Birchwood Update 27/1/2020

Birchwood Update week Commencing 27/1/2020


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




28 January – Birchwood College Review Day




6 February – Year 12 & 13 Performance Review Eve, 3.30pm – 7pm

27 February – Year 10 Performance Review Evening, 3.30pm – 7pm




19 March – Year 8 Performance Review Evening, 3.30pm – 7pm




1 – 3 April – Year 7 residential to Menai

23 April – Year 7 Performance Review Evening 3.30pm – 7pm

Former pupil Rhiannon joins the Crackerjack production team


Following recent success stories of Yemisi Oyinloye who has had some serious breakthrough roles in TV recently and Oliver Ormson who is to appear in the Back to the future musical at Manchester Opera House, both ex learners of BCHS forging a route in the tough world of performance, it was lovely to hear news of another ex-learner Rhiannon Lawrence who is shining behind the camera.


Former Birchwood High School pupil Rhiannon Lawrence was last week credited on TV with her first big TV job, as Production Management Assistant on the children’s Programme Crackerjack.


Rhiannon’s love of editing, production and the world of media started whilst studying GCSE media at BCHS and led to her achieving a first-class Honours Degree in Television Production Management at Edge Hill University.  In 2018, whilst in her third year at Edge Hill, Rhiannon won a prestigious placement with the BBC at Media City in their Children’s production management talent pool.


BBC Children is the home of the UKs two most popular children’s TV channels, CBeebies and CBBC – not to mention two websites, eight apps, children’s radio content, two YouTube channels and much more. So, as part of the talent pool since 2018 Rhiannon has had plenty of opportunities to use the skills she learnt in both her media studies and her Television Production Management degree to prove herself in the field of production management.


Recently, Rhiannon has been working on Crackerjack as a Production Management Assistant, a role which deals with the many and varied administration tasks involved in producing a popular TV show and was excited to make the big time as her name appears in the credits for the show.


Mrs Leonowicz, Rhiannon’s old media teacher said “I have always kept a watch on Rhiannon’s progress as it was obvious from her days at BCHS that she would do well in the field of media and in particular TV. She was talented, always worked hard and was motivated. I felt so pleased and proud to see her work credited on TV.


We really are proud  to share so many success stories regarding our former pupils and students in such varied fields as performance, dance, acting and business and the great thing about the young people is that they are grounded in their success and always willing to share their path with us.





Birchwood’s girls do themselves proud at their first rugby tournament


Last Tuesday our girl’s rugby team entered their very first under 13s tournament held at Sir Thomas Boteler School.

They played 2 games and were superb in both, beating the home team Boteler 30-10 then taking a very narrow defeat of 12-10 when they played King’s Academy.


Shiloh Lee managed a personal haul of 5 tries, Amy Groves 2 and Eva Lowe 1. It was a massive team effort and they worked together to battle through each game.


Even though they had very little experience compared to some of the other teams, we had some standout performers which will be built upon to create a real winning team.


Mr Yates, Mrs Jenkinson and Miss Johnson were all extremely proud of the girls and look forward to working with them and seeing the team take many more accolades!


We also had some great support and encouragement from Mr Neil and Sarah, Molly and Lauren, year 10 learners who have gone on to train with Warrington Wolves!




BCHS are looking for examination invigilator – Ad hoc hours


Grade 2 point 3 (£9.36 per hour) casual hours contract during term time only, when exams are taking place within school and college.  The main exam periods are in May and June each year, but other examinations take place across the year.


Closing date for applications is Tuesday, 11 February with a required start date from 4 March 2020. For more details on the position and how to apply see here


Our GCSE music students enjoy a live performance of Mozart


Last Friday our GCSE music students visited the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester for a fantastic live performance by the Halle Orchestra of ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’ by Mozart.


It was a fantastic opportunity for the learners to see professional musicians bring the piece they have been studying to life and hopefully enable them to retain the information they will need for their exam more effectively as after the performance the orchestra analysed the work.


Keeping your child safe


Worries about sexuality can often lead to depression in young people. Experiences of homophobic and transphobic discrimination and bullying have been linked to poor levels of mental health among lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people. If you feel that your child may be struggling with issues regarding their sexuality, advice from the NHS can be found here.

 Star learners of last Week 



Extra-curricular timetable


Please take a look at our new spring extracurricular timetable to see what great activities are available for your child to take part in before and after school and at lunchtime.


Click here to access the timetable

 Year 7 


Bikeability in the rain didn’t put our learners off!


