Birchwood Update 10/09/2018

Birchwood Update week Commencing 10/09/18


 A 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. It was also great to welcome back our new sixth-form students ready to start the next stage of their learning. We especially welcome all the new young people who have joined our school this September.


We believe in celebrating and rewarding all successes through a variety of different ways such as praise postcards and e-mails sent home, our achievement assemblies and celebration evenings. This year we are very excited to have launched our new Rewards Policy, which has a focus on encouraging and recognising all achievements. The Policy celebrates our five “Team BIRCHwood” values; Believe, Independent, Respectful, Committed, Happy. This starts with good manners in and outside the classroom or random acts of kindness or good citizenship. It also celebrates when learners do well with their learning; making an extra effort in a lessons or completing an outstanding piece of homework. Everyone in the school community has been given a “Team BIRCHwood” badge to wear with pride. All staff in school have been asked to award BIRCH points wherever appropriate and learners with the highest number of points will be celebrated in form time, in assemblies and they will also be eligible for the weekly prize draw.


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.


The College results are the best results we have ever had. Every single student who wanted to go on to university received their first choice offer. 100% of students in Geography, PE and Maths achieved A*-C grades. All students in Music, and Acting met or exceeded their target grades with 100% Distinction* grades for everyone in these subjects. 95% of students taking a Level 3 BTEC course achieved at least a Merit grade and 99% of students passed their A level courses. We could not be more proud!


The school results also saw a positive picture with, once again, an increase in ALL attainment measures and an 8% increase in the important Maths and English measure of grade 4 or above (the old C grade measure). Most importantly, this has meant that all young people have been able to move on to apprenticeships or on to the courses that they have wanted, many of them at Birchwood College.  We wish them lots of luck on their chosen pathways. 


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.

Please note that, this year, we have new Year Team Officers based in the new Year Team Offices around the school. The Year Team Officers will be available throughout the school day to support learners in school.  They are also available for you to contact if you have any queries. These are:

  • Year 7 Team Office in Art Building

    • Year 7 Team Leader & Officer  – Mrs Butler: Telephone extension 202

  • Year 8 and 9 Team Office is at the top of main corridor

    • Y8 & Y9 Team Officer – Ms Hickson: Telephone extension 290 

    • Y8 Team Leader – Miss McAlinden

    • Year 9 Team Leader – Mrs Jones

  • Year 10 and 11 Team Office is in D&T/EPR building

    • Y10 & Y11 Team Officer -  Mrs Bird: Telephone extension 229

    • Y10 Team Leader – Miss Russell

    • Y11 Team Leader – Ms Gilchrist

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!

A warm welcome to our new Year 7 learners.


The sun shone on Wednesday for the first day of this academic year and it was our pleasure to welcome the latest members to Team BIRCHwood, our new year 7s.


 They were all excited to join us and though there were a few nerves they soon felt at home. They had a packed day what with official photographs, assembly, their first school lunch and a few lessons!


Staff and learners were on hand to welcome them and help them find their way around the site , which initially can seem huge. We hope they had a fantastic first week and are looking forward to working hard and believing in themselves that they can become Independent, respectful, committed and above all happy members of our team.


 Here are just a few comments that Year 7 made at the end of their first week:


“They welcomed me in and it felt like my home”


“The school dinners are better than Primary”


“I enjoyed it because on my first day I got an ATL 1”


“You learn something new every hour”



Message to parents re signing out of school for appointments during the school day


If you wish for your child to sign out of school during the school day, Please ensure that they have a note, a copy of their appointment letter or that you have emailed school on to let us know. thank you for your co-operation.

BCHS has a brand new rewards scheme for this academic year.


We have thought long and hard about how best we can reward our learners who come to school every day and do everything right and are proud members of Team BIRCHwood. We also believe it is important to motivate those learners who sometimes find staying on track a little tougher.


We are excited to launch the Team BIRCH Reward Points Arrow.


Each week learners can collect points for doing a variety of things, and points mean prizes here at BCHS!


We will rewards learners in different ways, sometimes it may be the Top 100 learners, or the Top 10 learners in each year group, or the Top Form Group. This will enable learners to have lots of different chances to gain a prize. There will always be a rewards trip and learners will have to accumulate their achievement points and try to avoid any negative behaviour points to have access to these trips.


Mainly the prizes will be drawn from a Golden Ticket Raffle. If a learner isn’t lucky enough to win the Golden Ticket Raffle you should still hopefully see a Golden Ticket coming home and you will know that it has been given to your child for being great that week in school.

