Birchwood Update 09/07/2018

Birchwood Update week Commencing 09/07/18




Our team shines at the Rymans National Enterprise Challenge


Congratulations to our team of six year 10 learners (Cory, Emily, Niamh, Charlie, Mollie and Josh) who got through to the final 5 out of 120 teams at the Ryman National Enterprise Finals last week at Telford International Centre. 


The learners delivered a fantastic pitch for their product called Smart Box. The panel of judges, including Thoe Paphitis from Dragon’s Den, were hugely impressed by the innovative stationery mail order delivery system aimed at GCSE students. The final pitch was delivered in front of an audience of 1,400 school children, teachers and business representatives.


Perri Kiely and Jordan Banjo from the dance group Diversity hosted the event in an impressive stadium style venue.


Cory said, “We were amazed that we got this far in the completion, but when we reached the final 5 we couldn’t believe it. It was really frightening having to perform in front of so many people especially since I had to sing a rap!”


It really is an amazing achievement to get this far in a national competition and we are very proud of our talented and innovative learners who are sure to go far in the world of business.



What a wonderful end to Year 11s time at Birchwood!


Last Thursday was our Year 11 Prom and what a terrific evening it was. The sun shone but thankfully, there was a gentle breeze as we celebrated the evening at the Hallmark Warrington. Our young people looked wonderful and a fantastic time was had by all who attended.


Mocktails were served on arrival, and then attendees enjoyed a delicious meal. After dinner, learners and staff danced the night away before returning to school by coach at midnight.


As usual, our learners were a credit to us with many other visitors at the hotel commenting on how polite and pleasant they were.


Thank you to all the parents who turned up both at school and at the venue to support the occasion.

Miss McAlinden said “On meeting parents and carers prior to boarding the coaches I was bombarded with a host of well wishes, thanks and praise to all staff who have worked so hard to support the year group. It is fabulous that we are such a great community working together to support our children”


It really will be an evening that they will remember for a very long time. Our Official photographs of the evening by Ben Unwin are available to purchase here 


The password is 2743 and photographs can be purchased either as a print or digital file.


To see more photographs of this occasion, see the Prom album in our Gallery appearing shortly.





A great few days getting to know us


On Monday and Tuesday of last week, we welcomed our future Year 7 learners. It was great to see them enjoying being a part of school life here at Birchwood. They had a fun time following a taster timetable, meeting their form tutors and sampling what is on offer in the school canteen. Everyone enjoyed the experience and met new friends from other schools.  We look forward to seeing you all again in September.

Our Sports Day celebrates both achievement and diversity


This year we had no worries about rain on Sports Day. The day went really well and our learners put in some fantastic performances. Mr Burrows will hand out certificates to winners in our final assembly on the last day.


There were also some fantastic banners in support of Pride made by members of each form group. It was great to see the Pride colours so beautifully displayed at a large school event.


Pride was also celebrated the following day at our Pride pizza party hosted by Ms Gilchrist and a band of helpers. Learners had a great time and again showed that Birchwood really is an inclusive community where we believe that everyone has the right to be themselves and be accepted for it.



The GO4Sets are commended on the standard of their work by industry experts


Last week, twelve of our learners took part in a regional STEM competition run by the Engineering Development Trust. 


They worked for 10 weeks in after-school sessions, planning and designing an environmentally friendly engineering project.  The Year 8 team (Daniel, Megan, Joshua, Jake, Eliza and Danny) designed an Eco-Factory, and the Year 9 team (Pedro, Martha, Erika Strong, Michael, Niamh and Jacob) designed an improved Birchwood train station. 


At a final celebration, both groups showed exceptional teamwork and communication skills and their projects were highly commended by the panel of judges.


Well done to everyone taking part we are so proud of all your hard work


A chance to develop life skills whilst having fun outdoors


We recently took a selection of learners from across all year groups to Rock and River Outdoor Activities Centre in Mawdesley, Lancashire.  This was a great opportunity for learners to experience new and different activities in an environment away from school.


The centre offers a valuable learning experience, setting learners a challenging programme of activities, which go far beyond the scope of the normal school day.  The activities we chose to take part in were canoeing, raft building, indoor climbing wall, swamp romp, climbing tower and air rifle shooting.


The weather could not have been any better for canoeing and raft building when learners had to work as part of a team to build their raft to be stable and lake-worthy!


Next up our learners coached and supported each other to scale an indoor climbing wall.


Learners had an amazing time and importantly demonstrated all of the skills we are looking for in successful learners – resilience, determination, belief and teamwork.



Keeping your child safe


Snapchat safety advice 


Snapchat is a picture-sharing app that is hugely popular with young people. The app attracts an amazing 166 million users each day and focuses on capturing ‘moments’ quickly with users taking images and videos and sending them instantly.


The unique feature of Snapchat is that images disappear within seconds. Snapchat users can specify how many seconds they would like their images to be seen by the recipient. This can range from 1 to 10 seconds. Snapchat also has a location sharing feature called Snap Map.  This feature has prompted some concern from parents and professionals working with children as it allows a person’s exact location to be shared with others who do not have to be their friends.


