastness of this space.
English Rotary Youth Speaks Win Birkenhead School wins at the Youth Speaks District Final On 3rd March, Birkenhead School won at the Rotary Youth Speaks District Final held at Wrexham Glyndwr University. The team were selected after achieving a runner-up position in the local round on 6th January. The team, consisting of India Collister from Upper Sixth, Seb Wilkes from Lower Sixth and Holly FitzHerbert from Year 11, had been practising hard in the run up to the competition. Their success was down to preparation practice and confidence, but their mentor Mrs McGoldrick suggested that Seb Wilkes wore a School bow tie to aid his performance as Chair - and it really did make a difference to his delivery!
Nursery Storytime The Nursery toddlers went on a special adventure when they travelled up to the Seniors Library for a story with Librarian Mrs Reeve. The children quite often go for walks in the grounds of the School, but this time were able to stop off at the Library for a sit down and relax, while being treated to Mrs Reeve reading ‘Cuddly Dudley’ by Jez Alborough. The two and three years olds enjoyed hearing about Dudley the penguin, and were delighted when Mrs Reeve signed the book and gave them the copy to take
back to Nursery to share the story again in the future. All of the children were extremely well behaved and sat beautifully as Mrs Reeve read to them. The day was extra special for Carrie, aged two, who had only just moved up to the Toddler Room that day, having been in the Under-2’s Room previously, and was very brave travelling all the way to the Senior Library with her new friends. The Nursery staff and children look forward to visiting Mrs Reeve in the Library again very soon.
Holly was the main speaker and gave a six-minute speech on ‘The Pursuit of Perfection’, which she had written and learnt by heart. Her delivery was highly praised for its content and changes in tone, which included light-hearted references to ‘Dad dancing’ and Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing, to more serious points she made about mental health.
India Collister acted as Vote of Thanks and she did so with calm and courteous elegance. The team members were all from different year groups, but they bonded well together during the process, and India even offered UCAS guidance and advice about A Levels to her fellow team members on the journey home.
Birkenhead School Youth Speaks Competition The first annual Birkenhead School Youth Speaks competition was held this year. The competition was open to all Year 7 students, who gave speeches in groups of three on topics that they felt strongly about. The final stages saw four of those
groups give addresses to the judges, Mr Murdoch and Mrs Reeve, along with an audience of staff and students. They spoke on a range of subjects, including greed, discrimination, animal rights and body image, with all teams having researched their topics thoroughly to deliver interesting and engaging speeches. The winning group were Isabella Heckstall-Smith, Finn Collins and Charlo tte Dow ell , w ho had highlighted the plight of the Siberian Tiger and urged people to be more aware of animal rights and consider the products that they are buying to make sure that animals have not suffered in the process.
Drama This year’s Seniors drama production of Cabaret burst its way in to Bushell Hall during March with a spectacular exhibition of music, opulence, daring and dance. Directed by Mrs Pankhurst and Ms Smeaton with Musical Direction from Mr Robinson, the musical starred Grace Harvey, Matthew Oulton, Joshua Coyne, Finlay Gordon, Emily Pulford, James Budworth, Ciara Williams, Verity Walker, and students from Years 7 to 13. The cast all showed talent and maturity in tackling themes that pushed boundaries and musical numbers which required extensive practice, to deliver an exceptional production of high calibre. The success of the show was enhanced by the backstage crew, led by Connor McCormick and the technical crew, led by Edward Brodbelt, who, with their professional approach, ensured seamless and imaginative transitions throughout.
Cabaret is based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood. Having begun life as short stories, then it
became a play, then a musical, before being an iconic film and finally a triumphant reimagined theatrical revival in London and New York, Cabaret asks a good deal of a young performer in terms of acting and singing and, in the Kit Kat chorus, some of the most challenging and technically demanding work of the 20th Century dancer's canon lies in wait. Cabaret is a production based in the 1930s in another country but one which echoes, often powerfully, in the present day. With swirling tides of refugees, international political turmoil and Europe still reeling from the shock of terrorist attacks, this tale of dislocated people and wandering souls has a poignancy and eloquence that speaks profoundly in 2017. Mrs Pankhurst said, “I am immensely proud of the students who I believe have done justice to a piece that carries both a considerable theatrical history as well as a significant political one. That such a young and relatively inexperienced group can become the great beating heart of this famous show, with precision, fearlessness and intent, is exceptional.”
Staff and students perform in ‘Annie’
Ottilie Hill, Rebecca Botros and Libby Griffiths from Prep and Mr Thelwall Jones and Mrs Coleman, Seniors members of staff, were involved in Rock Ferry Operatic Society’s production of Annie in May. The pupils played their parts as orphans very convincingly and the aforementioned staff members showcased their versatility to bring to life homeless people, a butler and maid, and a singer in a
glamourous trio of the time. Mr Thelwall Jones and Mrs Coleman said, “We would like to thank, on behalf of the cast and crew, everyone who came to watch and support us and hope you had even half as much fun as we did! Also, a massive thankyou to the tireless work of the parents chaperoning backstage to avoid all potential forms of orphanrelated chaos!”
Summer selected as youngest panto performer Summer Baker, from Reception, took part in this year’s Chrysanths production of Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood at the Floral Pavilion in New Brighton in January. Summer loved the show and put a lot of work into it, taking part in rehearsals every Sunday since the previous September. She was also the youngest member of the cast and was described as an absolute star and full of energy throughout. The Chrysanths next production will be Aladdin and will mark their 100th anniversary.
Fun with ‘Joseph’ for Brocklebanks Christopher Brocklebank (Year 6) and his brother John (Year 4) have had a busy year performing with Joe McElderry in Joseph. They took part in shows at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury in March and Stockport Plaza Theatre in May, as part of the children’s choir. Christopher also performed last year at The Palace Theatre, Manchester and at the Floral Pavilion.
Peter Pan Pre-Prep Teacher Mrs Bentley-Jones and Aaron Barker from Year 5 took part in the Stage One 2000 Youth Theatre production of Peter Pan earlier this year. The performances, based on the play by J M Barrie and the 1953 Disney film, were held at Harrison Hall in February half term.
Aaron is pictured below at rehearsals for the production where he played John Darling.
Year 3 Roman Activities
Children in Year 3 have been studying the Romans this year. To further their knowledge and to give them a practical flavour of what it might have been like to live in Roman times, Head of Classics in Seniors, Mrs Washington, came to visit the children. Mrs Washington, along with two Sixth Form students, showed the children a video presentation all about Romans and how they lived their lives, including looking inside a Roman house and talking about the Roman language of Latin, and how that has influenced modern vocabulary. The Sixth Formers, James Budworth and James Howe, then demonstrated how to put on a toga, which is what Roman people would have worn. Often in Roman times, wealthy people would have had slaves to dress
them, so then the children took turns in being the master and the servant and dressed up in togas themselves. Mrs Washington had also brought in a variety of different foods that would have been popular during Roman times and gave out some Roman recipes for the children to try.
BMCA Latin and Classics Texts and Topics Conference A group of Sixth Form Latin and Classical Civilisation students attended a series of lectures at Birmingham University in March. The lectures ranged from Classical Art and Architecture, Greek Tragedy, as well as the discussion of themes found in Homer and Virgil, and the study of texts by Ovid, Propertius, Tibullus, Tacitus and Cicero. These talks were delivered by professors from Birmingham University, Brasenose College, Oxford, University of Notingham and King’s College London. The visit was organised by the Classics Department, and accompanied by Mr Allister and Mrs Washington.
Year 6 Ancient Greek lesson Year 6 have been learning about Athenian Democracy this year and looking at the question “How do we use ancient Greek ideas today?” They discussed the Ancient Greek alphabet and practised writing and reading aloud. They compared the Greek alphabet with our modern Phoenician alphabet and looked at which letters were missing. The groups also looked at archaeological findings on Greek artefact pictures. They looked for items including ostraca, voting tokens, kleroteria, pinakia and Greek pots, and then presented their findings.
VESUVIUS WRITING COMPETITON
The winner of the Vesuvius Writing competition organised by the Classics Department for all students in Year 8 was Tasmin Lee; joint second prize went to Natasha Keeling and Ellie Price. The competition was to write a piece based on the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD. An extract from Tamsin’s piece:
‘Suddenly the world went dark… In unison, everyone looked up. People screamed and cried out as thunderclouds began to pour buckets of ice water onto our heads. The thick ash cloud was so dense now that you couldn’t even see the sun, let alone the sky. Flakes of grey ash began to fall, like snow, but heavier and with a sense of darkness and doom it drifted across the streets, streaking my hair grey.’
HISTORY / GEOG 15
Discovering Liverpool’s History
History Fire Heritage Centre Visit Year 1 have spent time this year learning all about the Great Fire of London. To support this work they visited the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Heritage Centre. They saw fire engines old and new and learnt about the rich history of Liverpool’s fire brigade and associated services. Everyone had a fantastic time learning from retired firefighters who brought the history to life.
Year 2 had a fabulous day visiting the Piermaster’s House and the Museum of Liverpool. In the Piermaster’s House the children saw what a house in the Second World War would have looked like. They explored the rooms,
looking at how life would have been different back in the era. At the Museum of Liverpool the children went on a tour, finding out about how transport has changed through the ages. There was even time to stop and have a sing song!
The Roman Experience Children in Year 3 were treated to a unique interactive workshop earlier this year, all about Roman civilisation. Visitors Dean and Robert from Big Heritage showed them all how to dress up and act like Roman soldiers and imagine how it would have been to fight in a battle and live at this time.
Year 3 Caribbean Project
Geography Fieldtrips Students are able to get hands-on experience during their Geography lessons, particularly via the fieldtrips that run towards the end of the academic year. This year, the Year 7 pupils visited Clapham, North Yorkshire, to study the weathering of Carboniferous Limestone and the features that are produced by it. They studied some of the impacts of tourism upon the Yorkshire Dales National Park and also visited Ingleborough Cave, where, during a guided tour, they were shown examples of underground depositional features. The Year 8’s visited Llanberis in North Wales (pictured), where the purpose of the fieldwork is to study the generation of Hydro Electric Power at the Dinorwig Pumped Storage HEP scheme and the impacts of quarrying upon the local environment.
In July, A Level Geography students will visit the Manchester Museum of Science and Technology to attend a conference that has been organised by Royal Holloway, University of London. The series of lecture topics will be highly relevant to their studies and will help to develop the students’ understanding of some complex issues.
Year 3 have been enjoying learning about the Caribbean and have created some brightly coloured t-shirts themed especially as part of their project.
Languages Prep learns sign language at Sign Choir This year, children in Prep have been invited to join Sign Choir which meets after school on Wednesdays for Little School and on Fridays for Juniors. The choir is run by Adele from Delly Signs, who gives the children the opportunity to learn British Sign Language (BSL) using music, songs, games and activities. The children have been learning the letters of the alphabet and are working on special songs to perform to their families and friends. Adele’s enthusiasm and tailored sessions are showing great success with the children who are already showing distinct ability. They are all thoroughly enjoying Sign Choir and developing the ways in which they communicate with others. Particular favourites have been learning to sign the songs ‘Let it Go’ and ‘Ghostbusters’. The Little School group have also been fundraising for Sign2Sign, raising an extremely impressive £325 to support deaf children and their families.
Latin Reading Competition On the 8th of March, six Year 8 students, as well as a Year 10 student took part in the annual Latin Reading Competition, held this year at Manchester High School for Girls. In the Beginners category were Jack Doran, Paulo Infante, Mary Cotton and Louisa Titu, reading 'Avarus', a tale about a miser being robbed by two thieves; however, they were put off when a snake-guard saved the day. In the Intermediate category were Bobby Fitzherbert and Jimmy Sergi, reading 'Pyramus and Thisbe’ from Ovid's Metamorphoses , an ancient version of Romeo and Juliet telling the tale of two lovers from very different backgrounds, ending with the two characters killing themselves. In the GCSE Latin category was Toby Brown reading the Aeneid by Virgil, book 9, and is a story
about two friends slaughtering the enemy camp. Mrs Washington also adjudicated the Classics In Translation category, a play about a woman contemplating murder. Schools competing included Manchester Grammar, Merchant Taylors’, Bolton Boys, Manchester High School for Girls and Loretto. All of our School teams performed excellently, with Bobby and Jimmy coming in second place. All teams prepared for weeks, with Mr Allister, Mrs Washington and Mr Murdoch, with Sixth Form student James Budworth also helping out. Everyone involved had a very exciting day, and learned more about performing and acting as well as proper Latin pronunciation. By the Year 8 students
German Exchange 2017 After many years of the German Exchange programme at Birkenhead School, the final exchange will take place in 2017. Our partner school in Tübingen visited us in June and a group of students and staff will make the return visit in October. The students who participated in previous years enjoyed the trips enormously and the potential benefits to all participants, on a personal and linguistic level, are enormous. Often many participants form lasting friendships with their exchange partners. This exchange is with a Gymnasium (grammar school) in the town of Tübingen in South-West Germany. Tübingen is a very beautiful and ancient university town with a distinctly medieval atmosphere. The larger city of Stuttgart is also close by where the group can take advantage of sightseeing, visiting one of the famous automotive museums and shopping.
