Birkdale School

Birkdale School

Infobox School2
name = Birkdale School

established = 1904
founded = Rev Maurice Asterley
type = Independent school
head_name = Head Master
head = Robert Court, MA (Cantab)
city = Sheffield
state = Yorkshire
country = England
motto = Res Non Verba "Deeds Not Words"
website = []
magazine = The Birkdalian
former pupils = Old Birkdalians
colours = Red and dark blue

Birkdale School is a Christian independent school for boys in the city of Sheffield, Yorkshire in England, and is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.


Birkdale was founded in 1904 by the Reverend Maurice Asterley as a preparatory school for boys between the ages of 4 and 13 to provide a Christian education, an ethos it has stuck to throughout its 100 year history. First housed in Birkdale House on Newbould Lane, it moved in 1915 to its present location on Oakholme Road. Birkdale extended from just being a preparatory school in 1980, and established a Sixth Form in 1988, girls being admitted for the first time in 1995. [ Guide to Independent Schools, 2005] ] The school has gradually extended, and now is home to over 700 pupils, including approximately 50 girls in the co-educational Sixth Form.


There is a House system employed at Birkdale, four in total, each named after old Head Masters:
*Asterley House (Maurice Asterley 1904-09)
*Griffith House (Alban Griffiths 1909-33)
*Hall House (John Hall 1963-83)
*Heeley House (Howard Heeley 1943-63)

The Prep School has a slightly different house system, with a house dedicated to J.G. Roberts, Head Master 1933-43, and one to the family of Sir John Osborn, Conservative MP for Sheffield Hallam 1959–1987, of Osborn House, the current site of the Preparatory School.

The Birkdalian

The Birkdalian has since the mid twentieth century been the school magazine of Birkdale School. Currently published once a year late in the Christmas term it provides for current pupils and parents as well as Old Birkdalians and prospective parents an account of a year in the life of the school. Articles are written by staff and pupils and edited by a small group of staff and senior pupils.

Recent developments

Birkdale entered the First Division of independent schools results tables in 2005. There is a consistent stream of students gaining places at Oxford and Cambridge each year, due to excellent A-level results. The GCSE results for 2005 were the school's best ever.

Birkdale School is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

The current Head Master is Robert Court, educated at St Paul's and Clare College, Cambridge. He was the deputy head of Westminster School for four years before taking up the headship at Birkdale.

The deputy head is Alastair Gloag, from King's School, Gloucester. He replaced Andrew Johnson, who left at the end of the Summer Term 2006 for the post of Head Master at Stonyhurst College.


The school has a selection of sporting facilities, most notably large playing fields at Castle Dyke located on the outskirts of Sheffield. A new £2,000,000 sports pavilion was completed here in 2006, offering reasonable new facilities. Castle Dyke is primarily used for football, rugby, cross country and during the summer, athletics and cricket.

On campus the school has a sports hall and an attached gym (for use of older pupils and staff only), containing weights and equipment for badminton, basketball and other sports.

During the 2007-2008 school year, the current U16 Rugby team became one the most successful teams in Birkdale's history by reaching the national quarter final of the Daily Mail Vase. [ [ Sheffield Telegraph] , 25 January 2008]

Duke of Edinburgh's Award

All pupils are involved in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award from the age of 13. Many go on to complete the Silver and Gold awards in the Sixth Form. The Outdoor Pursuits staff, led by Chaplain J. D. Allan, encourage and facilitate all pupils to continue the award scheme beyond the compulsory Bronze level.


Much of Birkdale School is comprised of large Victorian buildings, formerly the grand homes of many Sheffield businessmen. The Johnson Building (pictured) was the home of the Bassett family, owners of the confectionery manufacturer.

*Johnson Building (Lower School common room, English, Maths, Religious Studies)
*Grayson Building (Classics, Ancient Greek/Latin, Modern Languages, Sixth Form, Sixth Form science)
*Endcliffe (History, Politics)
*School House (Headmaster's House)
*Science (Middle and Lower School Sciences)
*Heeley Hall (Main school hall)
*Westbury (Kirkham Library and Art)
*Caxton (Design Technology and Information Technology)
*Sports Hall
*Oakholme and Octagon (Music, Geography, Business Studies/Economics)

Head Masters

*Reverend Maurice Asterley (1904-09)
*Alban Griffiths (1909-39)
*J. G. Roberts (1939-43)
*Howard Heeley (1943-1963)
*John Hall (1963-83)
*Reverend Michael Hepworth (1983-98)
*Robert Court (1998-present)


As part of the school's charity projects it has developed strong links with some institutions in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. Most notable are the Peace Garden School, for which the school has helped raise money for a new school building, and a leprosy colony on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where Birkenhead is helping to build new facilities and most recently the colony's own Flower Field School. Money has also been granted to other schools to help purchase equipment or develop facilities.

As with other school charity projects, the money is raised through charity events and fund-raisers (as opposed to from the school accounts). Since the year 2000, trips have been run once a year to Nepal for pupils and teachers. These involve volunteer work teaching or otherwise working at the schools and leprosy colony as well as a trek in the Anapurna region and a visit to the Chitwan jungle. The trips are crucial in maintaining strong personal links with contacts in Nepal and helping charitable funds to be focused effectively.

As well as links with Nepal, the school has begun to form links with J. E. B. Stuart High School in Virginia, USA, following on from a teacher exchange, and in October 2007 a group of pupils travelled to visit the school.

Notable Old Birkdalians

:See also

*Robert Arthur Balfour, 2nd Baron Riverdale (1901-1998)
*Michael Palin (born 1943), comedian, actor, traveller and writer
*Ian G. Walker (born 1958), industrialist
*Richard Allan MP (born 1966), politician
*Richard Coyle (born 1972), actor
*Justin Wilson (born 1978), racing driver


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