Birchwood Update 30/9/2019

Birchwood Update week Commencing 30/9/2019


Important dates for your diary:


Plan ahead - This term’s Important dates for Your Diary





3 October – Birchwood College Open Evening, 6pm – 8pm


10 October – Birchwood College Welcome to KS5 Evening, 6pm – 7.30pm


17 October – Year 7 Meet the form tutor, 3.30 – 6.30pm (NB amended date from that it Yr 7 parent/carer handbook)




7 November – Year 11 Revision launch, 6.30pm – 7.30pm


14 November – Class of 2019 Presentation Evening, 6.30pm – 7.45pm


Week of 25 November – BCHS School Show, Aladdin




5 December – Year 9 Performance Review Evening, 3.30pm – 7pm


20 December - Close for Christmas break

Set a course for your future at Birchwood College


Make sure that you come along to our College Open Evening this Thursday 3 October between 6pm and 8pm to visit what has become the “College of choice” for east Warrington.


At Birchwood College, we have a wide range of courses to choose from, all of which are tailored to suit individual students’ needs and requirements. We work hard to create a positive working environment for learning and our caring staff are aware of the importance of an excellent relationship between teacher and student.


Identified by OFSTED as a ‘good college with high quality provision which is both inclusive and aspirational with progress in general applied qualifications significantly above the national average’. It is a great place to be!


Meet our staff and students, look at our facilities and find out why we really are the College where you matter.


Birchwood Community High School Open Evening, a lovely evening to celebrate our pride in our school.


Last Thursday gave us the opportunity to really celebrate our ethos of ‘Pride in our School’ as we held our Open Evening for prospective learners and their parents and carers.

Our staff worked hard to provide exciting and stimulating activities and demonstrations for our visitors to take part in.

Mr Jones astounded our visitors by running his hands through the flame of a Bunsen burner, the Performing Arts Department allowed us to sit in on a live rehearsal of Aladdin, in English there was the Mad Hatter’s tea-party, trampolining and basketball in the Sports Hall and French nibbles were on offer in languages.


Learner guides were on hand to show our guests around and share their views about life as a Birchwood Learner. As usual, we were proud of the feedback that we received about our guides and the professional way they assisted during the evening. Learners also assisted in each department as ambassadors for learning, helping our young visitors with activities provided. Thank you to everyone involved for sharing your time and pride in our school.


A huge thank you also goes to our talented and dedicated staff who put so much time and effort into making the evening into such a success.


Finally, thanks go to all our visitors; we are so pleased that you enjoyed the evening and look forward to welcoming your child into our Birchwood High School Community next September.


Any visitors who would like to see more of our school and get a feel for day to day lessons, please join us for a ‘SEE US IN ACTION’ OPEN MORNING details below



‘See Us in Action’ Open Mornings


Our school motto is ‘Pride in our school’ and to show how proud we are of our school, we are inviting prospective new learners for 2020 and their families to join us for a personalised tour of school to really get a feel for our school day.


The tours will take place from Monday 30 September to Friday 4 October between 9am – 12pm and must be booked in advance.


To book your tour email with details of your preferred date and time


 A huge thank you to our Friends in local business


Last week the Willows welcomed Scott Robertson and Stephen Barnard from WS Transportation and Jimmy Bannister from Concise Technologies when they came to present us with five top of the range laptops for use in the department.


Mrs Downing, whose husband works at WS Transportation put a bid forward to his company for funding for new IT and the company who endeavour to support the local community approached their IT supplier, Concise Technologies to ask if they would also like to be involved.


Concise, who are based in Northwich and have an ethos of social responsibility and are very committed to supporting charitable causes were delighted to come on board.


Our learners were delighted to accept the companies’ kind donations and couldn’t wait to get started using them!


A big thank you from us to both companies for your support, it is fabulous to have links out there amongst the business community.




It all added up to a fantastic trip to London


Last Thursday selected learners from year 10 had the opportunity to visit London as part of a maths residential visit


The trip was designed to inspire able mathematicians to consider using their talents to pursue a career that utilises their mathematical ability, whether that be Architecture, Structural/Mechanical Engineering or Financial Services to name but a few.


After a very early start the year 10 mathematicians had a great first day in London.


The first day consisted of a visit to The Bank of England where the learners found out about their role in controlling interest rates to keep inflation steady.