Hosts win UKMT Maths Challenge
Congratulations to our UK Mathematics Trust Team Challenge winners David Turner, Shannon High, Ethan Bryers and Samarth Kumar, who came first in the regional finals. The event was hosted by Birkenhead School in Bushell Hall and was attended by 19 schools from across the Merseyside and Cheshire areas. Teams of four students from Years 7, 8 and 9 competed in a variety of mathematical challenges throughout the day. Runners-up were Christleton High School who came second and The King's School Chester who came third. The organisers from UKMT thanked School for providing a fantastic venue and also the teachers and students who have been working so hard this year on their Maths. The School team then went on to the finals in London where they placed 40th out of 88 schools.
Maths Easter Eggstravaganza
Merseyside Maths Award Year 7 students, Nicole Dowell and Anoushka Kapoor were recently presented with certificates and prizes at the University of Liverpool for their entries to an annual maths competition organised by MEM (Mathematical Education on Merseyside), which involved solving a number of challenging Maths problems. Ninety-five schools entered from the North West of England and North Wales with the entries from Birkenhead School in the top five for prizes awarded. Other prize and certificate winners were Shannon High, Bria Titu and Louisa Titu for the Junior Challenge (Years 7 and 8), and Aden Husseyn, Shivank Sharma and Heather Tran for the Senior Challenge (Years 9 and 10).
Year 4 took part in a campus-wide Easter Egg hunt, which involved solving a variety of mathematical problems which led them to the next clue and eventually to a tasty treat prize! In February our students were invited to take part in one of three competitions organised by the Liverpool Mathematical Society and Mathematical Education on Merseyside. We were amazingly successful, with Tom Parkes of L6 winning the first prize, Shikhar Kumar of L6 winning one of the four third prizes and James Budworth of U6 and Alex Poulson of L6 winning certificates. We therefore gained four of the 23 prize winners! This is the first time a Birkenhead School student has won first prize in this competition and we have never had so many prize winners before. Congratulations!
Science students through to Big Bang final
Sixth Form students presented their project on ‘To Bleach or not to Bleach’ at the finals of the Big Bang Science competition held at Birmingham’s NEC arena, in March. Inspired by the range of claims in adverts for cleaning agents, the students, Nathan Bramwell, Connie Sturgess, Aradhana Gupta and Paul Gogerty, were interested in comparing the effectiveness of a variety of different cleaning agents. Laboratory investigations looked at the issues of lime-scale, its removal and solubility, and fatty deposits leading to blockages. They also considered the effect that these cleaning products have on bacteria and algae in sewage works. Alongside their lab investigations the students designed a questionnaire to look at consumer choices and were very surprised at the responses. It seemed that bleach was the agent of choice in many scenarios. This led them to change their plan and to consider if consumers understood what to use for different problems. The project that the team displayed was met with resounding positivity from the judges.
Young Analyst Competition The Birkenhead School Team finished in second place at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Young Analyst Competition. The team, consisting of Sixth Form students Shikhar Kumar, Daniel Walker and Matthew Oulton, were up against 30 other schools. Matthew said of the competition, “We had to conduct a range of practical techniques including ones we were already familiar with (titrations etc.) and ones
involving equipment I've never seen before (a UV spectroscope). The timing was tight, so towards the end we were working through calculations as fast as possible and this added time pressure made it surprisingly adrenalineprovoking.” Shikhar said, “Though the competition was challenging, it was also very enjoyable and we all learnt new skills that will be useful in the future.”
Big Bang Event Every year Birkenhead School offers #STEMspirational ‘Big Bang’ sessions to local Cub and Brownie groups to witness a spectacular awesome evening of booms, bangs and fizzes! Activities include a fire show, whoosh bottles, toilet paper ticker tape, re-lights, human bubbles, bazookas and squeaky pops! The interactive science and fantastic fun is delivered by Birkenhead School staff and pupils to excite children about STEM subjects and inspire them to consider science or engineering careers. The Big Bang event is part of the wider programme, led by EngineeringUK in partnership with over 200 organisations and is sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Out of this world at NASA Girls from Birkenhead School had the experience of a lifetime as they travelled to NASA in Texas over the February half term. The group of 20 students from Years 8 to 11 took part in the Mission to Mars event, which was focussed on encouraging young women to become interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths). At the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the girls had the chance to meet with astronaut Ken Cameron, as well as taking part in challenges such as building a 3D Martian habitat, scuba diving, building rockets, and cryogenic design,
construction and testing. Dionne Lee, Year 10, said, “I was so glad to have the opportunity to go to NASA with School, I learned so many new things and how to work as a team. I really enjoyed the Mars habitat project as we tackled the problems of living on Mars. The scuba diving was also one of my favourite experiences too as it was my first time doing it and we were training at the same time as the astronauts!” In addition to the space-related activities, the group were also able to enjoy a wide range of leisure activities in the local area including exploring the Kemah Boadwalk, having dinner at the famous Bubba Gump
Light fantastic in Manchester Year 5 had the opportunity to visit The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester on a year group outing. They all had a great day exploring the museum and learnt about new materials, such as Graphene, and all about the wonders of Light, which is one of the topics that they have been focussing on in their Science lessons this year.
Chemistry Hosts Birkenhead School was this year’s host venue to the annual Liverpool Group HMC Conference for Heads of Chemistry. Delegates from schools across the North West attended the event where they were welcomed to School and given a tour of
Salters’ Festival of Chemistry Maddie Hill, Grace Carroll, Jack Doran and Jimmy Sergi attended the Salters’ Festival of Chemistry and were fantastic ambassadors for the School. They worked well as a team on a forensic science and tiebreaker activity. They also enjoyed an interactive lecture and gained a lot from the university environment. The Festival is run by the Salters’ Institute in conjunction with the
restaurant, and shopping at the Tanger Outlets. Catherine Molloy, Year 9, said, “I loved this experience, it was an amazing opportunity and I’m so glad I took part. The best activities were building heat shields and rockets, and having brunch with an astronaut. This was an amazing week and I would recommend it to everyone.” The girls will now take part in a follow up challenge called #NASAinspires, where they will take what they have learnt on their trip and look at how they can share their knowledge and experiences with fellow students and the wider community.
Royal Society of Chemistry. It is an annual event hosted by the University of Liverpool.
the facilities and Science offerings available.
The group also travelled to the University of Liverpool for a demonstration on spectroscopic techniques and practicals linked to current A L Year e v e6l specifications.
Design and Technology Robotics Challenge win - Senior student success at Tomorrow’s Engineers event A group of Senior students took part in the regional heat of the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge and won the Robot Challenge section of the day. Samuel Jones, Year 8, also won an additional Judges Award for his excellent presentation skills. The event was held at the iSTEM Centre in Preston on 6th March, with 45 teams taking part.
Mr Guinness and Mr Robinson, who have been working with the students in an after school Robotics Club every Wednesday since October, said, “All the pupils did really well, each playing their own part in a very successful team. We are really proud of their efforts and enthusiasm.”
The Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge introduces real-world engineering, technology, robotics and computing challenges with the aim being to help students put their learning into context and discover exciting new careers. Each of the teams taking part received free LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) resources.
Cammell Laird Work Experience Birkenhead School were fortunate to be offered the opportunity for a group of Year 10 students to spend the day at Cammell Laird. Students who were interested were invited to submit written applications to Head of Careers, Mrs Reeve. The standard of applications was very high and ultimately 12 students were selected.
Chris Rowlands said of the experience, “While on the trip we learned about the benefits of an apprenticeship, which after today I am considering as an alternative to University,” and Dionne Lee said, “I was surprised to discover that out of 20 current apprentices at Cammel Laird’s only three were women. This has inspired me to consider engineering as a possible
career in the future as I never knew engineering could lead to so many other professions.” Rohan Shenoy said, “The whole visit provided me with useful insights and great advice from highly experienced engineers and it has probably cemented my decision to take up a career in engineering.”
House Music Competition
Thursday 4th May saw Senior students take to the stage to represent their respective Houses in the annual House Music Competition. The musicians delivered a varied programme to an audience of family and friends, each House vying for the coveted first prize, which was judged by Music teacher Mrs Coleman. Members from Beresford, Bidston, Kingsmead and Shrewsbury all
presented items for the three set categories of ‘Instrumental’, ‘Open’, and ‘Theme’. Pieces ranged from classical Mozart, modern cinema with themes from La La Land and Beauty and the Beast , popular jazz from Louis Armstrong and George Gershwin, and songs from stage productions including Hamilton and Rent. The breadth of musical talent was showcased through a variety of
instruments from strings, piano, percussion, brass, and woodwind, and also through singing, which included a polished performance of six students who performed Billy Joel’s Lullabye a cappella, and Soyra Bhagwat who excelled in the piece Satisfied from Hamilton which included elements of rapping. All the students were thanked for their involvement with Deputy Head, Mrs Pankhurst, who praised their obvious love of music and how much she enjoys watching them grow as performers. Mrs Coleman said that the evening had been a pleasure to adjudicate and that she had awarded points for a range of aspects, including numbers of students involved, presentation skills, staging, accuracy, ensemble skills, articulation, and effective dynamics. Mrs Coleman awarded Shrewsbury first place, particularly noting their use of harmonies and the sense of enjoyment when they were performing. At the Barbican
Brass Ensemble win at Chester Festival The Birkenhead School Brass Ensemble took first place in the 'Open' age brass band class at the 2017 Chester Competitive Festival of Performing Arts in May. The group gained 87 marks, coming first out of eight bands competing in the class held at King's School in Chester on Saturday 6th May. The band were also awarded the Hilda Catherall Trophy and the Smith Award which included a £50 prize
towards music provision. The students involved were Matthew Oulton, Ciara Williams, Jack Billington, Jonathan Mansfield, Claire Lawrence, J.J. VallanceOwen, Hannah Durband, Reeve Taylor, Ben Appleby, Natasha Keeling, James Jacobs, Tom Molloy, Isobel Gott and Harrison Brodbelt. Three former students also took part, Lawrence Lynch, Jonathan Lawrence and Robert Jones.
New Chapel Pews With the numbers of students joining Chapel Choir continuing to grow, they had found that space to perform was a struggle. However, thanks to the combined efforts of carpenter, Peter, and the Estates Team, they now have two beautiful new pews in Chapel with which to expand. They made the pews from scratch and even included detailing to make them look as much like the originals as possible. The choristers are much indebted to the Estates Team for their time and effort, and for making their singing area more comfortable.
Summer Concert This year’s Summer Concert presented by the Music Department in May featured a wide range of performances encompassing the ever increasing and varied repertoire of Birkenhead School’s students. The Concert Band, Senior Orchestra, and Big Band showcased the talents of the musicians playing a range of pieces from the James Bond Suite to A Tribute to Henry Mancini, while the Senior Choir and Chapel Choir highlighted the exceptional vocal range of the students. The Prep played their part with pupils performing in the Prep
Orchestra and Year 5 Choir, with some talented youngsters even joining the Brass Ensemble and Chapel Choir. The Folk Band gave their usual crowd-pleasing renditions of traditional music in what could be their last performance, and ‘The Leavers’ got together to sing extracts from Songs for a New World. Thanks were given to all the music teachers who dedicate their time to the enrichment of music provision at Birkenhead School.
