Birchwood Update week Commencing 16/3/2020
Plan ahead - This term’s Important dates for Your Diary
19 March – Year 8 Performance Review Evening- CANCELLED
1 – 3 April – Year 7 residential to Menai
3 April – School will close for the Easter break at 12.30pm with a ‘Be Kind’ non uniform day in aid of MIND
20 April – School and college re-open
23 April – Year 7 Performance Review Evening 3.30pm – 7pm
23 April – The ‘Big Birchwood Cut Off’ to support the Little Princess Trust
Coronavirus- New UK measures
new guidance given today, 16 March states:
Whole household isolation for 14 days if anyone in the household has a persistent cough or a fever.
Not to go to work, school, or public areas, use public transport or taxis
Those with even mild symptoms of infection should stay at least two metres away from other people in their homes, and should sleep alone.
Those with confirmed or suspected cases should use a separate bathroom.
Avoid group gatherings such as cinemas, pubs and theatres.
Please inform us through the usual absent procedure if your child has these symptoms and will you will be isolating them for the recommended days.
If you are concerned at all, please contact the school and refer to the information on our website which is updated daily.
No school closures are announced at this stage
Changes to our day to help focus on the safety of our school community
I am writing to make you aware of the measures that we are putting in place this week to ensure our children are as safe as possible in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. We are following government instruction to keep the school open for now; the adjustments we are making are as follows:
We will be wiping classrooms down at the end of each lesson with antibacterial wipes.
Doors in classrooms will be wedged open as much as possible so door handles don’t need to be used.
We will have windows open in classrooms as much as possible.
Learners will be able to wash their hands at the start and end of practical subjects like PE, drama and art.
There will be no assemblies until further notice.
There will be no lunch time or after school detentions this week.
There will be extra-curricular clubs or sessions, before or after school.
Learners will not be using their fingerprint to buy their lunch.
Lunch time will be split over different year groups to make social distancing easier over this time.
We are asking the learners to:
Wash their hands at least 4 times a day – this should include when they leave the house in the morning and as soon as they arrive home after school.
To stay off school if they have a cough or a temperature – self isolate for 14 days.
Keep as much distance as possible from people in school – no contact made, no sharing drinks/food, no sharing equipment (pens etc).
Drink as much water as possible during the day – they can bring water to all of their lessons.
Try to keep in groups of less than 5 during breaks and lunchtimes.
To leave school at 15.00 and go straight home – all detentions and clubs/revision are cancelled this week. Go straight home and stay in their house as much as is possible.
We totally understand that some parents/carers will have concerns about their children who have underlying health issues. We are encouraging you to make this judgement about your child as you know your child best, and this decision is yours to make. Please just let school know that they won’t be attending.
I will keep you all updated on a daily basis as and when I know more. Latest advice and information will be found on our Scrolling banners on the home page of our website, so please check these regularly.
Thank you in advance for your support through this challenging time.
Miss Mac takes the chop for charity
A big round of applause for Miss Mac when she took the plunge to promote the 'Big Birchwood Cut Off' for the Little Princess Trust in assembly last Tuesday morning by having her hair cut off in front of our learners. The theme of the assembly was kindness, leading up to our ‘Be Kind’ day on the last day of term and I think Miss Mac showed just how far she believes in the concept and set a really good example to our learners. Her kindness means that her hair will go toward making a sick child feel whole again. Big thanks must also go to Zara Johnson from Zara’s Hair on Facebook, who gave up her time to come in and do the cut.
'The Big Birchwood Cut Off', organised by year 12 CPE students, will take place in school on Thursday 23 April and we will be inviting learners to cut some length off their hair to be donated to making wigs for children with cancer. We hope that over 100 of our girls will take part and so as not to leave the boys out we will ask them to ‘brave the shave’ for Macmillan a few weeks later!
Your child will bring home a booklet shortly with more details about the event, how to sign up and what is required on the day. Permissions and donations will be through Parentpay and no child will be allowed to take the cut without parental permission.
We are still looking for more hairdressers to help on the day and after seeing Miss Mac bravely donate her hair, many of our girls were inspired to do the same so the more hairdressers that can help out the better. Interest has been shown on our Facebook page, but can we now ask you to email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com before 20 March and confirm that you can come; this will help our planning. The event will take place between 10am -2pm, so any help within that time frame will be appreciated.
