Birchwood Update 18/5/2020

Birchwood Update week Commencing 18/5/2020


Half term letter from Ms Mills 

A message to our students, parents, carers and staff from Ms Mills


We are now entering week 9 of lockdown and I know things are tough. I had a really bad week with my 3-year-old last week - not sleeping, constantly upset and refusing to engage with anything. Things are hard for everyone, but I hope you know we are only at the end of the phone if you need anything at all. Thank you for everything you are doing to support them with their work at home, we know it isn’t easy.


We are starting weekly assemblies via Teams from this week:

Monday - year 7

Tuesday - year 8

Wednesday - year 9

Thursday - year 10

Friday - year 11


They will be recorded and posted in the relevant year group area. We are going to look at doing them live for the whole year group after half term, but we will let you know more about that when it is organised.

The new 7-9 timetable starts today with some pre-recorded lessons and some project work, please watch my assembly if you haven’t already.


Year 10 also start a new timetable this week with a real focus on getting all work completed and submitted. There is a lot of talk about year 10 returning before the summer in the media but we will not be making any decisions on this until we know more around the issues of safety from the government.


Year 11 will have their first assembly on Monday where we will have more information on leavers hoodies, yearbook and preparing for September.


I want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all the staff at BCHS. We have been open every day, including holiday, since lockdown began with staff in working through times no one anticipates or prepares for. They are also working round the clock at home, as well as their own personal responsibilities they have. It has been a tough time for everyone, physically and mentally, and I want to thank them all for their commitment to our school and our children.


A big thank you from Warrington Foodbank


Last Wednesday the Foodbank came to collect a bumper collection of groceries, thanks to your kindness and the generosity of our staff. We must also thank Aldi Birchwood for kindly supporting us by allowing us to leave a trolley in store for donations.


We collected a great amount and variety of goods both food and toiletries which are now on their way to support those who are in need.


 We are still open to donations as those needing the foodbank will no doubt grow over the coming weeks and months, so please keep donating. I try to make it a natural thing now to pick up 2 extra tins a week whilst doing my shopping and leave them in the car to donate when I’m at school. I don’t notice this in my bill, but it certainly makes me feel better about myself that I am helping others. Kindness is marvelous for your well-being!


This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is kindness.


Kindness is a key value of our school and though we are all at home let’s make a real effort to celebrate both mental health awareness and kindness at this time when both our vital to our everyday lives.

Mrs Roberts has been busy preparing some activity sheets to support this celebration and your mental health and her statement below is very true,


 “Being kind to ourselves is called self-care, we need to take care of our own needs before we can concentrate on others “Self-care does not mean selfish”


So, take some time from your work schedule and enjoy the activities that she has provided. Click on the links below for PDFs


Be Kind to yourself

Be positive challenge

Kindness scavenger hunt

My self-care plan

Star breathing


She has also suggested some colouring which everyone loves as a relaxing activity

We would also like you to share with us all those small acts of kindness that you are doing each day to look after each other and those in need in the local community. Are you helping a younger sibling with their home learning, writing to a lonely person, shopping for a friend, giving a meal to a vulnerable neighbour? Let us know by email so that during mental Health awareness week we can share and inspire others.

Email your kind acts to


Camhs is here to help too……

The present time can be extremely stressful for both students and parents and carers. See the link here from camhs with some really

good advice for sleeping, how to cope with their feeling, anxiety etc.



Our Eco- committee are keen to keep a presence while not a school


Even though they are not at school, our eco-committee are working hard on Teams to keep our commitment to all things eco alive!


They are asking you to take time as part of your home learning to enter a national competition from eco-schools to create a 30 second video clip about the importance of picking up litter.

More details of the competition can be found here


Your entries can be submitted on either Facebook of twitter but don’t forget to tag us in @BCHSchool, so we can share your entries,


Go on Birchwood, give it a go!


Providing support and a warm welcome for our new year 7


Even though our present situation has impacted on planning for year 6 who will be joining Team Birchwood in September , we are constantly aware that moving on to high school can be  an exciting time in a young person’s life but it can also be a scary one and to help ease their worries we have launched a page on our website solely for year 6 and their parents and carers.

