Newsletter January 8th
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2020 and welcome the boys back for the spring term. Although this is just the first week back, we have a packed newsletter.
Latest Information from our school, including news stories and upcoming events.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2020 and welcome the boys back for the spring term. Although this is just the first week back, we have a packed newsletter.
To start our last newsletter of 2019, I would like to thank you all for your support with our fundraising and charity activities over the last 3 weeks which will culminate in the BPA Mufti day and cake sale on Friday. We appreciate that this is a time of year where families can be under incredible pressures financially and we have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown throughout. I will give a breakdown of all that we raised in the New Year but we have managed to support Save the Children with the Year 7 Christmas Jumper day last week, we are taking an incredible number of wrapped up shoe boxes to the homeless shelter today, we have donated toys to the Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal and instead of giving Christmas cards we are also donating to the Toilet Twinning charity Toilett Winning who ensure that small communities in the developing world have access to life saving basic hygiene facilities. Thank you.
I hope you find this last letter informative and enjoyable. This week the Science Department has hosted 3 forensic afternoons for primary schools, our Year 10 GCSE students visited Edge Hill, there was a Rewards Trip to Old Trafford and our house band and DJs brought Christmas cheer to local primary schools.
School will finish at 12.30pm on Friday 20 December. Whatever your plans are over the festive break, I hope that you all find the time to enjoy precious moments with family and friends and I look forward to seeing you all again in the New Year.
In keeping with the Christmas theme started in last week's newsletter, I would like to continue this week by thanking the Birkdale Parents Association for their continued gifts to the school. This incredible group of parents meet every couple of months to plan fund raisers and work tirelessly to provide extra facilities and resources for all the boys. This week they donated over £3000 to buy Maths Mastery resources for Years 7 and 8, an additional basketball hoop for the Year 7 playground, heart rate monitors to be used by GCSE PE as well as Science and Sport Studies classes and a huge number of badges that will reward LORIC students, Sports Leaders, Science Leaders and Prefects as well as any students achieving high numbers of merits (details to follow in the new year). These are all additions that will benefit all the boys and, on behalf of all of us, I would like again to express my gratitude for their support.
Their next fundraiser is our termly MUFTI day and cake sale (at break time) on the 20th December and I hope that you will all support their efforts by ensuring your son makes a donation if he comes in his own clothes.
I do appreciate that we are all busy parents and carers and that not all of us can attend BPA meetings and events but we also have a donations facility on ParentPay and you can join our 200 Club there as well. This is a very easy way to support the BPA whilst at the same time having the chance of winning cash prizes! This week the top prize (won by a parent) was £172.50. The more people who contribute, the higher the prizes will be.
This year, exceptionally, we have not one but two fundraising days. This was not something we had planned, as we understand the financial pressures it can put on families at this time of year, but as part of their LORIC accreditations some Year 7 students approached the staff about running a Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children on Friday 13th December. This event is aimed at Year 7s only. Students have to wear their uniform but are allowed to wear a Christmas jumper and all the money raised will go to Save the Children. We felt it was the right thing to encourage these students in their efforts and I hope that many of you will be able to support them.
As we approach Christmas (and we are all looking for ideas for presents), I thought it would be appropriate in this newsletter to suggest going back to basics and encourage as many of you as possible (I know many of you will have already done so) to include a book as one of your stocking fillers. This is simply a suggestion of course but here is the rationale behind it:
I hope that many of you will be aware that we have focused a lot of our time, resources and energy over the last few years in developing a strategic approach to reading and vocabulary development. Alongside a range of strategies used by the English department, this has been one of our key foci in us reversing the traditionally accepted view of "boys not being good at English" and has seen our English Progress measures outperforming boys' national average year on year.
Bridging the "vocabulary gap" has been consistently proven as one of the most effective ways to raise students' attainment and enable them to be successful lifelong learners. This is particularly true for boys who may not statistically read as much as girls or not read as wide a range of texts and genres. This was the reason why the English department introduced library lessons and explicit vocabulary instruction once a week, where key words identified were taught and practised.
