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Physics Trip to Cern

Written by Sixth Form student Tom G: On the 14th of September, twenty-one U6 physicists, four French students and four members of staff embarked on a four-day trip to Geneva, a scientific, diplomatic and cultural hub nestled on the French border in Switzerland. The key focus of the trip was our day spent in CERN, and while we weren’t able to view any active particle accelerators without being blasted apart, we did visit the ATLAS detector which helped discover the elusive Higgs boson in 2012. We were also lucky enough to be taken on a tour of some of the facilities by a PhD student from Sheffield University, who also gave us a talk about his experience studying physics and working at CERN. We were also able to spend time looking around the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations, taking in the views from the top of the cathedral, and we spent a memorable night beneath the iconic Jet d’Eau – thankfully the wind was on our side meaning we didn’t get completely drenched! As another welcome break from the particle physics, we found ourselves fully immersed in Swiss cuisine with two nights of fondue: a gruyere-filled experience which none of us will forget for a gouda while. Our last night in Switzerland featured an impromptu dance party with a live DJ by the shores of Lake Geneva, which the teachers assure was a first in the history of this physics trip! Just like how the work taking place at CERN is only possible because of the hours of work put in by the scientists and engineers, our trip was made possible by the efforts of our fantastic teachers, Mr O’Toole, Miss Howes, Dr Jukes, and of course Mr Clifford. I couldn’t recommend this trip enough to any future sixth form students taking physics, although I would advise that they pace themselves when tackling a steaming pot of fondue!

September 21, 2023|Senior School News|

All the Fun of the Fair!

Thanks to everyone who attended the Friends of Birkdale School BBQ & Fair last Friday. We welcomed around 600 members of the School community to the Johnson Grounds including pupils of all ages, parents and grandparents to enjoy the stalls, activities and food. It was a great way to kick off the school year and welcome new and current families to Birkdale. We would like to thank everyone who donated soft toys, cakes and gave up their time help set up and work on the plethora of stalls. A special mention goes to Béres who kindly donated the breadcakes for the BBQ and the gingerbread men.

September 21, 2023|Senior School News|

Stronger together – two leading independent schools to join forces

Two leading independent schools are coming together to build firm foundations for the future and provide more opportunities for pupils today and tomorrow. Governors have decided that South Yorkshire’s Birkdale and the Peak District’s S. Anselm's will join forces from the start of the new academic year in September, and build on both school’s traditions, dating back to 1888. Birkdale School, based in Sheffield, celebrates its 120th year in 2024. It is a day school for boys and girls, with children aged between 4 and 18 while S. Anselm’s, part of the community in Bakewell since 1888, is a day and boarding school for boys and girls from age 3 to 13. S. Anselm’s will become part of the Birkdale family but there will be no day-to-day changes for pupils, families or staff at either school as we design the details, together, of the new opportunities the coming together will bring at both schools. The leadership of both organisations will explore opportunities for both school communities building on a shared ethos of academic excellence that is grounded in a nurturing and caring environment. Paul Houghton, Chair of Governors of Birkdale School, said: “We believe this is an exciting opportunity for both our school communities to come together during a time of rapid change in the world in general, and the independent education sector in particular. “Both Birkdale and S. Anselm’s have continuously evolved in their long histories to provide the best, rounded education to every pupil, and this move will ensure we can build on the ethos both schools share, work collaboratively to extend opportunities for our pupils now and long into the future. “We truly believe Birkdale Prep, Birkdale Senior, Birkdale Sixth Form and S. Anselm’s will thrive as part of an expanded Birkdale family which exemplifies the belief that runs through everything we do, that we are stronger together.” Richard Bowker, Chair of Governors of S. Anselm’s School, said: “S. Anselm’s will become part of the Birkdale family, but there will be no day-to-day changes for pupils, families or staff at either school other than the exciting opportunities afforded over time by the sharing of best practice, facilities and resources. “Our combined entity will be far more than the sum of the individual parts and lead to much greater choice and flexibility for all families and children at both schools.”