Thanks for your support, as ever and we look forward a fantastic day on the 23rd when we can come together as a community to support this absolutely wonderful cause.
BCHS join with Roberts Recycling to make textile recycling even easier for the Birchwood community
As Green Flag award winning school, we take recycling very seriously and worry about our consumerism and how many goods make their way to landfill. To do our bit and encourage our wider community to do theirs, we have joined forces with Roberts Recycling, an award winning, local family run textile recycling company dedicated to buying, collecting, and exporting unwanted clothes in an aim to divert waste from landfill. The company also pride themselves on supplying affordable clothing to poorer parts of the world outside of the UK.
You may have seen that our donation box was delivered last Wednesday and has been placed at the front of school by the parking bays so that it easily accessible at all times.
As part of the Recycle4 School programme we are able to raise funds, based on the wight of our collection, for our many eco activities in a way that is eco-friendly and educational as it will develop learners awareness of textile recycling but also fit with our school priority of kindness and compassion toward others less fortunate.
One member of our school community said “That’s a brilliant idea. So many times, I think I need a sort out but don’t get around to it as I don’t have chance to drop off at a charity shop. Now I can just pop my old textiles into the box when I come to school. I know what I will be doing this weekend!”
We are inviting our school community and the wider Birchwood community to post your unwanted textiles and shoes into the donation box and help not only our school but our environment and people from poorer countries who are not as fortunate as ourselves.
On our last day of term our theme is ‘Be Kind’ and with your help it will be memorable
Please be aware that on our last day of term, 3 April, school will close for the Easter break at 12.30pm.
The whole day will also be centred around the theme of ‘kindness’ and will focus on the negative impact of online bullying as opposed to the impact that being kind and caring brings.
Activities on the day and our assembly will focus on kindness and learners will have the opportunity to purchase an ‘In a world where you can be anything…Be Kind’ t shirt to wear on the day, which 100% of proceeds go to the Samaritans. The T shirt are ordered directly on-line by yourselves at the site here.
Alternatively, learners are asked to donate £1 to wear their own clothes for the day.
As part of our focus on kindness and gratitude in school, we are also hoping to be able to present staff with certificates at the end of term with comments from yourselves about how they have helped or supported your child in school. We have an extremely hard-working body of staff and we are trying to show our learners how gratitude and respect are key values to uphold for a happy and successful life. If you could model this gratitude to your child by taking in part in this initiative, we believe it will be very powerful.
If you would like to nominate a member of staff for an award, please could you email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
• Your name
• Your child’s name
• The member of staff’s name
• The reason for the nomination
We hope that by working together ‘Birchwood Be Kind’ Day will be a memorable day that learner can really take something valuable from
We need your help with the ‘Big Birchwood Cut Off’ in aid of the Little Princess Trust
If you are a hairdresser or know someone who is and would be willing to spare an hour or two on the morning of 23 April to do some haircuts to support the Little Princess Trust, a charity who make wigs for children with cancer. could you ask them to email email@example.com before Friday 20 March for more details and to confirm that you are able to help.
There will be no styling involved just simply to cut length to send to the charity
BCHS really need your support for this really worthwhile event, an hour of your time could make a sick child feel like a princess again.
Hard work and preparation really pays off when it comes to exams
Ms Dannan, Head of Science, would like our Year 10 and 11 learners to check out a great twitter resource for science revision. It should be really useful for the rapidly approaching exam season!
The Twitter Science Revision Channel can be found here
You can also get the official Twitter app here
There is also a homework revision schedule calendar here . Ms Dannan suggests learners spend 30 minutes on each task. Revision (mind maps, notes or flashcards) should be shown to their science teacher. For more detail see Show my Homework.
Keeping your child safe
Advice on the coronavirus for place of education
A letter from Ms Mills regarding amendments to the school day to safeguard against coronavirus has been sent home via email today and can also be found here
Please find latest guidance here from Public Health England regarding coronavirus and what you should do if you feel unwell
Star learners of last Week
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 - No specific information
Current Government advice regarding the Year 7 trip to Menai.
An important letter from Ms Mills regarding the upcoming residential trip to the Conway Centre can be found here
Year 7 consider how life could change within their lifetime
This week a number of our Year 7 learners had the chance as part of the careers directive to think what life could be like in the future if we do not listen to advice on climate and eco issues and carrying on destroying our world, as they considered life on Mars.