This week is our Year 10 Parents' and Carers' evening. This is the stage at which the GCSE course becomes real and the conversations really start to focus on clear strengths and areas of improvement for each subject. It is a very important evening where, hopefully, the conversation with your son's teachers will highlight concrete steps they can take between now and the next assessment window but also the end of Year 10 exam, which will be their first real taste of GCSE. Your support over the next 2 years is invaluable in helping them and ensuring that they get the best possible academic grades but also build up resilience and a positive mindset. I would like to remind all students that full uniform is compulsory for all school events including Parents' and Carers' Evening.
It's been a week for celebrations with our GCSE Awards Evening, teams winning in basketball, football and badminton, students rewarded for their attendance, punctuality and behaviour as well as being top readers in their class. Well done to all the students who saw their achievements and efforts praised and rewarded. Keep it up!
Our rolling out of the new EdulinkOne app has gone fantastically with already over 60% of our parents and carers using the app. If you have any difficulties in signing up with the new app, please contact the school or pop in at any time and our technicians will gladly do it for you.
Good luck to all our Year 11 students this week who start their first set of mock exams (the 2nd one is in March). Please remember that during the mocks, students are expected in school every day but if their exam finishes early in the afternoon, those students will be allowed to leave slightly earlier to go home and revise, provided they haven't been asked to stay behind for a specific reason. Expectations regarding behaviour, regulations, organisation and revision were all covered in our assembly on Friday.
Straight in from half term and it's almost the start of our first set of mock exams for Year 11s, which will begin next Monday. This is the first opportunity for our Year 11s to be faced with the full suite of papers in exam conditions and I know many of the boys have been revising hard over the last few weeks. If your son hasn't yet fully engaged with his revision at home, it is not too late. Every day where they spend a couple of hours going over notes, making revision cards or doing past papers, quizzes and Hegarty Maths activities will make a difference. Interventions are taking place in form time, at lunchtime and after school and I have been particularly impressed with the boys' focus during independent revision time at registration. These routines are firmly embedded but will not be enough if they do not also work when at home. Good luck to you next week.
Thursday is our second PHSCE day of the year and in the evening we will host an introduction for students, parents and carers of Years 9 and 10, to the Duke of Edinburgh award. This is something that, as a school, we actively promote, but also an opportunity that I passionately believe in both as a headteacher and a parent and I will attend the evening to welcome you and hopefully give you my perspective on what is, in my view, an incredibly valuable experience for any young person.
I would like to thank Mrs Duffy and Mrs Williams who offered to take the bus on Monday morning with boys who were involved in the tragic incident on Lord Street before the holidays. I hope that it enabled the boys to be less apprehensive about taking this particular route. We will continue to monitor the boys' well being and will offer further support sessions over the next few weeks, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have concerns.
If you haven't completed the ParentView survey, please do so by clicking on this link Parent View Feedback Your feedback is invaluable in helping us to understand what we do well and where we can continue to improve. Thank you in advance.
And finally a word about attendance. We all know how closely academic progress as well as character and resilience development, are linked to strong school attendance. Whilst we all agree that there are times when a child is simply not well enough to attend school (in the same way as there are days adults can simply not be in work), please continue to encourage them to come in even if they are having a bit of an off day. We will support them in school and look after them but it does ensure that they do not miss out on crucial learning and gives them the greatest chance of success in the long term. Thank you again for your continued support.
From Friday 8th November the school will be changing our main parent communication app “Xpressions” to new platform called “Edulink One”. A trial has been ongoing with the new Year 7 intake and we have had wonderful feedback from parents. Not only will the app allow us to communicate directly but will also allow parents to view/edit information, track behaviours and achievement, view attendance and report absence to name a few. In the coming months additional features will become available such as booking parents evenings, viewing assessment data and downloading school reports all from the one app.
