Birchwood Update 15/6/2020

Birchwood Update week Commencing 15/6/2020


Great news for Birchwood College, we have been chosen to deliver the new T Level qualifications from 2022.


T Levels are new courses coming in September 2020, which will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to 3 A levels. These 2-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses so that the content meets the needs of industry and prepares students for work.


T Levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on-the-job’ experience during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days). They will provide the knowledge and experience needed to open the door into skilled employment, further study or a higher apprenticeship.


T Levels will become one of the main choices for students after GCSE alongside A Level qualification.  After a thorough application process, we are proud to have been selected to deliver these courses and are excited about the opportunities they will offer our students. The chance to complete an academic qualification whilst undertaking work experience within specific areas of industry will ensure our students are fully prepared for the working world.


The new qualifications will play a key part in rebuilding the economy after the coronavirus outbreak, boosting access to high-quality technical education for thousands of young people so they can progress to the next level, whether that is getting a job, going on to further study or an apprenticeship.


Emma Mills said:


“We are very excited to be part of the rich and varied approach to post-16 education through being able to deliver T levels in our college from 2022. We know this will hugely benefit our students by unlocking a wealth of opportunities which will ultimately enrich their future.”

More details of specific courses will be shared when finalised and we are looking forward to extending further the fantastic range of qualifications on offer at Birchwood College.

Fantastic praise from a proud mum (and school!)


The other day we received an email from a very proud mum telling us what Freya Thomas in 8RE has been doing during lockdown and we wanted to share as we are also tremendously proud of her hard work.


Freya’s mum is a Lead physio for Critical Care at Warrington hospital and Freya has chosen to home-school herself through lockdown. Which has meant determination, organisation and the ability to really stay focused, all attributes that many of us grown ups have struggled with whilst homeworking.


However, Not only has Freya been keeping up with her schoolwork and doing exercise with Joe Wicks every morning, she has also baked cakes, brownies and cookies almost daily for mum and her team of very tired physios! 


Last week the hospital held a graduation for two of their newly qualified physios and Freya made the spotted cake in the photo as a gift for their celebration. The second cake was made for another physio's 21st birthday. 


The cakes take her two days and she does them completely independently and she's totally self-taught as mum openly admits that she has no baking skills whatso ever! 


Her cakes have really brought a lot of joy to a team of keyworkers who really need a pick – me – up at the end of a long shift and what better than a lovely cup of tea and piece of delicious cake.


Freya’s mum said:


“To say I am proud is an understatement, not just for the cakes but her unbelievable attitude during lockdown. She has truly shown what an amazing young woman she is growing up to be.”

Well done Freya we echo your mum’s sentiments totally and we are so proud to have you as part of Team Birchwood.




This week’s star learners who deserve to be celebrated


Miss Porteous would like to congratulate those below for outstanding effort in their home learning:

Year 7 - Joel Bloxham, George Best

Year 8 - Alexis Warlow, Kyra Boardman, Paige O'Brien

Year 9 - Keira Metcalfe, Macey Barrick, Owen Cheetham

Year 10 - Kiera Outlaw, Liv Best, Ebony Herriott, Chloe Jones, Saffron Gerrard, Sophie Stanworth 


Miss Evans says: “There’s great work being completed by our year 7s”

Mark Robinson has been making his own short story booklet for English and wrote a letter to his brother telling him about school.

Kareena Foulkes has been writing persuasive speeches to convince an audience to banish her most feared things to Room 101.

Summer Vaughan has been working extremely hard with Hegarty Maths and Spanish. “


Amy Groves and Anna Toynton get a huge congratulations from Mrs Scott who is really impressed with the level of detail and thought that has gone into their drama research work, preparing them for their Component 1 exam work. She is looking forward to seeing the rest of the class’s research over the next week.


Mrs Jones ( History) said "Emily Jones has consistently completed all work set in History during lockdown and the amount of detail is amazing."



Kooth is here to help you celebrate Pride month - poster in my pictures


Time for Tea?


Now the weather has gone dreary and we are back inside, this month’s competition is to design, make and serve an afternoon tea.


Maybe your tea will be based on Alice in Wonderland, with jam tarts or will it be traditional with cakes and scones and cream or maybe a choco based afternoon tea for chocolate lovers?


Whatever you decide we would love to see photos of your family enjoying your treat tea. Send photos to by Sunday 28 June.


An opportunity not to be missed for Years 9 to 12. Are you interested in design and architecture and want to learn from the best?


If you answered yes, then don’t miss a chance to secure a place with The PLACED Digital


Academy for their 10-week digital programme course starting in July.


You’ll get to take part in weekly design challenges, skills sessions and professional development.


You’ll also benefit from 1-2-1 support and mentoring from industry mentors including architects,planners, interior designers, construction professionals, and developers, giving you a unique insight into careers and study routes.


