Birchwood Update 11/2/2019

Birchwood Update week Commencing 11/2/2019


Important dates for your diary:


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


28 February – Year 10 Performance Review Evening, 3.30 – 7pm.


1 March – Year 8 Options choices are to be handed to the office.


6 March BCHS Careers Fair for all year groups


11 March 14 March - Year 11 Core Mock Exams


20 - 22 MarchYear 7 residential trip to Menai


A great accolade from the Parliament’s Education Service


Congratulations to Mr Bate and everyone involved in promoting the politics aspect of Learning for Life in the curriculum at BCHS.  Parliament’s Education Service have accredited the work school does on political engagement by young people, through events such as the British Youth Council’s ‘Make Your mark’ vote, and our trips to the House of Commons. We have been accredited as Gold Level school!


On a personal note, Mr Bate is now a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador at Gold Level and has been invited to help train the next cohort of Teacher Ambassadors. A fantastic achievement for him but also for us in having him as part of Team BIRCHwood.

Mr Bate said “ This is fantastic for the school as I will be looking for further ways to engage our young people in politics and allow them to have their say, it really is nonsense that young people are not interested in politics”


Birchwood steps up to silver as an award winning Eco-School


We are proud to announce that the Eco Committee led by Miss Connor has completed all six steps to raise our status from a Bronze Award Eco-School to a Silver Eco-School Award winner.


We are very proud of our learners and staff who work so hard on the eco initiative. The next aim is to raise our status to Green Flag, which judging on the committee’s progress so far should soon be within our reach. 



The Big Geography Bake Off 2019


Following on from the continued popularity of the Great British Bake Off, the Geography Club at BCHS decided they wanted to hold a geography bake off this term. Summer Buchanan, Holly Hudson and Eloise Erhardt planned the competition and invited Year 7 and 8 learners to enter. The theme was Geography but learners could interpret this however they wanted.

Last Monday, 15 entries came to the geography block, and were taste tested and assessed by our judges: From Geography, Mrs Ruscoe, Mr Bate and Miss Conner; from Food Tech, Mrs Ikin and finally Mrs Butler.

We assessed them on taste, skill and geographical design ideas, with bonus points for surprise or hidden features. They were all so amazing that it was difficult to choose one winner!


After much deliberation and tasting, the winners were chosen as follows:


For Best Geographical Idea: The Half and Half cake, by Mia Perry, Tyler Burner and Fay Miller showing the effects of pollution on the environment on one side and the effects of conservation on the other. It had two different flavour sponges and was decorated with sweets, flowers, edible soil, the world and butterflies.


For Best Tasting: The Glitter Volcano, by Niamh Lake, Scarlett Duff, Evie Wilkinson and Alice Boote, a three tiered red velvet cake covered in melted chocolate, edible chocolate lava, glitter, chocolate trees and with extra cupcakes.


For Best Looking: The Rainbow World, by Holly Humphries and Emma James, a five tiered cake with different colour rainbow sponge, decorated as the world. Including continents, countries, flags and various amazing icing creatures.


Finally, the overall winning cake was a beautiful Waterfall Cake by Amy Derbyshire and Freya Thomas, a delicious cake showing a waterfall and wildlife, with Oreo white chocolate rocks, icing flowers and a mint flavour to enhance the taste of the icing in the plunge pool.


Well done to all entries, the competition was tough as the standard was very high. We are already looking forward to next year’s competition!





Ava reaps the rewards of all that hard work.


Over the last three weekends, Ava from 7RE has not had a minute to spare as she has been competing hard to defend her swimming titles at the County Swimming Championships in Macclesfield.

This has involved being out of the house from 6.30am until at least 6.30pm every day of the last three weekends and swimming in a range of events.


Ava has had a great Championships and is once again County Champion taking gold for her age group in 50m breaststroke (38.29 seconds) and 100m breaststroke (1.23.83 -  beating 2nd by nearly 4 seconds). She also picked up two silvers in 200m breaststroke and 200m back along with a silver and bronze in relay events. 


