Birchwood Update 27/4/2020

Birchwood Update week Commencing 27/4/2020


We are proud to have a mathematical poet amongst us


A really bid clap and congratulations must go to Miss Emily Porteous who is a maths and numeracy teacher in our wonderful Oak Suite who has become a published poet last week with a poem  about this strange situation we are finding ourselves in and how much she is missing the daily routine of school and seeing her students.


 Emily said,

“I wrote the poem a couple of weeks ago to try and express some of my feelings about being away from school and missing teaching. Then I saw the post from my local Newton Community group suggesting people write a poem and the ones selected would be converted to QR codes and displayed around Newton for people to read while out for their daily walks.”

Emily entered her poem, which had actually just been written for herself as a way of expressing her pent-up frustrations, but when she got notification that her poem had been accepted, she was absolutely delighted

The poems will be shared around town and social media initially then when local businesses are back up and running the poems will be displayed in as many premises as possible so that everyone can access the poems all over the town.


Emily said,

“I’m really chuffed to see that my poem made the cut and I’m looking forward to seeing it around for everyone to share, however what I am really looking forward to is returning to my normal routine and welcoming all my lovely students back to school……as I said in the poem, I don’t know what I am if I’m not being a teacher.”


Well done Emily, we all loved your poem and we are proud to be sharing it with your students, parents and carers.


 Please click here to read Emily's poem


Learning about life with vtalks from Speakers for Schools


We are excited to introduce a great new learning experience this week to you as we launch Speakers for Schools virtual talks

Find out about the world and how it works from a range of experts, who share their expertise on a wide ranging spectrum of topics from working for BBC news, to creating the perfect CV , to handling your anxiety.

The schedule for talks which are accessed online are below:

  • Monday 27 April 10am Richard Murrell, Lead Director, BBC News

  • Monday 27 April 2pm James Taylor, Keynote Speaker & Creativity Expert

  • Tuesday 28 April 10am, Marco Bertozzi, Vice President for Europe, Spotify

  • Wednesday 29 April 10am Peter Rosengard, Life Insurance Salesman and Comedy Store Founder

  • Wednesday 29th April 2pm Zaki Cooper, Director of Philanthropy and Communications, Dorfman Family Office

  • Thursday 30th April 10am, 10am Chloe Brotheridge, Author of the Anxiety Solution and Sara Milne, author of The SHED Method

  • Thursday 30th April 2pm Dr Nira Chamberlain, President, IMA & Visiting Fellow, Loughborough University Mathematical Sciences Department

  • Friday 1st May 10am, Jonty Bloom, Freelance Journalist

To listen to the talk, just before 10am on the date of the talk that you are interested in click here and select the speaker. The link is also available on our home learning page on the website here


More information about vtalks and a user guide can be found here


There is also feedback sheet that  here you can complete after the talk and email to so Ms Mills can see your thoughts and what you have learnt from the speaker ( sheet saved in April folder)


 We hope that you will make use of these vtalks and learn for life with the experts!

A sad goodbye from Ms Webb


Unfortunately Miss Webb, who was covering Miss Brennan’s maternity leave didn’t get a chance to say goodbye when we were suddenly put into lockdown, so she has asked us to share this message for her as she couldn’t contemplate leaving without a fond farewell.


To the staff and my lovely students,


Firstly, I would like to thank you all for being so amazingly kind when I first started in March last year. The year has gone so quickly but I guess time flies when you're having fun!

My form group 7MR have kicked off their first year at Birchwood with a bang and have worked so hard at everything that has been thrown at them. Helping decorate our door for World Book Day (which we won!) and taking part in the RSPB bird challenge are just a few to remember. Keep up the hard work, be kind to each other and continue to be the best form group!

To all my other students, I have laughed so much this year at all your funny, witty comments and have been amazed by what a talented bunch you all are. As your teacher, I will really miss the memories that we have shared together and the conversations we have had. You will always remain special to me as you start the bright future ahead of you. I know you will all do amazing things in life and come out with flying colours (not with my acrylic paint please!), as you move on to the next stage of your life. When things get better, I will come back and say goodbye to you all properly.


Stay safe, be kind, and STAY INDOORS!

Miss Webb.... Sashay away.... xx Webb


Follow us on Twitter too


Facebook is a really successful platform for sharing news and stories with you, but did you know that for educational news, advice, stories, hints and tips, Twitter is great too.


To follow our main site use @BCHSchool, but many of our departments also tweet regularly, see a list below:


Sport dept. - @BCHSchoolsport   

Media dept.- @BCHSchoolMedia

Geography dept. -@BCHSchoolGeog

Birchwood College -@BirchwoodColl

Eco committee -@BCHSchoolEco

History dept. -@historybchs1

Science dept.- @ScienceBchs

English dept.-@dempsey_mrs


Baking is great but getting flour, not so great!