After the Bank of England, they had a sightseeing tour on the way to The Shard. They visited St Pauls Cathedral and the London Stock Exchange where Mr Spencer and a large portion of the group were excited to see the ‘First Dates’ Restaurant, unfortunately Fred wasn’t there for a selfie opportunity!


The sightseeing walk continued via the wobbly Millennium Bridge (where Mr Heaton explained that it wasn’t meant to wobbly but the engineer’s predictions for pedestrian’s habits were incorrect), past Shakespeare’s Globe, The Golden Hinde, through the bustling Borough Market and into the Shard.


The group were excited at how fast the lifts transported them to the viewing platform of Europe’s tallest building. They were greeted with fantastic views of the city, especially with the glorious weather London enjoyed last week.


After the Shard, they had a quick drive to The London Eye where they experienced the 4D cinema and again fantastic views of the city whilst talking in the engineering involved to create the largest ‘A frame’ cantilevered wheel in the world.


After a lovely late afternoon London Eye Flight, they embarked on a sightseeing walk to The Hard Rock Café. Taking in Westminster Bridge, The Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, The Mall, Buckingham Palace and then we finally arrived tired and hungry at The Hard Rock Café. The group devoured their meal and enjoyed a bonus tour of Queen Victoria’s Bank Vault that the Hard Rock had turned into a small museum (the staff felt very old when some of the group didn’t know The Beatles, The Who, The Jam to name but a few were!). Day one ended with a quick drive to the Hotel on Hard Park.


Day two started bright an early with a drive to the Tower of London where they disembarked and walked via the Tower to Tower Bridge. At Tower Bridge the glass walkways were a hit, especially the view of a ‘bridge-lift’ from above as well as one from the embankment. A tour of the engine rooms gave the group an insight into the mechanical engineering involved in the working of the bridge as well as an explanation of why that design was chosen by the structural engineers. Lunch was a great experience, sat in the sun with a view of Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and City Hall.


They then hopped onto our coach over to Queen Elizabeth Park to see the Olympic stadium and more importantly ride Europe’s longest tube slide!


A fantastic two days spent in glorious sunshine where hopefully the learners were inspired to consider a career using their mathematics skills.


Thank you to Mr Heaton all our staff who gave up their weekend to make this fantastic trip possible.


A warm welcome and a great adventure


Last week we gave a warm welcome and opened our doors to years 5 and 6 children from our local primaries.

On Monday, years 5 and 6 children from Birchwood CE Primary joined us for an indoor athletics tournament. The children had a fantastic time competing in running and obstacle races, long jump and soft javelin all marshalled by our learners who really made the children feel at home. Thank you to Mr Yates and Mr Burrows for organising the fun event.


Wednesday saw the turn of year 6 from Gorse Covert Primary when they joined us for a science activity morning. Again, the children had a great morning trying out some experiments and being amazed when Mr Goodrum set his hands on fire for them whist explaining methane gas! Thanks again must go to Mr Jones and Mr Goodrum and Mrs O’Riordan, for all their hard work in setting up the event.


One of the children said that coming to visit our school was a ‘great adventure’ finding out what high school is really like.


It was a pleasure to host both schools whose pupils were polite, well behaved, and very enthusiastic.



The Big Macmillan Coffee Morning



Well done to our learner officers and CPE students in College who organised a cake sale and coffee morning last Friday in aid of the Macmillan World’s Largest Coffee Morning appeal. Together they raised just over £60 for this wonderful cause.


Huge thanks go to all of you who supported by donating, baking and of course buying and eating all those lovely tea and cakes. Thanks to you all.


Tweets of Praise


As part of the English departments focus on creating and fostering a culture of celebration and success, each member of the team have created their own Twitter account. Teachers will be posting excellent examples of learner work and sharing key information about revision sessions, after school clubs and revision materials. Learners have already been so eager to share their fantastic work and really demonstrate their pride in their work.


Just search for the teacher’s name followed by BCHS e.g. MrsDempseyBCHS




The sun shone on our Geography field trip!


Last Wednesday, sixty year 11 learners undertook fieldwork for their GCSE geography qualification. They visited the River Wyre in Lancashire to investigate how the characteristics of the river change as they moved downstream. We were lucky to avoid the rain, which helped learners to collect accurate results.


Well done to the year 11s that took part.  


