Find out what events, awards and changes are taking place at the school.


- October 12, 2021, 2:29 pm

We are currently advertising for a Caretaker to join our Site Team. For more information, please see #EmploymentOpportunities
h J R

- October 12, 2021, 9:39 am

Birchwood celebrated National Poetry Day on Thursday 7 October 2021. National Poetry Day is a UK wide celebration of poetry, and the theme this year was Choice. To celebrate form tutors read a poem to their tutees during form time.
h J R

- October 11, 2021, 9:03 am

We are advertising for a teacher of Food and Nutrition to start in January 2022. For more information, please go to #EmploymentOpportunities
h J R

- October 7, 2021, 8:59 am

Congratulations to Isaac Horwood for winning the Birchwood PSFA 2021 Photo competition! The competition was judged anonymously by Sophia Spurgin, an award winning photographer. He wins a £25 Amazon voucher.
h J R

- October 4, 2021, 10:39 am

Gardening Club, As it reaches the end of this year’s very successful growing season. The students entered some of their wonderful produce into the local Sawbridgeworth Garden and Allotment Show. They came third in their section for their Rainbow Chard.
h J R

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Birchwood News

Latest News

Dance Challenges

Miss Adams has been setting some amazing dance challenges via Show My Homework, while we have been in lockdown.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part.

Keep sending Miss Adams your pictures.

Art in lockdown

Our art students have been busy painting all though lockdown. This piece is by Emma Spencer.

Gardening continues at Birchwood

Last term, working in partnership with Birchwood Parents Staff and Friends Association (PSFA) Well Bean Gardening secured some funding from the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network to run a gardening session once a week in school to promote a healthy lifestyle and good mental wellbeing. Then COVID-19 struck....

However, with the extension of lockdown, and the fact that the school is still open to vulnerable and key workers’ children we’ve decided to run a session on a Tuesday afternoon for students and staff to attend.

We have been gardening in the sunshine, keeping well apart, planting seeds, two rows of potatoes and started sorting out the compost bin. The aim is to create a green, restful space full of colour and good things to eat and to have some fun while we’re doing it!

VE and VJ Day Challenges

Mr Morton has produced a PowerPoint presentation for a virtual assembly on VE and VJ Day. The presentation includes a range of challenges, with a collection of resources and activities including bunting making and WWII style recipes. The full presentation is available in Show My Homework. If you just wanted to see (and try) the challenges for yourself, please download the VE and VJ Day Challenges.

Here is a piece by Mr Morton.

This Friday is a bank Holiday celebrating "Victory in Europe" when, 75 years ago, Germany surrendered and World War Two came to an end. During the war, which had lasted almost 6 years, 85 Million people worldwide had died and in the UK alone 450,900 civilians and servicemen had died.

At home in 1940, it wasn't loo rolls, or indeed just flour that people struggled to buy in the shops; from 1940 onwards rationing was commonplace with an adult being allowed to buy just 50g of cheese and one egg a week. Butter, bacon, chocolate and even clothes had to be rationed in order to avoid starvation, then as now, Britain was not self sufficient and we relied on shipping supplies from abroad, however all supplies had to dodge German submarines in order to get their cargos to our shores. Additionally, on the “Home Front” children were evacuated from cities and the bombing of cities and even of towns like Stortford meant that people lived in constant fear of attack. There is a bomb shelter in the cheese shop on North Street and Hockerill Teacher Training College (as it was then) was  hit by bombs on 10th October 1940, leaving three studens dead.

As "Key Workers" soldiers, airmen, members of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy as well as medics had been away from home and separated from their families for months at a time. Many of those separated (such as members of the Women's Land Army) were volunteers, however conscription (forcing men to join the armed forces) had been introduced in 1939, so large numbers of those involved in WWII, including Bishop's Stortford's own Cyril Banks, who visited Birchwood in 2018 to help mark the centenary of the end of WWI, and talk about the importance of Remembrance, were "enlisted" to help the war effort without much choice. 

The war meant that families did not know when or even if, they would see loved ones again and the risks they took were huge, two years ago, Cyril told a group of our students what it was like serving in Minesweepers in the Russian Convoys and during the preparations for D Day and so it was with understandable joy that parties and celebrations broke out nationwide on VE Day. It meant that the end was in sight and that normality, or at least, a new normal, would return. As it happened, the events of World War Two changed Britain forever with the invention of the NHS in 1948 as a result of the WWII Beverage Report, conscription lasted until 1960 and rationing was not ended until 1954.

