Staying Connected

In the event of Partial or Full Lockdown, we have set up this page as a one-stop shop for the required links and information.

We will post any new information regarding the school’s status on this page, together with other useful updates.

See the section Working Online for more information on submitting assignments using Show My Homework and Microsoft Teams

Lateral Flow Tests – these need to continue to be done on Mondays and Thursdays until further notice.

Please can you make sure you complete a LFT on 31st October prior to returning to school. We have given students fresh supplies but if you are running out, these are freely available from pharmacies and supermarkets.

Vaccinations for students:  Sixth Form Students were offered vaccines during the July / August Period. Vaccine uptake was high with over 90% of our oldest students now fully vaccinated.

Vaccines were also offered to 12-15 year-olds on 5th October.  All Year 11, 10 and 9 students whose families had requested that they were vaccinated were completed that day. Unfortunately, we were unable to vaccinate Year 7 and 8 students due to being understaffed by NHS (SIAS) personnel.   We are, therefore, planning to run a second day on 17th November.  Students will come out of normal lessons that day so there is no need for a parent to accompany them providing permission has been granted.  Letters from the NHS along with instructions will be sent out WB 1st November.  There will also be an opportunity for anyone in older year groups who was unable to be vaccinated due to illness or following self-isolation to also take up this offer.

Anyone who does not want to be vaccinated for medical or personal reasons will have full access rights to their education unaffected.  Whilst the majority of parents have supported the vaccination process, this remains a personal choice.

We will continue to apply measures which help reduce or mitigate against the spread of Covid-19 or any other virus. These include one-way systems, separate social and recreation areas for different year groups, additional cleaning and hand sanitisation areas.  The wearing of face-makes remains optional for students and staff and we fully respect the right of someone to wear PPE if this makes them feel safe.   We have been very fortunate to have relatively low levels of positive Covid cases at Birchwood.  If infection rates do increase in November / December we will liaise with PHE who will advise us accordingly.  Equally, if the DfE change their regulations for schools, we will fully abide by these.

Our students have been  excellent this term – re-engaging with any lost learning and showing positive attitudes, keeping to the rules we have put in place to keep everyone safe.  The last thing anyone needs is a further lockdown or partial lockdown so we will work our utmost to keep focussed on providing high quality teaching and learning whilst maintain a healthy school environment.

Letter from Dr Ingate regarding the re-opening of school on 8 March

Dear Parents/Carers

I am sure that you will be aware that the Government have just announced a return of all schools in England on Monday 8 March. This is good news. A return to greater normality and routine as well as actually teaching in the classroom is well overdue. Students and staff have done their best with online learning but it is no substitute.

There is a more detailed DfE plan for schools, which has just been released, detailing arrangements including PPE and Lateral Flow Testing. We will spend this week formulating a plan that works for Birchwood. I will also liaise with the other local secondary schools to ensure that there is consistency across the town. I would hope to be in a position to give more details by Monday 1 March so I hope you don’t mind being patient this week.

For now, it is a continuation of business as usual for the next two weeks with remote learning and Key Worker Provision.

Yours sincerely

Dr Chris Ingate


Update: 7 January 2021

5 January 2021

Please note that, due to Government restrictions as a result of the Covid 19 Pandemic,  Birchwood High School is now closed to Students until Monday 22nd February.  Work is being set on-line for all our Students including Key Worker and Vulnerable Students who will work in school during this period of time.

Lateral Flow Testing

We will be testing students attending Birchwood during the lockdown, including Key Worker and Vulnerable Students and those attending examinations (BTEC and LiBF).

Key Worker testing will take place for the first time at 08:30 on Wednesday 6 January.  This will be a drive through and all registered Key Worker student/parents will be expected to attend. Also, on this occasion, parents are expected to wait with students for the result.  Thereafter; Key Worker School students will be tested weekly on a Tuesday at 08:30 or weekly on their first attendance of the week if they are not in on subsequent Tuesdays.