The school cannot recommend the app enough and encourage all parents to take advantage of this great facility, in enabling excellent communication between school and parents we can improve the wellbeing and achievement of your son giving them a great start to life here at Birkdale High School.
Keep your eye out as you will have received an invitations to the app via email, if both parents wish to receive direct communications via Edulink please ensure you are both priority 1 parents. Further details are attached below.Download Guide
A lot has been happening this week with the Bike Right sessions, the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition etc. More is to come with our Parents and Carers Forum this Thursday and our much anticipated annual joint Year 7 Disco with Greenbank next Wednesday organised by the Birkdale Parents Association. The BPA are also running a cake sale at break time on Friday this week to raise funds for the school. Please ensure that your son has a bit of change on that day if you wish him to make a purchase. If you wish you can also send cakes in to be sold on that day. All donations are to be taken to the front office who will also ensure that any child bringing cakes in receives a merit.
As my second item in this newsletter I would also like to reiterate my request on Twitter earlier this week for your support in identifying professionals in our community who would be willing to speak to Years 7 and 8 about their careers. We are constantly trying to create for students these "light bulb" moments that ignite in students a passion or shine a light on a pathway they had never previously considered or even were aware of. All the research shows that contact with real professionals in less well known fields is one of the most crucial factors in opening young people's horizons. If you are, or know, such an individual, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.
How can I possibly follow this week with the flurry of creativity and the amazing performances generated by National Poetry Day last Thursday? Who said boys were not into poetry and creative writing? A huge thank you to all the boys (and staff) who took part and particularly Mrs Jeffery for her energy and enthusiasm that made it such a great event. I hope you will take the time to read the powerful poem by Brody Barclay 9HJJ which he wrote for National Poetry Day and which is attached to this newsletter.
As students have now settled into the new year, many of the clubs have started in earnest (Celebrate, Green Machine, Woodwork, Art, Sports, Animals, Reading, Homework) with many more starting soon. Please continue to encourage your son to get involved. It's a great way to make new friends, develop new skills and knowledge and build confidence.
A reminder to parents that we have a Parents' Forum meeting on Thursday 17 October 2019 which begins at 6.00pm with a curriculum presentation specifically for parents and carers of Year 9 students. This is to support students as they begin their GCSE studies. This is followed at 6.30pm with a general meeting for all parents and carers.
L'Shanah Tovah to all our Jewish students and their families as they celebrated Rosh Hashana at the weekend.
Another busy week with our first PHSCE day of the year and the Year 7 Barnstondale residential taking place. All the reports from the staff are that the boys had a great time and behaved impeccably throughout the trip. Well done. What a great start to secondary school!
If you haven't joined us on Twitter at @BirkdaleHS, please do so and encourage others to follow suit. We do appreciate that parents and carers already use a range of social media to keep in touch with family and friends as well as keeping themselves informed for personal or business interests. For that reason, we made the decision, some time ago, not to add to the flurry of information and notices you receive by sticking to one medium so you can all access anything we publish as a school easily and simply. We try and post as often as we can to give you a real flavour of what goes on in your son's school
What a way to start the week! Monday night was our 2019 Open Evening and it was our busiest yet. I would like to thank all the parents and carers who came to visit the school for taking the time to come and see us and for the amazing comments they made throughout the night. I would also like to thank all the staff, teaching and support, for putting so much effort into ensuring that visitors get a real sense of just how good the school is.
Finally I have to say how proud I am of all the boys (over 300 of them) who came back to represent their school on the night, be it in departments or as tour guides. You were absolutely amazing, each and every single one of you and throughout the night I kept hearing comment after comment complimenting the boys' maturity, manners, confidence and pride in their school.
Welcome to the new academic year and our first newsletter. As always it has been a tremendously busy week but an incredibly enjoyable one as the new Year 7s seem to have settled very quickly and made a great impression on all of us. This was the first time the school has been oversubscribed in many years and the new boys have all arrived eager to learn and settle into their new environment. Well done! The Year 11 prefects and Year 8 peer mentors have made a very committed start to their new roles and all the students seem to have come back with renewed focus and maturity. Again, well done and keep it up!
