Birchwood Update week Commencing 6/7/2020
Please find a letter here from Ms Mills to years 10/11 and resit college students regarding results days
Here we are at the end of a very strange year!
This Friday, 10th July is our last day of term. We have shortened the term by 1 week so that we can use the final week of term to invite in year 6 students (a small group on each day) over that week so they have had at least one day with us before they join Birchwood in September.
I think this academic year will certainly be a year that we will never forget and hope never to repeat. Who would have thought when we came back to school after our Christmas break that in a few short weeks suddenly school would be closed to students and new terminology in our language would arise such as ‘lockdown’ ‘shielding’ and ‘social distancing’ phrases which we use every day now.
Luckily, we have been able to maintain contact through social media, Teams and our website but nothing beats human contact, so we are delighted that we had a few weeks with year 10, year 12 and our key worker student numbers gradually grew.
At this stage we would like to give a massive cheer to our students and parents and carers for working so hard to ensure that learning has taken place at home. Again, home learning was something new to all of us – Us, as providers and you as students, teachers and enablers. The staff and governors thank you for the work you have done to stay on track.
When we return in September, it will be an exciting time with all the changes that have been going on both to our environment and to our systems and we can’t wait to welcome you back.
Shortly we shall also launch our new website which will fit with our new branding but also provide us with a better more stable platform so we announce that this will be our last Birchwood Update.
News items will be shared rather on ‘News posts’ on the new website which will enable us to report news as it happens rather than saving it up for each Monday. Of course, we will also share our news on Facebook and Twitter, so you won’t miss anything. At the end of each term however we will do a round up of everything that has happened and what you will need to know for the following term in a newsletter which will be on the website and also be emailed out via our Groupcall app so please make sure we have your email address on our records.
I must thank Mrs Evans,our Communication and Events Manager who has written the weekly Birchwood Update for a number of years, keeping our community and the local press informed of all the wonderful things that happen at BCHS. She wants you to know that she will still continue to keep us all up to date with all the news in the future.
Year 11 and 13 parents will be wondering about arrangements for results days. Further information about results days will be sent to parents via letter as soon as we have clearer information from the exam boards.
As we told you a number of weeks ago, we have worked with the Hallmark hotel to provisionally reschedule our Year 11 Prom to 3 September, of course dependent on social distancing rules at that time and we will keep you fully informed nearer to the time as to whether we can proceed with the event.
All that remains to say is, from Ms Mills, staff and governors at BCHS is thank you again, have a good summer break and let’s look forward to getting back on Monday 7 September to hopefully some normality in school life. We are currently working on a plan for reopening school in September so start dates and full information will be out to parents via letter before the end of term.
Take care and best regards
Ms Mills and all at BCHS.
Please find a letter here from Ms Mills re term end and plans, so far for next academic year
Sad news about a friend of our school
It was with great sadness that we heard on Thursday that Councillor Pauline Nelson has died of cancer. Pauline was a driving force in the campaign to have our school built and she was one of our governors for over thirty years. Her family had moved into Birchwood in 1979 and Pauline became a great friend to the school before it even opened in 1985. Her daughter Emma was a learner here. She was a member of both Birchwood Town Council and Warrington Borough Council for 29 years and was Warrington’s Mayor in 2003-4. Pauline was passionate about young people and qualified as a Youth and Community worker. She was never happier than when she came to events which celebrated young people’s success – except perhaps when she was at a Warrington Wolves (RLFC) game where she was a passionate supporter.
Pauline was central to making Birchwood a good place to live, work and study; campaigning not just for our school, but to have 24/7 cover at Birchwood Fire Station, to get disabled access at Birchwood Railway Station and for the closure of Risley tip. Although diminutive in stature, Pauline had a big heart and was a very kind and generous person who was passionate about what she believed in and could be a lot of fun. She was a giant in her support for Birchwood and especially our school. We send our condolences to Pauline’s family and friends and thank them for sharing her with us.
written by Sheila Yates, former Headteacher of BCHS
Looking forward to welcoming the new members of our team
Next week, we are very excited to meet September’s new year 7 as we invite them in for a taste of what life at Birchwood is like. Form tutors are really looking forward to meeting their new class and our teachers are working hard planning some really exciting activities for them to have a go at!
