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Roundup Music Exam Results Sports Fixtures Departmental Highlights

News Students meet Tim Peake New Outdoor Classroom

Achievements School ranks 84th in country

Exciting new courses on offer!

G e y c m n n a s e t i i c c s S I S C 1 0 - 15

7 - 10 YE AR



Book online For a brochure or enquiries call 0151 651 3095 email












10 Classics 11




14 Geography & IT 15


16 Languages & Maths 17 Design and Technology 18 Science 20 Music 23 Life Skills 24 Sport 29 Charity 31


33 Ladies’ Committee 34 Parents’ Association




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From the Headmaster It is difficult, with such a short space, to describe the journey our pupils take as they pass through Prep, on to Seniors and into the Sixth Form. It is equally hard to do justice to a School that has welcomed myself, Vikki and our children so warmly since our arrival in September. It is a genuine privilege to lead such a community, at what I hope is the beginning of an exciting phase in the School’s illustrious history. I have spent much of these early months listening to pupils, staff, parents and alumni describe what they think is so special about the School. I have also been grateful that many of you took the time to highlight, within the Parents’ Survey, those areas where you feel we could improve. A prominent feature within this has been your desire to be actively engaged in your child’s education, and to know what, and how, they are learning – it is an area we have already started to review and we will share more in the months ahead.

Each In Focus edition requires the contributions of staff and alumni and I am grateful to them, and to the editorial team whose job it is to cajole and occasionally coerce copy close to the deadlines. I look forward to reading it myself and to further develop the opportunities to our pupils over the coming terms.

Paul Vicars

From the Head of Prep I am delighted to write an introduction for In Focus and to reflect on a wonderful first half of this academic year. It is a privilege to see how the children in Prep have thrived in all that they do and I am delighted with their enthusiasm, creativity and willingness to try new things.

It was a great pleasure to talk with parents at the various Christmas events we held and I was reminded again of the strong sense of community that prevails at Birkenhead School. This sense of community and friendship helps every pupil to feel valued and confident about the future.

Speaking of new things, many of you will have noticed the building works underway next to Old School House. We’re building an Outdoor Classroom as part of an exciting new project to develop further opportunities in outdoor learning. This special new classroom will become the base for outdoor activities such as science investigations, nature projects and team building challenges. It’s going to be a fantastic space and, with the curriculum innovations we are planning, the children are going to be truly inspired by the many exciting learning experiences ahead.

So, as we all enjoy reading this memorable record of our children’s experiences, let’s celebrate their success and encourage them to embrace all that the second half of this school year has to offer.

The breadth of opportunity for our pupils has continued to grow, as can be seen by the list of co-curricular clubs on the website, and this issue of In Focus gives an insight into some of the special events that make the Prep years such a memorable time. From designing poppies to meeting Tim Peake, from performing in a concert to playing for a sports team, the opportunities our pupils have to build their confidence and broaden their horizons are clear to see.

Harry FitzHerbert



Prep Outdoor Classroom

News Times Ranking In November The Sunday Times published the top 250 independent secondary schools with Birkenhead School ranking an impressive 84th on the list. The students' outstanding achievements at A level and GCSE ensured that School made its way ahead of other local schools, including The Queen’s School in Chester and the Merchant Taylors’ Schools in Liverpool. The schools in the list are ranked by combined performance at A level and GCSE in summer of 2016, with the A level results being double-weighted. Birkenhead School’s A level A*-B was 88.1% and GCSE A*/A was 67.6%. The A level results alone saw School ranked an incredible 64th in the country. This award is testament to the hard work of the students and teachers throughout the School, placing Birkenhead School as one of the leading education providers within the North West region, and the country.

The Estates Team have been working hard on building the new Prep Outdoor Classroom, which is located outside Old School House. The classroom will provide an area where children can discover the outside world and

gain an additional experiences in their learning environment. Everyone is excited to see the finished result, which will be ready for use by the time the warmer weather comes in the spring.

Wirral Paperback of the Year launch

Lord Storey visits School Birkenhead School welcomed Lord Storey, member of the House of Lords, as part of the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools Outreach Programme and the Sixth Form’s regular lecture series. Lord Storey, the Liberal Democrat’s spokesperson on education, families and young people, met with students from the Sixth Form to talk about the work and role of the House of Lords. This was

followed by a question and answer session on various aspects of the parliamentary process and life at Westminster. Lord Storey’s visit to Birkenhead School was met with enthusiasm from the Sixth Form students who were keen to find out the inner workings of the House of Lords and entered into lively discussion on such topics as the Junior Doctors’ strikes, passive smoking, and the gender pay gap.

Staff and students at School were thrilled to be the hosts of the launch of the Wirral Paperback of the Year Awards in October. The day was marked with a range of literary and artistic workshops and events, along with the discovery of the books that had made it on to the shortlist. Students from across Wirral will now have until June 2017 to enjoy the books and input their preferences for an overall winner to be selected. One of the authors, Rhian Ivory, whose teen-fiction novel ‘The Boy Who Drew the Future’ has made the shortlist,

attended the event to talk to the students about her books. She gave aspiring writers hints and tips on how to hook readers in and how to get published. Rhian, who has shared an editor with JK Rowling, is currently writing her seventh book following a career as a teacher where it was her pupils who inspired her to get her first book published. The launch encompassed a cross-curricular theme involving English and Art showing how both subjects can play a role in creative writing, through the development of character and setting, using both words and visual effects.



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News Many students, parents and colleagues were saddened to learn that just after the start of the summer holiday, Old Birkonain Jack Hussey passed away peacefully following a year long battle with cancer. Jack became very poorly during his A Level examinations in the summer of 2015 and was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma cancer. Jack joined Birkenhead School in 2004 at the start of Year 3. There was absolutely no question he was a model student, diligent, sensitive, academic and sporting too. Mr Clark wrote on his end of year 10 report, “Jack seems to send his teachers rushing for their thesaurus to unearth new adjectives to describe his qualities and achievements.” Jack was a quiet and private person who rarely sought to be the centre of attention. In May 2016, around 10 months into his fight against cancer Jack, possibly for the first time in his life, did draw attention to himself when

Jack Hussey

Jack in San Francisco

11 November 1996 - 11th July 2016 th

he took the decision to do some fund raising for research into the diseases that were ultimately to take his life. His story, (you can see it by typing “help jack make a difference” into a google search engine) touched the hearts of all in our School community and there was huge support for his fund raising, from individual contributions to several organised events. To date his fund raising has reached around £55,000 and is still on-going. Jack’s parents, Ged and Julie, are extremely appreciative of all we have done as a community to support Jack and are determined, over the next year or so, to continue the fund raising started by Jack, with a target to raise £100,000. There are a number of events planned this academic year; a non-uniform day in February, a cycle ride from London to Amsterdam in May, and a Ball planned for later in the year.

It is appropriate that a new trophy will be presented annually at Prize-giving, the ‘Jack Hussey Award’, to be given to the student who, during the academic year, is known to have raised the most money for charitable causes.

Mr Edmunds

Out of this world - students meet astronaut Tim Peake Six students across the breadth of the School had the fantastic opportunity to meet astronaut Tim Peake and give a presentation at the Principia Conference in November. The students, from Prep and Seniors, travelled to the University of York to take part in the Principia Mission’s Schools’ Conference where 500 children from across the country were chosen to take part, and 43 schools chosen to present their interest in space activities.

‘wonderful to be here’ The conference was run by the UK Space Agency to celebrate the imaginative work that children across the country have done, linked to Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the International Space Station. Tim said to the students, “It’s wonderful to be here and I’m really looking forward to hearing what you’ve been doing during my time in space.”

Birkenhead School students, Michael and John from Year 4, Harvey from Year 8, Clara and Elizabeth from Year 9, and Seb from Lower 6, have all been actively involved in space related activities over the past year and were chosen to represent the School at the conference.

They worked together to produce their presentation, entitled ‘Timspirational’ which included pictures and information about their activities that were inspired by Tim Peake.

Pictured: Tim Peake with the students and Science Teachers Dr Jarvis and Mrs Tharme.