I cannot start the year without mentioning results and how proud we are of last year's cohort. Results' day was a very positive event with more boys arriving early than ever before to share in each other's celebrations having achieved the grades needed for their respective post-16 destinations. We continue to outperform boys nationally and have improved on last year's performance in almost every headline measure, and all indications are that, with continued hard work, next year's will be even better. As we do every year, we have also identified areas for continued improvement and we will focus all our energies on addressing them in order to provide your sons with the best possible educational outcomes in order for them to secure their future pathways and lifelong success.
This week is dominated by next Monday's Open Evening. This is an important event in the school calendar as it showcases the work we do to prospective parents. It is also a key opportunity for students to support their school by acting as our ambassadors on the night. As parents, you will know yourself that one of the main deciding factors when selecting a school is the opportunity to meet students and ask questions on Open Evening. Please continue to encourage your son to attend and take part as a tour guide or in an individual subject area. One of the proudest moment of my year as Headteacher is to hear the comments visitors come and share with me on the night about the confidence, manners and engagement the boys have impressed them with. Year after year they are a credit to our school and to you as their parents and carers. Years 7 and 8 students can also use Open Evening as one of their Leadership tasks to be logged against their final LORIC award!
Please note that school will finish at 12.15pm for students for open evening on Monday 16 September 2019.Download Newsletter
Students at Birkdale High are once again celebrating an excellent set of GCSE results, outperforming boys nationally. For the third consecutive year, over 20% of all grades awarded across the school were at grade 7 or above, with 77% of all students achieving a grade 4 or higher in English and 78% in Maths.
Gil Bourgade, Headteacher
I am so proud of all the boys' achievements. It is fantastic to see our students achieving such strong grades and bucking the national trend for boys. This is a testament to the hard work of our students, the support of their parents and carers, and the dedication of the staff.
There have been some tremendous individual performances, including the following boys who achieved 8 or more grades at 7 or above. Jack Britton, Elliot Brown, Finn Cromack, Thomas Guest, Louis Hardy, Haydn Lonorgan, Max Matthew, Daniel Middlehurst, Safwan Patel, Sam Pring, Declan Sherrington, Benjamin Thompson and Joseph Thompson.
Congratulations to all of our boys. We wish them all good luck in all their new ventures and much success for the future.
Welcome to our final newsletter of the year and it looks like we may at last get some summer weather just in time!!!
Those among us who do not have a sunny disposition will bear a thought for our Year 10 students attending Spanish classes in Ávila, Spain, this week in temperatures (mild really for the season) of 34C! If you follow us on Twitter, you will have seen however that they seem to be coping very well. The pool is certainly helping!
This week was also our end of year trips and I have already had some wonderful comments from the boys. I would like to praise the ones I personally took to the Climbing Hangar and Airborn Academy who were, throughout the day, polite, enthusiastic and an absolute credit. Feedback from the other trip leaders has been just as positive. Well done all.
Yesterday was the last of opportunity for our Sports Leaders to support one of the primary school's sports days with Shoreside infants coming over to us for the occasion. The Sports Leaders were again there to support, organise and encourage competitors in all the events and did a wonderful job. It has been an absolute privilege to see the way they have engaged with the leadership of these events and to receive the incredible praise bestowed upon them by our primary colleagues. I will write to individual parents to convey my appreciation in a more formal way but would also like to acknowledge publicly their dedication and maturity throughout. I hope younger students will also volunteer next year to take on these roles.Download Newsletter
Welcome to our penultimate newsletter of the year. We were all looking forward to sports day today and it hasn't disappointed with some great performances and outstanding sportsmanship. More details will follow next week.
We are all excited this week to host Year 5 students from most of our local primary schools. By all accounts they had a fabulous time so far thanks to the hard work from the staff and more importantly the support from the boys who looked after them throughout each day. The comments from the primary staff were a pleasure to hear.