This week’s Football Fixtures


This week all games are against Cardinal Newman:


Wednesday, 2 October - Year 7, 10 and 11 – all at home.


Thursday, 3 October - Year 8 at home


Year 9 have no game – this is rearranged for Monday, 21 October at home.




Birchwood’s take on Aladdin.




A schedule of this week’s rehearsals can be found here


Keeping your child safe


Over the last few weeks, we have offered tips on safe travel to school as both a cyclist and pedestrian. To round off a theme, today we address public transport as many of our learners travel to school by bus and train.


For some really useful advice on safe travel 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 before, after school and at lunchtime . 

Click here to access the timetable

 Learning Superstars


Please find our star learners of last week for our languages and English departments





Year 7 


Welcome to Key Stage 3 Evening Information


Thank you to everyone you attended our Welcome to KS3 Evening. For your information a copy of the PowerPoint can be found here


Year 8 -  No specific information


Year 9 - No specific information

Year 10 




It’s never too early to think ahead and plan for your child’s future


Before you know it, this year will fly by and your child will be returning for their all-important Year 11. It is proven that if a learner has an aim and something to work to, success follows.


Learners in Year 10 follow a careers programme throughout the year through Learning4Life lessons, assemblies and presentations which will prepare them for post 16 option.


To support this, you and your child are warmly invited and encouraged to attend the Birchwood College Open Evening on Thurs 3 Oct 6-8pm where you can find out about the many fantastic courses offered here at Birchwood College. There will be a presentation by the Head of College at 6pm.

See the College section below for more details.


Year 11


Warrington Year 11 Careers Event, Thursday 26 September 2019 – 4pm-7pm at Orford Jubilee


This event will provide you with the opportunity to talk directly to colleges, universities, training providers and local employers about education, training, apprenticeships and traineeships, guiding you through the available options and hopefully finding one which will best your career aspirations. You will also be able to speak to other organisations to gain a broader understanding of the career opportunities and other activities available in the local area, such as volunteering and work experience.


College Open Evenings in Warrington:


Birchwood College 3/10/19 6-8pm


You are also warmly invited and encouraged to attend the Birchwood College Open Evening on Thurs 3 Oct 6-8pm where you can find out about the many fantastic courses offered here at Birchwood College. There will be a presentation by the Head of College at 6pm. See the College section below for more details.


WVR College 10/10/19 and 13/11/19 5:30-8pm


UTC 28/09/19 10-12:30


Priestley College 8/10/19 and 9/10/19 5:30-8pm 9/11/19 10:30-12:30


Myerscough College (Walton Gardens) Animal Care, horticulture, landscaping 5/10/19 10am


If you would like to book a careers appointment for your son/daughter to discuss their post 16 options please email our Careers Adviser Mrs R Morris Neighbourhood Hub, Jubilee Way, WA2 8HE



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.


Birchwood College 


Don’t miss out on our College Open Evening Thursday 3 October 2019, 6pm – 8pm


Birchwood has now become a specialist applied learning college building on our fantastic reputation and success in applied learning.


In our last Ofsted inspection, the inspectors stated in their report:


“The progress at Birchwood College for general applied qualifications is significantly above the national average.”


So, if applied learning is for you, we are the College for You, without a doubt!


Visit our college to talk to our staff and students and see the personalised programmes we are able to offer. This year Birchwood College achieved yet another set of excellent results, proving the college really is going from strength to strength.  The vast majority of students have used their hard-earned qualifications to access higher level apprenticeships and university degree programmes. The vocational results at Birchwood are once again exceptional, with 80% of students achieving a Distinction or a Distinction* grade – a phenomenal achievement.  In Music, Acting, Applied Science and ICT – every student achieved the top grade!


100% pass rate for all BTEC applied learning courses

100% Double Distinction* in Music

100% Distinction* in Acting

100% Distinction* in Applied Science

100% Distinction* in ICT

100% Distinction* or Distinction in Health & Social Care Diploma

100% Distinction* or Distinction in Sports Studies Subsidiary Diploma & Diploma

63% Distinction* or Distinction in Applied Law


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




Other School information:


Useful Contacts for your child and to to keep by your phone:


  • 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 – Mrs Jenkinson/Ms Gilchrist

    • Year 9 Team Leader – Ms McAlinden


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

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

    • Y10 Team Leader – Mrs Jones

    • Y11 Team Leader – Miss Russell


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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