Obituary: Former Headmaster John Gwilliam John Gwilliam, a dominant figure in the history of Birkenhead School and its longest-serving Headmaster, died on 21st December at the age of 93. Born in Pontypridd, he won a Scholarship to Monmouth School and an Exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read History. His student years were interrupted by army service – he saw action in Normandy as an Officer in the Royal Tank Regiment. On graduating from Cambridge he taught successively at Glenalmond School, Bromsgrove School and Dulwich

College, before being appointed Headmaster of Birkenhead School in 1963 at the age of 40. Essentially conservative in his approach to education, John Gwilliam was at the helm at a time when the School’s academic results were outstanding, with large numbers of pupils moving on to Oxford, Cambridge and other leading universities. He appointed many well qualified and capable teachers, who chose to stay, often until they retired. Sport, particularly Rugby (unsurprisingly given his record as Captain of Wales when they twice won the Grand Slam) and

Cricket, was encouraged and on games afternoons even less enthusiastic sportsmen could be seen learning the tricks of the lineout or the skill required to punch the outfield with a penetrative cover drive. In his early days as Headmaster he established himself as a strict disciplinarian and he successfully steered the School through a period of considerable social change. The School was able to cope with the challenge posed by the abolition of the Direct Grant in 1976 and School numbers were high during the 80’s. On his retirement in 1988 he was able to hand over to his

successor, Stuart Haggett, an establishment with a high reputation, both locally in Merseyside and further afield.

John Gwilliam

Obituary: Keith Stevens, Former Deputy Head Keith Stevens, a major figure in the development of Birkenhead School during the second half of the twentieth century, died in September 2016. Keith was educated at Wallasey Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he took a First in English. He was appointed to the staff in 1956 and subsequently promoted to Head of English. He was responsible for the supervision of K Block after it opened and had an office and teaching room in the building. On the retirement in 1980 of Leslie Hargreaves, he was appointed Deputy Headmaster, jointly with Harold McCready, a position he held until his own retirement in 1993. Keith was much respected for the quality of his teaching of English throughout the School.

He managed to communicate his love of literature to his charges, and to stimulate an interest in the wider subject of English in even a more reluctant pupil. Nor did he confine himself to his classroom work: he produced many plays over the years, in the old Big School, now the Prep Hall, and in later years in the Bushell Hall. His talks at morning assembly offered insights in a wide variety of topics; as Deputy Headmaster he was much involved in the day to day running of the School, a task which he performed with exemplary efficiency.

Friends and former colleagues gathered at his funeral at Landican, paying tribute to a man whom countless Old Birkonians will remember with affection and respect.

Keith Stevens

Changes in the Governing body After 11 years of serving as a School Governor, and more latterly as Chairman (since 2011), Andrew Sutton stepped down at the end of the Michaelmas term. School is indebted to Andrew for his calm leadership and guidance over recent years. Andrew Cross has been elected the new Chair of Governors. Mr Cross has served as a Governor since 2003 and continues a long family history with the School, following in his father’s footsteps (Professor J E Cross) who was also a Governor. Mr Cross is an Old Birkonian (1965 to 1973), later followed by his two sons, Tom and Adam (1990 to 2003).

Mr Cross brings with him a wealth of experience as a partner for a leading NorthWest Legal Practice, specialises in HR law and is a qualified mediator. He was Captain of Royal Liverpool Golf Club in 2006 when it hosted the British Open Golf Championship and acted as Media and PR convenor for the 2014 Open. In recent years, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, has been the School's President. While an honorary and largely ambassadorial position, Lord Nicholls’ work on behalf of the School has advanced its standing in both local and national communities.

Succeeding Lord Nicholls is another Old Birkonian, Sir Andreas Whittam Smith (19471955), who’s CV is one to inspire the current generation of pupils. Educated at Keble College, Oxford, he was a financial journalist until 1985 when he led the team that founded The Independent newspaper. Editor until 1994, he has subsequently held a number of prestigious posts that include President of the British Board of Film Classification, Chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service and First Church Estates Commissioner.



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Chaplaincy Harvest Festival Celebrations In October, children in Prep were involved in Harvest celebrations in Chapel, with songs, drama and collective worship. Representatives from each year presented gifts from their classmates and their families, which were donated to the charities Claire House and So the Child May Learn.

-Jones, said that their performance was “absolutely beautiful”. The Infants learnt about how important crops are and that wheat and flour are used for baking bread which is eaten by nearly every race, country and religion. They also learnt how Harvest is a time to say thank you for all of the good things that the Earth provides for us.

Year 6 performed a play on the Harvest theme, thanking God for animals and crops and remembering that many parts of the world are not as fortunate as us to have plenty to eat. Their resounding message was ‘What should be our heart’s response?’ Also enacted was a passage from the Bible where Jesus took two loaves of bread and five fishes and, with that, fed 5000 people. The whole of Junior Prep sang a harvest song that they had been rehearsing with Music Teacher Mrs Keating, ‘The Harvest of Love’, accompanied by Mr Davies. The Chaplain, Mrs Howell

Year 6 at the Harvest celebrations

Seniors take on Chapel Assemblies Year 8

Music in Chapel Musical activity is a large part of life in Chapel, with many concerts, recitals and events taking place throughout the year. The Chapel Choir can be heard regularly at the weekly Evensong services, held on Sundays at 6.30pm. They also held very popular ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ services in December, with congregations filling the pews at both events.

Following feedback from students about how they would like Chapel services to be developed and how they feel they can engage more with topics raised during the sessions, a number of comments praised the effectiveness of having students themselves take the assemblies.

Students from Year 9 presented a tale with a parody of the Seven Dwarves as the Seven Deadly Sins, with each sin highlighted next to seven alternative virtues offering a better way to live.

During the Music Festival, held in November, the Chapel was also host to a number of Lunchtime Recitals, which were very popular with Prep pupils, including a recorder recital with Mrs Coleman and Mr Barton, pictured below.

Since then form groups have regularly been presenting their thoughts and ideas on various topics during their weekly Chapel meetings. A group of Year 8 students gave an assembly during the Harvest celebrations and highlighted themes of sharing, love and giving.

Year 9

Mrs Coleman and Mr Barton



Art Mrs Margerison on Sky Arts Senior Art Teacher, Mrs Margerison, appeared on our screens in November as part of Sky’s Landscape Artist of the Year Competition. Selected as a Wild Card contestant, she was required to paint a landscape in just four hours in the picturesque setting of Wray Castle on the shores of Lake Windermere. Work produced by eight main painters, plus a group of wild cards, was judged by artists including Tai Shan Schierenberg, helped by

presenters Joan Bakewell and Frank Skinner. Mrs Margerison said afterwards, “It was a unique experience to be alongside so many artists – and to have the chance to paint in the open air. It was challenging to create a finished piece in such a short time, plus the changing weather and light made it quite difficult. Having cameras wandering around was rather unnerving too, although it was entertaining seeing how this type of programme is made.”

Year 7 students have spent time learning about artist Albert Durer and his famous ‘Rhino’ picture which shows intricate textures and animal skin markings. They went on to produce their own creations, firstly working in 2D and practising their markmaking, before moving on to

making 3D lizards from clay and using various tools to create different patterns. The students then painted and glazed their creations. Lottie, Year 7, said “It’s been great fun being able to be creative. We even used Lego pieces to make marks in the clay.”

Photography Challenge Senior students have been hugely enthusiastic about the monthly Photography Challenges set by Head of Art Mrs Lloyd-Johnson and the competition has now been extended to Years 4 to 6. The winners have been regularly displayed online and around the School for all to see.

‘Landmarks’ by Tom Goodwin

Year 2 Remembrance Poppy Making Creative colouring, cutting, gluing and sticking were in abundance in Year 2 during November when they made their own individual paper poppies for Remembrance Day. Along with their artistic creations, the children learned about the symbolism of the poppy and why it is used to remember those that have fallen during wartime conflicts. They were all very pleased with their poppies and loved showing them off for all to see.



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Classics Y7 Roman Chester Visit

Year 7 in Chester

Students in Year 7 visited Chester where they learnt about the history of the city, which can be dated back to the Romans. The Romans named Chester ‘Deva Victrix’ after the spirit of the River Dee. Roman Chester was considered to be as important then as Londinium (London). The Romans built Chester for their 20th Legion as a strategic position at the centre of Roman Britain, with plans to sail from the River Dee to invade Ireland and North Wales. The purpose of the visit was to give students a chance to discover first-hand the impact of Roman occupation in Britain. The trip was also an opportunity to be involved in fun educational activities, as part of their Latin course. Not only did students explore the architecture and town planning of the city, but they also looked at archaeological material, as well as Roman artefacts and exhibits at the Grosvenor Museum. They also had the chance to participate in an archaeological discovery and hands on session at the Dewa Experience.