In Year 8 many of our History students undertake Family History Projects and it is always fascinating for their peers (and our History team) to see their research and find out how our students relatives were involved in conflicts from the War in the Desert in WWII, or fought on the Eastern Front for the Russians or as part of the Chindits in Burma. As we celebrate our Bank Holiday on Friday, it is perhaps a time to remember and reflect on what this day is for and to commemorate and remember the sacrifices of our Grandparents and Great Grandparents. It’s a huge event historically and one which I hope you take time to remember, indeed if you do have a socially distanced “Stay At Home Tea Party” in your front gardens (Carrot Scone Recipe available on SMHW) please share any pictures with and we will try to use them in a future edition of Birchwood News.

Dr Ingate’s Blog – week beginning 27 April

Dear Carers/ Parents/ Students

I hope you are all well and coping the best you can under the circumstances.  We all want a return to how things were, and I know my staff really miss the students – a teacher without a class is a bit like a doctor without any patients. We have a vocational ‘calling’ and it is not the same working on-line.  Equally, I am sure that your son or daughter has got used to working from a computer screen but it’s not the same as being in a classroom with that instant ability to ask your teacher for guidance.  Unfortunately, we will have to await DfE decisions regarding any potential relaxation of lock-down and a return for students.

We are working hard at Birchwood to ensure that we continue to set work through Show My Homework and respond to student feedback and queries.  We are also continuing to look after Key Worker Children and Vulnerable Children in school.

This week, teachers are beginning to formulate GCSE Levels and A-Level Grades for Year 11 and 13 students. I would like to stress that this will not simply be looking at Mock Exams – it will combine a number of factors to provide a reliable and valid grade for each subject.  These will then be internally moderated by other teachers and then sent to exam boards who will also finalise and check.  Finally, the DfE will check overall school data to ensure that schools have done this accurately and fairly. This will take some time and the publication dates (13th August for Year 13, 20th August for Year 11) may seem a long way off.  In the meantime, all Year 11 and 13 students will receive a phone call from their form tutor, Head of Year or senior member of staff to ensure that they are ok, clear about their next steps and can ask any questions.  I feel particularly sorry for these two cohorts of students – none of what has happened is their fault – so we need to go the extra mile to keep in touch and make sure they are able to look confidently into the future.  With this in mind, I have also attached some really helpful careers information which may help anyone still needing further advice.

Finally, I would like to say another big thank you to our fantastic team of PPE volunteers who are currently producing over 1000 face visors a day – these are literally dispatched as soon as they are made and thank you to everyone who has donated to our Just Giving Page which currently has 452 supporters and has raised over £13,000. This will keep the team supplied with enough plastic and Perspex to meet demand for the foreseeable future.

On a personal note, I am driving around Hertfordshire on Wednesday delivering PPE equipment in a minibus.  Should be an interesting change of routine.

Best regards and keep safe.

Dr Ingate

Dr Ingate’s Blog – Week beginning 20 April

Dear Students/ Parents/ Carers

This morning felt weird!  I went into school this morning on what should have been the start of the summer term.  It took me 15 minutes to drive 15 miles from my home on the uncrowded A120.    I was met with an empty carpark at 8:15am.  I was soon joined by a small group of dedicated staff and children from key worker families who we have also looked after over the Easter Holiday. 

Today, there have been a number of virtual planning meetings by teachers – these meetings have primarily focussed on the setting of work for students and the initial preparation for calculating teacher assessed GCSE and A-Level grades.

 With homework, we will continue to set work for Year 7-10 and 12. We have listened to the positive feedback we have received so far and have also noted that younger students in particular prefer to have longer deadlines and focussed work that lasts no more than 30mins.  Teachers will also be looking at ways for their classes to complete on-line assessments so they can receive feedback.   You may well have seen this already but BBC Bitesize have just launched extra lessons to help with home learning and new lessons are being added every day - there might be something good you could use?

If you are a Year 11 or 13 student, we will be writing to you on Friday with details regarding your next steps in terms of exam results and progression onto Post-16 or Post-18.  We will also be phoning every Year 11 and 13 student over the next 3 weeks to have a 1:1 conversation with you to offer support as well as answer any questions you may have. Ofqual have produced a video explaining how grades will be awarded this summer: Grading in 2020 - information for students - BSL signed

And then of course there is the big question - when will schools re-open?  There has certainly been a lot of speculation and rumour in the media.  At Birchwood, we will have to wait to be directed by the DfE and we will respond as soon as we know.  The good news is that new Covid-Cases are flat-lining and fatalities are beginning to slow. We will all need to continue to do our ‘bit’ and hope for better days. 

Thank you for your continuing support

Dr Ingate