Birchwood Update 11/12/17

 Birchwood Update week Commencing 11/12/17



Admissions Consultation


We are consulting on our admissions arrangements for academic year 2019-20. Our proposal is to maintain the existing arrangements with the exception of a change to the Published Admission Number (PAN). The PAN is currently 210 across Year 7 to Year 11 at the school and our intention is to reduce this to 170 for Year 7 for academic year 2019/2020 and for all subsequent years.


The consultation runs from Friday 10 November 2017 to Friday 22 December 2017.


If you would like to send a response or make a comment please either email or write to the addresses below:



Write to: Admissions Consultation

Birchwood Community High School


Brock Road, Birchwood

Warrington, Cheshire, WA3 7PT.


 Visit here where you will find our draft admissions policy. Alternatively, you can contact the school office who can supply a paper copy of the draft policy.


We would like to hear your views about our school so we can share these with OFSTED


We are asking for your support so that we are aware of your views about our school. It will also help us to prepare for our next OFSTED visit which is due this academic year. Thank you t

o all parents and carers who have already filled the online form in. We have had 18 responses so far and all parents have said that their children feel safe and happy at school. We would love more views though! Please read and fill in the online form below.

Parent View is an online facility launched by Ofsted in October 2011 that allows parents and carers to give their views about their child’s school at any time of the school year. The questionnaire is also the main mechanism for parents to give their views to inspectors about their child’s school at the time of a school inspection. If you are a registered parent or carer of a pupil at the school, you can tell us your views about the school by completing Ofsted’s online survey here


Safety on the school site for these harsh weather conditions


At present, our site is able to open as we have made it as safe as we possibly can with regard to gritting. There may be, however, pockets of the site, off the main thoroughfares, that may still be icy so can I please ask you to ensure that your child wears sensible shoes with adequate grip for the conditions, also a warm coat.

Teachers are asking young people to take care around the site by not running and keeping away from areas that may still be icy. Can I please ask you to reinforce this with your child whilst these wintry conditions are still with us? Thank you


A note regarding cooking this week


Please be aware that there will be no cooking this week. So if your child was asked to bring ingredients this week these will no longer be needed. Thank you.

Another chance to enjoy our brilliant young performers


Our Year 12 & 13 students are performing their exam pieces on Wednesday 13th December from 7pm onwards. We would love them to have a good audience to perform to so if you are free please come along and support them as I am sure you will be impressed and touched by their work. The Year 13 piece is about Terrorism and although it is very hard hitting it is a very relevant piece of theatre, which represents today’s society.

They will be performing three pieces of theatre and the show will finish no later than 8.30.

The cost of the show is £3 and £2 for concessions.

Our learners are drilled by the Navy.


Last week, some learners from years 9 and 10 volunteered to take part in a day of activities organised by the Royal Navy. Initially I think some volunteers wondered if they had made the wrong decision as the Naval Instructors put them through a rigorous training session, but they gave it their all.

Learners were then able to rest and sample some tasty food, whilst the Naval chef did a cooking demo and sampling session; Getting 10 out of 10 for his tasty pasta dish.

The day was rounded off with a competitive team-building task to build a vehicle that could safely carry an upside down cone. The instructors were particularly impressed with one team’s creative thinking in keeping their cone in place.

Thank you so much to Sergeant Finley and colleagues for all the hard work that they put into the day. They really motivated our learners to do the very best they could.


Year 11 Mock examinations. Monday 11 – Friday 22 December 2017


Year 11 will be sitting mock examinations over the next two weeks. These examinations will be completed under exam conditions and are a good test to measure how much progress learners have made in preparation for their exams next summer. For a full timetable, see the year 11 section on this update. If your child has any concerns or needs assistance please ask them to speak to their teacher or Mrs Kinnaird, our exams officer.


A note from the PE Department regarding lessons during mock week


With the mock exams upon us, can parents and carers please remind learners that if they are doing PE and usually use the sports hall then they will need to bring outdoor kit, due to the Sports Hall being used for the exams. Please note that if your child is wearing leggings for PE, they should be regulation navy leggings rather than black (see the uniform guide here) . Thank you for your cooperation 


A Date for your Diary, Our New York Fundraiser, 14 December 7pm


As part of the Media department’s ongoing fundraising for next year’s trip to New York, there will be a Christmas Quiz Night on Thursday 14th December in M1. Doors will open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.  This will be an opportunity to add some money to our ongoing fundraising, whilst having the chance to win some prizes and have an enjoyable evening.


Tickets are on sale at £2 for learners/students and £3 for adults, available from the College and School reception.

Please feel free to bring your own refreshments.







Whole School Christmas Celebration Trip; The afternoon of 20 December


Following the success of last year’s whole school Christmas skating trip, we are offering a visit to The Hive Retail Park in Widnes on the afternoon of Wednesday 20 December where learners can chose to take part in either Silver Blades ice skating or Widnes Super Bowl bowling.

This trip is open to all year groups

The non-refundable cost of the trip is £12 both for ice skating or two games of bowling. Learners may bring spending money as there are vending machines and a café.  

We will be leaving school at 12.15pm and will return for 4.30pm.

Learners must come to school in full uniform with all their equipment for morning lessons but then may get changed for the trip. Learners must also have a packed lunch.