Mythology Club For those interested in tales of betrayal, love, tragedy and adventure there is Mythology Club which meets on Tuesday lunchtimes in the Library. All Seniors are welcome to attend and join in the discussions on popular themes of Greek and Roman storytelling, or bring along their own books, myths and ideas that interest them.

Also in the Library on Monday lunchtimes is Roman Board Games Club, for Years 7 and 8, to come along and try out their skills.

The Classics department also runs two weekly Latin revision sessions: Tuesday for Years 7 and 8 in OV3 (run by Sixth Form students studying Latin, with support from Head of Department, Mrs Washington) Thursday for Years 9, GCSE and Sixth Form in L22 (run by Mrs Washington)

English National Poetry Day Students and staff throughout School took part in discovering more about the enjoyment of rhyme and verse, for National Poetry Day.

In Year 7 students handed out ‘gifts’ of poetry to everyone in Overdale. Mrs Ballantyne’s form had chosen a variety of poems for the ‘poetry basket’ on themes including sport, flowers, food, dogs and emoji’s. Nicole, Year 7, said, “The poems have been very popular – everyone wanted one! They can be a nice way to relax and tell a story in a few words.” A poetry competition ran in Seniors as part of the Poetry Day celebrations. The winner was Year 7 student Isabella HeckstallSmith, who wrote an extremely moving poem about mental health, entitled ‘The Monster Within’.


Roald Dahl Celebrations Year 7 learnt about ‘all things Dahl’ in their English lessons, in celebration of Roald Dahl Day in September. 7VJM held a Roald Dahl Party where students gathered together items they could find that related to the popular author and his books. Students had brought in items to wear, including huge ears to represent ‘The BFG’ and black top hats such as Willy Wonka might wear in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. Another popular item

were bars of chocolate, coupled with golden tickets. Not so tasty but equally relevant was a gherkin that had been brought in to represent the BFG’s famous snozzcumbers. The highlight was our very own Henry George’s ‘Marvellous Medicine’, a fantastic green concoction that really fizzed! Head of English, Mrs Ballantyne, said of the class, “It is great to see the pupils use their imagination and be inspired by this world famous author.”

In Prep, children from Year 6 visited the Reception classes to share their favourite poems during their ‘Buddies’ time together. Buddies group is every week when Year 6 read with the Reception children to help with both age group’s reading skills, increasing confidence through mentoring and forming friendships. All of the students involved embraced poetry and enjoyed the experience of sharing their favourites with each other. National Poetry Day Director, Susannah Herbert, explained, “A poem can reach places that prose just can’t.”

Bringing the magic of Roald Dahl to life

The Gift of Reading Year 7 delivering out gifts of poetry

Just before Christmas, Year 8 were visited by a special guest - Father Christmas. He brought with him the gift of reading by giving each student a book as a present. The 12 and 13 year olds were thrilled to see Santa, and liked opening their presents, some of which were signed by the authors.

Prep reading buddies




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Drama Senior House Drama The four houses of Seniors, encompassing students from Year 7 to Year 13, worked hard in the weeks before the annual House Drama productions, which were presented in December. The groups chose to perform well known stories, often enhanced with their own interpretations of the classics. Kingsmead took on the challenge of 'Matilda - The Musical', Beresford chose 'The Jungle Book', Shrewsbury chose

Bidston - 'Snow White and the 8 Teachers'

Best Double Act (Clara Hernán-Gómez and Maria HernánGómez), Best Male Actor (Tom James), Best Original Script, Best Male in a Female Role - comic (Paul Gogerty), Best Young Male Actor (Samuel Jones), Best Musical Accompaniment, Best Set, Best Female in a Male Role (Clara Hernán-Gómez), Best One Liner (Jack Pritchard).

Beresford - 'The Jungle Book'

Best Fight Choreography (George Long and Jamie Johnston), Best Cameo (Jack Billington), Best Acrobatics (Matthew O'Hare), Best Narrator (Esme Brennan), Best Choreography, Best Costuming, Best Props, Best Actor in More than One Role (George Long).

'Wicked', and lastly Bidston's take on 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarves' was 'Snow White and the 8 Teachers'. The plays were all presented with boundless enthusiasm and excitement and it was clear to see that all involved had put in a great deal of effort, shown through the creativity of the scripts, the effective lighting and technical support, and the musical accompaniments. The overall winning play was 'Snow White' by Bidston.

Shrewsbury - 'Wicked'

Best Female Actor (Mairead Anderson), Best Male in a Female Role - serious (Jonny Mansfield), Best Individual Costume (Mairead Anderson), Best Special Effects, Best Ad Lib (Matthew Oulton).

Kingsmead - Matilda

Best Sustained Acting Performance (Toby Meisner), Best Comic Performance (Sonny Boardman), Best Director (James Budworth), Best Young Female Actor (Anastasia Grundy), Best Make Up (Paul Keenan).



Little School Sparkles

Children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 certainly all shone like stars at their Christmas production of 'Sparkle' which they presented to their friends

and family in two shows in December. With such a large cast and an array of sectional performances, hearty congratulations are to be given to all

Pre-Prep presents The Nativity The children of Pre-Prep delivered a stellar performance of 'The Nativity' for their families. They all worked very hard learning

the songs and dance routines for their production, and the audience was thrilled with their beautiful singing and impressed by the confidence of such young children.

of the children and staff involved who all worked hard on the excellent production.


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Geography Reception Welly Walk On Tuesday 11th October, Reception went on a Welly Walk around Claremont Farm in Bebington.

Farmer Andrew grew pumpkins this year and he explained how they grow from a flower and how they ripen.

When they arrived they met Farmer Andrew who talked to the group about his farm and the vegetables he grows.

They were also lucky to see some sheep and pigs on the farm! A great time was had by all!

Then they were off on their welly walk across the fields to explore and find out about seasonal food production from strawberries, outdoor soft fruits, to potatoes and a variety of vegetables. The children saw how the vegetables are harvested and enjoyed tasting them.

Back in class they planted their own bulbs!

Information Technology Gaming programming workshop for Year 6 Year 6 ICT classes were enthralled by Shelvin Gungaparsad, who visited to show them all about the secrets of computer games and how to create them for yourself. Shelvin works in the computer games industry as a lead technical artist and came in to School to show the students all about the many elements of computer games and the different jobs that people can do.

‘Games industry worth £4bn’ Shelvin said that the UK computer games industry was one of the biggest in the world, currently worth £4bn per year. There are also lots of roles that go in to producing a game, including creative directors, designers, software developers (coding), level designers, 2D and 3D animators, sound designers and testers. Shelvin and the children used the Unreal 4 engine game editor to create their own game with a storyboard in which they chose to include cars, buildings, trees, a barricade and a zombie attack. They started with a very simple version of

the game play, called a prototype, and then continued to add effects and detail to the landscape and the players. They used the free to use Mixamo character creator to add animation and effects to the players. The children were very impressed by how quickly they could create a virtual world and looked forward to learning more skills and developing their own computer games and characters.



History Year 9 Trip to Manchester Museum of Science and Industry By Caelan Phillips, Year 9 On 15th November Year 9 went on a cross curricular trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The trip lasted the whole school day, consisting of history and art activities. Firstly, we went into the Main Building, a warehouse built in 1858 by the Platt Brothers. In the warehouse we had a textile demonstration about mill work in the 19th century.

in our booklets. There was also a page where we wrote information about a certain exhibit that gained our interest (in my case the Okha Japanese Second World War suicide bomber).

‘hopped aboard the flying simulator’ As most people finished their sketches early they hopped aboard the 360 flying simulator; it was very funny

‘dangers of working in the warehouse’ The demonstration was very informative explaining the different jobs of people working on the machines, the dangers of working in the warehouse and much more! We had to answer a list of questions in our booklets about the main building and had to look around the building for answers. Next we went across the road to the air and space hall, where we did some art. The Air and Space Hall was filled with historical planes and we were given the opportunity to take some pictures of certain parts that we then had to sketch

Victorian Day in Year 2 Year 2 held a fantastic Victorian Day earlier this year where the children spent the day in costume. The children practised handwriting on slate boards and wrote Christmas cards with ink pens and ink wells. They focussed on the three Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic. The day was planned to reinforce the classroom learning that the children have been studying in their history lessons on the Victorian period.

watching them being tossed around. We then went to the Power Hall and researched steam engines, which were integral to the development of the Industrial Revolution. Before we left the hall we were given a demonstration of a steam powered locomotive and explained how it worked (fire creates steam, steam drives piston, piston turns a rod attached to a wheel).