Lessons do carry on as normal until the last day of term and students are expected to engage with the work.
End of year trips are taking place next Monday and this will disrupt the timetable but we do have a range of lessons and activities for the students who are not on trips and are expected to attend the full day.Download Newsletter
It would not be possible for me to write this newsletter without mentioning our forthcoming changes to our school times. As I explained in my letter this week, we will finish at 2.10 every Thursday week 2. This will not only save the school a substantial amount of money year on year, it will also allow our teachers to have joint curriculum planning time every other week. These plans were discussed at the Parents/Carers meeting in February and at the Parents/Carers forum in June. Several schools have had a 49 lessons timetable for many years and the reduction has not affected any core subjects. I have included my original letter which includes a few more details. At the Parents/Carers forum we also discussed another change for next year, which was announced to our new Year 7 Parents and Carers last week. For the last 5 years we have allowed on site limited use of mobile phones by students. Following a comprehensive review of their use and impact this year, we have decided to ban mobile phone use on site. Students will still be allowed to have them for safeguarding on the way to and from school, but they will need to switch them off and put them away before entering the site. A letter will be emailed to you this week but I have also attached a copy to this newsletter. We are convinced that now is the right time to take this decision and it is in line with many other secondary and primary schools. Tomorrow is our Awards Evening. As always it promises to be a great celebration of all the successes we as a school, but the boys in particular have achieved this year and I can't wait to see many of you there.Download Newsletter
It looks like summer may have finally arrived this week (at least we can hope). Although we are not predicted the heatwave that is scorching its way through France at the moment, I would nevertheless like to send a reminder that uniform rules do apply until the end of term apart from cases of extreme conditions as we had last summer. This means that all students should wear full uniform (blazer, tie, shirt tucked in, shoes) throughout the day and on the way to and from school. They may still wear a coat if they wish to but it should never be worn instead of their blazer. Thank you to all parents and carers for reminding them of these rules at home and ensuring that they leave the house fully ready to ensure a positive start to the day. As always I would like to thank and praise the vast majority of boys who wear their uniform with pride and represent the school and themselves in such a positive and affirming way.Download Newsletter
It has been a very busy week with Year 11s finishing their exams, Year 10s starting theirs, some Year 6s coming in for transition activities and Years 1-5 coming for sporting activities. As GCSEs finish I would like to take this opportunity one last time to praise our leavers for their outstanding behaviour during the exam season and wish them all the best for the future. I know their hard work and the hard work of their staff and parents and carers will ensure that they achieve the results they deserve in AugustDownload Newsletter
Next week sees the last of the Year 11s' GCSEs exams. As always it has been a very tough and demanding time for all involved and I would like to take this final opportunity to praise the boys for their behaviour throughout and wish them all the best of luck for the future.
No sooner is one series of exams over than the next one starts, so next week will see the Year 10 GCSE Statistics and Hospitality & Catering exams, soon followed by our Year 10 end of year exams. Please encourage your son to spend time revising regularly at home in preparation. This will be incredibly beneficial when it comes to preparing for the final exams next year.
Please remember that this Thursday 13 June at 6.00pm is our second Parents' and Carers' Forum for the year. We will present information about local safeguarding issues that may affect your son as well as proposals regarding use of mobile phones and changes to our curriculum.
Finally, I couldn't finish this week's newsletter without mentioning our Athletics team winning the Southport and Formby title for the 5th year in a row! This is an incredible achievement and a testament to the talent of our boys and the hard work of the staff in making it happen. Looking forward to them bringing home the Sefton crown again!Download Newsletter
This week there are only two items from me to start this newsletter but they are both significant ones. The first one is that you will have received an email containing a short brief from me on mobile technologies and some of the safeguarding issues they raise for all students as well as some of the steps we can all take as parents to minimise them. I hope you will find it useful.
