Birchwood Update 28/1/2019

Birchwood Update week Commencing 28/1/2019


Important dates for your diary:


31 January – Year 8 Guided Choices Evening, 5.30-7.30pm. For more details, see our Year 8 section.


5 February – School closes to learners at 2pm, see below.


7 February – Year 12 and 13 Performance Review Evening, 4pm – 7pm, see our Birchwood College section for more details.


11 February – Year 11 and 13 Photography orders must be returned to the office with payment by this date.


13 February - Year 11 Performance Review Evening, 3.30pm – 7pm in Birchwood College (PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE) for more details, see our Year 8 section.

An Important notice regarding early closure on Tuesday 5 February.


Please be aware that school will finish one hour early on Tuesday 5 February for an additional staff training session. Learners will be registered and dismissed at 2pm so please ensure that you have made appropriate arrangements for your child. Thank you for your support and I am sorry for any inconvenience that this may cause.

Emily skates to success for the BBC


We are proud to tell you about Emily in 11KO who continues to succeed with the Whizz Kids synchronized skating team. They won Silver this year in a tough category of Junior B skaters and for the very first time the event was televised by the BBC.


Synchronized skating is a growing sport that is aiming for Olympic inclusion, so the more publicity it gains, helps to raise the profile further. They skated on both days of the Championship and the whole event is available on BBC iPlayer.


Day one saw them skating their short programme to music from the film “LaLa Land”. On day two for the long programme, they skated to music from “The Greatest Showman”.


The team had a brilliant skate on both days, showing that hard work and dedication to their team really pays off. The Whizz Kids gained personal best scores in both programmes.


Well done Emily and the rest of your team, you did a great job.


Planning for your future and setting goals. It’s never too early.


At Birchwood, we firmly believe that success comes through careful thought and planning and to support this on Wednesday 6 March we will be holding a Careers Fair in school for years 7 to 13.


The aim is to raise awareness of education and training opportunities and the vast range of jobs and careers available to our learners.

As well as our own College, with our last set of results being our best ever and our applied qualifications attaining significantly above the national average, we have invited other local colleges, universities and companies who offer apprenticeships to come along and have a stand.


Please encourage your child to make the best of this opportunity by talking to as many exhibitors as possible because it is never too early to think about a possible career path and putting yourself ahead of the competition.


If you are a parent or carer and work for an organisation which would like to be represented then please get in touch with our Careers Adviser Mrs R Morris  at

Survivor webcast 2019, thank you to #harryspiro


As part of Holocaust Memorial Week Year 8 and 9 watched a live webcast last Thursday with a Holocaust survivor Harry Spiro as part of a project by the Holocaust memorial trust.  Around 55,000 people watched the live broadcast.

Learners were really touched by the broadcast learning and benefitting so much from Harry’s words that Mr Cosgrove will also show the Broadcast to Year 10 later this week.


For more about Harry and his story see here



Last week’s Golden Ticket winners


Well done to the following learners, who each won a £10 Odeon Voucher in last week’s draw:


Estelle Fletcher 8CA

Anna Toynton - 8HB

Bianca Andrei - 8HB

Holly Humphries - 7LF

Ella Watkins - 7LF


A great new service for learners who are also young carers


Are you a young carer or do you know someone who is?


Do you or a young person that you know look after someone with a disability, mental health condition, illness or addiction?


If so, there is someone to talk to and offer help and guidance.


Come along to our monthly drop in at the Willows meeting room. For dates, see the poster and any more information speak to Mr Crompton.





Keeping your child safe


Last week’s advice was about sexting. This week we are focusing on another topic that can be awkward to discuss with children – online pornography. Children can access pornography all too easily on smart phones and other devices. Sometimes by accident, through misleading pop ups and links, but sometimes by actively looking. It is important to help young people understand the impact pornography can have on them, and their relationships. You can help them stay safe and remind them that they can talk to you if something ever makes them feel uncomfortable or confused.


The advice from the NSPCC is here.

YODI – A new local Youth Drop in


From 4 February, YODI (Youth Oakwood Drop in) will be opening its doors for young people in our area. The club is situated at the Oakwood Hub, behind the shops.


The sessions are between 7 and 9pm and admittance is 50p including a hot drink.




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

Learners of the Week - wc 21/1/19


Well done to the learners below who were selected as 'Learners of the Week' by the English, languages and science departments








Year 7 



Year 7 Residential Trip to Conwy Centre, Wednesday 20 to Friday 22 March 2019

Please note that the final payment for this trip is due on 28 February 2019

Year 8 


Year 8 Guided Choices Evening, Thursday 31 January, 5.30-7.30pm


Your child has brought home a letter inviting you to our Year 8 Guided Choices Evening.

A copy of the letter can be found here


As this is an important time in your child’s educational journey. We aim to support both your child and yourselves to make well-informed choices about which subjects they will choose to study at Key Stage 4.


