Birchwood Update 4th September 2017




Message from Mrs Bryan, the Headteacher


“Birchwood Community High School has a learning culture which is

aspirational, has high expectations and celebrates success.”



Welcome back to all our learners, students, staff and parents/carers as we begin a new academic year at Birchwood Community High School and Birchwood College. It was lovely to see learners arrive back at school looking immaculate in their new school uniforms. We especially welcome all the learners who have joined our school this September.


As you may have seen on our update, Birchwood is certainly an improving school and we are pleased that our external exam results from both school and Birchwood College have reflected this.


This year’s 2017 results were particularly pleasing given the challenges that the new specifications and 1-9 grading system in GCSE Maths and English has given our learners. The results are a reflection of the dedication and hard work of our learners supported by our committed and caring team of staff and parents.


46% of learners achieved at least one top grade with 24% achieving 5 or more top grades.  Learners also performed particularly well in a number of individual English-Baccalaureate subjects. In the Triple Science subjects of Biology, Chemistry and Physics, learners achieved 95%, 93% and 90% A* - C grades respectively. In Modern Foreign Languages 91% of learners achieved A* - C grades in German and 71% in Spanish.

In other subjects, 100% gained A*- C grades in Music with a fantastic 59% gaining the top A*-A grades.  In Religious Studies, 88% gained A*-C with 51% gaining the top grades. IN GCSE Drama 88% of learners gained A*-C with 42% obtaining the highest grades.


The Birchwood College results were just as pleasing. All students who wanted to go on to university have been able to do so with the majority getting in to their first choice university. In the Level 3 BTEC courses, 100% of our students passed with some outstanding grades!

Particular successes are below:

  • 78% Distinction* to Distinction

  • 93% Merit or above

  • 100% Distinction* to Distinction in Acting and Music

  • 88% Distinction* to Distinction in Applied Science

  • 84% Distinction* to Distinction in Health & Social Care

At A-Level, 97% of students passed with 100% of students successfully gaining university places.

Particular A- level successes were:

•             100% A*-C in A-level Maths

•             50% A*-A in A-level Biology

•             50% A*-B in A-level Geography

We hope that this picture will continue this year. To help this happen, we ask for your continued support in ensuring all learners attend school for every single session every single day, bringing with them the correct equipment and their school planner, which also needs to be signed by you every week.


You will have received, during the holiday, the Parent/Carer Handbook which is bespoke to the year group your child is in. The booklets contain all the important information you will need throughout the year. The booklets can also be accessed on the website here.


Finally, I would like to thank you for continuing to work in partnership with us to give our learners and students the best chance to fulfil their aspirations and potential. Together we can look forward to a very successful year! 

Learners are given the opportunity to plan for the future.


During the Summer Term over 250 learners from Years 7 to 10 visited Universities across the North West in order to experience university and student life and better understand what Higher Education can offer.


Learners visited one of four different universities, UCLAN, University of Chester, Liverpool John Moores and The university of Liverpool, experiencing campus tours and taking part in a number of workshops designed at encouraging them to consider options after College, thereby raising their aspirations.


Learners met and worked with current students studying at the universities completing sessions including a law taster tutorial, practical model making based on their future aspirations, talks and quizzes on University life, tours of accommodation and other facilities, how to apply and the life of a third year student. These were certainly eye opening experiences and all learners thoroughly enjoyed the visits, with many leaving the universities excited about and starting to plan for their futures.


Save time and pre-order lunch


To allow your child to make more of their lunch break, the kitchen have introduced a pre-ordering system for school dinners. Orders can be placed, at the till in the M1, before school each day from 8am, or during the last 5 minutes of the morning break. Payment is as normal via our fingerprint system, where you will be given a receipt. Orders can be collected from the new Art Cafe on production of your receipt.


Online Safety for all the family


O2, as part of its partnership with the NSPCC to help all children and families in the UK stay safe together online, has created a series of weekly emails for parents and carers to help them start a conversation with their children about online safety.

Please click on the links to find out more information and to sign up.

UK Safer Internet Centre


Auditions for this year’s school show.


This year Birchwood will proudly present our take on ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’, a fun packed, firm favourite of musical theatre. Auditions will be held as below:

  • Year 9 -11, on Thursday 7 September from 3pm in PA

  • Years 7 and 8, on Friday 8 September from 3pm in PA

Music examination success


Over the summer holiday, we have had plenty to celebrate in regard to success in external music exams.