The page is live and can be found here


On the page you will find a message from Ms Mills our headteacher and Mrs Dempsey, Assistant Head with responsibility for transition.

We have also put together a transition booklet for you to complete to help you to think about and prepare for starting at our school. We are so excited to meet you all and this information will help us to get to know you better. Over the next week, we will be sending the transition booklets out to you so keep an eye out for the postman but if you would like to start looking at and working on the booklet it can be found here


Keep checking back to this section of the website for weekly updates, videos from staff and challenges for you to complete and as soon as we know when it is safe for us to invite you into school to spend a day with us , we will be in touch with your invitation.

In the meantime we have also set up a dedicated email address for parents of year 6 to use, should you have any questions, worries or concerns about your child’s transition to high school, click the link here to use  


We can’t wait to meet you and hope that you feel the same!


Our present students can also do their bit to welcome our new year 7


Ms mills has a special challenge for all our present students. We know how proud our students are of our school and we need you to send a very special welcome to our up coming year 7.


Normally you would be able to meet them when they visit for transition days but as you probably will not be around when we invite them in it would be fantastic if we could show them a video of all of you and your welcome greetings, so we are asking you to record a simple short message on your phones and send them in to Ms Mills at so that we can edit them all together to create a really warm welcome for the new members of Team Birchwood.


Your message could just say hello and welcome or you could tell year 6 what you like about our school and what they have to look forward to.


Please help us to help them feel part of our team so that they are excited to join us in September.


Looking to the future for year 10-13 students - Virtual Careers Festival 19-22 May – A NOT TO BE MISSED EVENT!  


Don't forget to sign up here for the first ever Warrington and Cheshire​ Virtual Careers Festival.


 A 4-day event, from this Tuesday 19 May where students can watch "A day in the life of" video clips from a range of career sectors, learn how to make a CV, develop interview skills and even take part in a job interview. You will learn about next steps after school and college and get chance to win a week of work experience with a local company after lockdown. 



For a list of FAQs for this event see here and for how to register see here



Don’t forget Fresh, the online youth club – a great way to keep in touch


Young people are really struggling to keep in touch during isolation so don’t be tempted to break the lockdown rules, try Fresh instead, the online youth club which is available after school each Tuesday at 3pm. Have fun with friends without leaving the safety of your home



If you 15 -18-years-old, how about a Summer online internship?


InvestIN Education are offering Summer Internships For Ages 15-18 in Investment Banking. Medicine. Engineering. Psychology. Computer Science. Architecture. Entrepreneurship.


They are delighted to offer STEM-related Summer Internships in 7 different industries 'Live & Online' throughout August, which students aged 15-18 can register for now.


On these Internships, students can gain invaluable summer work experience from the comfort of their own homes; with successful Doctors, Engineers, Computer Scientists, Investment Bankers, Psychologists, Architects and Entrepreneurs.


What a great opportunity; for more details see here


Do you need help during lockdown?


If you, or someone you know, needs a hand with collecting shopping or prescriptions, or just wants someone to talk to, our NHS Volunteer Responders are here to help.


Join the thousands of others throughout England who are already receiving support – even if it’s just for a friendly chat. Call 0808 196 3646 or visit


See their poster for more information here 

New learning resource ideas from our languages department


Easy French/Easy Spanish - This is a YouTube series where native French and Spanish speakers are interviewed on a range of different topics. Subtitles are in both English and French/Spanish so it is a great way for students to pick up some new vocabulary



Easy French can be found here

Easy Spanish can be found here


Coffee Break French/Spanish - A podcast series which is also available on YouTube. This is a series of short lessons where students can cover the Year 7 basics all the way up to more advanced language for GCSE students.

Coffee Break French can be found here

Coffee Break Spanish can be found here

Our next competition is to tell us what you think of your grandparents and how much you are missing them


You can tell us this any way you like, letter, poster, photo or video. Wouldn’t it be amazing for your grandparent to see a message from you on our website?