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Languages Year 2 Spanish club were treated to a traditional Spanish food tasting session. They tried, Andalucian olives, gazpacho, chorizo sausage, Spanish omelette and patatas bravas, and even made their very own

alcohol free Sangria! Senora Baker, who runs the club, said “I was delighted that every child tried everything as the session was intended to reinforce the learning of how to talk about likes and dislikes in Spanish.”

Enjoying tasty Spanish treats

Students take part in international research project Earlier this year four students from Birkenhead School took part in an international research project. Two students were based on the Wirral with two students from the Geschwister-Scholl-Schule in Tübingen, and two were based in Tübingen, together with students from Germany and Spain.

The students enjoyed working together and will stay in touch with each other – on social media of course!

The group based in Germany were given the task of making a 15minute-long film on the subject of ‘Young People and Social Media’. The final product was shown as part of a presentation at the German school. The students worked independently on the project, with the support of two members of staff, Jan Hörzer and Florian Nüxoll. At the end of the project the students were asked if working on the project had changed their


Distinction in Olympiad

Seniors win prestigious maths challenge

Congratulations to Sixth Form students James Budworth, Tom Corran, Shikhar Kumar and Alex Poulson who won the Liverpool round of the UKMT Senior Team Maths Challenge, held at Carnatic Halls.

Shikhar Kumar (Lower Sixth) was also invited to enter the British Mathematical Olympiad round after his excellent performance in the UKMT Senior Maths Challenge (individual competition).

They came joint first with Merchant Taylors' Boys' School beating 22 other schools including Liverpool Bluecoat, West Kirby Grammar School, St Edward's College and Carmel Sixth Form College.

He achieved an excellent score of 50/60 and received a silver medal and book. He has now been invited to enter round two of the competition. His performance so far puts him in the top 40 students in the country!

This is the first time Birkenhead has won the competition in the nine years taking part, and the team were understandably thrilled with their performance. They will now be invited to the National Final in London.

opinions about social media and most said that they had a new awareness of the potential problems.

Alex Poulson, Shikhar Kumar, James Budworth and Tom Corran

The Mathematical Olympiad for Girls is an event run by the UK Mathematics trust to help nurture the talents of enthusiastic young female mathematicians. B r o n w en M o r r i s, Upper Sixth, was

chosen to take part, and received a Distinction. Over 2100 girls n a t i o n w i d e participated, with the top 25% receiving a Certificate of Distinction.



Design and Technology Bringing a 3.2 million year old hominin skeleton to life The DT department in Seniors have been working hard to introduce complex 3D printing into their lessons and have recently bought an industrial standard Mojo printer that uses ABS plastic as its printing material. The Mojo printer is different from hobby printers as it has two printing heads, one prints the ABS plastic and the other prints a support material that allows the ABS to be fully supported during the printing process, thus maintaining engineering accuracy.

Valley in Ethiopia. The species is called Australopithecus afarensis and this particular specimen acquired the name “Lucy”.

‘print sample bones’

Lucy is thought to have died falling from a tree and her skeleton presents a small skull akin to that of non-hominin apes and shows evidence of a walking gait that was bipedal and upright akin to that of humans. What makes this skeleton exciting is that this combination supports the view that bipedalism preceded an increase in brain size.

The Biology department recently asked if it was possible for us to print out some sample bones from some recently released stereolithography files from Texas University. The original bones were found in 1974 in a small village near the Awash

DT have currently printed out two different bones from the samples so that the Biology department can use them in lessons to discuss the possible cause of death but also to investigate other attributes of the samples such as size difference from humans.

Headmaster drops in on DT During his first term Mr Vicars spent a day with Year 7, attending their classes and seeing what is involved in ‘a day in the life’ of the first year Senior students.

Their day included an electronics lesson in the DT department where Scarlett expertly showed Mr Vicars how to use a soldering iron. She said, “It’s been fun having Mr Vicars around today!” Mr Vicars also attended Chapel,

Lucy’s bone

Motorbike stand-off

followed by lessons in French, Drama, Religious Education, Art, and, his own subject, Geography. Anoushka said, “It’s good to have Mr Vicars with us, it’s nice to get to know him.” Cameron also thought that it was helpful for Mr Vicars to see what they get up to during a day, saying, “It is a good idea to understand how the day works for pupils,” and Charlie added.

Elliot Mitchell's Honda motocross bike received lots of attention when he brought it in to his Design and Technology lesson to measure it up for a bike stand he is making as part of his GCSE Product Design course. DT technician, Mr Robinson’s own bike, which was also on site, was rather on the small side in comparison.



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Science in action

As part of the Beyond the Curriculum Science option, students from Years 12 and 13 attended a workshop with Astra Zeneca. The session covered data integrity, equipment and method validation and the importance of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices). Alongside the science, students developed their

commun icat ion, t eam working and presentation skills. The group also discussed work experience and apprenticeship opportunities with this global, but local, company and hope to develop our links as part of our cocurricular science provision.

Celebrating STEM trip to Texas Girls in Seniors have been preparing for their trip to NASA in February half term. During the visit the girls will experience a range of activities including a 5-day engineering mission to land a rover on the surface of Mars. The girls have designed their own sweatshirt to wear on the trip, including a bespoke mission patch, just like Tim Peake. Look out for #STEMspirational on twitter for updates while they are away.

Busking brings Science to life Birkenhead School has been chosen as one of only ten in the country to be part of this research by the PERFORM Project (Participatory Engagement with Scientific and Technological Research through Performance). The Project aims to explore and assess the effectiveness of innovative science education methods based on performing arts. Groups of Year 8 and Year 9 students have been taking part in an exciting piece of research when they attended a special ‘Science Busking’ event. The students were fascinated by the interactive experiments which included how to immerse a mobile phone in a balloon and how to make objects look larger or smaller using optical illusions. In the UK the method used is a ‘busking’ technique approach to convey scientific ideas while encouraging interest. In France they use clowns and in Spain they use comedy routines. The responses collected from the students will be

collated and the effectiveness of the different methods will be analysed to see if improvements can be made in the future for encouraging children to become interested in and engaged with STEM (Science, Technology, Environment and Mathematics) subjects.



Science students qualify for Big Bang final Sixth Form students cleaned up at the Big Bang North West science event by qualifying as national finalists for the Big Bang Competition for the seventh year running. The team were judged during the event held at the E xh i bit i on C ent re i n Liverpool. Big Bang North West is a STEM celebration for students with stands, shows and exhibits and also hosts the semi-final of the Big Bang UK Young Scientist and Engineers Competition, where the project was 'To Bleach or Not to Bleach'. Inspired by the range of claims in adverts for cleaning agents, the students, Nathan Bramwell, Connor McCormick, Paul Gogerty and Otto Dawes, were initially interested in comparing the effectiveness

Nathan Bramwell, Paul Gogerty, Connor McCormick and Otto Dawes

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.

‘resounding positivity’ 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. The project that Birkenhead School displayed was met with resounding positivity. We wish the students good luck at the Big Bang final in Birmingham in March.

Practical experiments in Prep Both Year 2 and Year 6 have been learning about Forces this year. Year 2 have been rolling cars down ramps of different surfaces, learning about the forces of attraction and repulsion between magnets and testing different objects to see if they are magnetic or not.

Year 2

Year 6 have been learning about the forces of gravity and air resistance and were set a challenge to make a parachute to carry an egg safely down from the top of the fire escape to the Prep playground. They worked in groups to prepare their parachutes and the children timed how long each egg took to reach the ground. They collected and a n a l y s e d results. The winning parachute was deemed the one that was slowest to reach the ground (provided the egg wasn’t cracked, of course!)

Year 6



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Music Birkenhead School Festival of Music Birkenhead School’s Festival of Music ran from 6th to 13th November 2016 and was packed full of musical treats which were enjoyed by the whole School community.

string players, led by RLPO cellist and former parent, Gethyn Jones, where the students worked on solo repertoire and prepared for a lunchtime recital.

Families and friends of the School were invited to join students and the Birkenhead School Choral Society for ‘Come and Sing the Musicals’ which launched a week of music making on Sunday 6th November.

