WHAT SORT OF A SCHOOL?
Birkdale is an independent day school (boys 4-18: girls 16 - 18) with 800+ pupils. The School has a strong Christian ethos. It is located on three sites in south-west Sheffield, the Senior School (Y7 to Y13), Preparatory School (Reception to Y6)and the playing field. Birkdale is the only HMC school in South Yorkshire. The Head of the Preparatory School is a member of IAPS.
HOW HAS BIRKDALE DEVELOPED?
Founded in 1904, and by the 1950s one of the largest boys' prep schools in the North of England, the age group was expanded to 4-16 in 1978. The sixth form was launched in 1988. The target figure of 180 sixth formers has now been attained, including about 50 girls. This rapid evolution has been supported by an ambitious programme of physical development of the sites.
WHY TEACH IN SHEFFIELD?
Your image of Sheffield might be a grim, northern industrial city with poor air quality and no culture, but you could not be more wrong! Visitors to Sheffield frequently comment on its greenness: there are in fact more trees per person in Sheffield than in any other English city. Birkdale is situated in an inner suburb close to the Universities, 1½ miles from the city centre and 4 miles from the Peak District National Park. Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities of all kinds - from theatres and restaurants to sailing and hill walking - are close at hand, making the quality of life very good indeed.
WHY TEACH IN AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL?
There are undoubtedly particular advantages enjoyed by independent schools and their staff. A recent survey of newly qualified teachers revealed five main attractive features of teaching in an independent school. The survey found these factors to be the more disciplined environment, the opportunity to express their passion for their subjects, good resources, smaller class sizes and greater professional freedom.
The expectation is that nearly all pupils, having entered the school at various ages, will progress through to A level. Prep school boys are very successful at Key Stages 1 and 2: a minimum level 4 is normally achieved at KS2, with a high or very high percentage of boys achieving level 5. The GCSE pass (A*-C) rate is consistently around 98%, with the proportion of A* or A grades around 65%. Most pupils take four AS levels in the lower sixth and three A levels in the upper sixth, in addition to General Studies. 27 A level subjects are offered. The A level pass rate was 99% in 2005, with 72% of entries resulting in A or B grades. Setting is extensively employed at both prep and senior schools.
OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
The school's academic emphasis, although important, is not exclusive. The extracurricular activities programme caters for most interests; sports, music, drama and outdoor pursuits flourish. All staff are expected to make some contribution beyond their academic commitment.
Most departments are now housed in newly converted or extended facilities. Budgets for departmental resources are generous. The school libraries are recent conversions, well stocked and well used by pupils. A coherently constructed appraisal scheme exists partly to enable teachers to think about and develop their careers. As teachers develop, so does the school. Hence there is a generous annual budget for staff training and development.
WHAT MAKES BIRKDALE SPECIAL?
The Christian ethos of the school manifests itself in the particularly friendly and supportive atmosphere. A good proportion of the staff are committed Christians, although as a community Birkdale is open to all, whatever they believe. We are therefore strongly committed to the care of our pupils and of our staff.
Salary is on the Birkdale salary scale. A generous remission of fees scheme is available for children of staff. The school is a member of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.