We have noticed that baking is tremendously popular amongst everyone during lockdown. It really is great for wellbeing to create something fantastic to serve and eat. It also gives us the chance to use our creativity in decoration and it gives us the feelgood factor when people appreciate it. However, on the downside getting flour can be difficult.


Mr Ikin has been thinking about this and has asked us to share two of her favourite flourless bakes


Chocolate roulade and meringues – click to get the recipes, and please share any photos of what you make at the usual so we can share with Mrs Ikin



Working together to continue to learn


A letter was sent out on Monday 20 April regarding home learning for our summer term. The letter can be found here


Students can access work in three ways:


Show my Homework for maths work, found on our website here 


The Oak National Academy Platform – link in the letter


Our Passport to Success , found on our website here 


Please contact us if you do not have access to either a PC/tablet/laptop and we will try to sort one out for you

Don’t know what to do with your stockpiled empty toilet rolls? Here’s a great challenge from Miss Brennan


BCHS students, staff and parents are you up for challenge to put all those empty stockpiled loo rolls to good use?

You can enter our Art challenge by making mini pieces of artwork out of the recycled inside cardboard tubes using basic art materials that you have at home.


You need to take inspiration from your favourite artist, art style or painting. See Miss Brennan’s example here inspired by Picasso’s Cubist faces


You will need:

1 – basic drawing or painting materials

2 – loo roll or kitchen roll tube

3 – An image for inspiration


Send your entries by email as usual to .

Deadline for entries is Friday 1st May and there will be a prize for the most creative response…Have fun!



Warrington Foodbank still need your help at this difficult time


Though shopping is difficult at present don’t forget that if you are over at the shops at the centre and can  buy an extra item or two for the foodbank and drop into school , we can organise a collection of drop off of goods to the Warrington warehouse.


Stocks are low and with more and more people living on lower, if any salaries please help where you can.


Our reception is open daily 9am -3pm, let’s see if we can do our bit for those less fortunate at this trying time.


See the photo for the goods that Foodbank are particularly short of at present, alternatively you can make a cash donation online


Time to Talk @BCHS, a new service to support our community.  Every Wednesday morning between 9am -12pm we are available for a chat


Please Email any concerns, queries, requests for advice and help of any sort to  and Mrs Crompton, Mrs Butler or Mrs Roberts will give you a call back. If appropriate they may also recommend a video call via Zoom, in which case you will be sent a Zoom video meeting ID code that you can use in Zoom on your browser on their site here


This service is offered to all our community parents, carers and learners alike and we hope that this will provide added support to everyone with any worries or concerns that they might have at this troubling time.


Our next competition


Our next competition for learners will be a photo competition, so get those phone cameras at the ready and send in your interpretation of ‘We are Family’


At this strange time family can mean so many different things to us all:


Missing family and wondering when we will get that next hug off a grandparent or child.


Spending too much time cooped up with family.


Appreciating each other more or struggling to cope with family demands.


Thinking of contacting family that you haven’t seen for a while and remembering good times with them.


Having fun together, being bored…………………. The list goes on.


Send us a photo that sums up your view of  ‘family’ to, before Friday 1 May, again an Amazon voucher is up for grabs .


Do you have any fabric or duvet sets to donate to make protective clothing for the NHS?


Last week we had a clear out of our textiles cupboard and donated four bin bags full of fabric to a local lady seamstress who is coordinating a team of ladies who sew to make donated fabric into protective scrubs for the NHS.


Pauline was delighted with our donation and has asked us to ask if anyone else in our community can help. Do you have any clean polycotton duvet sets that you are thinking of getting rid of, not plain white or cream? Printed or plain dark colours are suitable, basically anything that is not easy to see through.


Pauline and her ladies' sewing machines are at the ready so if you have something to donate contact Pauline Trewartha Wright on 07917 355488, or via Facebook messenger







Looking after your Wellbeing and safeguarding is still our Priority






Isolation doesn’t mean silence

There is NEVER any excuse for domestic violence and isolation should not mean silence.

At this time when families are thrown together for longer periods if you or anyone you know is living in fear do not put up with a bad situation. For help and assistance please see the poster and for your own and your family’s safety please get in touch - help is out there





CEOPS Thinkuknow Home activity worksheets to support online safety whilst home learning


Schools across the UK are now closed to most families. CEOPS know this is a difficult time for most parents. Their page and home activity pack is intended to provide you with support and resources to help you learn about online safety at home with your child. 

