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What sets us apart?

We are an independent school and offer an education that goes beyond the National Curriculum, offering incredible opportunities that will truly inspire all of our girls and boys.


Visiting NASA, meeting astronaut Tim Peake and hearing inspirational talks from high profile speakers such as Clare Balding OBE and Sir Tony Robinson, are just a few examples of the opportunities that our students have benefitted from. It is opportunities such as these that can make a difference to their education and inspire a love of learning that will stay with them throughout their life.

"Attending an independent school adds the equivalent of two additional years of schooling by the age of 16, and almost one additional grade in each GCSE."

HMC, An Association of Heads of the World’s Leading Independent Schools

Click on each of the headings below to find out more about what sets Birkenhead School apart from other schools.
An HMC School
HMC (the Headmaster’s and Headmistresses’ Conference) is a professional Association of heads of the world’s leading independent schools.

We are proud to be a member of the HMC.   At the heart of every HMC school is a commitment to the benefits of a holistic educational experience: academic excellence coupled with a strong emphasis on pastoral care and exceptional co-curricular opportunities.

Being a HMC School means that you can rest assured pupils will be receiving the highest quality of education.

The video below tells you what you can expect from an HMC School and how this sets schools apart.


 

"HMC is a kite mark of global quality, innovation and excellence in education. Standards in HMC independent schools are exceptionally high and parents can be assured that they are choosing the very best education for their child. Published examination results, league tables in national newspapers and ISI.(Independent School Inspectorate) reports, all confirm the quality of education on offer."

 

Key facts about HMC schools:

  • Attending an independent school adds the equivalent of two additional two years of education by the age of 16, and almost one additional grade in each GCSE
  • HMC schools provide unrivalled co-curricular time – at least double the national average.
  • Pupils in HMC Schools play on average between 5 and 6 hours of sports and games a week – double the amount played by pupils in state schools. At Birkenhead School years 7 and 8 do over 3 hours of timetabled PE & Games plus two after-school practices, with many also taking part in team fixtures.
  • Independent schools add significant value to the development of pupils’ soft skills and mental toughness. 
Excellent Academic Achievements for All
Our academic results position us as one of the leading Independent Schools within the North West and the UK. We strive for academic excellence for all students whilst, at the same time, developing independent thinkers who have the skills to solve problems and to think laterally.
 

"Quality of pupils’ achievement and learning is excellent."

Independent Schools Inspectorate


Our smaller class sizes allow us to focus on the individual and their own unique learning journey.  This provides students with greater opportunities to take part and express their own opinions, all of which are vital when fostering an intellectual and stimulating learning environment.
 

"Small class sizes allow tuition to be more focused."

The Good Schools Guide, 2017


As well as confidence gained through this setting, it also allows for lessons to be tailored to specific interests and skillsets to accommodate the whole group.

Pupils benefit from teachers who are experts and specialists within their fields, many of whom bring a wealth of experience from outside of the classroom to truly enrich our students’ learning as they work towards GCSEs, IGCSEs, A Levels and the Extended Project Qualification.

Read more about our Academic Results
 
An Inspirational Educational Journey

"There is Something Special about this School."  Parent, Parent Survey


Knowledge, understanding and self-confidence are gifts that remain with us, but to develop these qualities, you need time. This is why an education at the School spans the whole of a child’s educational journey through to Sixth Form. Intellectual discovery is something pupils are excited about at Birkenhead School and pupils move from one year to the next in a seamless transition,   always maintaining that momentum and passion.

Each stage of the journey is in a new area of the School, offering a different environment and new learning experiences and opportunities whilst in familiar settings, within their School community.

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Small class sizes and a wide range of co-curricular activities allow friendships to be formed quickly, both inside and outside of the classroom.

By offering a unique School community that transcends year groups and the School boundaries, Birkonians join a network of Alumni, who keep in touch, not only through the long-lasting friendships that they have built during their time at the School, but also though organised regional and national dinners, events and Birkonian weekends.

 

"Selecting Birkenhead School offers young people membership of an established and extensive community, providing a wealth of connections and a network that helps and supports Birkonians now and for generations to come."