Secondly, I would like to remind all of you about our Parent/Carer forum that will take place next Thursday at 6.00pm in the media hall. This is always an important event and I would urge as many of you to attend as possible this year, as we have a series of significant proposals up for discussion. There will be short presentations on the local safeguarding risks to young people in the Southport area but we will also put forward for discussion proposals regarding the use of mobile phones and possible changes to our timetable.
Finally, I would like to wish all our Muslim students and their families ‘Eid Mubarak' as they celebrate the feast of Eid today.Download Newsletter
As we continue to work our way through the GCSE papers I would like to take this opportunity to praise the boys whose behaviour in exams and generally around the school has been excellent. Please continue to support them and encourage them to revise sensibly and consistently at home, engage in revision sessions and lessons in school but also eat healthily and have early nights.
This week it was a pleasure to host the Farnborough Road Year 4 Sports Day. The FRJS students were a delight and our Sports Leaders were fantastic from start to finish. Thank you to Mr Keary for his continued work with our primary partner schools.
Thank you also, to Miss Flood and Mr Leece, who are again taking their Wild Wild Roadshow to our local primaries with the help and support of students in the Animal Club.
Finally, just one reminder from me: our Parents and Carers Forum is on Thursday 13 June at 6.00pm. We will answer any questions or concerns you may have, but will also present items on use of mobile phones, safeguarding issues in the Southport area and a review of PSHCE plans. Should there be a particular issue that you think would be worth discussing at the meeting, please do not hesitate to contact me.Download Newsletter
So summer has finally landed, just in time for our Year 11s to take one last look before going into the exam hall. Computer Science, RE, French, Biology, PE and English Literature in 3 days!!! Please continue to encourage your son to revise seriously at home but also to have a balanced diet and get some sleep. Porridge is available for free every morning. Maybe not a teenager's favourite but definitely the most sustaining breakfast one could wish for before an exam. Intervention sessions are continuing during the day and after school so please encourage your son to stay and make the best of these opportunities.
There are also some Year 10 GCSEs starting soon - Statistics, IMedia, Food Technology as well as Year 10 end of year exams after half term and students should start revising regularly at home on a daily basis. Thorough preparation for these exams will alleviate a lot of the stress next year.
I was very proud this week to hear of the work our Year 10 students presented at Edge Hill University and to see how engaged our Brilliant Club scholars were in their sessions.
I would also like to make a special mention for Allessandro Chalmers who went through a series of workshops and auditions before being finally selected to DJ at the Amsterdam Open Air Festival in front of a huge crowd next month. Our DJs have only been going for 2 years but it has proved a very popular GCSE option and it is great to be able to celebrate their success.
Finally, I would like to remind you all that our next Parents' and Carers Forum will take place on Thursday 13 June at 6.00pm in the Media Hall. As always it will be an open agenda with a chance for you to raise any queries but we will also discuss the use of mobile phones and have a safeguarding presentation on the local issues that could affect your son in and around Southport. All parents and carers are invited and welcome.Download Newsletter
A very short newsletter this week, but nevertheless a very important one.
You will have read over the last few weeks in this newsletter several items related to exams as we move towards the summer examinations season. Yesterday we had our final assembly with Year 11 students to wish them good luck with the forthcoming exams, which start next week, and to go over last minute arrangements and reminders such as our in-school revision session timetable, do's and don'ts in those final weeks and the very crucial code of behaviour in the exam hall. All of these little tips can make the difference on the day and give students that one extra mark that pushes them over a grade boundary.
Regardless of how much preparation your son has done so far, every session between now and the actual exam will count and could make a crucial difference to his final grade. This is not about panic and stress, it is about being pragmatic and making the best of the time left ahead of us. We talked to students about the importance of consistent revision, every day, of engagement but also getting a good night's sleep and eating a healthy breakfast. Our caterers, Mellors, have very kindly offered to provide porridge (which is the ideal type of food before an exam) free of charge to Year 11 students every morning.