On Friday two groups of Year 7 braved the rain to complete their Level 3 Bikeability course, showing competence whilst riding their bikes on busy roads, successfully navigating tricky junctions.  They were absolutely brilliant and tried really hard! 



There are still a few places available for this week's course, but your child must speak to Mr Burrows before Wednesday to get a place.




Is it a bird, is it a plane?


Last Tuesday Ms Webb and 7MR joined in the Big School’s Birdwatch organised by the RSPB. Every year, school from every corner of the UK take part in this initiative, turning learners into conservation scientists and helping the RSPB track the ups and downs of birds across the country.


7MR, had a great time during their Learning for Life lesson wandering our site bird spotting. A little birdy also told me that whilst out they did a litter pick as Tuesday is also recycling day. Two fantastic eco-friendly activities for the price of one!


The count of birds that our learners were then uploaded to the RSPB and each learner received a well done and a Big School’s Birdwatch certificate.




Remaining payment schedule for year 7 residential trip to the Conway Centre, Menai on 1-3 April 2020


Date                          Amount


28  February 2020     £50


Payment in full must be made by 28 February 2020

Year 8 -  No specific information

Year 9 


Year 9 Vaccinations


Boys and Girls - DTP and Meningitis ACWY


Today, permission forms for your child, both boys and girls, to receive DTP and Meningitis ACWY vaccinations have been put in form boxes for your child to bring home. Please fill this in and return to the school office as soon as possible. A copy of the forms can also be found here

Vaccinations will take place on the of Tuesday 21 April and Wednesday 22 April.


Girls only- Dose 2 HPV


The second dose of the HPV vaccination for girls only, will be given on Tuesday 11 February. If your child did not have the 1st dose for any reason they  will be picked up in this session.  There is no permission form to complete as permission was given for dose 1


Year 10 - No specific information

Year 11


Science support sessions for year 11


It’s never too early to attend pre exam support sessions to build on the results of the recent mock examinations and our science dept are offering the following lunch time and after school opportunities:


Wednesdays, from 3.05- 3.50pmScience study support sessions for all of year 11 are held in science department


11Te/s2 group only - Each Wednesday lunch time there will be study support sessions for triple physics in S4. The focus will be required practicals and long answer questions. On Tuesdays from 3.05pm to 4.50pm Ms Dannan will be holding chemistry study support sessions for this group in S4. On weeks when there are department meetings on a Tuesday, the session will be held during lunch break. This week (wc27th) the session will be during lunch break.


Some specific year 11 dates for your diary



Wednesday 29 January - Year 11 Reward trip to the Trafford Centre


As a reward for learners we have arranged a day out to the Trafford Centre on Wednesday 29 January 2020.

Over the year, learners have been rewarded with BIRCH points for observing our Behaviour for Learning policy, good attendance and accumulating ATL grade 1 and 2s. Securing a place on this trip, therefore, will depend on a culmination of these factors so far this year, and their continued positive attitude.


If your child has qualified for this reward, they should have brought home a letter that also can be found here. If they are unsure as to whether they have qualified they can check with their form tutor.


The cost of the trip which covers the cost of the coaches is £8. Payments should be made using Parentpay.


Year 11 Prom


Please be aware that the Year 11 Prom will be held on Thursday 25 June 2020 at Hallmark Warrington, not 2 July 2020 as printed in our parent handbook. The date was a changed due to a double booking at the hotel.


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 



Birchwood College 


Birchwood College review day, Tuesday 28 January


Please be aware that tomorrow is Birchwood College review day. There will be no lessons in the college tomorrow, students will only come in for their review appointments. This day provide an ideal opportunity for students and form tutors to come together reflect on performance and share any issues or concerns.

Year 12 and Year 13 Performance Review Evening –Thursday 6 February 2020


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 on how to book can be found here


We look forward to seeing you all on the evening.



A positive evening for Birchwood College


Thank you to staff, students and visitors who made our College Open Evening, last Thursday, such a success. There was a positive buzz around the college as our students and staff assisted visitors in finding the right course for them. As well as our own learners we had visitors from Culcheth High School, Beamont Collegiate Academy, Padgate Academy and Weston Point College, who were all warmly welcomed.


If you have not yet filled in your application form for college, please do so as soon as possible. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Friday 14 February. Learners will still be able to hand in an application after this date, but we cannot guarantee that they will gain a place on the course of their choice.


If you have, any queries do not hesitate to contact Mr Burrows, Head of College at


Year 13 leavers photographs


Kittle, our external school photographer, will be here on the morning of Tuesday 21 January to take year 13 leavers photos. There will be a whole year group and Individual shot plus your child will have the opportunity to arrange a friendship group photograph.


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.


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