Mr Paul Vicars, Headmaster


 
The Benefits of Co-Education

Co-education provides a balanced foundation for life outside of School

We embrace the importance of co-education that reflects wider society and offers an environment where girls and boys can be themselves, understanding and admiring others for their achievements, irrespective of gender.

Co-education provides a balanced foundation for life outside of school.  We offer parents and students the positive choice of co-education in a selective environment and we are the only co-educational selective school on the Wirral

Children (not genders) have different learning styles.  A good school is one that enables all of its pupils to thrive, regardless of whether it is co-ed or single sex. 

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Both sexes benefit enormously by learning in a mixed environment. Through classroom debate, participation in co-curricular activities and important downtime during the day, girls and boys can learn, and importantly fail, together, thereby mutually respecting each other’s opinions, interests and resilience.

"There are no overriding advantages for single-sex schools on educational grounds. Studies all over the world have failed to detect any major differences."

Professor Alan Smithers, Director of Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham.  

Our students take their places naturally in the wider world, with the co-educational setting providing an excellent foundation for the development of meaningful and lasting relationships that have been built on mutual respect and admiration.

 
Knowing Each Child as an Individual
Happiness is a top priority.  By investing in small class sizes and with our pastoral network comprising Pastoral Form Tutors, Heads of Year, School Chaplain, School Nurse and Pupil Peer Mentors, we are able to quickly identify where there are concerns, offering exceptional pastoral care and support for our pupils within our close-knit community.
 

"Research findings from England show that in smaller classes, individual pupils are the focus of a teacher's attention for more time; there is more active interaction between pupils and teachers; and more pupil engagement."

Department for Education Research Report (2011), 'Class Size and Education in England Evidence Report', p46 

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We also recognise that education is a team effort between parents, staff and pupils themselves. Communication is therefore key and we firmly believe in the importance of informal discussions, and mutual observations, alongside the more formal welcome evenings, parent meetings and school reports.

To further support parents at home, our Parent Seminar Programme offers access to leading experts in fields such as digital awareness, e-safety and mental health.

Find out more about the Pastoral Support at Birkenhead School

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'Going Beyond' Mindset

Adding Value in Every Area of School Life


Our ‘Going Beyond’ mindset results in a staff and student community who look to go over and above in everything they do. We want our students to be inquisitive, ask questions and challenge the status-quo – all essential qualities in today’s society and valuable attributes for the leaders of tomorrow.


"From the classroom to the sports field, from the music room to once-in-a-lifetime trips worldwide, we look to offer opportunities that spark passions and interests, broaden outlooks and enrich the lives of all our pupils."


We have a rich co-curricular offering, with a wide range of clubs on offer such as, climbing, astronomy, gymnastics, dance, orchestra and stop motion film. During these clubs, students can expand their learning, whilst discovering passions that will last a lifetime.

Music has a rich history at Birkenhead School and is a constant presence throughout the educational journey; capturing passions and emotions and allows students to explore new ideas, subject matters and cultures. From Prep Orchestra, Prep Choir and Little School Choir, our students are offered the opportunity to perform and, as they progress, they can become part of the Senior Orchestra, Concert Band, Big Band, and our award-winning Brass Ensemble.

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Sport is a large part of School life, with students taking part in a wide and varied Games and PE curriculum and numerous sports clubs, both during and after School. Rugby, lacrosse, cricket, netball, tennis, hockey, and golf are some of the sports played at the School and students’ character and moral principles are formed through fair play and teamwork.
 

"I believe it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for all students to find their niche and their passion - that is my aim."

Mr Paul Vicars, Headmaster 

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Allowing students the opportunities to try a wide range of the activities on offer enables them to find their interests and to discover new talents and skills.
 

"An education at the School broadens the mindsets of students and offers an education that truly sets them apart from their peers."


The opportunities don’t just end at the School gates.  Students have opportunities to learn outside of the classroom - from meeting business and community leaders, visiting organisations and institutions, as well as travelling to new countries and experiencing different cultures – the opportunities are unlimited. 

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Find out more about the Co-Curricular opportunities on offer