Your questions answered:
On Monday 13 July, at 9.45 am we will welcome Fides House
On Tuesday 14 July, at 9.45 am we will welcome Libertas House
On Wednesday 15 July, at 9.45 am we will welcome Dedicatio House
On Thursday 16 July, at 9.45 am we will welcome Veneratio House
During the day, your child will be given the opportunity to meet their form tutor and members of their form, as well as their Head of House and Assistant Head of House. They will also take part in a small group tour of the school and a variety of activities.
For lunch, your child will either need to bring a packed lunch or £2.50 to buy a school lunch in the school canteen. If your child is on free school meals, please contact school so we can arrange lunch.
Your child will be taking part in a PE activity, so it is advised they wear sportswear or their current school PE kit.
In accordance to government guidance, all safety measures will be in place including social distancing, regular washing of hands and temperature checks. To support us with this, we ask that only one family member drop your child off at school.
On Wednesday 15th July, there will be an informal drop-in in which we have arranged for the uniform suppliers to host a pop-up shop at school from 3.15pm – 5.30pm for any final uniform purchases, information about lockers and catering plus an opportunity to meet Mrs Dempsey and the pastoral team.
Bag a bargain for uniform
Please find a letter here from Ms Mills regarding uniform As our new school badge will be phased in, old badge stock is being offered at a reduced price and it totally acceptable at school so as Ms Mills put it ‘Why not bag a bargain’?
This week’s star students who deserve to be celebrated
Mrs Jones says a big well done for some great work from:
Yr 7 – Keeley Goodier, Joel Bloxham, Amelia Hatton, Xander Whitling, Charlie Woods, Jack Callaghan
Yr 8 – Emily Jones
And Mrs Halford’s stars are:
George Roberts and Nicky Houghton both in year 9
For food, Mrs Ikin says “A Special mention to Shannon Downing. I set her a challenge of finding a really good onion bhaji recipe we could use, and her work was outstanding. What can I say other than she’s amazing? Massive well done to her. Also well done to Oliver Bryan for his work this week, which has also been of a high standard.”
Mrs Burrows would like a shout out to year 9’s, Aimee Mc Cormack, Samantha Piazza and Bianca Andrei who have been working consistently hard in BTEC Dance and have shared with me some lovely practical and theory work. Also, to year 10 Amelia Lee for producing an excellent piece of written work.
Well done to you all!
A great way to keep fit and keep our community spirit
The Fitbit group had a new champion this week! Miss Johnson recorded over 80k steps but had to settle for third as Rhys Black (her long-time rival!) recorded over 90k steps. However, both were beaten by Ben Gregory who took home the top spot this week having recorded over 100k steps! An excellent amount and a well-deserved victory.
Rhys Black and Mr Yates completed the Warrington Park challenge and exercised in Victoria, Sankey Valley and Orford Park this week. There are lots of excellent parks in Warrington with safe cycle routes which we encourage all students to take advantage of during their extended break from their normal school timetable. If students and staff live further afield there are still plenty of places to visit, as Mrs Evans proved this week by sharing her walk around Arley Estate.
Emma Jones, Izzy Crompton and Mrs Jones were all members of the 20k step club this week. Mr Yates and Mrs Dannan achieved over 30k steps. Mr O’Reilly achieved over 50k steps, narrowly beaten into 6th and 7th position by Mr Burnham and Mrs Mulligan respectively who both achieved over 60k steps. Mrs Evans achieved 72k steps and Hannah Gregory achieved over 80k steps, just missing out on the top three.
There are new challenges every week and the group welcomes new members. Please email Mr Yates (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. Follow @BCHSchoolsport on twitter for all the latest information regarding PE and school sport.