‘huge variety of performances’

Other highlights during the week were visits from professional musicians – guitarists Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier, and opera singer Jennifer Johnston.

This was followed by a series of lunchtime recitals taking students on a journey through a variety of instruments from the organ, piano, strings, recorder and voice. Prep students were in particular high attendance, some even enjoying all five recitals.

Birkenhead School’s Got Talent featured on Friday night with a huge variety of performances from students from Year 6 to Sixth Form. There was singing, piano playing, beatboxing, dance and instrumental performances. The winner was James Budworth from Upper Sixth who gave a mesmerising rendition of ‘Stars’ from Les Misérables.

Pete Oxley and Nicolas Meier were on the Wirral as part of the International Guitar Festival held at the Floral Pavilion. They took time to spend the afternoon with some of our students with a guitar masterclass, taking them through the various guitars that they play, how they can create different effects and sounds, and how they have used a variety of influences when they compose their music. The duo also performed in the evening in Bushell Hall to a crowd enchanted by their amazing virtuosity and ethereal sound.

‘fantastic music making’

‘Special workshops’ The Festival also featured a GCSE study morning where students from West Kirby Grammar and Calday Grange Grammar were welcomed to spend time looking at the new GCSE syllabus and some of the set works. There was also a special workshop for some of our top

Jennifer, a parent at School, has recently returned from performing as Mrs Grose in Britten’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’ in Teatro Alla Scala in Milan and is described by BBC Music Magazine and the Observer as a ‘rising star’.

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston also spent a day at School, working with a group of singers in the morning, giving the regular Sixth Form lecture, entitled ‘Finding Your Voice’, and featuring in the lunchtime recital at Chapel.

The week of fantastic music making was rounded off with the Service of Remembrance on Sunday 13th November where the hard-working Chapel Choir, as usual, provided an excellent standard of performance fitting for the occasion.



Choral workshop with Cambridge singers The Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge, visited Birkenhead School in December to take part in a workshop with our own Chapel choristers. The internationally renowned choir, directed by Mark Williams, was visiting the Wirral for a performance at St Saviour's Church in Oxton where they sang seasonal sacred and secular music in

'A Choral Christmas'. As part of their visit the Jesus College Choir (including OB Matthew Rogers) also took time to meet Birkenhead School's Chapel Choir and offer them some tips and advice, as well as singing together. The groups worked together on a range of festive pieces, including an inventive new version of 'Jingle Bells'.

Ciara Williams attends NYO Inspire Day Upper Sixth A Level Music student, Ciara Williams, recently took part in the National Youth Orchestra Inspire Day in London. NYO Inspire Days are opportunities to gain breakthrough experiences in orchestral music-making. Musicians from around the country spend an immersive day in orchestral workshops and rehearsals centred around peer learning, finishing the day sharing music with family and friends. At the Barbican, the musicians worked with conductor, Sian Edwards, focussing on Wagner’s

Prelude from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

playing side by side with leaders of the sections.

Places at the Inspire Day are offered to musicians who show potential and who may be interested in applying for the orchestra in the future. Ciara, who is working towards her grade 8 music exam on the French Horn, was able to gain valuable experience

Ciara said, “Getting to play with a high level orchestra was inspiring and gave me people to look up to. I was able to meet some London Symphony Orchestra players and had a question and answer session with them which was really interesting.” At the Barbican

Raising the roof at the annual Christmas Concert At the end of the Michaelmas term, the music department delivered their annual Christmas Concert, encompassing much of the

musical activity that happens throughout the year at School. A huge array of ensembles

performed at the evening event in December which included pupils in Prep, right through to Sixth Formers and staff. A highlight of the night was the newly formed Staff Choir, who sung ‘Dream a little dream of me’, much to the delight of the students in the audience. Another first was the Renaissance Band who played ‘In Dulci Jubilo’ on some rather interesting instruments, many of which were not commonly known.

Chamber, Chapel, Senior and Year 6 Choirs also provided vocal entertainment, along with festive carols with audience participation.

Prep and Senior Orchestras, Big Band, Concert Band and Brass Ensemble all highlighted the range of instrumental activity at School, and the huge involvement and commitment of so many of the School community to music making.



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Grade P P P 8 P 1 5 3 P P P P 3 5 1 4 5 1 3 P 3 5 5 5 8 3 2 4 5 7 8 P 3 P 5 7 3 P P 1 1 5 2 P 5 5 2


Distinction Distinction Merit Merit

Pass Pass Merit Distinction Pass Pass Distinction Pass Merit Pass Merit Merit Pass Pass Pass Pass Merit Distinction Merit Pass Merit Distinction

Merit Merit Pass Merit Merit Distinction Merit

Life Skills



Baking triumph for Year 6

Year 7 Cooks’ Academy Year 7 take part in Cooks’ Academy as part of the Beyond the Curriculum provision, where the students learn to prepare, cook and bake a range of savoury and sweet dishes. Kingsmead recently had a ‘bake off’ where Olivia Wendon won overall with a classic Victoria sponge with st rawberry butter cream.

People who help us As part of their ‘People who Help Us’ topic, the children of Reception have had the chance to meet with a range of professionals, including the School’s on-site nurse, the catering team, and visiting dentist, Mrs Jones. Nurse, Mrs Morris, gave the four and five-year olds an interactive presentation on the importance of keeping their hands clean. She used glitter to illustrate how easily and quickly germs can be transferred from surfaces and from one hand to another and how they need to make sure that they wash

their hands thoroughly after messy play or going to the bathroom. Dentist, Mrs Jones, talked to the children about the importance of keeping their teeth clean using games and pictures, and Julie from the catering team showed them a range of different foods and discussed healthy eating options. Reception teachers, Mrs Mayers and Mrs Parry, thanked all of the guests for for helping the children with their learning and understanding about roles in society.

Year 6 have regular cookery lessons with Mrs Baker and Mrs Osborne and the children recently attempted

a technical challenge of a lemon soufflé. As you can see, they had some great results!

Reception with the dentist

Hand washing with the nurse

Trying different foods with catering



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As I peer out of the sports hall office at the frosted grass of School Field, the twinkling sands of the Cobacabana beach and the Opening Ceremony of Rio, and the Games of the XXXI Olympia seem a lifetime ago. As a child I remember being glued to the TV watching David Hemery win the Olympics 400m hurdles in Mexico City (yes - I was

still a child in 1968!) and every Olympics since has produced moments of great sporting brilliance. For the boys and girls of Birkenhead School, competing at an Olympic Games may be only a dream but if they follow the Olympic motto - ‘Citius’, ‘Altius’, ‘Fortius’, they will achieve their potential and one cannot ask more than that.

Mr Lytollis, Head of PE

Senior Rugby Round-Up 1st XV Report Having returned from a hugely successful rugby tour of Namibia and South Africa, the 1st XV have maintained, for yet another season, the fine example they have set over the previous few years. The season began with the usual game against the Old Boys and, at a busy Noctorum playing field, The School won a tight and well contested game, 15-5. Unfortunately we came up against a very strong Wilmslow side (who went on to reach the quarter-finals) in the Nat West cup and lost 10 – 33 thus ending our unbeaten run at home which had reached 995 days! With two matches left our record is: PLAYED 12: WON 8, DRAWN 0, LOST 4; Under 12/13/14/15’s Report With the weather being kinder to us this winter, more rugby fixtures have been played, and for the majority of our junior sides, more victories recorded. Perhaps the pick of the sides has been the Under 12’s, who in their first season of senior school rugby, are unbeaten with only one match to play. The boys have adapted well to the new 12-a-side version of the game, introduced by the RFC this season, and have combined powerful forward drives with slick handling by the backs resulting in many well-worked tries. The vast majority of games have been won by seven or eight tries; local rivals Wirral GS (2 tries to nil) and Hutton GS (4 tries to two) being our only two really competitive fixtures. The Under 15s have built on their success of last season and have now added physicality to their game. They have had some pleasing victories, their 13-11 win away at Kirkham GS perhaps the most notable. As individual players they should now be focussing on their consistency of effort and performance, particularly in training, as they head towards senior rugby next season.