For each race the swimmers achieve FINA points and certain races are added together to award the top 6 swimmers in each age group with a prize - Ava came 3rd in her age group overall out of 42 swimmers and received a commemorative plate.


She now turns her attention to the long course season (moving from 25m pool to 50m pool) to prepare for regionals in May

On top of all this, she also managed to find time to bake a cake for the Geography Bake Off in School!


Well done Ava, you are a star.

The Red Box Project arrives at Birchwood


We are proud to announce that we are being supported by the Red Box Project, which provides free sanitary protection for girls who need it.

Last year, our learners and college students took part in the British Youth Council’s ‘Make Your mark’ vote, which highlights issues that Young people in Britain are most concerned about. One of the issues that our community voted for was ending period poverty by scrapping taxes on sanitary products.


The Red Box Project was founded in March 2017 by three friends who wanted to give young people in their local area access to sanitary products. After reading about ‘Period Poverty‘ in the news, they were angered at the idea that young women were missing out on their education because they couldn’t afford the products they needed during their period.


The Red Boxes are found in each Year Team office, the main office, Mrs Jenkinson’s office and the College. Learners can go to any of these and get free sanitary protection when they need it.


For more information about the Red Box Project see here


Sporting success at the Warrington Schools Indoor Athletics heats


Last Tuesday Birchwood Sports Centre hosted the Warrington Schools Indoor Athletics heats for Years 7 and 8. 

Both boys and girls took part in different athletics events to score points for their teams.  The top two teams in the competition qualify for the county round in Ellesmere Port next half term.


From the seven schools that took part, our Year 8 boys and girls teams both finished fifth, putting in a good effort considering the competition.  Actually, until the last team relay race, both teams were in the top 3, unfortunately we were sixth in both relays, which moved us down the list!  Star performers for Year 8 were Amy Groves and Oliver Chadwick, but all learners did really well playing their part for the team.


For Year 7, both the boys and girls teams finished second, with the girls just 5 points behind the winners, and the boys a single point (159 – 158) behind the winners in their group.  As a result, both teams qualified for the finals next half term.  The contestants were fantastic, a real team effort, and they championed each other brilliantly.  All were superstars, but particularly Corey Beechall and Estelle Ighayere.


Very well done to everyone who took part and good luck to our year 7 teams for the next round.

Gung hay fat choy from Birchwood Community High School


In other words we wish you great happiness and prosperity in 2019, the Chinese Year of the Pig. To celebrate Chinese New Year, Mags and the kitchen staff served an oriental feast for lunch last Tuesday including noodle boxes, sticky chicken and piggy cakes.


Thanks team, it was fantastic


Bon Voyage


We have two overseas residential trips departing in the coming week. The Year 11 Media trip to Prague set off on Thursday 14 February, and the annual Ski Trip leaves on Friday, 15 February.


We are sure that everyone will have an amazing time and we look forward to hearing all about it on your return.

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


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


At present, the news is full of the sad story of Molly Russell who took her own life at 14 years of age. Suicidal thoughts can unfortunately be common for young people. They can affect anyone, of any age, from any background and at any time. Like with physical illnesses, people do not choose to have a mental health problem and they need the appropriate care to get better.


For the NSPCC’s advice on how to address any worries you may have about your child see here


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 4/2/19


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 


Important reminder


Please be aware that the Year 8 Options choices form must be handed in to the office before 1 March.


A copy of Guided Choices Evening presentation can be found on our web site here

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.

Year 10 Performance Review Evening, 28 February, 3.30 – 7pm.


This event gives you the opportunity to speak with your child’s subject staff to discuss progress and achievement at an important stage in their school life. Your child will be bringing home a letter soon with regard to booking an appointment for this valuable event.



Year 11 


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 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 


Help our Students to support a great charity


This Thursday, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, our Year 12 Work Skills students are arranging a bake sale in support of the mental health charity Mind.

The team will be selling cakes outside the college building at break time. There will also be a raffle for a large cake baked by Mr Neil.


We hope you can support this event by encouraging learners to buy a cake and ticket and of course, if anyone would like to donate any cakes they will be gratefully received by Mandy at college reception.

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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