In singing:

  • Grade 7 – Ellie Norton

  • Grade 5 – Eleanor Jones

  • Grade 4 – Hermione Holbrook

In Saxophone:

  • Grade 5 – Jamie Kemp, who also attended the prestigious summer school at Chetham’s School of Music.

In Music Theory Grade 3

  • Hannah Van den Branden

  • Chee Ying Liu

  • Beth Woodward

  • Hayden Astley

  • Jack Ratcliffe

  • James Harper

  • Nathan Peers


School early closure on 21 September, a date for your diary.


On Thursday 21 September we will hold our School Open Evening from 4.30pm. To prepare the school for our visitors, we will close to learners at 2pm that day




Year 7


Welcome to Key Stage 3 Evening, Tuesday 12 September 2017 - 6.30pm – 7.30pm in the Main Hall


We would like to invite you to this evening which will help explain to you the expectations and demands we have of all Year 7 learners as they begin Key Stage 3

The evening is aimed at parents/carers only and learners are not expected to attend.

The objectives of the evening are:

  • to provide a smooth transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3

  • to support you with vital information about Key Stage 3 and our expectations of Year 7 in particular

  • to strengthen the vital home/school working partnership

Please note that you will need to park on Birchwood Shopping Centre car park and allow time to walk across to the school and use the main front entrance of the school to reach the M1.

The presentation will start promptly at 6.30pm and last for about one hour.

Please ensure that the reply slip is returned to your child’s Form Tutor no later than Friday 8 September. Thank you.



Year 8 – No specific information

Year 9– No specific information



Year 10


Welcome to Key Stage 4 Evening - Thursday 14 September 2017 from 6.30pm to 7.45pm


We would like to invite you to attend this event at which we will explain the rigours of Key Stage 4 as well as the new structure of the courses and examinations.  We will also outline the standards and expectations we have of all Year 10 learners at the beginning of the new academic year.  The format of the evening will be a short presentation in the main hall and then moving into small workshops in classrooms.

The objectives of the evening are:

  • to explain the format of the new GCSE style specifications and exams

  • to explain the new 1-9 grading system

  • to share the new Maths, English and Science curriculums and explain how parents/carers can support learning

You will also receive a booklet containing the key information shown above and we will be happy to answer any questions you have to help ensure our learners have the best possible start to life in Key Stage4. You can attend with or without your child.

We aim to have as many parents/carers attending the evening as possible.  Please note that you will need to park on Birchwood Shopping Centre car park and allow at least 10 minutes for walking across and to the main reception of the. The evening will start promptly at 6.30pm.

Year 11-  No specific information





Other School information:



View your child’s information on your mobile phone or tablet, a great new way to keep in touch.


We are pleased to announce the launch of a new service to make communications between school and home quicker, easier and more effective.

You will be able to view information about your child or children securely on your mobile phone or tablet using the Groupcall Xpressions app.

Once you are set up you will be able to see information such as:

  • Free messages sent by the school delivered to the app

  • Attendance and absence information

  • Attitude to learning (“ATL”) scores for each lesson.

  • Daily/Weekly timetable information

The app is completely free of charge to you and supports Apple iOS and Android devices (with Windows mobile to follow).

In order to use the app school must have your correct mobile number and email address on our school system. Forms are available from the school office to check and update your details or you can simply email them to the school. You’ll need to make sure you keep these details up to date in future to maintain access to the service.

You can download the app by searching for “Xpressions” in the App Store or on Google Play. Once the app is downloaded, simply follow the on screen instructions.

We hope that you take advantage of this new service, which has replaced our ParentsLive system.  If you have any issues or need to know more please contact Mr O’Reilly here at school on or click here


Children on site out of school hours


As a Community School, we welcome clubs and booked activities to use our facilities and school grounds outside the school day. We have become aware though that there are groups of both learners and ex learners on site in the evenings. Please make your child aware that learners are only allowed on site after the school day, if they are part of an organised and booked group. Thank you for your co-operation.



School Nurse: Please note that the school nurse comes into school every Wednesday from 12.15- 1.30pm and is available in the BSR Mentoring Room if any learners or students have any health related issues they would like to discuss.


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