FOR 308, AGAINST 160. TRIES 49, KICKING ACCURACY 70%, CONVERSIONS 123, PENALTIES 10. Notable matches include the win against AKS 34 – 6 where our strong pack dominated the scoring with 5 of the 6 tries. Another superb team performance saw us win 19 – 5 away at Wirral Grammar after some individual brilliance from Armand Rabot. Finally we showed some strength of character when losing 10 – 17 away at Altrincham at half time; after a few strong words from captain Will Grabe we ran out comfortable winners 34 – 23. The Under 17’s had one match against St Edwards 1st XV and won an exciting game 38 – 24, promising good things for next season. The Under 14’s, superbly captained by Isaac Hardisty, have often dominated in the forward, but have lacked the size and power of the back line to convert possession into points. Nevertheless a 50% win ratio against much bigger and generally faster opponents is a pleasing one. The Under 13’s have had a mixed season; they show good handling skills in attack but, at times, lack the physicality of their

The most impressive thing about the 1st XV this season is how they have worked together as a team but there have been some stand out individuals. Will Grabe has been a superb captain and led by example every week; Max Hatherly has developed as a scrum half having not played there for a couple of years; Jack Pritchard has matured as a fly half and leads the points scoring table with 96; Paul Keenan still stuns every one with his pace and is the top try scorer with 6. I could go on and single out every player who has represented the 1st XV as they have all made major contributions to what has been a very successful and, perhaps more importantly, enjoyable season.

Mr Hendry opponents when defending. I am sure that this can be overcome with continued effort and commitment. All in all our teams continue to punch well above their weights; our boys commit themselves whole heartedly to both training and playing and our parents offer great support at both home and away fixtures, which leads me to conclude that Birkenhead School rugby remains in good health.

Mr Lytollis

The unbeaten Under 12 rugby team



Lacrosse The senior lacrosse year started with a hard game vs. the Old Girls. The Old Girls came out the blocks fast scoring several quick fire goals and the new first team looked a little nervous facing up to some of last year’s team mates. The first team took a while to settle into the season but started to come into their own with some impressive wins against Queen’s Chester, Shrewsbury School and Sedbergh School. The girls played in the Under 19 North Schools Tournament, where they won four games, drew one and lost one against Moreton Hall. They had some impressive wins against Harrogate Ladies College (6-1), Shrewsbury School (4-3), Bolton School for Girls (5-2) and Withington School (4-3). They were unlucky not to win against the runners up, Queen Margaret, where they drew 5 -5. The girls finished 3rd overall.

Girls Hockey The Under 12 and Under 13 teams have had a strong start to the year with three out of four wins against Birkenhead High School Academy and West Kirby. The Under 14/15 team have gone from strength to strength since

September and have had an impressive 6-0 win against Rydal Penrhos. They were unfortunate in the Nationals Hockey Tournament, where they finished third overall.

Congratulations to Anastasia Grundy and Molly McKee from Year 7 and Alice Walker and Lucy Andrews from Year 8 who have been selected to play Lacrosse for Cheshire after attending the trials in Marple on Sunday 9th January. They are now attending training sessions in preparation for a County tournament at the end of March.

Netball Results The senior netball team have had a mixed start to the year with two losses against King’s Macclesfield, a narrow defeat to King’s Chester and impressive wins against Birkenhead High School Academy and Liverpool College.

The seniors also played in the Netball Nationals Tournament. They had impressive wins against West Kirby, Merchant Taylors and Range High School. The girls finished 3rd overall.

The junior netball teams have achieved a great deal of success winning 90% of the fixtures played. They are currently training for the county tournaments in March.



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Prep Sport 2016/17 Prep sport has again played a major role in School life this academic year. Pupils continue to enjoy the annual House matches that run throughout the Lent term, and an exhaustive fixture programme ensures many pupils are involved in a variety of sports including football, netball, rugby, cross country, athletics and table tennis. The Year 6 football team has started the season well, winning the majority of their games. To date in the various cup competitions, the team has reached the latter stages of the local Wirral schools Houlihan Cup, the quarter finals of the AJIS Cup for North West Independent Schools and the quarter finals of the Liverpool Echo Shield.

win the group and qualify for the final. A convincing 4–0 victory in the runners-up play off demonstrated what could have been.

4 girls race and Scarlett Quinn 3rd place in a Year 5 girls race. Other notable top 10 finishers include Darcy Jenkins, Ottilie Hill and Jacob Fowler.

The Year 6 Netball team have had a successful season thus far with a record of 7 wins and just two losses.

The Year 3 football team won their qualifying group in the local schools 5aside competition organised by Everton Football Club. In the subsequent finals night, a heart breaking goal, conceded in the final minutes, cost the team a chance of winning and the opportunity to play at Finch Farm, Everton’s training ground. Years 4, 5 and 6 are looking forward to their respective competitions in the near future.

Year 5 Rugby Team

‘winning every game’ Year 5 Rugby Team

Yet to be beaten this season, both the Year 5 football team and rugby team have performed extremely well. Highlights so far include a 5–2 football victory away against a very strong Bolton side, a convincing defeat of Merchant Taylor’s on the rugby field and a resilient display of rugby at the AJIS Under 10 rugby festival where the team remained unbeaten throughout the afternoon.

Year 6 Football Team

In November, the school represented Wirral in the North West regional 7 aside competition in Rainhill. Despite spirited performances in the group stages and, in fact, not losing a game the team failed to

In the local cross country races held every two weeks in the first half of the Michaelmas term, Birkenhead School pupils ran very well. With fields of over 100 competitors in some of these races, there were some stand-out performances. Sam Pilgrim took first place in a Year 6 boys race, Sofia Grundy 1st place in a Year

Golfing Award for Year 2 Peter Morris in Year 2 is becoming a rising golf star. Following playing the sport for a few years, he is now competing in National Competitions such as Wee Wonders a UK wide junior golf tournament where he has reached the regional finals in both England and Wales. Peter has been having lessons locally at Wirral Ladies Golf Club with the professional golfer Angus Law, and was recently

awarded the top student of the year.

In November, two Year 6 teams took part in a local schools Table Tennis tournament. Both teams were extremely successful winning every game except one. This resulted in the ‘A’ team qualifying to represent Wirral in the Merseyside finals. The Year 6 Indoor Athletics team took part in a local schools meeting at Bebington High Sports College. In a closely fought contest involving sprinting, jumping and throwing against very competitive opposition, Birkenhead Prep finished 4th out of 24 teams. A valiant attempt but not quite enough to finish in the top three and be invited to represent Wirral at the next stage.

Mr Corran

Medals galore for Gymnastics Club Children from Prep who take part in Gymnastics Club entered the Hartford School Gymnastics Competition earlier in the year. They were hugely successful, with the 24 children who entered from Prep picking up 20 medals

between them. Of these medals 8 were gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze. Ms Moseley, who runs the Gymnastics Club, said, "All the children who entered worked so hard and did an amazing job."

A year as Captain of the Under 13 North West England Independent School Boys Football Team By Matthew Diaz-Rainey, Year 9 In November 2015, I participated in trials for North West England ISFA. Luckily the coach had told me before the trial that I would automatically get into the top 18 because I played for North West last year as an Under 12 playing for the Under 13’s, and that he would like me to captain the team! Just before Christmas, we played a friendly match against Manchester City, winning 4-1. I scored our third goal. We again played them in July this year and beat them 2-0. I scored our second goal. In February, the North West team went on tour to Belgium for winter training and to play a couple of matches. We were there for five days and four nights. We had extra help from a Democratic Republic of Congo first

team coach – Lionel, and on our last day we were trained by the former head of fitness for the French national team!

‘representing the region’

Every year, the big event for the North West squad is representing the region against six others in England. We were the most successful team in the tournament for the second year running winning all our games except for one. There are full England scouts watching every game, and I was offered a trial and got through to the training camp in August. The highlight of the year, however, was the NorthWest trip to Helsinki in July. We had entered an Under 14’s tournament, so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy as we were still Under 13 and most teams were either academies of

professional clubs or academy standard. There were 12 groups and six teams in each, which amounted to 72 teams in total. We finished second in our group and progressed to the knock out stage, we won 1-0 and I managed to get on the score sheet. We got through to the semi-final but were knocked out 3-0. Although we had got knocked out, it was such an achievement to finish third in an Under 14’s tournament.

‘successful season’

Last year I had another successful season at Tranmere Rovers Football Cl ub Ac ade my a nd finished joint top goal scorer. I have just started a new season playing in the Under 14’s squad, and I can’t wait to play lots of matches on Sundays and mid-week.