Finally, as the holy month of Ramadan started this week, I would like to wish Ramadan Kareem to all our Muslim students and their families.Download Newsletter
It is hard to have a newsletter this week without discussing exams. Year 9 have just completed theirs in formal conditions and have been an absolute credit throughout. Year 7s start on Thursday. I am sure that they have taken their revision seriously and would like to wish them all good luck for their first taste of exam conditions in secondary school. Please continue to encourage your son to do regular revision every night at home and he can also attend Homework Club in the Hub after school.Download Newsletter
I want again to thank all of you for your outstanding engagement and attendance at Parents' and Carers' Evening, which for the last three, ranged from 93% to a staggering 96% in Year 7 (our best attendance in 3 years). Attending Parents/Carers' Evening is not just a highly effective way to inform yourself of your son's progress, it is also a crucial opportunity to have a face to face dialogue and build a relationship between home and school. Even more importantly, in my view (as a parent and an educator), it is a unique and very powerful way to demonstrate in one simple gesture that we all care for your sons/our students and that we both have the same common goals: help them, support them, encourage them to be the best they can be academically of course, but also as far as their welfare and personal development is concerned. So, once again, thank you for believing and supporting that partnership.
We are running, once again, our Easter Eggstravaganza this week when we will be rewarding every day the student in each year group who achieved the highest number of merits and no sanctions on each day. The first 2 sets of winners are included in this newsletter and check us out on Twitter for the next ones.Download Newsletter
This Thursday is our last Parents and Carers' Evening and we currently have 95% of parents and carers who have made an appointment. Our best attendance so far and a clear indication of how serious you all are about the importance of your son's education. Our last 3 evenings have seen attendance above 93% and I thank you for your attendance and support.
One point that has come up in conversation when talking to parents has been the labelling of sanctions in the app. All of the parents and carers who use the app value it but do not like the fact that all sanctions are labelled behaviour when many are not behaviour issues. Unfortunately this is something that we have no control over as the labels are taken straight from SIMS, which holds all our staff and students' information, and are set nationally. I have reported the matter and asked the company to see what can be done but, at the moment there is very little else that we can do.Download Newsletter
Following on from our Options Evening two weeks ago, this week is Year 8 Parents' and Carers' Evening. This is an important event where you will be able to discuss with your son's teachers not only his progress so far, but also what lies ahead as he enters GCSE. I hope to see many of you there. Should you have any queries regarding options in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact Mr Marshall
Next week it will be the turn of our Year 7 parents and carers to attend their first ever Progress Report Evening at Birkdale High School. Throughout both evenings, I will be around to answer any questions you may have along with our Careers Adviser, Heads of Year and members of the Senior Leadership Team.
A lot of exciting stuff has been happening this week with our Year 7 and 8 scholars going on their first Brilliant Club visit, our Silver DofE attempting their first practice expedition (cut short by the stormy weather unfortunately), our Year 9 visit to York Dungeons, Year 10 scientists going to Runshaw, Year 11 musicians to LIPA as well as Year 10 students going to Liverpool to learn a bit more about Oxford and Cambridge universities. Not bad in one week!!!Download Newsletter
Thank you to all our Year 8 parents who braved Storm Gareth last night to attend our Options Evening. It was a packed audience with standing room only, which shows just how committed you are to supporting your son's education. If you couldn't attend we will forward the materials to you later on this week and if any of you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Mr Marshall at the school. I will also be available throughout the Year 8 Parents' Evening to answer any queries you may have at that point that haven't been answered by individual teachers.