Photography by David Coleman
Music Examinations Congratulations to the following students who have achieved success in their Music Examinations in the Summer Term. Candidate
B FLAT CORNET
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B FLAT CORNET
Sport Introduction: It is 7.25am on Saturday 10th June and I have just returned to the sanctuary of the Sports Hall office having spent the last 15 minutes wading across School Field in the forlorn hope that we will be able to welcome King’s School Macclesfield in less than three hours for our annual cricket fixtures. In reality the decision is an easy one as without water wings the fielders have no chance of surviving but it is always difficult cancelling matches, knowing the disappointment it causes to our pupils and the inconvenience to our parents. It does, however, give me the
chance to reflect on another summer term almost completed at Birkenhead School. As ever the term has consisted of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ with, I’m pleased to say, far more of the former than the latter. More detailed information will be given in the following articles but pride of place has to go to the 1st XI cricketers who went one better than last year in reaching the North West Final of the National T20 Competition. Wins against Manchester Grammar School and King’s School Chester in one day rarely happen, and a one run victory against the latter in the North West semi is one to be savoured!
As ever practices in all summer sports have been well attended and at times School Field has resembled the M25 with athletes and cricketers, girls and boys, Seniors and Prep all trying to find a workable area to train. Indeed it was only during the internal exam period that things quietened down, the irony of course being that it was one of the hottest and sunniest week of the term! In general it would seem that school sport remains in good health and I look forward to seeing our boys and girls out enjoying themselves over the remainder of the term.
Mr Lytollis, Head of Senior Sport
Junior Cricket Round-Up Whilst not quite able to reach the dizzying heights of the 2016 cricket season, when all four junior sides reached their respective County Cup Finals, 2017 nevertheless has been a highly successful year for our junior teams. Pride of place has to go to the 2nd XI, still unbeaten as I write. This is no small feat given the strength of opposition we now play. Added to this year’s fixture list are three incredibly strong cricketing schools in Shrewsbury School, Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Bolton School. The 2nd XI have already played two of them and have shown great commitment and enthusiasm to beat them both. Indeed Shrewsbury was the opening game of the season and with few players having netted pre-season confidence was not at an all-time high. However, a very solid all-round performance with both bat and ball saw the team through. The 2nd XI’s biggest problem has been finding fixtures, nonethe-less six matches have been played and six won with victories against Manchester Grammar School, Merchant Taylors’ School and The Grange School 1st XI in addition to those already mentioned. Despite losing Cheshire player Toby Brown to the 1st XI for the season the Under 15’s have had considerable success, their only defeat being at the
hands of Shrewsbury, a game on reflection they could and should have won. A very comprehensive win against local rivals St Anselm’s College has seen them in to the Cheshire Cup quarter final against another local team, Wirral G.S! The Under 14’s have taken some time to adapt to the departure of former captain and county player Henry Wild to pastures new, and as a result had a slightly disappointing season. The bowling attack has remained potent but after good starts the batting has occasionally crumbled. As reining County Champions the Under 13’s have carried the mantel of pre-match favourites well, only losing to Manchester Grammar School in the North of England quarter final, and Ellesmere College.
Captain Sebastian Botes has led by example and his 180 not out against Cheadle Hulme was truly a breath taking performance. The Under 12’s remained unbeaten for the first half term, winning their first four matches including a very impressive nine wicket victory against Lancaster R.G.S. Unfortunately, their fortunes changed against a strong Cheadle Hulme School side in the Cheshire Cup quarter final and a first defeat was inflicted on the team. With several weeks of term remaining there is still much to be played for, for all of our teams. We wish them well for their remaining matches.
U13 Captain Seb Botes scored 180 runs against Cheadle Hulme
1ST XI Cricket Report With a more competitive fixture list initiated from previous years successes and a new merit league table there was plenty to look forward to in the 2017 season. The 1st XI played two vital warm up fixtures against mixed Neston and Oxton league teams. The boys competed well in two losses, which enabled us to gauge our strengths, individual roles and where collectively we needed to improve.
‘The boys were excited’ The much vaunted Shrewsbury School was first up. The boys were excited to have another opportunity to play against one of the best independent schools sides in the country. Accurate spells from David Nevin and Gabriel Johnson-Aley both with 3-13 left Shrewsbury reeling at 36 for 7 until they made a remarkable recovery to post 91. There was no better opportunity for Birkenhead School to gain an unlikely victory, but a spell of bowling from Shrewsbury's George Garrett ripped the heart out of the School’s top order with 4 wickets for 6 runs. Dan Shillinglaw’s 35 was the only batsman to reach double figures as the side succumbed to a disappointing 53 all out.
‘Two comfortable wins’ A busy early season fixture list meant we quickly moved on to the first round of the National T20 held at Wilmslow High School. We enjoyed two comfortable wins affording us a place in the next round to play a qualification match and potential semi- final against MGS and King’s Chester. The highlights at Wilmslow were Armand Rabot’s two hundreds and George Wild’s spell of 5-15 against Wilmslow High School.
‘Confidence restored’ With some confidence restored with the batting, Birkenhead claimed an excellent 4 wicket win against Ellesmere College. Chasing 167, a mature knock of 50 from Toby Brown was well supported by a slightly more aggressive 43 from the Captain Ashley Watkins. A good win, a victory which gave a great deal of confidence with forth coming fixtures. Next stop was at Manchester GS for the National T20 to play the host team and then hopefully stay on to play King’s Chester in the semi-finals. Against MGS Ash Watkins won the toss and chose to bat on a good looking pitch. An incredible start ensued with Birkenhead scoring 82 off the 10 overs for the loss of two wickets. The captain scoring well over a run a ball with a quick-fire 36. MGS worked hard to produce a much better final 10 overs with school finishing on 158. A total somewhere short of what we expected. Some inaccurate bowling combined with good batting left MGS comfortably placed at 92 – 2 off their first 10 and Cheshire’s Sam Perry looking good. The introduction of Mr 'economical' Tom Corran and Tom Griffiths put the breaks on and took wickets at vital times. A nervous last few overs followed but Birkenhead held on to claim an amazing win by 6 runs. ‘No rest for the wicked’ it was a quick
turnaround to play against a fresh looking King’s School, Chester. Thankfully, Ash won the toss and chose to bat again. Almost a mirror image of the first game, School got off to a flyer, but then lost wickets and fell short of what we thought was a par score. Ash Watkins, our man in form made a valuable 59 out of 136.
‘First ever regional final’ King’s were heading for a comfortable win! Gabriel Johnson-Aley had other ideas with a penetrative spell of 3-18, which was well supported by Tom Corran and Ash Watkins. King’s were left needing 8 to win off the last over and then eventually 3 off the last ball. Another straight thunderbolt from Gabriel meant the boys held on to claim an incredible 1 run win! Sedbergh next in the School’s first ever regional final. An away fixture against Newcastle-under-Lyme enabled us to witness an incredible innings of 150 from Armand Rabot, which included 9 towering sixes setting a daunting 302. Despite a spirited middle order partnership Newcastle eventually succumbed to a 196 run loss. A good win against Cheadle Hulme followed shortly. Cheadle's 160 off 40 overs was easily reached with Toby Brown again the pick of the batsman ably supported by Dan Shillinglaw's 48. Back to back Saturday wins gave the 1st XI confidence going into the final run of games and a National T20 final against Sedbergh. The team travelled to Merchant Taylors' School without top batsman Toby Brown. In a 35 over game Merchant Taylors' posted a modest 151 with wickets equally shared amongst the bowlers. With five dropped catches in the innings the boys could have been chasing something a lot less. A disappointing batting effort from our more mature players left us 59 for 6 leaving Dan Shillinglaw to carry his bat through the innings to see us reach a respectable 121.
‘Battle commence’ Our National T20 was eventually played at Birkenhead School just after the half-term break. A beautiful evening and a good wicket set the scene for battle to commence. As expected Sedbergh came at us hard and early
utilising the first six powerplay overs well. In the context of the game restricting our visitors to 48. What followed was a display of immense power, game awareness and skill as Harry Brook took complete control of the innings. Everybody stood back in awe and witnessed a majestic 120, which unsurprisingly took the game away from Birkenhead. It was later learnt that Brook had recently signed a full contract with Yorkshire. Sedbergh finished with 190 and without a spell of 3-17 from Gabriel it could have been a lot more. Ash Watkins 51 and Toby 46 enabled us to reach 125, which demonstrated a degree of resolve in the team. We wish Sedbergh well in the Northern Final against St. Peters, York. The following Saturday's fixture with King's Macclesfield was lost to the weather and as I write the boys look forward to matches against Rossall, Bolton, the Annual Festival and, of course, to Barbados competing in the Sir Garfield Sobers Festival.
‘Commitment to training’ I personally would like to firstly thank the boys for commitment to training, matches and the hours of mischief and fun, there's never been a dull moment. Plenty of stick for the coach but all taken in good humour (largely). Thanks also to Romain Rabot and Paul Brown for their support with scoring and the ground staff for enabling us to use School Field so heavily but yet still ensuring good quality playing conditions. The end of season also brought about my final year at Birkenhead after 8 years being involved with the School's cricket. I've had an amazing time, I leave with so many happy memories and potential life long friends. I've been proud of the boys commitment to their cricket when pressure from club's have continually snapped at our heels. I feel confident that not only will boys leave with necessary skills for adult cricket, but more importantly understand how the game should be played! Particular mentions to Rick Lytollis, Peter Lindberg and Nick Corran for their support with training, team selection and the unenviable task of organising teenage boys. I wish Birkenhead every success for the future.
The 1st XI get some top tips from Sir David Gower following his appearance at the annual Sportsmans’ Dinner
Senior Football Results Despite having a small group of only seven regulars on a Wednesday afternoon, the football squad have managed to play an impressive 13 games this season, thanks to Mr Hendry and Ms Nokes allowing us to use some of the rugby and hockey boys when they didn’t have a fixture. Nearly 30 different players have represented the school and hopefully they have all enjoyed their experience.
It has been a very successful year for our Orienteering team, with medal winners in three different age groups of the Cheshire & Merseyside Schools’ Orienteering League. Sam Cross comfortably won gold in the Year 11 Boys’ category for the season. Team Captain, Cáhan O’Driscoll won the silver medal for the season in the Year 10 Boys’ category; Aden Husseyn also achieved silver in the Year 9 Boys’ class. Two weeks after the final league race of the year, Cáhan and Aden were joined by Elliott Casey (L6) for a spectacular team effort in the Mixed Open Relay, with Cáhan’s incredible anchor leg securing a silver medal for the Birkenhead School team. Shivank Sharma (Year 10) and Jack Anderson (Year 8) both scored points earlier in the season which contributed to our 7th place overall in the Schools’ League this year.
Rounders Festival Birkenhead School hosted an Under 14 and Under 15 Rounders Festival in May with schools from across the Wirral attending. Birkenhead School A team won the Under 14 competition, with West Kirby Grammar School winning the Under 15’s. Wirral Grammar came second in the Under 14’s and West Kirby Grammar third, while in the Under 15’s, Birkenhead School A team took second place and B team took third
place. Other school’s taking part were Birkenhead Park School and Birkenhead High School Academy.
Golf Team Qualifiers
We have primarily played against other schools where football is their main sport and therefore played their 2nd and 3rd teams. Performance highlights would be the last minute winners against St Mary’s 1st team (a rampaging David Nevin appearing at the back post to slot home) and Merchant Taylor’s 2nd XI ( a powerful Paul Keenan run and cross deftly finished off his shin by Alex English), the demolition of Ellesmere and QEGS 2nds and a battling 0:0 draw against a strong King’s Chester 2nd XI. Our overall record of won 8 drawn 1 and lost 4 was a fair reflection of the season and quite encouraging, given that the team changed each time. Indeed the make-shift nature of the line-ups led to some interesting formations, particularly in defence. Some games were won very easily, resulting in Ross Waring, Harry Mills and Alex English all reaching well into double figures on the goals tally. The team scored over 50 goals, more than double the number conceded. The school golf team continued its very encouraging season by qualifying for the National Finals of an ISGA competition. Having beaten Rossall’s “A” team in the regional semi-final (largely thanks to an fantastic score of 43 points by Adam Durband) and despite the decidedly blustery conditions at Southport and Ainsdale, the team got stuck in and produced an
With last year’s captain, James Watson, now a mainstay in the hockey squad, Ross Waring took over the role, playing centremidfield each game and putting his West Cheshire league experience to good effect, particularly in attempting to provide each referee with running advice on how to officiate the game. Of the other ‘regulars’, Harry Mills and Alex English led the forward line, James Hennessy took on the ‘Ngolo Kante’ mantel, Tom Dodd and Charlie Robertson adopted their version of the modern wing back role; Dave Nevin filled in across the back line and occasionally in goal; Craig Wynne was a steady presence at fullback or in midfield; Josh Coyne fought hard at full back, whilst Tom Corran (when available) provided much needed calm and assurance at centre-back. Sadly for us, Paul Keenan’s rugby prowess ensured that he only managed a couple of games this season. There are a number of capable and competitive footballers in Year 11 and Sean Carpenter, Patrick Carpenter, Dan Cooke, Jack Corran, Henry Dowd, Orren Lee, Sam Pachter, Will Taylor and Mathew Walsh all made valuable contributions to the success of the team. Oli Dean also provided a sense of optimism and enthusiasm, though he was last sighted wandering aimlessly through Chester, having asked to be dropped off on the A55 slipway.
excellent performance to beat Rossall’s “B” team, with a slight element of déjà vu! All the boys played well given the weather but special mention must go to Cameron Walker, whose 37 points on the day was an exceptional effort. Final score: Birkenhead 87-57 Rossall “B”. The finals took place on June 20th at Magnolia Park Golf Club, near Oxford, where the team placed 2nd.