The event which took place over two days both on our site and at the Pyramid Centre in Warrington was hosted by Higher Horizons and 4ward Futures and was based around thinking about what skills may be needed in the job markets of the future and what sorts of roles may be out there.
At the first session learners looked at the challenges of moving to Mars. How would we land? Where would we live? What would we need to set in place to sustain our life? And what sort of skills and jobs would all this create? They were also tasked with building a Mars village or community.
At the second session they then considered, with the help of academics, engineers and scientists, whether their plans would be a possibility and joined teams to build a city of the future.
It was a fab twist on careers and really got the learners thinking about what may be possible within their lifetimes.
Year 8 Performance Review Evening –Thursday 19 March 2020 - Please be aware that year 8 parents evening has been cancelled for the present time
Chester Uni invite year 8 to take a look around
Last week Year 8 went on a visit to Chester University as part of their Careers Education Programme. They found out about student life, courses, how much it costs to go to university, clubs on offer and accommodation. During the day, learners designed their own dream university and became career detectives finding out about different jobs and routes into them. They had a tour of the campus and met current students. The behaviour of Birchwood learners was great, some really good questions were asked and as a result Year 8 now have a better understanding of university life, what it involves and where it can lead to.
Year 8 Science Trip, Chester Zoo, Tuesday 31 March 2020, 9-4pm
This week year 8 will be bringing home a letter regarding a trip to Chester Zoo, organised by the science dept. as a thank you for year 8's excellent attitude and hard work in their science lessons. The trip is open to all year 8 and a copy of the letter that you will receive can be found here
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.
Skills North West at Event City, 25 March 2020
Year 10 have been given a letter inviting them to Skills North West at Event City in Manchester on 25 March.
This is a great opportunity to find out more about careers, apprenticeships and university and we are hoping all year 10 will attend.
Please give your consent via Parent Pay or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 18 March. A copy of the letter can be found here.
The event is also open to parents/carers during the evening. See here for details
Does your child know what they are doing after Year 11?
The majority of learners have applied to college, attended interviews and been made a conditional offer. If your child has not made any applications please encourage them to do so asap. They can pick up an application form from Birchwood College or apply to other colleges on-line.
Warrington and Vale Royal College has a final open evening on Wednesday 25 March 5:30-8pm.
UTC Warrington - Science Open Event 26 March 5:30-7:30pm, Engineering and Construction Open Event 23 April 5:30pm
For apprenticeship vacancies – see here . (It is also a good idea to apply for Birchwood College as a back-up even if you want an apprenticeship).
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 email@example.com
Year 13, are you looking for an apprenticeship?
Any Year 13s still looking for an apprenticeship will find lots of companies advertising vacancies at:
Skills North West
What Career Live Liverpool
Birchwood College students are smashing their university applications, with a great success rate of unconditional offers on some really interesting courses!
Year 13 students at Birchwood College are celebrating as many of them are receiving unconditional offers in their chosen courses. This doesn’t mean taking their foot off the gas however as they all want to achieve their best. It does give them certainty that they can progress onto their chosen field with some really interesting courses and university choices.
Well done goes to:
Ebony who has accepted an unconditional offer from Edge Hill University. She is off to study psychosocial analysis of offending behaviour.
Nathan who has unconditional offers to study history at The University of Wales Trinity St David’s but is also investigating the apprenticeship route.
Lois who has an unconditional offer to study law at Liverpool John Moores University.
Lily who has conditional and unconditional offers to study law at universities around the country.
Rachel who has an unconditional offer to study a childhood and youth studies and criminology degree at Edge Hill University.
Jake who has an unconditional offer to study television production management at Edge Hill University.
Callum who has secured an unconditional offer to study cartoon and comic arts at Staffordshire University after showing a phenomenal portfolio of his Manga drawings!
Well done to all of you, we are immensely proud of your achievements.
Have you thought of an apprenticeship? Don’t miss this great local event.
This Thursday, 5 March You are invited to the Warrington Apprenticeship and Jobs Fair on Birchwood Park to meet employers in a variety of sectors such as:
Accountancy, Business Admin, Construction, Customer Services, Design, Engineering, Health &Social Care, Hospitality & Catering, HR, IT & Communications, Logistics, Marketing and more.
This event is now in its 6th year. It has always been a huge success, attracting some of the top North West employers and last year received c.900 visitors. Please book early and select your chosen visiting time.
See the poster here For more details
Also take a look here to see what current posts are available.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.