Birchwood Update 13/5/2019


Birchwood Update week Commencing 13/5/2019



Important dates for your diary:


23 May - Y13 Acting students present a Musical Theatre Extravaganza 7.30 in Performing Arts (£3 and £2 on the door)


6 June - Y12 Music students present live music from the 80s onwards 7.30 in Performing Arts (£3 and £2 on the door)


13 JuneYear 12 Which Way Now event


14 June Year 11’s last day in school. See Year 11 section below for more details


Week of 17 June Years 7 -10 Examination week


27 June Year 9 Performance Review Evening, 3.30pm – 7pm


28 June Inset Day (Warrington Walking day)


1 & 2 July – Year 6 Induction days at BCHS


2 July - Year 6 Induction Evening, 4.30pm – 7pm


4 JulyYear 11 Prom at Hallmark Warrington


9 JulyYear 7 Celebration Evening, 6.30 – 7.30pm


11 July - Year 8 Celebration Evening, 6.30 – 7.30pm


16 July - Year 9 Celebration Evening, 6.30 – 7.30pm


17 JulyKS3 show – Matilda, 7pm, Performing Arts Centre. AMMENDED DATE


18 July - Year 10 Celebration Evening, 6.30 – 7.30pm

Sad news about a dear friend of our school


Last week our community was saddened as we heard the news that Anthony Hess, Headteacher at our partner school in South Africa had sadly passed away. Mrs Yates, Birchwood’s first Headteacher set up the partnership with Groenberg Secondary in Grabouw, South Africa 16 years ago as a way to enrich learning and good practice across continents and since then we have welcomed visiting staff and learners from Groenberg many times into our school and homes and have had the pleasure of enjoying their hospitality. On their last visit in 2016, a team of four South African staff including Mr Hess’s daughter visited our school.


Anthony will be sadly missed by both his family and school family. He was a warm, larger than life character who was an inspiration to his learners and staff and offered Birchwood a richer and new perspective on learning.


Introducing Mrs Emma Mills, our next Headteacher


In our January update, we let you know that Mrs Bryan will be taking early retirement at the end of the academic year and we promised to keep you informed about the appointment of a new Headteacher for September 2019.


The school’s governors advertised the post last month. It is a reflection of the school’s high standing that the advertisement attracted a strong field of over thirty applicants from leading schools across the North West. A special selection committee, of nine of our governors, shortlisted four candidates and spent two days with them in the week beginning 29 April. Each candidate went through a rigorous selection process which included interviews, observing lessons and a staff and learner panel. The committee also heard the candidates’ presentations about their ambitions for our school.


We are delighted to announce that the committee offered the job to Mrs Emma Mills, and that she has accepted. Her appointment has been endorsed by the Full Governing Board. Mrs Mills lives locally, is an English specialist and is well known for her outstanding work as the current Deputy Head at Lymm High School in Warrington, having previously worked as Deputy Head at Whalley Range High School in Manchester.


Mrs Mills is passionate that every learner and student should have every opportunity to achieve their personal very best. Over the coming months she will be working with Mrs Bryan, and with all the governors and staff at Birchwood, to be sure that her transition to her new post is smooth and successful from the word go.


We know that she is already looking forward to meeting with parents, carers, learners and students sharing her vision for the future.


Important notice: Birchwood’s Matilda, change of performance date


Due to staff absence, Matilda will not be able to go ahead on Tuesday the 21 May as advertised. The performing arts staff are aware of how much work has gone in to preparing the show and do not want the learners to miss out on this fantastic performance opportunity but as we currently must prioritise older year groups and exam classes, we would like to postpone the show until Wednesday 17 July at 7.00pm.


For those of you who have paid for tickets, we will simply re-print tickets with the new date on.


If you have already paid for tickets but will be unable to attend the performance on the new date, please get in touch with Carol Walsh via email here (


We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but in the meantime if you would like to join us for our outstanding Birchwood College students’ assessed performances, you will be most welcome, details below


Thursday 23 May - Y13 Acting students present a Musical Theatre Extravaganza 7.30 in Performing Arts (£3 and £2 on the door)


Thursday 6 June - Y12 Music students present live music from the 80s onwards 7.30 in Performing Arts (£3 and £2 on the door)



Year 10s go behind the scenes at one of the UKs top universities


Selected Year 10 learners and staff got up early last Tuesday to head down to Oxford University to find out what it is like to study at one of the world's leading universities. 


Oxford has no central campus but is made up of over 30 colleges spread across the city centre and beyond. Every student belongs to a college as well as being a member of their course department and the university. This means all Oxford students have the benefits of belonging to both a large, world-class university and to a small and friendly academic community.


Firstly learners took a tour of Pembroke College which was founded in 1624. We visited the junior common room where students meet to watch TV, play pool and generally socialise. We learnt about the tutorial system which is unique to Oxford. Students in groups of three or four are given the chance to meet regularly with academic staff to really develop their ideas and knowledge of the course. The staff at Oxford are leading academics in their field so students benefit from being taught by the experts.


Learners then had a "Hogwarts" experience as we had lunch in one of the impressive halls which form part of the colleges.

Afterwards we learnt about the flight mechanics of birds of prey and the research being done that is helping with airplane design and engineering.

A tour of a second college “University College" followed, which included seeing student accommodation and finding out about past alumni notably Bill Clinton and Steven Hawking.


Most importantly we discovered that Oxford University really is open to anyone who works hard, achieves high grades and has a love of learning.

We would like to thank Mrs Morris for organising the trip and Mr Berry for driving the mini bus and letting us stop for Burger King on the way home! A great day was had by all. 