Thursday is PSHCE so all timetables are collapsed. Forms will be working mainly with their tutor on a range of focusing on the wider curriculum, pastoral related issues and British values, ranging from preparation for the 'Smile' challenge in Year 7 to CV writing for Year 11, substance abuse awareness and understanding the concept of joint enterprise. This is a key part of our curriculum provision and we expect all the boys to engage fully in all the activities.Download Newsletter
Over the last year and a half, our approach to marking students' work has evolved in a variety of ways as we look ever deeper into what makes effective learning. As I mentioned last week when talking about revision, most of us probably have strong views on marking based on our own, or our other children's experiences, so I thought I would follow up this week with a very short, but very interesting blog from David Didau, one of the UK's leading educationalists. The techniques he describes are some that we have started using at Birkdale and I thought that it would give you some insight into what we are trying to do and why. I hope that you will find it of interest: learningspy.co.uk/featured/what-do-students-think-about-markingDownload Newsletter
As we approach our second set of Year 11 GCSE Mock Examinations, I thought it would be useful to start this newsletter with a few words about revision. We all have, as parents and carers, memories of how we revised (or didn't as the case may be) for our own exams and how possibly our other children revised for theirs (with greater or lesser success). This, in a way, makes us all "experts"!!! One of our main drivers for success over the last couple of years has been to look at the research behind cognitive science and to reassess our practice and therefore the advice we give to students under the light of hard research evidence. In the end, every child will revise in his own way if it works for him. However, there is substantial evidence out there that some strategies will be more beneficial and more effective, and some strategies, although they may work for some people, will simply not work as well.Download Newsletter
This week is orange week! Every year, with all the other 30 primary and secondary schools in the Southport Learning Partnership, we take part in a fundraising event in support of a local cause. In the past we have raised funds for Queenscourt Hospice or for the local food bank. This year the student representatives on the SLP School Council project have elected to wear orange this Friday to support the Muscular Dystrophy Society as it is a degenerative disease that affects their friends in some of our local schools. The boys will be allowed on Friday to wear their own clothes with 1 item of Orange and will be asked for a £1 donation that will be sent to the Muscular Dystrophy Society. We hope that you will all be able to support this very worthwhile charity that does so much for children and adults affected by this terrible disease.
Our second set of mock exams are about to start after half term. All the Year 11 students now have a significant amount of revision to do and these mocks should provide them with a clear focus for the next few weeks. Please continue them to support them and to encourage them to do as much revision as possible over half term.Download Newsletter
Thank you to all of the Year 7 and 8 parents and carers who came last night to our curriculum design consultation evening. It was one of our best attended forums and I am very grateful that so many of you took the time to listen to Mr Marshall and myself and give us your views.
Our aim is to offer a curriculum that gives all students the appropriate breadth and depth of knowledge along with the skills needed to succeed at GCSE and beyond as well as equip them to make positive contributions to the world they live in.
We have emailed all parents and carers in Years 7 and 8 the brief PowerPoint presentation we used last night and any feedback should be addressed to Mr Marshall at [email protected] I hope that the evening was also a useful opportunity for those present to ask questions and understand the rationale behind some of the decisions we take regarding your son's education
Yesterday was Safer Internet day and I would like to thank Mr Moss and the Computer Science department for their efforts in promoting this very important message for all children.Download Newsletter
I would like to start this newsletter by repeating my invitation to all year 7 and 8 parents and carers to attend a brief consultation evening, on Tuesday 5th February, to discuss the possible options we are looking at to take our curriculum forward. You should have also received a text but I thought I would seize this opportunity to remind you all. Parents and carers in other year groups are also very welcome to attend although it will not impact on your sons in the same way.Download Newsletter
This week it has been Year 8s' turn to have formal exams in the hall. This is an important part of their preparations for GCSE as the results will inform their option choices but it is also a chance for all students to get used to the formal setting and examinations rules and procedures as well as how to approach revision and handle stress. As always, we are there to support them and ensure that it is a challenging but constructive and positive (if not necessarily pleasant) experience.Download Newsletter
Happy New Year! Bonne Année!
Although we know there is a lot of work ahead of us, it was an absolute pleasure to welcome all the boys back to school last week after the Christmas break. I hope that you have all managed to get some deserved rest and enjoy some time for yourself or with friends and family. My assemblies last week, as you might expect, all focused on self-reflection, new year resolutions (and how to keep them!) and the impact of a positive mindset. It is a bit cliche at this time of year to discuss new year's resolutions again but we all need these opportunities to reflect and make positive changes.Download Newsletter