Birchwood Update 18/11/2019

Birchwood Update week Commencing 18/11/2019


Important dates for your diary:


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




Week of 25 November – BCHS School Show, Aladdin




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


20 December - 6 January - Christmas break

Class of 2019 Presentation Evening and a visit from an ‘old friend’


Last Thursday evening, we welcomed back last year’s leavers to celebrate their successes and present some awards and certificates.

Our visitors had a real treat as our guest of honour was our very own George Sampson.


In 2008, whilst still a leaner at our school, George was crowned winner of Britain’s Got Talent, after wowing the nation with his Singing in the Rain routine, consisting of backflips, rain and a lamppost. Shortly after winning, George was launched into the west end of London, where he starred in hip-hop musical Into the Hoodz. George was then scouted to star and play Eddie in feature films Streetdance 3D and StreetDance 2. Once premiered, he then auditioned for BBC drama Waterloo Road and secured four series as school bad boy Kyle Stack, before joining the cast of Sky 1 comedy Mount Pleasant, playing Gary. George enjoyed short stints filming other TV shows Casualty and The Dumping Ground before joining Emmerdale in 2016, playing Ryan, local bad boy... After a successful period on screen, George set his sights for the stage, and at the end of 2017, toured the country starring in the Madness musical Our House for 6 months playing Reecey. This last year has seen George return to screens to compete in Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions, before heading off on tour again in January after a stint in panto, where he will tour the UK and the Netherlands until September 2020 in a hit musical.

George’s message was to follow your dream and despite anything, work hard and strive for what you want in life. As he says, “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass...It’s about learning to dance in the rain”. Great words of advice which I hope will be a real inspiration to our visitors.


A big thank you to George for taking time out of his busy schedule to revisit his roots, we hope he enjoyed it and it brought back some good memories. Thanks, must also go to our visitors for attending, it was a lovely evening and a chance to really celebrate, for one last time the class of 2019 and all their achievements.


So very proud of Carol and her inspirational nomination


Last Thursday was a big night for Carol Downing who works in our Willows provision. She was invited to the Warrington Guardian Inspiration Awards as a finalist after being nominated in the category ‘Teacher of the Year’. For this category the criteria was that the Guardian wanted to hear about the most inspirational teacher who has helped to change the lives of students through their dedication to the role…..and we all know of Carol’s dedication. It was only a few weeks ago that with the help of her husband’s company she managed to get a gift of five top spec computers for her department. She works tirelessly and is always positive and caring.


Though Carol didn’t take the award, she won a commendation; in our eyes she’s a winner and we are so proud to have her on Team Birchwood.



Don’t miss a great evening of entertainment


Anyone who has ever been to one of school shows will tell you that they are fabulous, so make sure you don’t miss out on your ticket for this year’s show, Aladdin, 3 is the Magic Number.


Performances will run each evening Tuesday 26 – Friday 29 November at 7.00pm.  Prices are £7 adult and £4 concessions and tickets are available from the school office.



Rehearsals for this week, please see here


Bouncing Fun for Year 4s from local primaries


A big thank you Mr Yates, who hosted a really fun after school session for year 4s at our local primaries. The children were invited over, with their parents to take advantage of using some of our fantastic equipment as they tried their hand at both trampolining and badminton.

The kids had a fabulous time and we hope to see them here again soon.



Parent Governor Election


Have you ever thought about becoming a school governor? We have two vacancies parent governor vacancies on our board of governors. As a governor you can bring your personal knowledge and experience to support our school to improve and succeed.


Parent governors need to have parental responsibility for a child registered at our school. If you are interested please complete the two forms and return them to the school office.


The forms can be found here and here

Girls, why not try some female only rugby?


Warrington Wolves have asked us to invite girls who are interested in trying rugby to come along and join their female only teams. They have teams for under 12s, under 14s and under 16s.


The first session will be 26 November 2019, from 6 to 7pm at Victoria Park Arena, WA4 1DJ. If you are not sure which age group applies, see below:

  • Year 7 are Under 12’s

  • Year 8 and 9 are Under 14’s

  • Year 10 and 11 are Under 16’s


There will be people on the night to introduce you to the coaches and team managers for the relevant age groups!