Gabriel takes his first steps towards a professional rugby career Year 13 student Gabriel Johnson-Aley has always been passionate about his sport, this summer he will be playing in his fifth season for the 1st XI cricket team and he has played for the 1st XV rugby team since Year 11. At six feet four and over sixteen stones it is little wonder that professional rugby clubs have taken an interest in his progress and one of them, Sale Sharks, have selected him for their Under 18 Academy. Gabriel made his debut on January 7th against fellow Premiership giants Newcastle Falcons and helped the Sharks to secure a 36-15 win in their opening league match. An A Level PE student, Gabriel hopes to go on to study Sports Science, Loughborough being his university of choice. However, Southern Hemisphere sport is a great attraction to him and he may take a gap year to play both rugby and cricket in Australia first. If a professional rugby career doesn’t work out for him he can always turn to his second passion as a TV

critic; some may have seen Gabriel and his family on the hit TV show Gogglebox! Gabriel Johnson– Aley



Hockey Progress for Will Harvey This year Will Harvey, Year 11, has once again been through the England Hockey Single System, starting with a North West Regional Tournament for West Cheshire. From this he was chosen to attend the Manchester Junior Regional Performance Centre, one of three centres in the North and one of twelve centres in the country.

‘selected to play’

Over six training days he was assessed before being selected to p lay in a tournament, for the Manchester Pumas, between the three centres in the North over two days in September. The team he played for won this tournament and a week later he was emailed confirming his selection for the

North of England. He then played in the Futures Cup, a national tournament. Their team, The Pennine Pumas had never won the Futures Cup before, and made it through to the final, where a victory would be the first.

‘creating history’

Playing on the main pitch, it was an extremely tight game before eventually the Pumas won 4-3, creating history in the competition. This was a massive upset as Wessex were major favourites. By playing for the North, Will was one of the top 64 outfield players in the country for his age group. This year Will looks to go even further in the system, with potential England honours in the future.

Will Harvey



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Sport Cheshire rising stars Phoebe James, Lower Sixth, is gaining momentum in lacrosse from starting playing at age 9 at Oxton. Phoebe was then selected for Cheshire Under 15’s at just 12 years old, followed by Cheshire Under 18’s at 13 years old. She was then selected for North Under 18’s at 15 years old, and in the same year

went to the regional England academy, and in the following September moved to the National Academy Under 19’s at 16 years old. The National Academy squad is made up of only 30 people, and from here a squad of 18 is then chosen for the Under 19 World Cup in 2019, where Phoebe is hopeful of playing.

Lucy Mayers, Ellie Corlett, Phoebe James and Georgia Varey

She attends half termly training in Surrey, in addition to School, club and playing every weekend. In addition, Lower Sixth

students Ellie Corlett and Georgia Varey, and Lucy Mayers from Year 10 have all made it into North ‘B’ squad.

Lawrence Kehoe progresses at Sale Sharks Lawrence Kehoe, Year 11, was first selected to play for Sale Sharks Academy in January 2016. He trained one night per week for several months at the Sale training ground in Carrington, up until May, which is when he played against other Academy set ups such as Newcastle and Leeds at Kingston Park in Newcastle. From June until August he trained every Saturday for six-hour sessions which consisted of gym sessions, nutritional talks, performance analysis, sports psychology and on the pitch training. His team built up to a summer tour to Exeter where they spent five days

training and taking part in team building activities before playing Exeter Chiefs Academy. In late August he played in the Academies Festival at Warwick School where he played against other Academies such as Bristol, Worcester and Northampton. In September Lawrence started back in training at the Sale Under 16’s Academy. He is now building up to the Academies Festival at Wellington College in April, and from this an England Under 16’s team will be selected to play against Wales Under 16’s.

England Lacrosse Pick Two of our Old Birkonians have been selected for the Senior England World Cup training squad for lacrosse for this summer's World Championships. Charlotte Lytollis (School lacrosse captain 2011/12 and 2012/13) and Olivia

Wimpenny (School lacrosse captain 2013/14) were both chosen. They will tour the USA as part of the squad’s preparations. Bot h g irls b ec ame European champions when they were still at School, Olivia went on to captain England Under 19's to the bronze medal in the Under 19 World Championships, whilst Charlotte played in all three Ashes tests in Australia, a series which England won 2-1.

Adam Durband

European Golf Championship By Adam Durband, Year 10

In October I took part in The European Father and Son Golf Championship in Andalucía, . The tournament involves about 50 teams, fathers and sons of all ages competing in a three day Stableford competition and aims to give the competitors the full PGA experience. Our final position was joint sixth which for our first year is great. We were also lucky to have had the whole tournament filmed for Sky Sports 4 which was televised

over the Christmas period. If you missed it, you can find it on YouTube.

Charity Children In Need

Prep and Nursery had a wonderful day celebrating and raising money for Children In Need.

In Nursery the children had been working on creating their own spotty tshirts. They had been selecting colours and using sponges to stamp out lots of circles on to white t-shirts, and adding Pudsey bear motifs and

their names on the back. In Prep they held a nonuniform day, with many children choosing to ‘wear something spotty’ or to wear special Children In N eed clot h es. Th e Reception classes also held their annual ‘scootathon’ where they found a break in the poor weather to get out on their scooters and cheer each o t h er on a s t h e y



Jessica’s Danceathon for Tommy’s Charity Jessica from Reception recently took part in a Peppa Pig Danceathon in aid of the Tommy’s children’s charity, raising £300. The danceathon took place at Baby Ballet in Bebington, where children danced for an hour to raise funds for their chosen cause. Tommy’s charity helps to save babies lives through research into pregnancy problems and provides information to empower parents to have a healthy pregnancy. Jessica danced for 45 minutes straight with her teacher Nicola and her friends. She then did a

further 15 minutes to make up the hour. Jessica’s involvement is especially amazing due to her having had hip dysplasia at 18 months old and having to have two large operations at Alder Hey Hospital. She then spent four months in a frog plaster from her chest down to her feet. Jessica’s mum Julia, said, “To see her determination and enthusiasm is very special. Jessica enjoyed every minute of her danceathon and is very happy and proud of her achievement.”

Nursery children in their spotty t-shirts

Claire House ‘Claire Bear’ visits Prep

This year Prep have held various events to raise funds for Claire House, who help care for seriously ill children in the area. Through the Harvest Festival £418 was raised, and Jake Fisher in Year 6 also held a Bake Sale, which raised a further £153, and there were also collections during the Christmas period. In recognition of all of the support Birkenhead School has given to the charity, a special visitor came to assembly to say thank you. The surprise guest was the charity's mascot, Claire Bear, who was a huge hit with the children as she waved and danced for them, as well as thanking Jake with a big hug.

Avril Parr, a representative from Claire House, said, "Thank you so much everyone for all your amazing fundraising. At the hospice we try to make as many memories as possible and have lots of laughs and giggles with the poorly children, and it's your fundraising that keeps us going and goes towards helping those children."


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Wirral Foodbank donation

Nursery Christmas Donations Nursery was busy before Christmas collecting items for the charities Pyjama Party and Shoebox Full of Love which both distribute essential items to homeless and vulnerable people throughout Merseyside during the Christmas period. The staff and parents were extremely generous, enabling the Nursery to donate 45 new pairs of pyjamas to children on Merseyside, and fill over 25 shoeboxes for men, women, teens and children. In addition, they have also collected sleeping bags, coats and toys which will be distributed to those in need. The toddlers at Nursery had

helped to make up the shoeboxes ready to donate. Nicola Labno, Toddler Team Supervisor, said, “It’s been great to get the children involved as they can learn about the kind of items that people need such as toiletries and warm clothes, and they can also see the importance of sharing and being kind to others.” Head of Early Years, Jan Dorney, thanked everyone who had been involved. She said, “Special thanks go to our parents who have been so generous with their contributions. We couldn’t have done this without them and have been overwhelmed by their generosity.”

In the run up to Christmas, students from Seniors were busy collecting donations for Wirral Foodbank. Their efforts were so successful that they were able to deliver a van load to the Birkenhead depot at the end of term.

Thanks were given to all those who were involved in collecting the items, and to all who were so generous with their donations, which went towards helping those less fortunate on the Wirral during the Christmas period.

Delivering goods to Wirral Foodbank

Jack Grundy runs for Alzheimer's Research Jack Grundy in Year 8 set himself the goal over the summer of running 100km to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK. He has now sailed past his original target of £100 and has raised nearly £1200. Well done Jack!