Prep Sport 2016/17 has been another event-filled year with all pupils from Years 3 to 6 actively involved in competitive sporting fixtures against opposing schools and/or fellow pupils in the form of inter-house matches.
after season finishes) in June in the Merseyside 9-aside finals evening. We are also in the latter stages of both this yearâ€™s Corgi and Houlihan cups, the Year 5 and 6 football competitions for all Wirral schools.
Without doubt, though, this year our main successes have been on the football field. The season got off to a tremendous start when we defeated Gayton Primary in the final of the Corgi Cup which had been postponed from the previous season. In mid-May the Year 6 Football team played at Goodison Park, home of Everton Football club as Merseyside 7-aside representatives, having won tournaments on the Wirral and at Finch Farm. Despite an extremely spirited and committed performance, the semi-final was lost cruelly on penalties and the resulting 3rd/4th place play off ended in stalemate meaning we finished equal 3rd overall, a fantastic achievement when you consider the number of teams initially involved. A lasting memory was made and a thoroughly enjoyable day was had by team members, family and friends. The season seems to get longer and longer these days and, as we go to print, another memorable occasion awaits when the Year 5/6 football team have qualified to play at Anfield (or the academy if the pitch is taken up straight
The Year 5 Football and Rugby teams have gone through the whole season without defeat, except for final stages of tournaments, which bodes well for next season.
On Thursday 25th May Birkenhead School hosted the annual Wirral minigames high five Netball tournament. Ten schools took park and again we won all of our matches with some excellent play and shooting from the team. The final was against Woodchurch Road and we won convincingly 6-0. The team will now represent Wirral at the Merseyside Youth games on Thursday 29th June.
Another sporting success came in Table Tennis, representing Wirral in the Merseyside Finals Day at The Halton Stadium where we finished a very admirable 3rd place out of 16 schools. School hosted a rounders festival on Friday 19th May, local schools Bidston Ave, Prenton Prep and Redcourt all attended. We played a round robin competition with School winning all of their games to finish in first place.
Also in May, pupils from Year 4 represented Birkenhead School at the Wirral Diamond Cricket tournament at the Old Parkonians Cricket Club. They played very well and won all four of their games convincingly. Special mention to Krish Malhotra who won 'biggest shot of the day' and was given a new bat and ball as a prize.
We are still to represent Wirral in the finals day of the Tri Golf competition at Wavertree in July and have several other competitions in Rounders and Cricket where we may well qualify for finals day.
infocus magazine infocus magazine
Sports 2017 Sports Days Days 2017
Adam Durband Adam Durband
Climbers brave the elements on Spanish trip
“I think I mainly climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I never attempt to analyse these things too thoroughly, but I think that all mountaineers do get a great deal of satisfaction out of overcoming some challenge which they think is very difficult for them, or which perhaps may be a little dangerous” – Edmund Hillary. Hillary’s words still ring true decades later, but I had no idea he had prescience for organising and running a small climbing trip to Spain! One for the fireside in a Scottish mountain bothy perhaps, where I hope our climbers will find themselves in some years to come? It all started one December afternoon…….. Organising a foreign trip has almost limitless possibilities for plans to go wrong, and by the end of our four days away I had moved from Plan A to somewhere mid-alphabet. They say that anything that can go wrong will, and I think we had more than our share of bad luck to deal with. The four climbers (Paul Gogerty, Mairead Anderson, Oliver Jones and Ben Hyatt) met at the right time with their instructors (my brother Mark and me), in the right place with bags and passports – so far so good! Then the fog rolled in, flights were cancelled when waiting at the gates, Easyjet desks were deserted, alternative flights fully booked, ten hours at the airport in various queues until eventually we were rebooked onto the last six seats on the early flight from Manchester.
Unfortunately, by now it was approaching midnight, but looking on the bright side check-in opened at 0430. A short overnight with the ‘teenagers’ in Manchester airport (the CCTV control room probably enjoyed themselves), and we were finally off once Mairead had been returned to the group by her stoic parents at a very unsociable hour. The winter sun proved shy, and we were greeted by the worst flash flooding in 15 years (cars being washed out to sea) and almost tropical rain for 24 hrs. In a brief slackening off in the first evening we managed to grab a few hours climbing at Toix, a short walk from the apartment at Calpe. On the second day we went sunchasing, and found it about 2 hours away, but unfortunately it was only 5’C so too cold for any meaningful climbing. The rain finally stopped on the second evening, and we got a tempting taste of the sunny, bolted, sport climbing haven that Costa Blanca climbing has become, and managing to squeeze in some leading before dark. A moonlit walk to the nearby TV aerials afforded some stunning views up and down the coast and Ben was allowed to go crazy with the enormous camera he had lugged with him.
Year 7 pupils have been learning new skills at Cooks Academy this year. As part of their Houses they take turns to make a variety of dishes, including these tasty cupcakes featured here. Cookery lessons are available to all Year 6 and 7 pupils and those in Years 10, 12 and 13 are able to opt for it as part of Beyond the Curriculum, which are additional activities offered to the students outside their subject areas.
The last day dawned sunny, and after a tidy of the apartment (teenagers) we decided not to go any further afield and had a fantastic (and long) day climbing until we could climb no more. Fingers bled, grades were pushed, shirts removed, and many photos were taken showing the climbing and the climbers (teenagers) to their full potential. ‘The camera never lies’- and to be fair it was as nice as the photos show. The climbers applied themselves well, and they really should be commended on their positive attitude and willingness to ride the waves of adversity as they presented themselves. Maybe three days of climbing would have been too hard? At least nobody broke their arm…..! Mr Higginbottom
Prep Climbing Club Year 5 have been having a great time at Climbing Club this year. Their skills have progressed significantly and the group were awarded certificates of achievement from club leader Mrs Thuraisingam. The children have also been helped throughout their club by Upper Sixth students Paul Gogerty and Oliver Jones.
Charity Rowers raise over £2300 for Claire House
Students from Years 10 and 11 took to rowing machines in May to complete a combined challenge of 222km to raise money for the Wirral charity Claire House Hospice. The length of 222km was chosen as the combined length of the rivers Mersey and Dee, and took the students from 9am to 3.30pm, each providing a ten-minute stint on the rowing machines. Thanks to sponsorship from parents, family and friends, along with a bucket collection and an online campaign, the students managed to raise an incredible amount of over £2300. The rowing was completed outdoors and the students were treated to glorious sunshine while they were supported by their
fellow classmates, staff, and Headmaster Paul Vicars. Mr Vicars said, “The boys and girls involved have completed a remarkable achievement, not just in their physical rowing challenge, but also in raising such an exceptional amount of money for this very worthy and important charity.” Also cheering on the team was the Claire House mascot, Claire Bear, who came along for moral support with Claire House Hospice representative and Wirral Community Fundraiser, Avril Parr. Miss Parr said, “Thank you to all of the students and staff at Birkenhead School. All of the money raised will go towards making a huge difference to the lives of the children and families we support. For every seriously and terminally ill child Claire House reaches, there is one we do not. With the amazing fundraising efforts and help from Birkenhead School, Claire House can reach the families who need our support during the toughest of times.” Sports teacher Duncan Hendry, who organised the event, was pleased with the students’ dedication and enthusiasm on the day. Mr Hendry said, “They have all worked really hard, with some having never used a rowing machine before, and there was a great team spirit. I’m really proud of their attitude and commitment.” Claire House Children’s Hospice helps seriously and terminally ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing a sense of normality back to family life. Through a variety of activities, Birkenhead School has been able to donate over £27,000 since 2002.
The Great Birkenhead House Bake Off Year 7's took part in The Great Birkenhead House Bake-Off when the students brought in a wide variety of cakes, which were displayed outside Overdale and judged by Headmaster Mr Vicars and Head of Overdale Mr Murdoch. The students then sold the cakes and their creativity and generosity meant they were able to raise an incredible £179 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. The winning house was Kingsmead, with special mention also going to Bria Titu (Bidston) for the tallest, most colourful and fastest bought Rainbow cake, and to Sam Dyson (Beresford) for his fabulous flower pots. Thanks also went to everyone who bought a treat, too. House points were awarded to all who participated.
Hair Off for Alzheimers Barbara O'Brien from School's Estates Team has been raising money for the Alzheimer's Society by shaving her head! A group of Year 8 students have also been getting involved by holding a bake sale to raise funds. If you would like to sponsor Barbara you can do so by visiting: https://www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/Barbara-O-Brien
Charity London to Amsterdam cycle ride raises £15,000 At the beginning of June a group of parents of Old Birkonians with Mr Edmunds, plus others, took to their bicycles to raise further funds for the “Let’s Help Jack Make a Difference” cancer research project. They cycled from London to Amsterdam; four countries in four days covering just under 400 miles. Mr Edmunds said, “We had a glorious four days with bright sunshine and no wind, but more importantly we raised over £15,000 to support the charity work started by OB Jack Hussey shortly before his death last summer. The group are pictured in Museum Square, Amsterdam, shortly after they had finished the ride. At the age of 19, Jack lost his brave fight for life in July 2016, but before he did, he started fundraising for Cancer Research UK in the hope that the research might help other young people in the future. Jack's full story can be
Every penny raised will go to the research team working on a project at Newcastle University who are trialling a
Non-uniform for Jack
new drug for Jack's illness. This is the third project that Jack has supported and these projects show real progress in the fight against cancer in young people.
MIND Bake Sale Well done to Year 7 students Isabella Heckstall-Smith, Olivia Whendon and Rachael Oulton who held a bake sale to raise awareness for Mental Health Week raising money for MIND.
A whole School non-uniform day was held in aid of Cancer Research UK and in memory of OB Jack Hussey. Year 6 also held a bake sale in Prep to add to the funds. If you would like to donate you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/HelpJack2017.
Chaplaincy Big Questions This term has presented exciting opportunities as always in the life of Chaplaincy and our Chapel services. Lent is a wonderful time for us to take some time to revisit our priorities and consider not only our own outlook on life but also to see life from others’ eyes.
Our Lenten project this year was to look beyond ourselves but also to question ourselves and so we staged a Big Questions event. One lunchtime, we set up a silent debate and, with the added bonus of buying cakes for charity, pupils wrote their significant questions about life and faith and a whole School
debate was created. This was followed up with a visit from Josh Walsh from Cornerstone church, who
Sponsored Silence Students from Year 8, advised by Chaplain Sian Howell-Jones, took part in a sponsored silence earlier this year. Mary Cotton, Tasmin Lee, Meghan Doran and Natasha Keeling wanted to help those who are afflicted with mental health issues and approached Mrs Howell-Jones for advice. Mrs Howell-Jones directed the students to a range of online material and they
chose the charity MIND to support.
The group then decided on a sponsored silence to help raise money for MIND, saying, “A lot of people have difficulty speaking about mental health issues so we thought that a sponsored silence was fitting.” The Year 8’s carried white boards with them for the day to communicate and, along with a bake sale, raised an impressive £252.
shared some answers to the questions in Chapel.
Sian Howell-Jones, Chaplain
Confirmation this year, on 12th February, was a true celebration. Bishop Keith was pleased to join us for a superb service where Jack Taylor was baptised and then confirmed with Millie, Freddie and Georgie Southworth, Charlotte Roetchen and Harry Wilson. Jack said, “It was something I had wanted to do for some time and it was a very enjoyable evening followed by drinks and canapés in the dining hall.”
LADIES COM / PA 33
Ladies’ Committee Thank you to the Ladies’ Committee for their donations The Ladies’ Committee has had a busy few months providing refreshments at Sports fixtures, the House Music evening, Open Day, and at the Sports Days in the Summer Term. We have supported a number of Departments in the last few months with funding for Rugby 1st Team, Lacrosse 1st Team, the forthcoming Cricket Tour, and the trip to Nepal. We are also supporting the Chapel Choir Tour. We have, for the first time, also supported the Nursery, and the Gym club in Prep.