The Academy is being delivered in partnership with the University of Liverpool School of Environmental Sciences.


If you are Interested and would like to get involved in this exceptional opportunity, visit for more info and an application form.


Closing date 30th June.


ADDvanced Solutions Community Network have a new, online offer to support children, young people, families and professionals in the Warrington area.


ADDvanced Solutions Community Network encourages, equips and empowers children, young people and their families living with neurodevelopmental conditions, learning difficulties and associated mental health needs. They help you and your family to better recognise, understand and meet your individual needs, enabling you to manage the day to day challenges.


For more details on their latest help and information click here.

 An update newsletter for all our young carers has arrived


The latest newsletter from Warrington Young Carers Services can be seen by clicking here .It is packed with news, celebrations , advice, and things to do and join in with via Zoom.

A great way to keep fit and keep our community spirit


This week Fitbit group members were challenged to share outdoor exercise activities despite the weather. Alfie Cox  from year posted a 23 minute 5km run (A new personal best! Well done Alfie) and Rhys Black posted a number of runs and general fitness training sessions throughout the week. Both will be in condition for the school football season in September at this rate. Keep it up boys! 


The steps leaderboard had a new champion this week as Mrs Evans somehow found the time to complete 104,000 steps in amongst all the incredible design work she has undertaken to improve the school environment for students. Mrs Johnson finished in second place and Rhys Black, unsurprisingly considering the amount of exercise he did, completes the podium positions this week in third place.


New challenges are added every Monday to the group. If you would like to take part please email Mr Yates ( Follow @BCHSchoolsport on twitter for all PE and school sport information. 




Providing support and a warm welcome for our new year 7


In these turbulent times we realise how worried year 6 children and parents must feel regarding transition to high school, so to help you feel part of the team , we hope that you will enjoy the welcome messages on our video from both students and staff.


The video can be found on our year 6 transition page here, alongside a letter from our Headteacher Ms Mills telling you about our virtual transition days and information on uniform required and suppliers.


Ways to Buy Uniform:

In store at Warrington School Wear Centre 50-54 Buttermarket Street Warrington WA1 2NN 01925 576868 OR ONLINE:


A price list for uniform from Warrington Schoolwear Centre On Buttermarket St can be found here and on our transition page. The shop is now open for you to visit. A further Price list from Alpha will be added when we receive. 


you have any questions, worries or concerns about your child’s transition to high school, click the link to use


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


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



 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 15th June, 2pm JULIAN BAGGINI, Editor-in-Chief, The Philosophers’ Magazine AGE GROUP: KS5 / S5-6

Tuesday 16th June, 10am DAN SNOW, Historian and Broadcaster AGE GROUP: KS3-5 / S1-6

Wednesday 17th June, 2pm DEAN BESWICK, Film and animation company founder, Gorilla Gorilla!  AGE GROUP: KS3/ S1-3

Thursday 18th June, 2pm. How to embrace your Intersectionality ,AGE GROUP: KS4-5/S5-6

Friday 19th June, 10am CHARLOTTE STACEY, Head of UK Apprenticeships Programme, BP AGE GROUP: KS4-5/ S4-6


MONDAY 22nd June

10am – Zoe Irwin, Creative Director, John Frieda

2pm – Armando Iannucci, Oscar-nominated Writer & Director

TUESDAY 23rd June

10am – Richard Waterworth, General Manager, UK & EU, TikTok

2pm – Tamara Holmgren, Engineer and Project Manager, BP


10am – Maurits van Tol, Chief Technology Officer, Johnson Matthey

2pm – Bernadine Brocker Wieder, CEO, Vastari Group Ltd

THURSDAY 25th June ,2pm – Marlon James & Ekow Eshun

FRIDAY 26th June ,10am – James Worrall, Founder, Leaders in Sport


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!

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


Please find our latest advice and resources for home learning on our page here


 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


A message from Ms Mills


I hope you are all okay – I wanted to write home to give you a further update on where we are up to with a few things.


Firstly, the year 11 leavers hoodies are now available on the school shop. These are a free leaving present from us, you just need to visit our online shop and order the size required. See here for how the hoody looks , though we do not have the facility to produce the nickname element.


Secondly, I wanted to check that you are aware of the transition material that is available for you to get ready for next year. There is a year 11 area on Microsoft Teams that you can access and I have uploaded transition packs for the following A levels: Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Economics, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Maths, Media and Physics. For students who are looking to study an Applied Learning qualification next year, you can access transition material on our school website at On Microsoft Teams, I have also included a link to a range of different lectures to prepare for next year that covers nearly every subject that I could possibly think of! It is


Finally, I am posting weekly assemblies for year 11 every Friday in the Microsoft Teams area, so please ensure you are checking here regularly for updates and information.


If there is anything else we can help you with at this time, just let us know.


 A link to a letter that Ms Mills sent out to Year 11 parents can be found here



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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