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