Meet the inspirational scientists, healthcare professionals, engineers, technicians and students doing incredible things during lockdown.
Big Bang Digital 2020 – science, engineering & Covid-19 is a free, online event on Tuesday 14 July that celebrates the amazing work of scientists and engineers in a pandemic. The 1-day event celebrates their achievements, hears about challenges, innovation and collaboration, and explores some upsides to lockdown.
Aimed at students aged 11+ #BigBangDigital gives young people a front row view of the incredible contribution of people working in science and engineering.
More details about this fantastic opportunity click here
Introducing our new house and pastoral system
Alongside the exciting visual changes that are taking place at school of which we have kept you fully informed, Ms Mills last week introduced our new House and Pastoral system via an assembly which we shared via Groupcall and social Media. We hope that you have watched the video and are as excited as we are about these changes that will provide many opportunities and benefits.
The video can be viewed here
Kooth is here to help you celebrate Pride month - poster in my pictures
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.
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, telling you all about our house and pastoral system so that you feel you can start getting to know us and those who will look out for you a little more. We are also now able to offer some face to face transition days will be fantastic for all of us. A letter has been posted out to you but can also be found under the House system video. We can’t wait to meet you all shortly!
Ways to Buy Uniform:
In store at Warrington School Wear Centre 50-54 Buttermarket Street Warrington WA1 2NN 01925 576868 OR ONLINE: Alphaschoolwear.com
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 email@example.com
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 6th July, 10am KATY SUMPTION -AGE GROUP: KS3/S1-2
Interested in advertising and how to start your career? Tune in to listen to co-founder of a creative agency and author, Katy Sumption speak about her career journey and what lead her to write a book for young people about anxiety.
Tuesday 7th July, 10am CASSIE CHADDERTON CEO, World Book Day AGE GROUP: KS3/S1-2
Most of us have heard of World Book Day! Join SFS and World Book Day’s CEO, Cassie Chadderton to discuss her varied career in the creative industries, the importance of the arts in society and more about World Book Day.
Wednesday 8th July, 10am ADAM FORBES Head of Marketing, BP Launchpad AGE GROUP: KS4-5/S5
Join this Vtalk to learn more about business start-ups and delivering cleaner energy to the world – a must attend for those interested in entrepreneurship, business or the environment.
Thursday 9th July, 2pm How to Get Into Publishing -Penguin Random House AGE GROUP: KS4-5/S5-6
Penguin employees, Simon Armstrong and Hannah Chukwu, share how the industry works, how books are made and how to get into publishing.
Friday 10th July, 10am BEN SAUNDERS Polar Explorer AGE GROUP: KS3-5/S1-6
Join us as polar explorer, Ben Saunders, talks to young people across the UK about his career and adventures. Ben will discuss with students the importance of goal setting, self-belief, resilience, teamwork, communication, and leadership. This exciting Vtalk is not to be missed!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Looking after your Well being and safeguarding is still our Priority
Safety whilst online gaming
Online gaming can offer many positive experiences. It can give children and young people the chance to escape into a virtual world, to learn, and to connect with others.
However, there is a risk of children and young people viewing inappropriate content in games and being contacted by adults seeking to exploit them.
Please click on the pack links below for help exploring how children can stay safe while gaming:
PLEASE FIND AN IMPORTANT NEWSLETTER WITH THE LATEST VITAL SAFEGUARDING ADVICE FROM MELISSA MARSH-CROFT (PC 5721) OUR WARRINGTON YOUTH ENGAGEMENT OFFICER
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 www.Kooth.com 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
Year 8 and 9
Year 8 and 9 Immunisations catch-up
The immunisation team will be inviting yr8 and 9 into school for the vaccinations they have missed during closure. The invitation letter will be sent directly to your home so please call the immunisation team directly to make your appointment.
An important letter for Year 11 from Mr Burnham
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 https://www.birchwoodcollege.org/home-learning. 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 https://www.gresham.ac.uk/watch/.
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 email@example.com .She is working at home , waiting for your messages
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.
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:
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.