Take a look at the video 'you told us about grandparents' video on right on top row - for some ideas 


Entries to be emailed to before Friday 5 June


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 18th MAY  10am – Aleida Rios, Group Head of Engineering, BP& 2pm – Session in collaboration with Unifrog

TUESDAY 19th MAY 10am – Robert Peston, Political Editor, ITV & Founder, Speakers for Schools

 & 2pm – Kathrina Mannion, Director of Environmental Policy, BP

WEDNESDAY 20th MAY 2pm – David Dein, Former Chairman of Arsenal and the Football Association

FRIDAY 22nd MAY 10am – Tom Dore, Head of Education, British E-Sports Association



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!

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

Show off your skills - Launching on Wednesday 20 May on Twitter - Britain’s got Skills


As part of National Skills Days, Twitter is asking you to share your skills with Britain. The challenge is to choose your skill, whether it be singing, dancing, saying the alphabet backwards… fact anything you are good at .


Make a short video of your skill and post on twitter with # my skills and @NCWSkillsDays and @BCHSchool

For more information see here


We know you are all tremendously skilled at lots of things, so let’s share Birchwood!

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.



Looking after your Well being 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, 8 and 9 


Please find an important video message here from Ms Mills for year 7, 8 and 9 students about going forward and their home learning here Supporting documentation can be found below the video






Year 10 


A video assembly for year 10 from Mr Burnham and Mrs Forster about home learning and expectations can be found on our website here along with all supporting documents



GCSE English Literature – an important letter regarding new Government guidance


As you will be aware your GCSE examination in English Literature was recently cancelled along with all other GCSEs and A Levels in England for this summer season. Initially, it seemed as though you would have to take this exam at the end of Year 11 and this was a situation we were trying to avoid. Through consultation with many schools, Ofqual have reviewed this decision and you will no longer be required to undertake an examination. Instead you will receive a teacher predicted grade, much like our current Year 11 and Year 13 students. For a letter with full details please see here


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


We are delighted to announce that we have worked with the hallmark hotel to provisionally reschedule our Prom to 3 September, of course dependent on social distancing rules a that time.


We a will also be organising a commemorative leavers hoody for all of year 11, these will be free of charge as a leaver present from us to you.


If you have any concerns, questions and worries about anything, year 11, please remember that we are here for you and there is always someone to turn to for help and advice via phone call or email to our pastoral team, SLT team, Form tutor and Head of year team and Mrs Morris for career concerns.

Looking to the Future and next steps for Year 11


The latest advice from Mrs Morris for those who are seeking an Apprenticeship -


School leaver apprenticeships are currently being advertised here


If you need any help with applications/writing a CV, interview skills or just what to do next please get in touch with your Careers Adviser, Mrs R Morris at .She is working at home , waiting for your messages





Birchwood College 


Looking to the future - Advice from Mrs Morris for our year 12 and 13s


We hope all our college students are keeping well in lockdown. 


Click here for some useful info from UCAS on looking after your mental health and wellbeing.


Do you need some inspiration about your pathway in life?


Here are some useful websites for year 12 and 13 students to help with career planning, getting advice on next steps, hearing from other young people telling their stories and local businesses/organisations who recruit college and university leavers and what they are looking for. Hopefully it will provide some inspiration! 


There are also some interesting workshops run by Edge Hill University for Year 12 and 13 students on a range of topics including: preparing for university, the current situation, student finance and interview skills. There are also subject focused sessions e.g. Routes into Sport or Health.

Click here to see more


Students in England encouraged to apply now for student finance


The Student Loans Company has confirmed that the application service will remain open to students as part of its response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and are encouraging students in England to apply for student finance as soon as possible to ensure their finances are in place for the new academic year.


New students are being asked to submit their applications before 22 May 2020. The Student Loans Company is contacting returning students to remind them to reapply for their next year’s student finance. The deadline for these applications is 19 June.

Applications for student finance can be made here.



Year 13, are you looking for an apprenticeship?


For those of you in year 13 who are looking for apprenticeships/employment keep checking on the following sites


If you need any help with applications/writing a CV, interview skills or just what to do next please get in touch with Mrs R Morris, your Careers Adviser.



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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