Click here for home activity packs for children aged 11-13


Click here for home activity packs for children aged 14+


Mental wellbeing is an important as physical, if you are struggling help is at hand



We all deserve to enjoy life and feel good about ourselves. Sometimes however life can be tough, particularly given the current situation. Whether you're feeling great and want to stay that way, you’re a bit fed up; or you are struggling to manage your feelings , then Happy, Ok, Sad by Warrington Borough Council  has links to information and tips ranging from how to boost your mood, to where to get help if you're unable to cope.

They have also introduced a section regarding Covid-19

Happy, OK, Sad can be found here


The Online Youth Connect Five Programme, a free online course to understand wellbeing


This online course is open to parents/carers in Warrington


The overall aim is to promote resilience (resilient families, ways to cope and support):

•             Understanding children and young people’s mental health

•             Understanding wellbeing

•             Understanding why we feel the way we do (emotions)

•             Life skills problem-solving


The course will take place over five days starting on Monday 13th April 2020.

This will be a webinar event using Zoom.


Book your place now, here



Kooth is still there to support you


Kooth will continue to provide online mental health and wellbeing support to young people via any internet accessible device. Kooth provides an opportunity to interact in a supportive way with other young people as well as receive support from a qualified counsellor.


They are able to offer students online presentations about Kooth and online training sessions for staff, both via ZOOM.


To find out more visit here where young people can register and others can find out more about the service.


Further info about signing up can be found here


You can also view a short video about the service  here


Working together to continue to learn


Last week we launched our home learning area for anyone who is not attending school so they can continue to learn while at home. At present there is enough work on the system to last until the Easter holidays and then the page will be updated at the start of the new term with new work if it is needed.

Learners will need to complete 5 hours of work a day whilst at home, unless they are ill and are unable to.

On the site you will find guidance for both learners and parents and carers plus guidance on how you can support your child. There are also contact emails for each department should you need further assistance


Let's work together to continue learning through these difficult times.

The learning page can be found here


Mrs Evans, with the help of teaching staff,  has also set herself a task to provide an idea of an interesting leaning task, each school day to share on Facebook and Twitter, so check social media daily for more ideas to engage your children.


 If you are having problems accessing work online, paper packs of home learning for your child can now be collected at our school office.


Covid -19 Time capsule booklet


 Year 7 - No Specific information at present


Year 8- No Specific information at present


Year 9- No Specific information at present

Year 10 - No Specific information at present

Year 11


An Important letter from Mr Burnham to Year 11 learners - click here



Continuing with geography pdf -click here


Continuing with history pdf - click here



Year 11 Prom


Unfortunately, It looks that our Prom will be cancelled, please be aware that we will work alongside the Hallmark hotel to reschedule Prom when our current circumstance permits. We will ensure that when we can, year 11 will have the leaving celebration that they deserve.

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


If you have applied to college there is no need to worry. Your college offers will still stand for September. If you haven't had an interview yet, it will probably be done over the phone, you will be contacted about this. 


If you haven't applied for college yet, this is still possible but should be done asap, please follow the links below: 


For Birchwood College 

For Priestley College  

For Warrington & Vale Royal College  

For UTC Warrington



School leaver apprenticeships currently being advertised on include:


AB World Foods (Leigh) Manufacturing Technician Advanced Apprenticeship

Barratt David Wilson Homes - Carpenter/Joiner

MAC Furniture  - Furniture manufacturer (Warrington)


It is also worth signing up with Training Providers and registering for vacancies on their websites: for IT/Technical IT/cyber security Accountancy/Business Animal Care North Lancs Training Group (various)  Automotive, IT, Business, Food, Hospitality

JTL, CITB, NWTC - construction, electrical, plumbing etc  - Health Care/Social Care/Admin/Construction/IT 


Apprenticeship vacancies change daily so register, create an account on  and keep checking for updates. In these uncertain times, we would recommend that those who are looking for an apprenticeship should also apply for a college place as a back up. 


If you would like some advice regarding your son/daughter's future plans, college applications or apprenticeships please get in touch with our Careers Adviser Mrs R Morris who will be able to help you via email.





Birchwood College 


Year 13, are you looking for an apprenticeship?


Any Year 13s still looking for an apprenticeship will find lots of companies advertising vacancies at:


Current college leaver apprenticeship vacancies around the North West include: 


Murphy Group (Warrington) Finance/Accountancy



Degree apprenticeships:

Property Management Surveyor Degree Apprenticeship 

Building Surveyor


Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering

Balfour Beatty Environmental 



It is also worth signing up with Training Providers and registering for vacancies on their websites: for IT/Technical IT/cyber security Accountancy/Business Animal Care North Lancs Training Group (various)  Automotive, IT, Business, Food, Hospitality

JTL, CITB, NWTC - construction, electrical, plumbing etc  - Health Care/Social Care/Admin/Construction/IT 


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.






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 back of the Willows

    • 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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