For more information contact

Keeping your child safe


This week our safeguarding advice looks at how to talk to children about sexting. It can be an awkward subject to talk about, but it is important to explain to children the risks of sexting. You can help them stay safe and remind them that they can talk to you if something ever makes them feel scared or uncomfortable. The advice from the NSPCC is 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 and science departments


Year 7 


7CH win a tasty lunchtime treat


Congratulations to 7CH who were the proud winners of their first Year 7 interform competition.  In order to win this competition learners were required to have an outstanding attitude to learning during the first half term.  Learners were treated along with their form tutor and HOY to a McDonald’s lunch which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.  Learners were also commended by the general public about how well behaved they were.


WELL DONE 7CH – totally well deserved !!!




Year 7 Residential Trip to Conwy Centre, Wednesday 1 to Friday 3 April 2020

In April, we are organising a trip to the Conway Centre for all of Year 7. This will be an ideal opportunity for learners to experience new and different activities and to encourage them to start Year 8 with a focus on making good progress throughout the curriculum.

The cost of the trip is £200 per learner. This includes transport to and from the centre, board, lodgings and the cost of all the activities. The cost can be paid in instalments.


To secure a place, please pay a non-refundable deposit of £50 and complete the medical information required on Parent Pay. The deadline for deposits to be received will be Tuesday, 19 November.


For full details of the trip and how to pay see the letter here



Year 8 -  No specific information


Year 9 


Year 9 Performance Review Evening –Thursday 5 December 2019 in Birchwood College


This event gives you the opportunity to speak with your child’s subject staff to discuss progress and achievement. Please book via our online booking system for parents’ evenings. A letter with instructions how to do this can be found here


We look forward to welcoming you all on the evening


Year 10


Year 10 English Literature Exam Early Entry


Your child should have brought a letter home last week with regard to early entry for GCSE English Literature. As you know, the new style GCSE English language and GCSE English Literature qualifications have now been running for three years. Both these two qualifications have 100% exam content. When Year 11 learners reach the end of their academic year, they sit two examinations for GCSE English Language and two exams for GCSE English Literature, four exams in all; seven and a half hours of exams.


After further consultation, lengthy consideration of the courses and evaluation of this year’s results, we have decided that all learners in Year 10 will sit their GCSE English Literature exams at the end Year 10, in May 2020. We believe that this will enable learners to concentrate fully on just two exams in Year 10 (GCSE English Literature) and then only two exams at the end of Year 11 (GCSE English Language). This will benefit learners by allowing them to manage the vast amount of information they need for four exams into two ‘manageable chunks’.


For more information please see a copy of the letter here


Year 11


Year 11 Revision Launch PowerPoints


Thank you to all those who attended our Year 11 revision evening last week. We hope that you found it of benefit. All of the resources from the evening can be found on our website if you click here it will take you straight to the right area.  It is the button right at the bottom, the tab called ‘Make it Stick – Learning, Memory and Revision’.


For those who could not attend the event, a copy of the ‘Make it stick’ booklet will be in your child’s form box today.

Year 11 Mocks examinations - Monday 9 – Friday 19 December 2019


Below you will find information regarding the year 11 mocks, which will take place in December. Please help us by ensuring that your child is aware of their examination dates and that they attend school throughout this period. 


These exams will be completed under exam conditions and are a good test to measure how much progress learners have made in preparation for their exams next summer


A letter about the examinations can be found here

Mock timetable can be found here and Instructions for candidates, here

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 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 

College Open Events


Birchwood College Thursday 16 January 6-8pm. If you didn’t manage to make it to our October college open evening, or if you would like to consider courses in more detail, it is not too late as we would love to welcome you in January. If you have any concerns or questions in the meantime please contact Head of College, Chris Burrows on



Birchwood College 


College Open Events


Birchwood College Thursday 16 January 6-8pm. If you didn’t manage to make it to our October college open evening, or if you would like to consider courses in more detail, it is not too late as we would love to welcome you in January. If you have any concerns or questions in the meantime please contact Head of College, Chris Burrows on


Other School information:


A Reminder of our policy regarding sugary drinks and junk food in school


Please find a letter here from Ms Mills reminding you of our policy on such items. At the moment we are seeing a great deal of energy drinks, sweets, chocolate and takeaway foods in school and as per our policy on these banned items they will be confiscated or disposed of. We hope that you understand why this is a priority for our school and your child’s learning and development.


Difficulties in viewing the Update.


Last week some people told us they were having difficulty viewing photographs in our update. The problems relate to using Microsoft Internet Explorer.  If you are experiencing problem and are using Internet Explorer as your web browser, please close and re-open in another browser such as Google Chrome.

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.


Please reload