To book your place, please return the reply slip on the letter here along with payment by Friday 15 December. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and dependent on a good attitude to learning and behaviour. 

Be Active at BCHS


In a bid to offer learners some meaningful pastimes during lunchtimes in these cold months, staff have offered their lunchtime to provide a varied timetable of lunchtime clubs from music and relaxation to dodgeball. We hope that there will be something for everyone to take part in and that learners will benefit from having the opportunity to do something meaningful or learn something new during the school day.


For a full timetable of clubs see here 



School Christmas Lunch, Tuesday 19 December


On Tuesday 19 December, the Kitchen will be serving our Christmas lunch. There will be a traditional turkey roast and a vegetarian option, plus dessert or drink for £2.20.

We hope that your child will join us for this festive feast.














Getting ready for next year’s ski Trip


Last Wednesday, fifteen of our learners took to the ski slopes in Manchester. Ten of them had never put skies on before and took part in their very first ski lesson. The instructor said they all did very well and all achieved a level 1. Four of the learners from last year’s trip took to the main slope to get some practice in alongside Charlie who has already completed lessons but is yet to ski abroad.



The same group of learners will be going back again this week, so please remember to bring all your gear with you on Wednesday.

Christmas Theme Day, Friday 22 Dec


On Friday 22 December, our last day of term, we will be supporting St Rocco's Hospice by holding a Christmas Theme Day. Learners are invited to wear one piece of clothing that has a Christmas theme. This could be a Christmas inspired jumper or a red or green ribbons or Christmas socks. The rest of the uniform must be as normal. The suggested donation will be £1.  Please note: this is not a ‘fancy dress’ day i.e. no onesies, fancy dress costumes, or novelty headgear and there is no need to purchase a specific Christmas jumper, simply wearing something red or green for example, will be enough. We hope that your child will join us and help support this wonderful local charity


Christmas Assembly, Friday 22 December, 11.30am


Our whole school and college Christmas assembly will take place in the Sports Hall the last day of term. Parents, carers and friends of the school are very welcome to join us for this event. There will be a brunch break earlier in the morning and then school and college will close for the Christmas break after the assembly at 1pm. Please note that there will still be lessons in the morning of Friday 22 December so if learners have PE then they will still need to bring their PE kit.

School and College will re-open on Monday 8 January at 8.45am.






Year 7 



Year 7 Christmas Disco -  Unfortunately the disco has been cancelled due to lack of numbers 


Year 8 - No specific information



Year 9 


Year 9 Introduction to GCSE Ethics Philosophy and Religion Day, 11th January 2018


We are very excited to offer our first Ethics, Philosophy and Religion day for all our Year 9 learners.  This will be a unique day on the 11 January to explore world views of three religions and get a glimpse in what it means to be a member of these three communities. 

This will be a wonderful opportunity for learners embarking on their GCSE in this subject.  We hope to involve the entire year group in all aspects of the day.


If you have not sent your reply slip back to the office , please do so as soon as possible; this fantastic opportunity will not run if numbers are not sufficient. The visit is free of charge so please do not let your child miss out.


The letter with reply slip can be found here




Getting Ready for KS4 Residential Trip to Lockerbie Manor 11 -13 July 2018.


Payment instalments are due on the following dates:


6 February 2018

6 March 2018

3 April 2018



Year 10


Beth plays her way to success


Congratulations go to Beth in Yr 10 has just passed her Grade 4 piano exam (abrsm) which is a fantastic achievement. Beth said, “I was so happy when I heard that I had passed as I had been so nervous about doing it but it turned our great in the end.”

Well done Beth, we are so proud of your success.











A message from our English Department


York notes revision guides will be available to purchase through the school shop on the school’s website, here, from Monday 4th December. All guides are priced at £2.40 each and learners will be able to collect the revision guides from their English teachers.

For Year 10 classes the guides required are:

A Christmas Carol

Blood Brothers



Year 10 English Literature Mock Exam, in preparation for their summer examination:  Tuesday 12 December 2017


Year 10 are sitting their English Literature GCSE in summer 2018, the two papers that make up this qualification will be sat on the mornings of Tuesday 22 May and Friday 25 May 2018. 


As part of the preparation for these exams Year 10 will be sitting an English Literature mock exam on Tuesday 12 December, this will be completed under exam conditions and will give

For all exams, learners will need to write in black biro, they may also bring highlighter pens and pencils and eraser if they wish, these must be in a transparent pencil case with no writing on.  Learners are permitted to bring water into exams to drink but this must also be in a transparent bottle with any labels removed.  Mobile phones and any ‘web enabled’ devices are banned from exam rooms, this included smart watches and Fit Bits.


Getting Ready for KS4 Residential Trip to Lockerbie Manor 11 -13 July 2018.


Payment instalments are due on the following dates:


6 February 2018

6 March 2018

3 April 2018

Year 11


A message from our English Department


York notes revision guides will be available to purchase through the school shop on the school’s website, here, from Monday 4th December. All guides are priced at £2.40 each and learners will be able to collect the revision guides from their English teachers.

For Year 10 classes the guides required are:

A Christmas Carol

Blood Brothers

Romeo and Juliet






Year 11 Mock Examinations. Monday 11 – Friday 22 December 2017




Birchwood College - 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



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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