What a fantastic and generous way to celebrate a special birthday


On 9 June 2019 in Flookburgh, Cumbria, Zak in 11DO and a family friend John Peters are completing a tandem charity Skydive to raise money for St Rocco’s Hospice. 


In what is a really generous and selfless gesture, Zak has decided to do the sponsored skydive instead of receiving a present for his 16th birthday.


St Rocco’s Hospice is a charity close to his family’s heart as they looked after Zak's Grandad Fred Wright and his Aunty Kelly Lowe during their final days before they both sadly passed away.


Zak said “They are an amazing charity and go above and beyond to help the patients and families which is why I wanted to support them”.


Cancer really does touch so many of our lives so if you would like to support Zak in his endeavour please visit his Just Giving page here




Great news for our talented performers


Four of our  learners and students had good news last week as they received the results of external examinations that they had taken.

Ellie in year 13 was awarded a Distinction in Grade 7 Singing, whilst Joe, also in year 13 again was awarded Distinction at Grade 5.


Amy in 8RT who sat her Grade 4 Singing was also awarded Distinction.


On Keyboard, Erika in 10WG, also had great success again being awarded Distinction in her Grade 4 examination.


Mrs Hajigeorgiou said of their success, “I am so proud of each of them. They worked really hard and thoroughly deserve their Distinction grades.”


Well done to you all.


Important notice for all parents - Temporary change to lunch time for all year groups


For four weeks only, between 13 May and 16 June the timing of lunch will be changed to ensure that year 11 will have sufficient time for examinations. The new lunch for all year groups but will be 12.15pm – 12.55pm, therefore 3 lessons before lunch and 2 after.


Keeping your child safe


Social media plays a huge role in most young people’s lives, and over the next few updates we will look at the most popular social networks that young people use. We hope the resources will support you to keep your child safe in today’s digital world.




YouTube allows you to watch, create and comment on videos. You can create your own YouTube account, create a music playlist, and even create your own channel, which means you will have a public profile. YouTube allows live streaming.

To find out what you need to know about YouTube and to ensure that your child is using it safely, 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


Well done to the learners below who were selected Learners of the Week for last week by our languages, science and English department.









Year 8 


Year 8 Girls HPV vaccination


Today, all girls in Year 8 will receive a permission slip in their form box for the HPV vaccinations that will take place in school in June. Can you please check that your child has handed this to you and please read and return your permission for your child to receive the vaccination immediately please.

The documents can also be found here


More details regarding the date for vaccination will follow shortly.


Year 9 -


Year 9 Performance Review Evening Thursday 27 June, 3.30pm – 7.00pm


This valuable event gives you the opportunity to speak with subject teachers to discuss progress and achievement at a vital stage in their school life.


Your child should have brought home a letter regarding booking an appointment, which you can also find here. 


We hope to see you all on the evening.

Year 10 - No specific information

Year 11


Important information Year 11 parents, regarding arrangements for Year 11 in their final weeks in school


A letter has been given to your child today in their form box with regard to the arrangements for their final weeks in school.  A copy of the letter can be found here


Looking to the Future and next steps for Year 11


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

If your child is considering the apprenticeship route please be aware that many apprenticeships are now being advertised for school leavers on the site, Find an apprenticeship, which can be found here

Year 11 Leaver’s Prom, Thursday 4 July 2019


If you have not returned your letter regarding booking your options for Year 11 Prom and paid for your choices, please do so as soon as possible. The final cut-off date for booking is Friday 17 May. This ensures that we have time to give firm numbers to the hotel and photographer and order sweatshirts in plenty of time for delivery before your child leaves our school.


The Prom will be at the Hallmark Hotel (formerly the Fir Grove) on Thursday 4 July. Learners will enjoy a mocktail on arrival, a three-course meal and then a disco. Return travel by coach from school is included in the price. There will be a professional photographer present during the evening who is offering an optional prepaid value package so that you have a special memento of the evening and access to all the images taken on the evening. We are also offering the chance to purchase a BCHS keepsake printed hoodie.




 A letter with booking details can be found here, alternatively your child can collect a copy from the general office.



A date for your Diary.Year 11 last day in school, Friday 14 June 2019


For your information, the last day that your child will be in school is Friday 14 June. On that day there will be a science examination in the morning followed by our Leavers Celebration Assembly.


Please be aware however, that there are still 2 GCSE examinations after this date - German on 17 June and Polish on 19 June.


More details will be sent out nearer the time.

2019 Examinations


A full timetable of all summer examinations has been released and can be found on our website here


Results days 2019


A level/BTEC - Thursday 15 August 2019


GCSE/BTEC – Thursday 22 August 2019


More details will follow with regard to collecting your child’s results nearer the date.

Birchwood College 


2019 Examinations


A full timetable of all summer examinations has been released and can be found on our website here


Results days 2019


A level/BTEC - Thursday 15 August 2019


GCSE/BTEC – Thursday 22 August 2019


More details will follow with regard to collecting your child’s results nearer the date.


Other School information:


Please support us in ensuring that our facilities are the best they can be


Please be aware of rules regarding learners being on the school site outside school hours.


Some damage has been caused to the site and a learner has been hurt trying to climb over the fencing. We would like to remind you that learners are not allowed on the school site at any time unless they are with a member of staff. The rule about this is below:  


Unless there is a member of staff running a special extra-curricular activity, the school site is out of bounds for all learners on weekdays after school clubs have finished (usually after 4.30pm) and at weekends and during school holidays. 


Please support us by making you child aware of this rule so that our facilities are the best they can be for us to use in school time and for the community to book and use out of school hours.


Thank you for your support in this matter



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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