Birkdale School

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Birkdale School
Birkdale School
Oakholme Road

, ,
S10 3DH

Coordinates 53°22′28″N1°30′17″W / 53.374510°N 1.504785°W / 53.374510; -1.504785 Coordinates: 53°22′28″N1°30′17″W / 53.374510°N 1.504785°W / 53.374510; -1.504785
Type Independent school
MottoRes Non Verba
(Actions not Words)
Religious affiliation(s)Christian
FounderMaurice Asterley
Head MasterPeter Harris
Age4to 18
Enrolment~1,000 pupils (inc. Prep School)
HousesGriffiths, Asterley, Hall and Heeley.
Colour(s)Red  , Dark Blue  
PublicationThe Birkdalian
Former pupilsOld Birkdalians
Partner SchoolsPeace Garden School, Nepal

Birkdale School is a Christian independent school for pupils aged 4–18, in the city of Sheffield, South Yorkshire in England. Founded by Maurice Asterley, in 1904, the school provides education underpinned by a strong Christian ethos.


Birkdale is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, and is a registered charity, educating roughly 1000 students per annum. Previously just a boys school, since 1995 girls have been admitted to the Sixth Form, with the whole school becoming co-educational in September 2020, starting with the youngest four year groups.


Birkdale was founded in 1904 by Maurice Asterley as a preparatory school for boys between the ages of 4 and 13 to provide a Christian education and takes its name from its first home, Birkdale House on Newbould Lane. [1] The school moved in 1915 to the Oakholme building under Griffiths' leadership (1909–1939).[ citation needed ]

At the start of the Second World War, the school evacuated to Derbyshire under Roberts, Head Master in 1939. After the war, Roberts moved his pupils to Uttoxeter creating Brocksford Hall School, whilst twenty boys returned to Oakholme Road under Heeley in 1942 who later became Head Master in 1943. [1] The Westbury building was purchased in 1946 from Thomas Cole of Cole Brothers (now John Lewis) to allow for the continued expansion of the school. The Endcliffe building on Endcliffe Crescent was purchased in 1975 with the Grayson and Johnson Buildings following in 1994 and 1999 respectively to create the current school and campus.[ citation needed ]

The period of greatest growth within the School was overseen during the tenure of the M. D. A. Hepworth, Head Master from 1983 to 1998. More recently, an extension of the Grayson Building was built to house the Sixth Form common room and an extension was also built on the back to allow space for the Modern Languages department and additional science laboratories. The Octagon, a music practice room designed to amplify sound was added to the original Oakholme Building in 1989. As part of a major building project, which saw the construction of a large sports hall over the site of an outdoor swimming pool, the Caxton building was built to house the DT and IT departments.[ citation needed ] The science labs and Heeley Hall were built recently.[ when? ]


The Johnson Building Birkdale School Johnson Building.jpg
The Johnson Building

Birkdale School consists of a Senior School and a Prep School split over 2 sites. The Senior School has six main buildings: Johnson Building, Grayson Building, Endcliffe Building, Oakholme Building, Westbury Building, and the Science Block.

The Lower School (ages 11–12) are based in the Johnson building, Middle School (ages 13–15) in the Oakholme building and the Sixth Form (ages 16–18) in the Grayson building.


There is a House system employed at Birkdale Senior School, four in total, each named after old Head Masters. Each house consists of a House Master who is a member of faculty, a House Captain who is a member of sixth form, and a dozen House Prefects also from the sixth form, chosen by faculty. Their roles consist of holding house assemblies and organising house events. The heads of school, as well as the sixth form prefects, operate independently from the house prefects.

House NameNamed After
AsterleyMaurice Asterley 1904–09
GriffithsAlban Griffiths 1909–39
HeeleyJohn Hall 1963–83
HallHoward Heeley 1943–63

The current Housemasters are Mr Clarke (Asterley), Mr Rodgers (Griffiths), Mr Clark (Hall) and Mr Alsop (Heeley).

The Prep School had 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. Martin House is named after Cyril Martin, who gained the Military Cross in the First World War and the George Cross in the Second World War. Westbury House was the fourth house. As of September 2020, the Prep department has adopted the same Houses as the Senior School. [2]

The Birkdalian

The Birkdalian has, since the mid-twentieth century, been the school magazine. Currently published once a year late in the Christmas term it provides 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.[ citation needed ]


The Head Master is Mr Peter Harris, who was previously the Principal of Ewell Castle School and taught Geography at Birkdale between 1998 and 2009. The previous Head Master was Dr Paul Owen, who is the current Head of Stockport Grammar School. The Deputy Head of Senior School is Mr Phillip King, who succeeded Mr Nicolas Pietrek ( who is now the Head of Thorpe House School Trust) . The Head of the Prep School is Mr Chris Burch.


Badminton at Birkdale School BEn jones.jpg
Badminton at Birkdale School

Birkdale has its own playing fields, Castle Dyke, within a few miles of the main school site. There was a £2 million investment after acquiring a 125 year lease for the 30 acre Castle Dyke playing fields and the construction of a new state-of- the-art Sports Pavilion, which opened in 2006. On campus, the school has a sports hall and attached gym.

Competitive matches are played weekly – rugby and hockey in the winter term, football and hockey in easter, and cricket in summer. Teams are entered into various regional and national tournaments, such as the Rosslyn Park Sevens tournament and ISFA football tournaments. Sports tours depart annually – recent trips have included a rugby tour to Canada, cricket to Dubai and hockey to Holland.

During the 2007–08 school year, the U16 Rugby team reached the national quarter final of the Daily Mail Vase. [3]

Head Masters

Head MasterYears Active
Maurice Asterley 1904–09 
Alban Griffiths 1909–39 
J. G. Roberts 1939–43 
Howard Heeley 1943–1963 
John Hall 1963–83 
The Rev'd Michael Hepworth 1983–98 
Robert Court 1998–2010 
Dr Paul Owen 2010–2018 
Nicholas Pietrek 2018–2018 
Peter Harris 2019–


Peace Garden School, Nepal Peace Garden School, Nepal, April 2012.jpg
Peace Garden School, Nepal

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 leper colony on the outskirts of Kathmandu, where Birkdale is helping to build new facilities and a new 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 taking it 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 leper colony as well as a trek in the Annapurna region and a visit to the Chitwan jungle. The trips are considered 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.

Notable alumni

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  2. 1 2 "Prep Handbook" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2015.
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