Each term there will be a new arrow with new and exciting prizes on offer and the giant arrows will be displayed around school so learners know what they have the chance to win.


Please encourage your child to aim high, achieve and have pride in themselves and start collecting to win.



School early closure on 27 September, a date for your diary.


On Thursday 27 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

Keeping your child safe


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 link here to find out more information and to sign up.




Extra-curricular timetable


Please take a look at our extracurricular timetable to see what great activities are available for your child to take part in both after school and at lunchtime . 

Click here to access the timetable


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.



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.


Year 7 


Year 7 photographs; Individual and Form shots.


Your child should bring home their proofs today. If you wish to purchase the photographs, this can be done online via Kittle’s website here or you can return the form and cash or cheque  to the school office by break on Friday  21 September.


If purchasing via school, please can you ensure that your child’s name and form is clearly indicated on the form. Thank you


A date for your diary


Welcome to Key Stage 3 Evening, Thursday 20 September 2018 - 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.




Year 8 - No specific information

Year 9 - No specific information

Year 10


Year 10 photographs


Your child should bring home their proofs today. If you wish to purchase the photograph, this can be done online via Kittle’s website here or you can return the form and cash or cheque  to the school office by break on Friday  21 September.


If purchasing via school, please can you ensure that your child’s name and form is clearly indicated on the form. Thank you


Year 11


Looking to the Future and next steps for 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


Learners have been following a careers programme throughout year 10 to prepare for this and will continue to learn about post 16 options, through Learning4Life lessons this term, assemblies and presentations.


You are also warmly invited to attend the Birchwood College Open Evening on Thurs 4 Oct 6-8pm where you can find out about the many courses offered here at Birchwood College. There will be a presentation by the Head of College at 6pm.

Warrington Borough Council have also organised a Careers and Apprenticeship Fair which takes place on Thursday  20th September, at Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub, 4pm - 7pm. Last year's event attracted over 40 exhibitors and 650 young people and their parents.


So far exhibitors include: Waterside Training, Toni & Guy, Morthyng, Morrisions, NPL Football Academy, University of Chester, Priestley College, UTC Warrington, Aldi, Prince's Trust, Warrington Youth Club, Unilever, Bell Group, Derwen College, Riverside College & Cronton 6th Form College, National Careers Service, Jobcentre Plus, Little League Sports, Warrington & Vale Royal College, Army Recruiting, Glyndwr University, Babcock International, Ps Coaching, St Helens College and University Centre, Body Focus Training, O2/Telefonica, Mantra Learning, Northwest Education and Training, Lifetime Training, Armstrong Works, Barclays, Street League, Changing Lives in Cheshire, The Growth Company, SGI, Sellafield Ltd, Cunningham Training, People Plus and Careers for Young People.


To confirm attendance and book a slot visit here 


If your son/daughter requires a careers interview to discuss post 16 plans please contact our Careers Adviser, Mrs R Morris

Media Studies tour to Prague 14 - 17 February 2019

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

Birchwood College 


Don’t miss out on our College Open Evening.


Visit our college to talk to our staff and students and see the personalised programmes we are able to offer. This year our results were fantastic, our best ever.

  1. 100% of A-level Geography, Maths and PE students at Birchwood College achieved the top grades of A*-C.

  2.  Our acting students results were 100% Distinction*, the top grade possible, in the Level 3 BTEC Acting course

  3.  Our music students all achieved Double Distinction*, the highest grades possible, in their Level 3 BTEC Music Diploma course. Three of the students are going on to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in September, which is an outstanding achievement. No wonder Birchwood has such a fantastic reputation for the Performing Arts! 

  4. Health & Social Care students at Birchwood College have performed at the highest level. All the BTEC Sub. Diploma and Diploma students have achieved on or above their target grades.

  5. Level 3 BTEC Sport students also achieved some excellent results, many of them receiving a Distinction* grade. Sporting courses continue to be a real strength at Birchwood College, providing a platform for students to progress into the sports industry.

 Just a few reasons why Birchwood College is a force to be reckoned with in post 16 education!


Year 12, get a great chance to team build and work together

Last Wednesday we welcomed our new Year 12. Those returning after Year 11 and those joining us from other schools.

They had a great fun morning working in teams on some fantastic fun activities, which really got them chatting and building relationships.

Thank you to the staff who organised the day and a big welcome to our new students.




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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