Sara Hatherly, Chair
The team travelling to Nepal in October will benefit from contributions from the Ladies’ Committee
Parents’ Association The Parents’ Association have continued to organise events through the Lent and Summer terms which have been enjoyed by all who have attended. We held a Uniform sale and coffee morning in March which gives families the opportunity to stock up on spare uniform and to catch up with other families. Our biggest event was the Easter Disco where, once again, we welcomed children from Nursey and Pre-Prep for an Easter Bonnet Parade and Disco. There were some wonderful creations and judging was very difficult. We waved off the first group of children and welcomed Years 3 to 6 for a second disco. The PA helpers worked hard to make this happen, five hours of children’s discos is exhausting but worth it to see the happy faces and the children having so much fun. Our biggest event for summer is the Summer Ball, held at the Lever Hulme Hotel in Port Sunlight. This follows the success of our 2016 Summer Ball and promises to be a wonderful night. We are currently trialling our new PA website which will be fully launched in September 2017. We know that this will be a great asset to our fundraising activities and will make life much easier for us all with online ordering and payments and all of our activities combined in one place. We aim to spend the money we raise in a timely fashion and our recent spending has included:
Football kit for Prep; Donation to the Sixth Form Leavers Ball; A substantial donation to Nursery and Prep for the outdoor classroom and outdoor learning projects. We are already making plans for Michaelmas Term 2017 including Bonfire Night and the Christmas Bazaar and as always we welcome any help or ideas you may have. My thanks to all of the Parents’ Association committee for the work they continue to do each year to make these events happen for our pupils and their families.
Denise Durband, Chair
Sixth Form Leavers
Class of 2017
36 OLD BIRKONIANS
OLD BIRKONIAN SOCIETY
BULLETIN Chairman’s Report Welcome to the Annual Bulletin 2017. It seems no time at all since we were assembling the 2016 edition to include with the IN FOCUS school magazine. How time flies! There has been a few changes since then. Andy Maxwell (19942001) has been elected to Council, bringing us closer and more involved with our younger members. Meanwhile in Archives, John Williams (1974-82) has joined the team and Jeremy Eyre, ex-Prep staff and long-standing volunteer, has stood down, albeit, we hope, temporarily. More recently the School has appointed a part time Alumni Officer, Carol Keegan, effective from next term. This is seen as a positive step to create a stronger link with the Society. The Society continued to maintain a calendar of annual events throughout the 2016-17 year and in addition there was the OBS Weekend at which, in the morning, the Hockey was won by OBS 8-4 and the school beat OBS at Netball 31-13. On the rainy afternoon OBS won Lacrosse 16-6 and School won the Rugby 15-5. You will notice that Lacrosse has been added to the sporting events and socially we have also been seeking to make more events of interest to women. The great sporting success this time round was the winning of the Grafton Morrish National Competition for Public School Old Boys Golf Societies. (See the full report on another page). The Hoblyn Trophy in the Autumn was won by John Newton and the runner-up was Martin Prentice. Brian Walsh won the Hoblyn Prize and Tim Hoblyn the Putting Cup. To my surprise there was a below average turnout at Heswall Golf Club on a beautiful summer’s day. The competition, however, was fierce. Jim McGrath won with 36 points. Rupert Rule scored 35 and Andy McKeown 34. In December the Old Birkonians beat Birkenhead Park by 34-17. A splendid, competitive game in which the OBS who were 5-7 down at half time played a brilliant second half. Ollie Hearn was awarded the OB Man of the Match. The London Dinner last November at the Athenaeum, Piccadilly, was quite family familiar and not just brothers but fathers and sons. The Sixth Form lectures on Fridays have been growing in popularity and many of them have been given by Old Birkonians (see reference on page 39). The Social Networking that Paul Briscoe introduced to the Society three years ago has now been given a fresh boost by Pippa McKeown. There has been a steady increase of activity
each year and this will help us to keep in contact with our younger members who may be at university or their first place of employment. Our Charitable Funds (Endowment and War Memorial) continue to welcome donations and legacies from members so that we can assist the school in attracting talented students who require bursaries to meet the current level of fees. This year Council have further offered the School a Sixth form scholarship for academic achievement. The Archives remain the hub of the Society’s activity as the ten volunteers, every Monday morning, extend their commitment to the history of the School by also ensuring that the database and website are updated and the OBS Bulletin is compiled and issued annually. In addition to thanking the many members who volunteer to organise the numerous events (7 sporting and 7 social.) I also thank the very supportive Council who meet quarterly in February, May, August and November. There always seems to be a busy agenda.
By Roger Ewing, Chairman OBS
OB Council Members Chairman: Roger Ewing Secretary: Will Roberts Treasurer: Trevor Mathew-Jones Tom Harrison
As we approach the Michaelmas Term here are some dates to round off the 2017 calendar. Saturday 9th September
OBS Weekend Events including AGM and CoEd Anniversary Dinner.
Sunday 10th September
Choral Evensong 6.30pm.
Friday 29th September
Golf Day at RLGC Hoylake (Hoblyn Trophy)
Friday 6th October
Liverpool Lunch (Artists’ Club)
Friday 17th November
London Dinner. Savile Club, 69 Brook Street, WI.
Saturday 18th November
School Bazaar (OBS Stand)
Tuesday 26th December
Rugby match . Birkenhead Park v Old Birkonians
OLD BIRKONIANS 37
Old Birkonian Society Weekend 9th and 10th September 2017 SATURDAY 9th SEPTEMBER
10am Netball match on School campus Hockey match at McAllester Field 10.30am to 12.15pm Archives Open, 44 Bidston Road. (Coffee served)
12.30pm Annual General Meeting 1.15pm Lunch in Sixth Form Centre Please confirm attendance so we can assess catering requirements.
2.30pm Rugby and Lacrosse at Noctorum 7pm Celebration Dinner, £28 per person. Book at birkenheadschool.co.uk/obs
SUNDAY 10th SEPTEMBER 6.30pm, Choral Evensong in Chapel Chaplain: Father Mark Turner, Preacher: Rev Simon Chesters, Director of All Saints Centre for Mission and Ministry
38 OLD BIRKONIANS
Perhaps a Blue Plaque Birkenhead Park was the first public park in the United Kingdom, built in 1847. It was designed by Joseph Paxton and listed Grade 1 on the register of Historic Parks and Gardens by English Heritage. To the North, backing on to the park, were some fine large buildings, one of which in 1860 became Birkenhead Propriety School. South of the park at about this time was the family home of the Irvines. William Ferguson Irvine, one of the early pupils of the new school, resided at 54-56 Park Road South through the turn of the century with his large family including Andrew (Sandy), who was born in 1902 and attended school from 1910-1916. When eventually his parents moved on, the house became a Social Club with a bowling green. The club, however, closed in
2012 and the house suffered fire damage the following year. The empty house became neglected and subject to anti-social behaviour. Because the building is now so derelict it would not be financially viable to renovate it as a stand-alone project, so a developer with guidance from Historic England has created an “enabling development” which would raise sufficient funds to preserve this local landmark building. After numerous battles between campaigners and pressure groups, Planning Permission has been granted for some apartments within and to the rear of the main building. Let us hope that the restoration of the main building in the near future will display a plaque to highlight the home of mountaineer Sandy Irvine.
The History of Overdale In 1895 the second Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, Edmund Knight, resigned. His successor, Bishop John Carroll, bought “Overdale” and the ballroom became a chapel where local Catholics attended Mass under the care of the Reverend Chichele Giles, the Bishop’s secretary. When Bishop Carroll died in 1897, his successor, Bishop Samuel W. Allen, chose to live in Shrewsbury. Father Giles also left Oxton to continue as the new Bishop’s secretary. Mr Edmund Kirby, a well known local architect and devout Catholic, came to live in “Overdale” later that same year and continued to offer the use of Bishop Carroll’s chapel to Oxton Catholics, served by the priests from
Our Lady’s church. The initial entry in the first small Notice Book dated 3rd October 1897 records: Chapel of Ease, Overdale, Oxton. Canon Barry served from Our Lady’s, Birkenhead. Several of the local wealthy families successfully petitioned Bishop Allen for a church to be built. The site of the new church was the orchard of “Overdale”. Mrs Kirby died in 1905, but father and son continued to live in “Overdale” until Edmund’s death in 1920. Graham White, an Old Birkonian, bought the house and lent it to the school in 1922. In 1926 it was converted into accommodation for staff and in 1931 Graham White presented “Overdale” to use as Junior School.
England Lacrosse Update Charlotte Lytollis (2008-13) and Olivia Wimpenny (201214) are still high-profile members of Lacrosse Team England. The large squad of 44 was reduced to 26 in January and both players remain very much to the forefront. After a highly successful European Championships in July/August 2016, at which they won another gold medal after beating Israel, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary,
the Czech Republic, Latvia and Germany, they are now preparing for a new challenge. They are one of twenty-five teams training for the Rathbones World Championships to be held in Guildford, Surrey, from 12th July to 22nd July 2017. The first match after the opening ceremony will be against Wales in Group A. There are no tickets left for the opening game. Sold out! Is that good news or bad!?
Sandy Irvine Charlotte Lytollis (2008-13) and Olivia Wimpenny (2012-14)
House History By the time the first “Birkonian” appeared in 1894, there was already a House system in existence. It comprised three houses, namely SCHOOL, populated by boarders, with NORTH and SOUTH drawing membership based on which side of Shrewsbury Road the pupil lived. In 1919 the following appeared in the editorial announcing the origin of the “Clubs”: “Steps have been taken to sow the seeds of future success on the cricket field by reorganising the Junior Games. Every boy is nominally a member of the cricket club yet the number who made use of their membership was appallingly few. Now, however, the needful something has been done. The Juniors have been allocated to Wallasey, Oxton, Prenton or Rock Ferry districts and play matches with each other. Each district is supervised by a master, assisted by a prefect. Some games are played on the Oxton Cricket Club ground. The arrangement is working very well indeed.” The following year there is mention of 5 Houses (clubs) – Oxton became THEBES; Prenton-SPARTA; WallaseyCRETE; Rock Ferry-ROME. The fifth house emerged as TROY. In 1925 there was an account of the failures and successes on the rugby field although not everyone was keen to turn up. However, by 1927, the best feature was the virtual elimination of the “shirkers”. Almost all available Cretans, for instance, turned out to take their inevitable defeats. In 1930, with the arrival of Mr W.F. Bushell everything changed. The school was divided into Junior and Senior School. The House and Club system was entirely overhauled. North and South disappeared as did the five Junior Clubs/Houses. In their place, three day-boy houses were introduced – Sloman’s, Pearse’s and Griffin’s being named after the first three headmasters. School House remained as before. Sloman’s was based upon Sparta, Pearse’s upon Rome, Griffin’s upon Troy, whilst Thebes and Crete were absorbed. The Junior School was split into four Houses using the names of prominent Old Birkonians – White’s, Hargreaves’, Macvicar’s and Ashcroft’s. In 1948 Davis’s and Bushell’s were added to the four senior houses and the Junior School forms became Greeks, Romans and Trojans. In 1970 Spartans were added. This system remained in existence until 2006 when falling rolls made a six House system impractical and the number was reduced to four. The new names became Bidston, Kingsmead, Shrewsbury and Beresford, being the four roads which form the campus boundaries. As boarders had long since disappeared there was no need for a “School” House.