Thinkuknow is a programme developed by CEOP to help young people understand the functions and features of Snapchat and ways to help young people stay safe while using it. The guide can be found here



National Writing Day winners


To celebrate National Writing Day at the end of June, our English department set a challenge to learners and staff alike to write an entire story in just six words.

We are pleased to announce three winners:


Mr Cowdell takes the staff prize with a very appropriate six-word story about the weather:

The snowman sighed, “here’s the sun.”


It was incredibly hard to choose a winner from all the learners who entered, so we had to pick two!


Daniel Darwent (8NI):

Theatre provides clarity; failure lays inevitable.


Lucy Pritchard (8HS):

Social media obsessed: absent from reality.


 Congratulations everyone and well done 

Let a little birdy help with your career advice


We are happy to announce the launch of our career guidance twitter feed, which you can find here 


Mrs Morris will be tweeting about everything to do with careers. Parents and learners from any year group will benefit from this opportunity to keep up to date with what is available out there in the world of work. 

Keep logging those APP points!


Please remember you can still log APPs until 9.00am on Wednesday 18 July. Prizes will then be awarded in the final assembly for the top three learners for most APPs logged.


Birchwood KS3 Drama Club proudly presents Peter Pan


On Tuesday 17 July at 7pm, our Key Stage 3 Drama Club will be presenting Birchwood’s version of Peter Pan. The show has been adapted and re-written to include the vast array of talented actors that we have at school. Learners have been working hard with Miss Senior and it should be a great show, so put the date in your diary.


Tickets are available from the school office from today, Adults - £5, children and concessions £3


Miss Senior would welcome any members of the audience dressing as pirates to help create a great atmosphere at the performance, so dig out your pirate hats and eye patches and come along!




Change of Uniform Supplier


We consulted you in 2017 about changing our school uniform and you told us you wanted a local retail offer to go alongside our existing online supplier. We are pleased to announce that we have arranged for two local retailers to take over supply of our uniform. Both suppliers are already fully stocked can already take orders. We hope this change will give parents and carers a better service.


Touchline UK

Unit 2 Kerfoot Street



Online Shop



Warrington Schoolwear

50-54 Buttermarket St



Online Shop


Please remember to give your feedback on Parent View


Just a reminder that if you have a spare ten minutes in your day please complete the Ofsted survey about our school. Your views are important to us.


All you need to do is log on here then click on “Give your views” on the top tab and register. It will take about 10 minutes of your time but it will support us to give an accurate picture of our school at our next OFSTED visit and will also allow us to see more of your feedback.


Thank you for your support.

The KS3 Maths Problem Solving Challenge


This week’s challenge is very relevant to our football hopes and dreams



Years 8 - 12, Ski residential trip to France, Friday 15 February – Friday 22 February 2019


For your information, the remaining balance for this trip must be paid by 23 November. Thank you.







Be Active at BCHS


At BCHS we aim to offer a full range of extra-curricular activities which will appeal to a wide spectrum of interests, both before and after school and also at lunchtimes.  For a full timetable of all the activities available, please see the timetables below:-


  • Extra-curricular timetable, Summer 2018 - here.

  • For a list of clubs that your child can now take part of at lunchtime see below


Year 7 


Don’t miss out on a Fantastic chance for your child to take part in our Year 8 French Residential


It is with great pleasure we are able to inform our Year 7 learners of the wonderful opportunity to travel to France in March 2019. The trip includes:

  • A visit to a chocolate factory

  • A visit to a French bakery workshop

  • A visit to a goat farm

  • A visit to a French hypermarket

  • Day pass entry to Euro Disney

For a copy of the letter with booking details see here.



Year 8


A date for your diary


End of Key Stage 3 Celebration Evening for Year 8 – Tuesday 10 July.


Come and join us to celebrate the end of this stage in your child’s education with presentations from our year 8 learners and subject and achievement awards.  Invitations will be posted out to you soon. We hope you will join us.

Year 9


Looking forward to Lockerbie, 11 July – 13 July


It is not long now until our Year 9 and 10 learners will be setting off for their residential trip to Lockerbie Manor in Scotland. Your child should have brought home a booklet with everything you need to know in preparation for the trip. For a copy of the booklet see here

A date for your diary


End of Key Stage 3 Celebration Evening for Year 9 – Wednesday 18 July.


Come and join us to celebrate the end of this stage in your child’s education with presentations from our year 9 learners and subject and achievement awards.  Invitations will be posted out to you soon. We hope you will join us.

Year 10


GCSE English Literature results


Results Day - Thursday 23 August 2018, from 11.00am – 12.00am Birchwood College:

Your child will be able to come into school to pick up their GCSE English Literature result on Thursday 23 August from 11.00am to 12.00pm.  Results will be distributed within Birchwood College.


