Newsletter October 9th
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.
Newsletter October 2nd
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
L'Shanah Tovah to all our Jewish students and their families as they celebrated Rosh Hashana at the weekend.
Newsletter September 25th
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
Newsletter September 18th
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.
Newsletter Sept 11th
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.
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.
Newsletter July 17th
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.
Newsletter July 10th
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.
Newsletter July 3rd
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.
Newsletter June 26th
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
Newsletter June 19th
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 August
Newsletter June 12th
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!
Newsletter June 5th
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
Newsletter May 22nd
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.
Newsletter May 15th
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.
Newsletter May 8th
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.
Newsletter May 1st
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.
Newsletter April 3rd
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
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.
Newsletter March 27th
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.
Newsletter March 20th
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!!!
Newsletter March 13th
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
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
Newsletter March 6th
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
Newsletter February 27th
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.
Newsletter February 13th
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.
Newsletter February 6th
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.
Newsletter January 30th
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.
Newsletter January 23rd
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.
Newsletter January 16th
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