OLD BIRKONIANS 39
Sixth Form Lectures
It has been a great pleasure to see so many Old Birkonians returning to school and sharing their experiences with the 6th Form at the Friday lectures. During the last year the following have given generously of their time: Kirsten Rogerson (2002-04) James Housley (1994-2001) Andrew McKeown (1994-2001) George Pinder (2004-11) George Scott (2002-14) David Cockeram (1997-2004) Andrew Maxwell (1994-2001) Morgan Dowler (2008-10) Jeremy Williamson (1987-92) Cameron Boyd (1958-68)
Marketing App. Development How to spin failure to success
Jaguar / Landrover Experiences in Nepal Chartered Surveying Networking and the keys to success
Entrepreneurship Emergency Services Forensic Psychiatry
Others who wish to contribute should contact Head of Sixth Form Louise Smeaton. Louise.Smeaton@birkenheadschool.co.uk
A Happy Reunion ERIC ROBERTS (1950-55) writes:A belated follow up to an article by David Laing (44-58) in the summer 2013 edition of the OBS Bulletin. In it, he told of his friend Martin Carpenter (50-53) who had restored his 4 litre Bentley. Some will recall that Martin, tragically drowned in a sailing accident off Wallasey around 1961-62. David had heard that the Bentley was still “live and well” in Germany. I read David’s article at that time with great interest for several reasons. I too remember Martin at school. My parents knew his family and most relevant, my wife Carole was at Upton Hall Convent with Martin’s sister Maryrose Carpenter (affectionately known as Chippy.) Over the years Carole has kept in touch with Chippy who was living in South Africa and my thought since reading the 2013 magazine, was to try and re-unite Chippy with sight of Martin’s Bentley. So I contacted David Laing to discover the exact whereabouts of the car which turned out to be in Frankfurt. I passed the contact details of the owner to Martin’s sister who in turn did get in touch. Clearly a visit to Frankfurt from South Africa was not a practical possibility at the time however last year Chippy visited her daughter who was temporarily living in Germany. She seized the opportunity to visit Frankfurt and she did see the car. A HAPPY RE-UNION. The photograph shows Chippy with her son on the left and Peter Godehardt and his wife on the right at Limburg, near Frankfurt. Peter has owned the Bentley (YW 2080) since December 1992.
40 OLD BIRKONIANS
In Memoriam We offer our condolences to the families and friends of Old Birkonians of whose passing we have been informed of during the past year. E O’Hara
J F Hussey
(1966 - 1969) Staff
(2005 - 2015)
(1940 - 1947)
(1921 - 1934)
M J Wolfgang
(1948 - 1961)
C K Stevens
F A Harley
M W Hart
J D Barton
D W Blades
R J Griffiths
J N Moulden
P G Rae
(1956 - 1993) Staff
(1958 - 1968)
(1954 - 1962)
(1938 - 1944)
(1946 - 1951)
(1949 - 1956)
(1951 - 1957)
(1938 - 1949)
(1945 - 1951)
(1945 - 1953)
D B Harrison
J A Gwilliam
(1922 - 1934)
(1963 - 1988) Headmaster
F G Harvey Routledge
(1933 - 1941)
Major Tony Hughes
(1950 - 1954)
A S Brown
J M Bowden
G V R Bolton
G C Pryde
J G Brown
R G Roscoe
(1939 - 1940)
(1940 - 1947)
(1939 - 1946)
(1965 - 1978)
(1944 - 1958)
(1935 - 1942)
(1968 - 1975)
(1949 - 1957)
(1943 - 1945)
Obituary: JOHN GWILLIAM, Headmaster 1963 - 1988 John Gwilliam, longest-serving Headmaster in the history of Birkenhead School, died last December, aged 93. He was a dominant figure during his twenty-five years at the helm and no pupil from that era can have forgotten him. He was respected and feared in equal measure and not only by pupils. Unusually for a Headmaster, even then, he taught in the classroom and pupils will certainly remember his Divinity lessons. He was generally content to leave Junior School in the hands of, first, Will Rankin and from 1975, Michael Harrison, but he kept a close eye on all in Senior School through his teaching in what were then Years 3, 5, L6 and on a rota basis, U6. John Gwilliam’s influence on the School was profound. He was no closet liberal: the curriculum was uncompromisingly traditional and basically that established by Headmaster Kenneth Robinson in 1946, with a little tweaking along the way as educational changes made themselves felt. The maintenance of high academic standards was of huge importance to him. He was very proud to appoint and retain well qualified members of staff, many of whom saw no reason to move on to another school. When he retired, all but six teachers were his appointees; even to date (May 2017), Messrs Davies, Allister, Gill, Britten, Lytollis, Roden and Edmunds, all of whom he appointed, are still at the School. The appearance of a pupil did not escape his eagle eye: facial hair was not allowed, a short back and sides was de rigeur and he did not appreciate the making of a statement through the wearing of certain types of coat. As has always been the case, boys (no female pupils during his time!) were adept at finding
ways to circumvent such restrictions. Rubber bands proved useful at tying down hair; many a pupil knew exactly where the Headmaster was at any given time and took steps to avoid him if he was espied striding up the path from his study.
Concealment behind the pavilion, in the washroom in K Block, or even behind one of the large trees surrounding the field (this last not usually successful) was frequently resorted. At the end of each term pupils paraded past the Headmaster in academic order at the top of the Ashcroft Steps; this was an ordeal for many: a sense of real trepidation in the queue gave way to profound relief as a pupil moved down the steps towards the final assembly in Big School. The discontinuance of the ‘march past’ was one of Stuart Haggett’s early decisions in the Autumn Term of 1988. John Gwilliam bequeathed to his successor a school with an excellent reputation, locally and nationally. Many an Old Birkonian has been pleased to be able to confirm at a University interview or to a potential employer ‘yes – I was at Birkenhead School’.
OLD BIRKONIANS 41
Obituary: KEITH STEVENS, Birkenhead School 1956-1993 Keith Stevens, who died last September, was a popular and respected teacher at School, who will be remembered with affection by all who came into contact with him. He taught English for thirty-seven years, retiring in 1993. His teaching was much appreciated by pupils at all levels; he had a fine mind and found no difficulty communicating his love of language and literature to those fortunate enough to be taught by him. He particularly enjoyed producing plays over the years and was instrumental in establishing the House Drama Competition, which has become such an important event in the School Calendar in recent years. He adjudicated the Competition on a regular basis and was always amused to see how his decisions could occasion such varied reactions, from wild enthusiasm, through grudging acceptance to outrage and despair – interpupil friendships often came under great strain.
In 1980 Keith was appointed Joint Deputy Headmaster, together with his friend Harold McCready. He was much involved with administration and notably with dayto-day arrangements. His eye for detail and ability to see the potential for difficulties well in advance of any serious problems invariably ensured that things ran smoothly. Headmasters John Gwilliam and Stuart Haggett were indeed fortunate to have someone with such a safe pair of hands, on whom they could place total reliance.
Obituary: JACK HUSSEY, Birkenhead School 2004-2015 Many people connected in different ways with Birkenhead School were very sad to hear that Jack Hussey, a pupil for eleven years in both Prep and Senior Schools, died last July aged nineteen after a brave battle against a rare cancer. Jack’s stoicism on receiving a serious diagnosis was an inspiration to all who knew him. His wish to initiate a series of fund-raising activities, with a target of £100,000, was widely applauded.
To date, just under £75,000 has been raised, which represents a magnificent
achievement. Other events have also taken place, including a sponsored cycle ride to Amsterdam, and in December there will be a Black Tie Ball at Hillbark Hotel. Full details can be accessed by visiting www.helpjack.org.uk. In an imaginative and very fitting gesture the School has inaugurated a ‘Jack Hussey Award’ and a trophy will be presented annually at Prize Giving to the student who is known to have raised the most in one academic year for charitable causes.
Obituary: JOHN BROWN, Birkenhead School 1944 - 1958 John Brown, died in Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on the 29th August 2016 where he was undergoing treatment for lymphoma. His early ambition had been to follow his father to sea, in a career with the RN. This was spoiled at 15 by his colour vision failing to satisfy the rigours of the requirements in place for deck officers. He was academically bright and won a boarding scholarship at 13, when he transferred to School House and began a course in A Level smoking. He was a fine athlete and played in most school teams, winning the javelin cup at the LAC Public School’s sports at White City in 1958. He won with his final throw; a typical gesture to summarise his competitive approach. He took a degree in Spanish and French at Birmingham, playing competitive Bridge for the University. He became an active member of the OBRUFC and Oxton CC after graduation. He studied Chartered Accountancy with Cooper Bros. and emerged in the finals prize list. He married his BHS sweetheart Averil Jones in 1964, with whom he had two daughters and a grandson who all survive him, and celebrated their Golden wedding in 2014. His business career in the food industry was significantly with Bernard Matthews in Costessey, Norwich where he spent the final 39 years of his life. His mark on the industry was the development of interests in Hungary, Germany and New Zealand. He held major offices in the
Royal Norwich GC serving as Treasurer, Captain and President, and was the leading force in negotiating the redevelopment of the Club on a new site and a new course, involving the sale of the former premises for a large mixed housing development. He was always widely active in Community affairs, serving as a local councillor in Driffield and as a member and President of The Strangers’ Club in Norwich, and as a fund-raiser for the ancient parish church of St Edmund, Costessey. His recent generous gift to the OB School Endowment Fund, with an intent for its use in bursaries, was typical. His funeral in Norwich Cathedral was attended by over 250 people.
John Brown with his grandson
42 OLD BIRKONIANS
NEWS from HOME and AWAY Life Beyond Academia
I arrived at school in 1948, the first year of Greeks, Romans and Trojans. Tom Weatherhead was my form master in 1 Romans. Unlike many of my year who via University rose to dizzy heights as Members of Parliament, Military Leaders and Knights of the Realm, I ventured into the commercial world by joining Elder Dempster Lines in Liverpool. In those days in the early fifties, it was customary to start in the Postroom of such a large Company. I quickly got to meet the many employees of every department spread over our 4 floors in India Buildings, followed by daily visits to the docks of Harrington, Brunswick and Toxteth by way of the overhead railway. I was accompanied by a suitcase of correspondence which was firmly in my grip. I very soon progressed to the Purser’s Department in a seafaring capacity. My first voyage was London to West Africa on a 1943 built “Liberty” ship originally called Samyale but renamed Zungon. On my 4th voyage in 1955 on the Kaladan my colleague in the Purser’s office was also an Old Birkonian, Mike (Gertie) Williams, ex School House (47-52). The Purser’s team was responsible for the ship’s accounts, the discharge of cargo at the many ports and the loading for homeward-bound. I did many trips on many ships, some of which included passengers and visited USA and Canada as well as the West African coast.
In the late 70’s ship after ship was sold and in 1980 I became redundant. Containerisation had arrived. For the next 8 years I was with the United Arab Shipping Company spending much of my time between the Canary Islands, Angola and Saudi Arabia, especially Jeddah and Yanbu on the Red Sea and on several occasions my wife and sometimes my daughters joined the trip. All good things, however, come to an end and in 1988 I returned home having been fully Saudiised. After a 12 month break, I changed direction and joined the newly formed Group 4 Security as a Custody Officer. In 2000 I had a major operation and soon after I retired at the tender age of 65. In retirement I have concentrated on my major hobby of models (00 scale). I have a collection of about 650 (00 scale) buses and trams featuring Birkenhead, Wallasey, Liverpool, Southport, Manchester Crosville, Stagecoach, Avon and even Happy Als. In addition I have just under 40 radio controlled model ships often to be seen at the New Brighton model boating lake. I have not been to University, and I did not obtain a degree, but this has not detracted from an extremely interesting career and the joy of my hobbies. So my message is “there is a life beyond academia !”
A Genealogical Gem
Keith Nelson (1944-46) writes from Arizona and tells us that his great uncle Eric Gilbert Sudlow NELSON, who was at Birkenhead School in 1911 and died in the 1980’s had a son, Commander John Nelson who lived in Bath and for a time was a Naval Attache to Spain. With the help of the extensive ancestral information stored by the Latter Day Saints, Keith traced his family back to Lord Horatio Nelson, but probably on the illegitimate side since Horatio had a number of lady friends, some living in Bath ! A special one living in Wirral ! Further enquiries highlighted Keith’s Great, Great Grandmother, Maria Nightingale was the aunt of Florence Nightingale. At School Keith recalls two fond memories. One was a hog roast over a large fireplace in the home of the Headmaster, with his sister Miss Bushell dispensing Bulmer’s Apple Cider. The other, a cross country run organised by Charlie Jones (gym master) on a rainy day. Keith got lost in a muddy field, so he went through a garden gate, knocked on a back door only to discover it was the home of Lord Birkenhead. The ladies of the house treated him to a bath bun and lemonade.
Alan Dean (1948-53)
A School that makes you think I was at school from 1961 – 1968. I then read Chemistry at Oxford before qualifying as a chartered accountant. After spending 30 years advising large companies about complex computer systems at outrageous charge–out rates, I was able to retire at 52.
The School gave width as well as depth, through some extraordinary masters. If I were to meet them now, I know that many would be good friends, though perhaps others would still be alien beings.
I am now the Honorary Treasurer of the world’s largest gliding club and I spend many happy hours teaching new pilots, as well as flying solo in the Alps and UK.