Honor is Peer Mentor Honor Wilkinson in Year 8 volunteered her time over the summer working as a Peer Mentor for the Turn It Around charity Honor has been supporting children from ages 8 to 13 in a range of activities from arts and crafts, yoga, bushcraft and group support discussion.


Astronomy club launch

Little School learns sign language at Sign Choir This year, children from Reception to Year 2 have been invited to join Sign Choir which meets after school on Wednesdays. 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 worked on a


special Christmas song to perform to their families. 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 song’s ‘Let it Go’ and ‘Ghostbusters’.

The launch of Astronomy Club started with a bang earlier this year as students and staff were treated to a sneak peak of the presentation given at the Principia School's Space Conference by six students from across Prep and Seniors. Those attending the club also had the chance to make their very own Planisphere to help find constellations in the sky. By finding north and turning the Planisphere

to the correct date and time, the pictorial key will then provide a map to the stars above. Over the following months the Astronomy Club looked at a range of telescopes comparing Dobsonian reflector telescopes, which work using mirrors, and refractor telescopes, which use lenses, and discovering the differences between them.

An American adventure for seniors A group of students had the trip of a lifetime in October when they travelled to America to visit New York and Washington. The students, from Year 11 and the Sixth Form, spent a week exploring the two cities taking in the cultural sights. In New York they visited Times Square, Ground Zero and Central Park, and saw 'Chicago' on Broadway as well as taking the Staten Island Ferry past the

Statue of Liberty. They also took part in a Broadway drama workshop and went to the Guggenheim Museum. In Washington the group toured the Capitol Building, saw the White House, the Library of Congress and the Lincoln Memorial, and visited the Arlington National Cemetery. In between some retail therapy they also visited the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Museum.


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Outdoor Pursuits Students from Years 7 to 10 travelled on a glorious morning in September, to their three-day Outdoor Pursuits activity trip. Year 9 started off their activities with rock-climbing and bouldering at the base of Snowdon. They worked in groups of four or more on climbs with varying difficulty. Whilst one student negotiated the rock face the other team members had the important job of keeping them safe by belaying and taking the slack from the rope.

Poor weather on Thursday morning saw groups working well together encouraging their peers on a six-hour challenging walk up Snowdon where the summit was extremely windy and visibility allowed for barely a few metres ahead. Other activities included mountain biking, scrambling, gorge walking, high ropes courses, a zip wire and

coasteering. Abseiling at the slate quarry in Llanberis was met with mixed feelings, some could not wait and some were fearful of the task ahead. Each student abseiled down the beautiful quarry amidst gusty winds. Students returned to School on Friday suitably stretched and challenged after their experiences.

Meanwhile Year 10 took on their preliminary Duke of Edinburgh training, including map skills, camp cooking and a hike and Year 7 learnt new skills building rafts, fires and shelters.

Duke of Edinburgh Awards Congratulations were given to the high number of students who received Duke of Edinburgh Award certificates and badges so far this year. All students from Year 9 take part in the Bronze Award which requires participants to complete a variety of activities in four

areas: volunteering, physical, skills and expedition. Mr Vicars said, “Duke of Edinburgh allows you to gain a number of transferable skills, often described as lifelong skills, which will stand you in good stead for the future.”

Film Club gets off to a flying start Film Club has sprung into life at Birkenhead School in a crosscurricular format linking English, Science and Art. There are currently 30 members involved, ranging from Year 7 to Year 13. The club’s first project has been to create a film to enter the ‘Into Film: Into Space & Home’ competition. For the competition, Into Film has teamed up with the UK Space Agency, and the students have been

tasked to enter a short film inspired by space and Tim Peake’s mission. The closing date was at the end of January 2017 and all entrants will receive a certificate and be entered into a lottery for a chance to attend a special UK Space Agency event. Three entries will be shortlisted for each age category and will have the chance to go to an awards ceremony in London. Making the movie


Ladies’ Committee Thank you to the Ladies’ Committee for their donations The Ladies’ Committee have continued to fundraise throughout the year and have enabled the School to purchase a number of items which will enhance the student’s learning and the School environment. They have recently funded three new sewing machines for the Art Department (pictured), to go with the two purchased last year plus a set

New sewing machines

of aprons; a monitor for the Sports Hall which will show fixtures, results and photographs promoting the teams; sheet music for the Music Department; equipment for the set up of Astronomy Club; and funds for technical Lego. Their continued support is much appreciated from staff, students and the whole School community.

Help the Birkenhead School Ladies’ Committee Tuck Shop Volunteers The Ladies’ Committee is always looking for volunteers for the School Tuck Shops and any help is much appreciated. There are two Tuck Shops:  

One in Overdale for Years 7 to 8 One in McAllester for Years 9 to 11.

Volunteers are needed from 10.45am to 11.30am. If you are available to cover a Tuck Shop session, would like to join the Ladies’ Committee or would like more information, please contact: Sara Hatherly on 0771 779 7253 or email

The Ladies’ Committee supports the School by raising funds and enabling the School to function smoothly, preparing and serving match teas, staffing the tuck shops and providing refreshments at a number of School events. Ladies’ Committee Chair, Sara Hatherly, said “This year we have supported Birkenhead School’s Got Talent and the House Drama night with a Tuck Shop, teas and coffees, and these evenings were very successful. We also continue to support all Saturday sports fixtures, which would not happen without the support of parents, but we could always use more help!”

SENIORS LOST PROPERTY Long standing Ladies’ Committee member, Sheila Brew, looks after the Seniors Lost Property room in the McAllester building, on the middle landing next to the art department. Mrs Brew has many named items still waiting to be collected, following notes to form tutors, and would be very appreciative of those who may have misplaced any of their items to come and collect them. The Lost Property room is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays at morning break and lunchtime. For more information contact Sara Hatherly on 0771 779 7253 or



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Parents’ Association Michaelmas Term is always the busiest time for the Parents’ Association and 2016 was no different. We started the new school year with our AGM in September and welcomed Mr Vicars as our new President. It was then straight into planning our events for the next few months.

We started with the ever popular ‘coffee morning and uniform sale’ which is a lovely opportunity for parents to catch up after the summer break and to welcome new parents. The sale of uniform is always popular with parents replacing items already lost after only a few weeks at school, buying spare kit for sports or replacing school caps that have been eaten by the dog!

DISCO TIME! In October we held a double Prep disco, a Halloween costume disco for Little School followed by the Prep Disco for Years 3 to 6. Both events were well attended and the children had a wonderful time. After half-term we were straight into our Bonfire celebration which was another successful event even though the forecast of poor weather kept some families away. The fireworks and bonfire were spectacular and our thanks go to the Estates staff and Colin Gaskell for their hard work making this happen. The Christmas Bazaar was held in November in partnership with our school Scout Group, the 20th Birkenhead. This is

always a popular event in the school diary and this year was no different. We welcomed stallholders both old and new to our Gift Hall, fed our visitors from Café Noel and had plenty of fun and games, and of course Santa’s Grotto in the Sports Hall. Our final fundraising feature for the year was Christmas Cards for Prep which are always well received by the families involved. I would like to thank all of the PA for working hard to make these events happen. Our philosophy is to spend the monies we raise from our events in a timely manner and requests are received from all departments, from Nursery to Sixth Form via the Headmasters’ wish lists. Our recent spending has included:  Supporting sports tours  Year 6 Netball Strip  Equipment for Senior School Gym  Contribution towards equipment for the Prep outdoor classroom We are always looking for new ideas and for parents to join us either as a committee member, as an occasional helper or simply to attend one of our events. Keep up to date with our plans via the school emails / website or by following us on Facebook ‘Birkenhead School Parents’ Association’.

Denise Durband, Parents’ Association Chair At the Christmas Bazaar



Set in the Kit Kat Klub in Berlin as the dark shadow of Nazism sweeps across Europe, we follow the stories of Cliff and Sally as the world they know is torn apart.

March 22nd - 25th 7pm, Bushell Hall, ÂŁ10 / ÂŁ7

Book online at or call 0151 652 4014 from 27th February. Directed by Kirsten Pankhurst, Music Director Philip Robinson Assistant Director Louise Smeaton, Technical Manager Ed Brodbelt Starring: Grace Harvey as Sally Bowles, Matthew Oulton as Cliff, Josh Coyne as Emcee, Finlay Gordon as Herr Schultz, Emily Pulford as Frau Schneider

In Focus Issue 1 2017  
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