The evening gives you the opportunity to speak to subject staff about the courses on offer as options. There will be a short talk covering the choices process and pathways on to which your child can opt.


We aim to provide the correct option pathway that best suits your child and with your help and support I am sure that we can work together to succeed.


We look forward to seeing you all on Thursday 31 January

Year 9 - No specific information


Year 10 


An Important message from the English Department for Year 10 Parents/carers


At the start of this academic year, we were considering our Year 10 learners taking their GCSE English Literature exam in the May 2019. In order for us to review whether this was the best decision for our Year 10 learners, they all sat a Mock exam in December 2018. After closely analysing the learner responses and mock exam data, we feel that an additional year would support our learners to develop a more analytical approach to the literature texts and develop a more advanced style in their writing. This means that they will be sitting their GCSE English Literature alongside their other exams at the end of Year 11.    


You will have an opportunity to discuss your child’s progress with their teacher at the Year 10 Performance Review Evening on Thursday 28 February 2019. In the meantime, should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to email the Head of English, Mrs Emma Dempsey with your questions. 


Please find the letter here, which outlines our decision in more detail.



The Brilliant Club offers our learners an amazing opportunity to shine


Last week saw the launch of The Brilliant Club in conjunction with Manchester University.


Over the next six weeks, twelve aspiring learners from year 10 will be working with a Manchester University PhD student on a project about electricity.


They will then write a 2,000 word dissertation type essay, which will be graded, according to university criteria by our PhD student and awarded a 1st, 2:1, 2:2 or a 3rd.


The aim of the process is to allow learners to get a feel for what it is like to be a university student and raise their expectations as to what is available via higher education

Year 11 


Year 11 Photographs


Proofs will be distributed to learners this week via form boxes. Orders should be returned to school by 11 February at the latest in readiness for collection by the photographer on the 12 February. If your child took part in the friendship group photos, please ask them to collect their proof from the School Office as soon as possible in order to get their orders in by 10 February.

Year 11 Performance Review Evening – Wednesday 13 February, 3.30pm – 7pm in Birchwood College (PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE)


We hope that you will join us for this valuable event, which gives you the opportunity to speak with your our staff to discuss progress and achievement at a vital stage in your child’s school life. Please book via our online booking system for parents’ evenings.


A letter with details about booking your appointment has been sent out with learners and can be found here


As well as our own Birchwood College, we have invited some other local colleges, universities and apprenticeship providers to this Evening to share information about pathways, opportunities and qualifications after year 11 and beyond. Warrington Youth Club will also be present to talk about the National Citizen Service. Hopefully you will get chance to visit these organisations during the evening. Our Careers Adviser, Mrs Morris will also be available to offer careers advice and guidance.



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.


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


Birchwood College 


Year 13 Photographs


Proofs will be distributed to learners this week via form boxes. Orders should be returned to school by 11 February at the latest in readiness for collection by the photographer on the 12 February. If your child took part in the friendship group photos, please ask them to collect their proof from the School Office as soon as possible in order to get their orders in by 10 February.

Year 12 and Year 13 Performance Review Evening Thursday 7 February, 4pm - 7pm


We do hope that you will join us for our Year 12 and 13 Performance Review Evening. This event gives you the opportunity to speak with subject staff to discuss student progress and achievement at a vital stage in their college life. 


For Information on how to book your appointment see here


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 Phones, Earphones and Speakers in school.


Phones and headphones may be brought in to school but must be kept in bags or zipped in blazer pockets out of view at all times. Learners must not use phones at any time on the site between the bells at 8.50 and 3.00pm unless they are asked to do so by a teacher in a lesson for a reason that is related to learning. In this case, the teacher will issue instructions on the use of phones or headphones, which must then be followed. If a phone is out during the school day, even to check the time, this will be confiscated. There is a staged system of sanctions and mobile phones, earphones and speakers are counted as identical items.  If you think a learner is using a smart watch in the same way as a mobile phone, please speak to their Year Team Leader or Year Team Officer. 


If a learner is concerned about an issue at home and feels they need to speak to a parent, they need to go to the Year Team Office and discuss this with Year Team Officer. Staff should confiscate mobile technology items that are visible and in use during the times specified.  They should be taken to the school office.  The system of sanctions are:


Stage 1 - First offence

  • The item is confiscated and locked in the school safe

  • The item is collected by the learner at the end of the day

  • One behaviour point is issued by the Office

Stage 2 - Second offence 

  • The item is confiscated and locked in the school safe

  • The item is collected by the learner at the end of the day

  • One behaviour points issued by the Office

Stage 3 - Third Offence

  • The item is confiscated and locked in the school safe

  • Parents/carers are informed and asked to collect the phone at the end of the school day

  • One behaviour points is issued by the Office.

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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