There were no free periods, six days a week. Even in the 6th form our A Level work was supplemented by “Options”. During one such lesson, Keith Stevens played Gluck’s “What is Life?” sung by Kathleen Ferrier. This hit me between the eyes. I wish I could have met him again before he passed away last year. This is just one of my many reasons to thank Birkenhead School.
An alternative reality is hard to imagine, but I believe that the School’s ethos was fundamental to whom I became; my personality as well as lifestyle. Everyone grows up and I suppose any school will teach facts, but what made Birkenhead School special, was it also made me think. For much of the time it was just plain hard work, but ever so slowly the teaching brought out whatever potential that I had. My contemporaries all caught on sooner but I got there eventually.
So remember –
If you eat your lunch quickly, you can get seconds.
Never wash your hair before a divinity lesson, it looks longer. Fero, ferre, tuli, latum.
OB Interviews David Ewing
Who were you then? The youngest of 3 brothers who went to Birkenhead and the son of a (fearsome) Prep teacher, at school I was more interested in sport than academic pursuits. I captained the first XI at cricket, the first VI at badminton and played 1st XV rugby, before being asked to play first XI hockey which was my first experience of being given a weapon, namely a stick. Cricket and rugby remained my real loves and I went on to represent Cheshire in Minor Counties and became President of Cheshire RFU. Who are you now? After successful years in the IT industry (or Data Processing as it was referred to back then) following a path through programming and system analysis to project and customer management, I am now happily retired. Iâ€™ve kept in touch with cricket at Oxton for over twenty years. I now sit on the RFU council formerly referred to by one Will Carling as 57 old farts, (clearly there are now 56, plus me) where I sit in the nominations committee and take over as chair of the player development committee next season. A chance meeting with an OB: I had lunch prior to the Scotland game in March with the president of the RN rugby union namely the First Sea Lord and OB Philip Jones. A family member who works at Great Ormond St also mentioned that they had just appointed a new Independent non executive director who came from the Wirral and it turned out to be Prof Stephen Smith, with whom I opened the school batting and who was my fellow half back in the 1st XV. I havenâ€™t seen him for 45 years, so it was lovely to hear such good news. Tell us about your school memories: Finest, fondest and funniest all in one I think: As a 12 year old, I nearly decapitated the incoming headmaster (who was visiting the school for interview) with a hook shot. It has been jokingly said that would have saved me and many others, some heartache if I had been more accurate. Years later, that same headmaster caught me drinking a pint after playing for the school against Oxton on a baking hot day. When told to get rid of it I drank it in one gulp which went down well with me, but strangely not him. Five words to sum up your schooldays: Sport was the running theme!
OLD BIRKONIANS 43
Who were you then? I was a pretty happy kid at school. I had a great group of friends in my year group as well as the year below and the year above. In fact, looking back I think my school years were the happiest, most challenging and fulfilling in my life, socially and academically. I loved hanging out with my friends during school and at weekends. I had some very good friendships at school but sadly only a few have survived the years, largely due to my migrating to the United States and life generally marching on. I enjoyed the majority of my studies but I didn't really feel like a natural at any of them; I had to work really hard to get the grades I wanted and I was often jealous at how quickly some of my friends picked up certain concepts or memorised details like dates or formulae. I got my As and my Bs but I always felt like there was a deeper layer of understanding that I couldn't grasp as easily. My favourite memories of school are definitely associated with rugby though. I loved the game, I loved the camaraderie and I now fully appreciate the benefits of doing that much exercise. The team sports and constant training are things I really miss in my life now. Golf, working out or playing social football just doesn't quite cut it!
Who are you now? Today I feel like a new person. I'm very grateful for where I am and the life that I live with my wife, my family, my career and my friends. I've come a long way emotionally and spiritually. It sounds a little sappy but I've learned to live my life with greater patience, tolerance and compassion. I have finally found my groove intellectually, in my career, as a Vice President for a global management consultancy, and am considered to be an expert in my field. My wife, Ruthie, and I have just welcomed our first child into the world: Luke James, born in February. It has certainly turned our lives upside down but for the better, for sure! A chance meeting with an OB? The last I recall is bumping into Will Roberts in Oxton village in around 2010. Will was, and is still today, one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet. He's sincere, he's funny, he's intelligent, he's loyal and he's most likely still the best footballer on the field. I was so proud to be his friend back in the day. Seeing him in Oxton village was awesome, even just for the few minutes we had to say hello. Tell us about your school memories: Finest Moment - every rugby victory we had in our upper sixth year. Fondest Moment - beating Tegid Lewis-Lloyd at a sprint during an early rugby training session having spent a lot of time training all summer. Funniest Moment - finding my car completely buried in snow, courtesy of pretty much the entire sixth form. Five words to sum up your schooldays: I'm cheating here but here are five names or phrases that always spring to mind and make me smile: 1) Rugby 2) Beefy Steve 3) Steady Eddie Edmunds 4) Marty Roden 5) Beati Mundo Corde
Caroline Van Ingen, 2000-2002
Who were you then? I was a conscientious student, went to all my classes and did my homework, but still managed to have a good time in the sixth form - spending free periods sitting in the common room with friends watching rubbish day time TV! Economics A-level was a good antidote to Maths & Physics and kept my essay/report writing skills (mainly left to a Sunday) alive. I was the only girl in my Maths & Physics classes so when I chose to study maths mechanics and the rest of my set chose to do more statistics I ended up in a class of 1 with Mr Fox which worked out well for my final grades but was somewhat unusual in a mainly male school! I made friends across the age groups by being a member of the chapel choir and stage crew which kept me occupied most of the rest of the time; being in the lighting box rather than on stage was definitely my preference as I could be a bit shy at that time. Oh, and I read the complete Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, courtesy of the school library.
Who are you now? I think I came out of my shell a bit during 6th form and continued to do so at University so now I would say I'm more naturally outgoing. I'm still busy! At various points I've filled up my non-work time playing rugby and I now own a horse and compete in events. I've continued with music too, being a member of the Derby Choral Union, singing with Graham J Ellis (Choirmaster) in Laudes and playing the violin with Hallam Sinfonia (Sheffield), although having the horse means that music involvement is rather more sporadic than I would like. I
still read lots; coding in the second world war is of particular interest and I return to Terry Pratchett fairly regularly too. A chance meeting with an OB? I've kept in touch with a few OBs: Martin Chong and Duncan Richmond both went to study Aerospace Engineering at Imperial College whilst I went to do a similar course at Sheffield so it was interesting to have some comparison when visiting them or over a pint or three at Christmas. The advent of Facebook means I know little bits about what my peers have been up to since school and I've kept abreast of others through my brother who is also an OB. The most unusual was probably when I was on secondment from Rolls-Royce to United Airlines in Houston - I'd flown up to their line maintenance base in San Francisco and wanting some local info I got in touch with OB David Gould (who I'd sung next to for 1yr in chapel choir) through my brother. I ended up staying on in San Fran for an extra night so I could see my brother and go to Dave's wedding!! Tell us about your school memories:
Finest moment: Wearing prefect's "wings" Fondest moment: Singing the solo first verse of Once in Royal David's City
Funniest moment: Any & all house drama!
Five words to sum up your schooldays: Happy, hardworking, fun...there must be more!
44 OLD BIRKONIANS
Grafton Morrish Finals 2016 Cast In Order of Appearance
(Copyright: Quentin Tarantino, Reservoir Dogs):
Mr Thunder - Carl Adams Mr Talent - Marcus Stam Mr Ice – Kris Archer Mr Quality – Dominic Barnes Mr Grit – Anthony Shields Mr Cunning – John Hargreaves Fixby safely negotiated, the team travelled down to Norfolk on the Wednesday of tournament week, with Archer, Barnes and Adams sneaking in a quick 15 holes at a windy Brancaster. Stam, Hargreaves and Shields appeared somewhat later, but well in time for a fine dinner at The Rose and Crown. The practice day was organised around the essential requirement of maximising the post lunch relaxation time in the upstairs conservatory at Royal West Norfolk. Even for the older hands, familiarisation with the courses was particularly important this year, as it was clear that a strong Easterly wind was going to be present all week, making the front nine at both links extremely challenging. Team form in practice was solid rather than spectacular, but gave us the reassurance of knowing that all permutations would produce three very competitive pairs. Eventually, after some debate it was decided that the line-up for the first match would be Stam/Adams, Archer/Barnes, Shields/Hargreaves – in that order.
‘Don’t throw stones at a hibernating bear!’ Having received a first round bye for the first time in over ten years, we had the luxury of a late morning start time at Royal West Norfolk. Our opponents were Stamford, about whom we knew little other than that their Grafton Morrish pedigree was fairly modest. Fortunately, any possible complacency was removed early when Dominic Barnes overheard some fighting talk from the opposition whilst they walked to the first tee. A little further frisson was introduced when Kris Archer, having complimented his opponent on a long drive from the first tee, was met with the response ‘I’m used to it’ - result of match 7/6 to Birkenhead with Archer being 30-80 yards past his opponent on all subsequent odd-numbered holes lesson - don’t throw stones at a hibernating bear!
‘They knuckled down to finish with a solid win.’ Shields and Hargreaves needed to start steadily and did so, eventually prevailing 6/5. So with 2 wins and the overall match secured, the first game of Stam and Adams was not critical, but it was to their credit that after a few unscheduled visits to the saltmarsh, they knuckled down to finish with a solid win on the 17 th. In truth we were favourites, but the knife-edge nature of all the matches was brought home to us when we learned that Charterhouse, Glasgow and Heriots (historically three of the best sides in the competition) had all failed to survive the first day. The Rose and Crown beckoned for protracted discussions on pairings and order, sensible liquid refreshment, mussels and steak and a presentation of some Royal West Norfolk brandy glasses to Marcus Stam to commemorate his fiftieth match in the Grafton Morrish. Strange pink shots were offered to christen these drinking vessels - not popular with all the older team members but eagerly consumed by the fresher faces.
One thing was certain – the Saturday morning match against KCS Wimbledon would be challenging. Our initial plan had been to change our pairings for Hunstanton, but we eventually decided that the Barnes/Archer combination was too strong to split up – having the potential to match the legendary achievements of Stam and Shields over so many years and the rampant Archer/Adams duo in our winning year of 2011. Pairings therefore remained unchanged but we shuffled the order - leading with Archer and Barnes, Stam and Adams now at number three.
‘So this is what Grafton Morrish is all about.’ Wimbledon had also changed things and it looked like three very competitive matches were in prospect. In the event, the third match slipped quite quickly away from us - Wimbledon playing some very good golf and enjoying all the run of the ball, including a holed bunker shot, meaning they stood at one under par when they won 6/5. The second game of Shields and Hargreaves was evenly balanced for the first ten holes until an inspired burst of putting from Birkenhead saw us pull away and win 4/3. All depended on Archer and Barnes who had held a marginal advantage all the way round until Wimbledon holed a 10 foot putt to birdie the 15 th and draw level. A small gallery (mainly supporting the Southerners) stood round the 16th tee and enthusiastically applauded Wimbledon’s fine tee shot to 15 feet. Serious pressure on Barnes who responded magnificently, finishing comfortably inside the opposition (polite ripple from spectators) – comment from Barnes ‘so this is what the Grafton Morrish is all about’. Both putts slipped by and Wimbledon cracked a drive down the centre of the 17th fairway, Archer followed – 10 yards longer and perfectly placed on the left hand plateau albeit six inches into the very light rough. Cardinal error from Wimbledon – they missed the green left with their second shot. Barnes hit a first rate short iron which inexplicably stopped very quickly, leaving a 75 foot putt. Wimbledon chipped well to 15 feet, Archer putted cannily to 6 feet within ten minutes another quick example of what the Grafton Morrish is all about – Wimbledon missed and Barnes calmly poured his putt into the centre of the hole.
‘A moment of truth’ Now with the honour, Barnes hit a good 1 iron from the 18 th tee and Archer a fine second to 35 feet, Wimbledon were perhaps 10 feet nearer. Barnes (having been encouraged, Whitehurst style, by his partner to leave absolutely nothing) putted to three and a half feet, Wimbledon laid their first putt dead. Again, a moment of truth – a tricky putt across a slope to avoid extra holes with each of the Birkenhead pair seeing a different line– Archer (since renamed Captain Cool) holed superbly by opting for ‘straight and firm’ - we were through.
obs.org.uk A quick lunch and next up were Radley – more rethinking of the order with Shields and Hargreaves now the basement dwellers at number three pair and finding inspired opponents. Pressure on the top two to come through and it was clear that the Adams’ cannon was making his opponent’s driver look like a peashooter. A rifled iron on the tenth hole from Adams and a raking 3 iron into the 14 th from Stam had Radley under serious pressure and they were forced to concede the match on the 15th – 4/3 Birkenhead. Barnes and Archer were now an unstoppable force and controlled their game to win 3/2, being under par at the finish. Back-markers Shields and Hargreaves birdied 14 and 15 but were matched by Radley and were still 3 down – fortunately with the overall match over by that stage , Radley were pressganged into offering a half, Birkenhead 2.5Radley 0.5. So Sunday golf in the main event for Birkenhead for the fourth time in six years. Moderation needed at dinner and Carl’s advice that he and Dom had discovered the secret of feeling good in the morning (4 large gins after dinner in the downstairs snug) was ignored by the older team members.