Year 10 enjoyed the life of a BC student


Last week, Year 10 got an insight into life at Birchwood College, when they were invited into the college to undertake some taster sessions in subjects of their choice. They enjoyed sample lessons in media, law, business studies and science to name but a few. They also enjoyed the fun, social side of the college at lunch and break, playing pool, table football and chilling in the café.


It was an enjoyable day which provided a great opportunity for our learners to think and plan for the future.


Looking forward to Lockerbie, 11 July – 13 July


It is not long now till our Year 9 and 10 learners will be setting of for their residential trip to Lockerbie Manor in Scotland. Your child should have brought home a booklet with everything you need to know in preparation for the trip. For a copy of the booklet see here

Media Studies tour to Prague 14 - 17 February 2019 for current Year 10 learners


Please be aware that the final payment for this trip should be made before 7 December 2018.

Year 11


Birchwood College induction day was a huge success


Last Tuesday Birchwood College held its annual Induction day for year 11 learners. The day started with presentations about our College and the courses we offer but after break the fun and team building really started as learners had the change to have some fun on the giant inflatables. The day was rounded off with a BBQ.


Thank you to all the college team for your hard work.

Results Day - Thursday 23 August 2018, from 9.00am to 11.00am:

Your child will be able to come into school to pick up their GCSE/BTEC results on Thursday 23 August from 9.00am.  Results will be distributed within Birchwood College.


Recycle Your Uniform – Donate it to the uniform shop


Our uniform recycle shop, here at school, would be very grateful if any current year 11 learners, once they finish school, could donate any of their uniform to us.  Any clean articles in reasonable condition should be brought to the school office. Thank You.


Important careers information and guidance for Year 11 learners


All Year 11 learners should now have made some plans for after year 11. According to the Government, young people must stay in education or training until at least the age of 18. See the information here


They must do one of the following:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college/6th form

  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship

  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training


It is possible to get financial help with education costs. In England, you can apply for a 16 to 19 Bursary Fund to help with education costs – this is means tested. Please see here


If you are eligible for Child benefit, this will continue if your child stays in education. You will need to inform the CBA about this.If your child starts an apprenticeship, then you will not be eligible for Child Benefit as they will receive a wage.





For apprenticeship vacancies see:


There is also lots of advice and information on post 16 options the following website:


Even if your child is keen to get an apprenticeship, it is still a good idea to apply for a college place as a back-up.


Birchwood College offers our Internship Placement Programme.  This is a specially tailored educational pathway, which allows the student to learn at college whilst completing a placement at a partner organisation, allowing a more hands-on learning experience. For more information, contact Mr Burrows, Head of College at


Warrington and Vale Royal College is also an option as they offer both apprenticeships and full time courses.


If your child requires any assistance with securing a place in education, training or an apprenticeship please get in touch with our Careers Adviser, Mrs R Morris asap.

Birchwood College 


Our College Students have plenty to celebrate


Congratulations to Tori Stammers in year 13 who has gained a higher level solicitor apprenticeship with Eversheds Sutherland. Tori is the only student they are taking on in Manchester. We are sure that Tori will fit in well and we wish her every success. Tori has always showed real commitment to everything that she has done at Birchwood and we are sure that her positive, can-do attitude will make her a true asset to the company.


Congratulations also go to Tash Hill who has gained a higher level apprenticeship with Waites, again we are sure that Tash will become a valued member of their team.


We are also proud to announce ALL of our students who applied to university are have received, including 13 unconditional offers.


Well done to all students and our fabulous staff at Birchwood College.  We say that Birchwood College is the college “Where you matter”. This really is evidenced with these fabulous results, our students and staff really do work together to attain the best for each and every one whether it be an apprenticeship, university or in the workplace.

Results Day - Thursday 16 August 2018

Year 13 from 8.45 am and

Year 12 from 10.00 am


Birchwood College will receive exam results on Thursday 16 August and students will be able to collect an envelope containing their results as above


Other School information:


Keeping in touch gets even easier with the introduction of the Xpressions website


We are pleased to announce that Groupcall Xpressions is now available to access on your computer via a website. The login page can be found here.


This gives you a further way, as well as accessing the APP on your mobile phone and tablet, to view information about your child

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

Xpressions is completely free of charge to you and supports Apple iOS, Android devices and now Windows operating system.


In order to use the Xpressions, 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 will need to make sure you keep these details up to date in future to maintain access to the service.


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



Mobile phone sanctions


We would like to remind parents and carers about the school rules on using mobile phones.


Learners must not use mobile phones between the 8.50am and 3.00pm on school days. Teachers will confiscate mobile phones where a learner breaks this rule. The only exception to this rule is when a member of staff asks learners to use their phones in a lesson to support their learning


Confiscated phone are taken to the school office and process below is followed:


First offence: The phone is locked in the school safe where it can be collected at the end of the day by the learner.


Second offence: As above but a Year Team Leader after school detention is issued and parents and carers are informed.


Third offence: The phone is confiscated and locked in the safe and school inform a parent or carer who are asked to collect the phone at the end of the school day. The learner will also receive an after school detention with a member of our Senior Leadership team.

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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