June 7, 2023|Prep School News, Senior School News|

Nepal 2023

The three week trip over the Easter holidays took the intrepid group of staff and students into Nepal’s bustling capital Kathmandu, hot, busy and a world away from Sheffield. After a couple of days getting their bearings and recuperating from the long flight they headed straight to the Himalaya! Taking on a trek towards Ama Dablam and the Everest region, they saw the highest place on Earth and lived and breathed the Nepali culture and mountain air. On their return from the Himalaya they embarked on community led work with a UK registered charity operating in Nepal. Our amazing students had prepared lessons and activities to help promote and develop the English language skills of children in the Kathmandu valley. These projects are organised by RNV Nepal (registered charity number 1197238) and we continue to  support them to promote education in Nepal and contribute to the wider objectives of the charity. These experiences were life informing for our students. A full account of the trip written by our Head of Outdoor Education, Mr Watchman, can be found here: Nepal 2023 Newsletter

May 4, 2023|Senior School News|

And all that Jazz!

The recent production of Chicago was a celebration of everything Birkdale is about. The talented cast was accompanied by outstanding musicians, set designers and technical crew. Everyone pulled together to create something truly special. The story is set in roaring twenties Chicago, nightclub dancer Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap...until he finds out he's been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another "Merry Murderess," Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the "American Dream": fame, fortune, and acquittal. There were superb individual performances from Iona (Velma), Hannah (Roxie) and Adam (Billy Flynn) to name but a few, along with a cast of pupils from across the year groups from S3 to U6. They performed one show-stopping song after another including; Razzle Dazzle, Cell Block Tango, and All That Jazz. It was a fantastic showcase for the best of Birkdale talent, with particular mention going to our Sixth Form girls. Without their talent and dedication we couldn't have put on such a unique show. Thanks to everyone involved including East Street Sheffield for the loan of costumes and props.

March 14, 2023|Senior School News|

UAE Cricket Tour

Over the February half term, 35 pupils and 6 staff embarked on a cricket tour to the UAE. Over the course of the week, the three teams took part in 15 fixtures, winning a third, including games against Rajasthan Royals Academy, Dubai International Academy and Zayed Academy. They also came up against two other English touring schools in Lancaster Grammar and Kingston Grammar. In and around all the cricket, the pupils were also able to enjoy multiple excursions such as going to the top of the Burj Khalifia, a day at Yas Waterworld, a visit at Sheikh Zayed Mosque and cycling around YAS Marina GP circuit. The week was topped off with a tour meal and awards, with prizes given out for most improved player and team tourist of the week. The whole week was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone, with lots of memories and friendships made along the way.

February 28, 2023|Senior School News|

Sharing A Passion For Languages

We are always thrilled when Old Birkdalians come back to visit us. Last week, the Modern Languages department welcomed back former pupil Rafal Faraj, who is currently in his second year studying Law and Spanish at Oxford University. He shared his passion for languages, the Oxford application process and his experience of studying Law to an audience of middle school and sixth form pupils. Emphasising the global and multilingual nature of many of the University's students, he urged pupils to continue with a language. He explained that at University, A Level subjects (especially the third or fourth choice subject) were quite often immaterial whereas language skills remained.  

January 30, 2023|Senior School News|

Pursuing a Career in Dance

We are delighted to announce that Upper Sixth student, Nat has been offered a place at the Joffrey Ballet School, New York, USA as a Jazz and Contemporary Trainee with the option of graduating as a Bachelor of Fine Arts if he wishes to pursue that route. This is clearly an amazing achievement and a reflection of the outstanding quality of his work. He has also been offered a place at URDANG at City, University of London which is viewed as one of the UK's finest performing arts colleges with an international reputation. Nat is now researching which option he would most like to pursue and as part of this he will visit USA on a Taster experience. We will watch Nat's progress with great interest and wish him every success for the future.

January 11, 2023|Senior School News|

Christmas Stars

Christmas is a time when Birkdale pupils truly shine. Last Thursday we kicked off our Christmas celebrations with a wonderful concert featuring all of our ensembles, bands and choirs. It was great to have everyone back together for this year’s event. There was a packed programme of music including Christmas favourites with some special arrangements. Around 80 pupils were involved in 13 groups, showcasing the best of Birkdale music. The Heeley Hall was packed with an appreciative audience. Here are some highlights: https://youtu.be/REnAj1ttTAE   For younger pupils our Pre-Prep Nativity – The Birth of a King – was a beautiful way to start the build-up to Christmas. All those involved gave an amazing performance, thank you to everyone who played a part in making it such a success.  https://youtu.be/16M6G1fOAFs

January 10, 2023|Prep School News, Senior School News|

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