‘We looked in serious difficulty’ We faced Stowe at Hunstanton in the semis – they were on a great run – having already accounted for Eton and Clifton and we knew that they had one particularly strong pair. The short straw, this time at number three, went to Marcus and Carl and in spite of some massive hitting they were down fairly early. Kris and Dom, out first, looked in control all the way so the key match appeared to be Anthony and John. This game started very badly for us – poor putting from John on the first and mediocre play from both Birkenhead players on the second saw us two down. When we went out of bounds from the third tee, we looked in serious difficulty. However, this Birkenhead team is made of stern stuff – a birdie with the second ball on the third gained us a half and we steadily pulled away – winning 3/2. Dom and Kris won at a canter 5/4 – the last stroke of the match being Barnes nearly holing his tee shot at the par three 14th hole. Marcus and Carl had learned quickly the art of negotiating a half from a losing position so the eventual result was another 2.5 – 0.5 in our favour.
Rugby or Uppingham in the final – both formidable golfing schools with gargantuan school fees to match, Uppingham (2012 winners) prevailed, so we knew a tough match was in prospect. Carl and Marcus out top, starting with out of bounds from the first tee and a lost ball at the second – omens not good, but a great recovery starting with a birdie into the wind on the par four third. The game ebbed and flowed but the Birkenhead pair put together a superb 2 under par run between the 9th and 14th to stand 2 up. We threw away the 15th with another lost ball from the tee but then Stam holed bravely from 20 feet on the 16th hole to be 2 up with two to play. The seventeenth again proved to be a good hole for Birkenhead – neither side on in two but the Stam putter was now hot and he holed from ten feet to win the match 2/1.
‘A certain tension existed in this game’ Kris and Dom, second pair, were involved in a very tight match and were behind for the first time in the tournament after two holes, then square after five following a good par into the wind. A Birkenhead putting blunder on the 8th (later described as a ‘brain fart’) put us one down again against opponents whose sole topic of conversation appeared to be the Rules of Golf. A certain tension existed in this game and in spite of a solid run of sub-par golf we remained one down with four holes to play (special mention to Kris for holing out on the 13th from 7 inches after Uppingham rather ungraciously seemed to ‘forget’ to concede). The fifteenth hole
OLD BIRKONIANS 45
looked promising with Birkenhead exactly 158 yards ahead of their opponents from the tee – credit to Uppingham who then hit a majestic 3 wood to secure a half in birdie fours. The pivotal moment came on the 16th – Uppingham in an awkward lie in the left hand bunker from the tee and Birkenhead in the centre of the green, following another Barnes rapier- like iron. Uppingham were then somewhat hoist with their own petard – their ball moved in the course of taking their stance and they honestly conceded the hole – only to attempt to retract the concession moments later – unfortunately for them, Barnes had also been doing some night time reading and he pointed out that once a concession has been made, it cannot be retracted (Beati Mundo Corde!)). We marched to the 17th tee all square. A massive drive from Archer on the seventeenth left Barnes a pitching wedge to the green which he placed to 20 feet. Uppingham struggling, left in two, were unable to match our par so we had a precious one hole lead going down the last.
‘A half on the 17th would win us the Grafton Morrish’ Anthony and John were fighting hard and after two excellent shots to 15 feet on the par 5 15th looked like going one up – hopes quickly extinguished by a fine up and down from Uppingham. John then hit a weak tee shot on the 16th - nearly on the front of the green and puttable, but with the line interfered with by a hump. It was tempting to take the ground route but Shields summoned up the courage to chip his second shot to 3 feet and Uppingham (bunkered from the tee) made a mess of their second shot to lose the hole with no further play needed by Birkenhead. 1 up with 2 to play meant a half on the 17th would win us the Grafton Morrish. Both pairs drove safely into the right hand rough with Uppingham a little further and enjoying a better lie. Hargreaves thrashed a 7 iron thirty yards short and below the green on the right, Uppingham played a good shot, leaving a putt from about 40 feet. Shields first – a brilliantly thought out and well executed shot to 8 feet, Uppingham putted, slightly weakly, to 10 feet. We expected them to miss the next one and for us to have two putts for the trophy but to their credit, the putt went straight into the middle of the hole. Anthony and John consulted on the line and allowing for Hargreaves’ customary ‘dead weight’ style went for a right edge read. John’s putt did not start on the agreed track but carrying a little more than his normal pace, it grabbed the left edge of the hole and went in – we were home. Kris and Dom meanwhile were still fighting for the full point being unaware of events behind. A very solid par on the eighteenth (another gutsy 3 footer from Archer) saw them win one up and preserved their 100% record in the tournament. It matters not that John and Anthony lost the last and halved their match – the important business was done and Birkenhead’s shield was going back on the top of the Hunstanton Clubhouse wall – placed there by the solid figure of Captain Kris ‘Cool’ Archer atop a sturdy ladder.
‘It is a team affair with close golfing friends’ It is hard to explain to a person who has not played in the Grafton Morrish or Halford Hewiit how intense the golf and team spirit is in these competitions. This is partly because it is a team affair with close golfing friends but also on account of the competition being the game in its most esoteric format – scratch foursomes on a links course where luck often plays a significant hand. We now have a pool of players which should enable us to produce a competitive team for many years ahead but the delight of victory is made even greater by us all realising that fine margins determine success in this superb event.
46 OLD BIRKONIANS
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Perhaps most importantly, thanks to our investment in technology and amazingly dedicated staff, our 4000th client now receives an even better level of service and expertise than our 40th client did."
OLD BIRKONIANS 47
From the Archives 145 years ago
1871/2 The school moved from Park Road North to new purpose-built premises in Shrewsbury Road, with 85 pupils. The Tudor Gothic style buildings were built of the local Storeton stone and Ruabon brick at a cost of £4,000. Only the hall and adjacent classrooms were ready for use in 1871. The school hall was 69ft by 33ft and 35ft tall and was designed to accommodate four classes simultaneously. It must have been cold in winter but cool in summer.
140 years ago
1876/7 The number of pupils had nearly doubled to 154.
130 years ago 1886/7 The Rev A.J. Sloman was appointed Headmaster.
120 years ago
1896/7 The Rev A. Sloman left after 10 years as Headmaster and ultimately became an Honorary Canon of Ely and later of St Albans. Mr F. Griffin was appointed to succeed him.
115 years ago
1901/2 OB C.J. Edgar played rugby for England v Scotland at Blackheath.
110 years ago
1906/7 The Old Birkonian Society was established; with the inaugural dinner held at the Exchange Hotel, Liverpool. One of the major factors in the success of the School was the contribution from the Society and the Old Birkonians over the years, which continues today.
100 years ago
1916/7 The number of Old Boys serving in the military now exceeded 500 - sadly deaths had reached 167.
95 years ago
1921/2 Mr F. Griffin retired after 24 years as Headmaster, during which time pupil numbers had increased from less than 100 to 350 and in the Prep from 30 to 150. He was replaced by Mr Kennard Davis.
90 years ago 1926/7 The Noctorum Pavilion opened. OB Lord Birkenhead (F.E. Smith), was guest speaker at Speech Day. To celebrate Birkenhead’s first 50 years as a borough an Elizabethan Pageant was held by the School, raising £800.
48 OLD BIRKONIANS
From the Archives 85 years ago
1931/2 Overdale, a prominent house on the corner of Bidston and Beresford Roads, was presented to the School by OB Graham White, Liberal MP for Birkenhead East, who went on to become Postmaster General.
80 years ago
1936/7 Boxing, under the guidance of PE master Mr C.W. (Charlie) Jones, was held for the first time in the School Gymnasium.
70 years ago
1946/7 Following the retirement of Headmaster Mr W.F. Bushell, Mr K.D. Robinson was appointed as his successor. To cope with increased numbers (now over 500) the first pre-fabricated Science Hut was erected near Overdale.
65 years ago
1951/2 The McAllester Memorial Ground (‘Mac’ Field) in Bidston Road, donated by OB Leslie McAllester, was opened by the Earl of Shrewsbury. Mrs P.L. Richmond-Coggan took over from Miss Bendall as Headmistress of the Prep.
60 years ago
1956/7 Important building projects commenced - including the demolition of the Carpenter’s Shop [woodwork shed] and Toilet Block (adjoining the Gym) – the Changing Block and Music Room were built on the site. Also, the ‘New Schools’ Block was demolished and replaced by Science Block.
55 years ago
OLD BIRKONIANS 49
From the Archives
1961/2 McAllester Field Sports Pavilion was destroyed by fire. The School Clock was rebuilt and the new Chapel Organ dedicated. Miss C.W. Swanson, appointed to help in the Prep. in 1917, died, having given 44 years’ service in various capacities.
50 years ago
1966/7 The new Sixth Form Block was completed on the site of the Overdale stables. There were a record number of 28 entrants from the School to Oxford and Cambridge. Cricket coach and groundsman Mr George Smoker, who once played for Hampshire against W.G.Grace, died.
45 years ago
1971/2 OB John Howard captained Cambridge University Rugby XV in the centenary year of their rugby club, and introduced the team to the Queen. Headmaster’s Secretary Miss Oakley retired after 40 years’ service.
40 years ago
1976 The government abolished direct grant funding and the School became independent. OB Griff Evans was elected President of the Liberal Party. Mrs P.L. Coggan (Prep. Headmistress), Mary Powell (Prep. Secretary) and Winnie Jones (Book Room Manager) all retired. The School 20th Birkenhead Scout Troop celebrated its 50th Anniversary. Number of pupils 711.
35 years ago 1981/2 The new Bushell Hall was opened, complete with Steinway piano. OB W.O. Wade was knighted. Frank Ellis (Physics) and Frank Morton (Prep) retired and Robin Biggs (Geography) left after 12 years’ service.
50 OLD BIRKONIANS
From the Archives 30 years ago 1986/7 Saturday morning school was discontinued. Tony Butler (Head of Art) and Mrs M. (‘Bunty’) Harrison (Prep.) retired. Former Headmaster Mr K.D. Robinson (1946-63) died.
25 years ago 1991/2 The new Sports Hall and the all-weather hockey pitch at 'Mac' Field were both opened. Fred Wakelin (French) retired and Dick Homan (former Chaplain) died.
Site preparation for the artificial pitch at ‘Mac’ field
20 years ago 1996/7 The Snack Bar in Sixth Form Centre was opened. A team from the Army Section of the CCF won the Cheshire Regiment Cup Trophy from an entry of 22 teams. Audrey Clare retired after 47 years’ connection with the school.
15 years ago 2001/2 The first cohort of girl pupils sat their A-Levels. The portrait of Sandy Irvine [he died on Everest in 1924] was unveiled in Bushell Hall by Julie Summers (a great niece of the Old Boy), who also opened The Sandy Irvine Climbing Wall. OB C.D. Jones died in the attack on the World Trade Centre.
10 years ago
2006/7 Michael Hudson (Classics), Brian McGuirk and Olivia Williams (Maths), David Coventry (Geography), Paul Walton (Languages), and Jo Hipps (Little School) all retired. The first Sixth Form Foundation Scholarships were awarded. The refurbished Physics Laboratories were opened.
Birkenhead School welcomes you to
The OBS weekend
Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September 2017 Catch up with friends Tour the School Sports matches OBS AGM Evening dinner with live music and entertainment Daytime activities are FREE to attend Book for the evening at birkenheadschool.co.uk/obs for only ÂŁ28 per person.
Happiness and Confidence SENIORS OPEN DAY Please register online
Saturday 23rd September 11am - 2pm
Girls and Boys 3 months to 18 years Birkenhead School, 58 Beresford Road, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 2JD
Our small class sizes and life-enriching opportunities inside and outside the classroom allow our pupils to become confident, happy and ambitious young adults.