Birkenhead School 伯肯黑德中学, 伯肯黑德学校
58 Beresford Road,
Oxton, Prenton, Wirral CH43 2JD
Tel: 0151 652 4014 Fax: 0151 651 3091
• BOYS, MIXED SIXTH, 3–18, Day
• Pupils 737, Upper sixth 79
• Termly fees £1696–£2339
• Enquiries/application to the Headmaster
What it’s like
Founded in 1860 and soon established as the leading boys’ school in the
locality. Girls were admitted to the sixth form for the first time in 2000. It
has pleasant late-Victorian and modern buildings on an estate of some 50 acres
on an open site in the village of Oxton, a suburb of Birkenhead. All the main
buildings are on the same campus. The principal playing fields are central and
others are two minutes’ walk away. There have been many additions and
improvements to facilities in the last 20 years. The school is organised in 3
departments: the prep for pupils aged 3–11; the junior school, ages 11–13; and
the senior school ages 13–18. A good general education is given and examination
results are very good. The school has a strong Christian tradition and prayers
are held each morning in the chapel. The chapel choir is well known to be
outstanding and performs at the level of a cathedral choir. The music, drama and
art departments are very active. A good range of sports and games in which high
standards are attained. There is also a wide variety of extra-curricular
activities including a CCF contingent. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme is
well supported and pupils have had many successes.
Pupils & entrance
Pupils: Total age range 3–18; 737 day pupils. Secondary department
11–18, 482 pupils (472 boys, 10 girls).
Entrance: Main entry ages 3, 4, 11, 13 and 16. Common Entrance and own
exam used; for sixth-form entry, 6 GCSEs at least grade C (grade B in AS-level
subjects). Academic excellence and breadth of interests looked for; no religious
requirements. 35% of main secondary intake from state schools (plus 5% to sixth
form). Large proportion from own prep department (enquiries tel 0151 652 4114).
Scholarships, bursaries & extras Annual scholarships and bursaries
available at age 11. Parents not expected to buy textbooks.
Parents 15+% doctors, lawyers etc; 15+% in industry and commerce;
15+% university staff.
Head & staff
Headmaster: John Clark, in post from 2003. Educated at Queen Elizabeth's
Grammar School, Blackburn, and Oxford University (modern languages). Previously
taught at St Paul's and at Whitgift School.
Teaching staff: 66 full time, 4 part time. Annual turnover 6%. Average
GCSE: In 2003, 74 pupils in fifth form; 91% gained at least grade C in 8+
subjects. Average GCSE score 56 (57 over 5 years).
A-levels: 84 in upper sixth; 21% passed in 4+ subjects, 74% in 3
subjects. Average final point score achieved by upper sixth formers 370.
University & college entrance 98% of 2003 sixth-form leavers went on
to a degree course (16% after a gap year), 8% to Oxbridge. 10% took courses in
medicine, dentistry & veterinary science, 34% in science & engineering, 49% in
humanities & social sciences, 7% in vocational subjects eg psychology, computing
and management. A few typically go straight into employment.
Curriculum GCSE, AS and A-levels. 23 AS/A-level subjects offered.
Sixth form: Most sixth formers take 4 subjects at AS, 3 at A-level; in
addition, many take AS-level general studies. 30% take science A-levels; 33%
arts/humanities; 37% both. Key skills not formally assessed.
Vocational: Work experience available.
Special provision: Some help for dyslexic pupils.
Languages: French, German and Spanish offered at GCSE, AS and A-level.
ICT: Taught both as a discrete subject (2 lessons/week in Years 7–9) and
across the curriculum. 150 computers for pupil use (12 hours a day), all
networked and with e-mail and internet access.
Music: About 20% of pupils learn a musical instrument; instrumental exams
can be taken. 5 musical groups including choral society, 2 orchestras, bands,
brass ensemble; chapel choir regularly sings in English cathedrals and on
Drama: Some pupils are involved in school productions and majority in
Art & design: On average, 25 take GCSE, 10 A-level.
Sport & activities
Sport: Options include rugby, cricket, hockey, athletics, tennis,
swimming, cross-country, climbing. Some county representatives.
Activities: CCF, Duke of Edinburgh, community service and Young
Enterprise. Up to 20 clubs including science projects, debating, drama club,
Uniform: School uniform worn throughout; prefects wear gowns.
Houses & prefects: Competitive houses. Prefects, head of school, head of
house and house prefects – appointed by the Headmaster in consultation with
staff, fellow pupils and outgoing prefects.
Religion: Daily service in the school chapel.
Social: Joint debates, concerts, plays with Birkenhead High. French,
Spanish and German exchange schemes, numerous other individual visits, ski
trips, sports tours. Pupils allowed to bring own car or bike to school. Meals
self-service. School shop. No tobacco or alcohol allowed.
Discipline Pupils failing to produce homework once would be given
extra work and expected to produce the original work; those caught smoking
cannabis on the premises could expect automatic expulsion.
Alumni association The Old Birkenian Society, run by Mark Feeny,
Chairman, Abbotsford, Howbeck Road, Oxton CH43 1OD.
Former pupils Rt Hon Sir Donald Nicholls, Alan Rouse, Earl of
Birkenhead, Canon Graham Routledge, Sir Gordon Willmer, Professor Neville
Willmer, Lord Evans of Claughton, Rt Hon H Graham White, Andreas Whittam Smith