Testing for BTEC/LiBF examination students.  All students who are able to take part in these exams will be expected into school between 12:00 and 14:00 on Wednesday 6 January to undertake a test prior to them sitting the examinations.

Consent: We require parental consent (for students under 16 years of age) or the student’s consent (if aged 16 or over) to carry out these tests:

You will be able to accept or decline consent via this form. If you do decline please fill in the form declaring this so we have a completed record of data. Should you require a paper copy of this please contact . You can also see the Privacy Notice below explaining how we use and store the data.

For all other students the mass testing programme will be postponed and we will write to you in February when we know the Government’s intentions.

The following letter relates to the original testing timetable, but the information about the tests themselves and the procedure itself still applies:

Key Links

Some essential links for students

Websites recommended by our school counsellor

New Advice Lines

Healthy Minds Network (HMN) have launched a new early intervention and prevention helpline for children and young people aged 10-17 in Herts. The helpline will provide a safe , non-judgemental space to talk to a Young People Advisor or Mentor who will provide emotional support, advice and information, signposting and discuss coping strategies. For opening hours and more information please visit the website

The Helpline number is 01923 256391.

Opening times at the moment are:

  • Mon, Wed, Fri – 13:00 – 16:30
  • Tues, Thurs – 17:00 – 19:30
  • Sat – 10:00 – 13:00

The Schools and Families Advice Line (SFAL) is a new service established to provide emotional wellbeing advice and early help to children and young people, families and schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It can be really worrying when you or someone you know is going through a difficult time. If you feel this service could help, please call our Single Point of Access (SPA) who will take your details before passing them onto our call back service.

This service is open to self-referrals from families and young people, and education, health and other professionals involved in supporting young people and their families.

Contact details:

You will get a call back from a mental health practitioner between 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Support will be offered in a one-off, up to 1 hour phone call

How can the service help?

Supporting children, young people, their families and schools by providing early advice around:

  •  General concerns around mental well-being, coping strategies and self-care.
  • How to support children and young people in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak (e.g. understanding, frustration, anxiety etc).Supporting mental well-being during the transition back to school and the anxiety around this uncertainty.
  • Support for education staff around their own mental well-being and advice around how they can care for themselves.
  • ‘Whole school approaches’ to supporting mental well-being.
  • Specific anxieties (around COVID-19/self-isolating measures, transition between year groups, developing and maintaining relationships, fear of failure, low self-esteem or aspirations, trust issues, social anxiety, etc.)
  • Phobias (animals/insects, specific food stuffs, specific objects, modes of transport etc.)
  • Low mood
  • Emotional regulation difficulties
  • Mild obsessive compulsive difficulties that are starting to impact day to day activities.
  • Low-level behavioural concerns
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Signposting to services and resources that may be helpful for supporting mental wellbeing.

Past Papers and Exam Board Information

Please see the Main Exams Page for all information relating to the 2021 Summer Examinations

IT Student Support

If you have any problems accessing SMHW, TLC Live or Online Reporting

Please Note: Students MUST use their Office 365 e-mail accounts when using this service and not their personal e-mail accounts. If students are unable to log in to their Office 365 accounts, then we will ONLY use the e-mail address recorded in our School Information Management System (SIMS) to send the new login.

If students have technical problems when using Show My Homework, TLC Live or any other website used officially by the school for lessons, please contact

Working Online

How to submit your homework online and use Microsoft Teams and TLC Live classrooms

Using Office 365

A quick demonstration on how to log in to your Birchwood High School Office 365 account

Using Microsoft Teams

We are expanding our use of Microsoft Teams in the delivery of online learning. In this YouTube video, Mr Briscoe explains the basics of using Microsoft Teams.

Submitting your assignments using Show My Homework.

The YouTube video to the right shows you what you need to do!

Certain teaching groups are now using TLC Live for their lessons.


Please see the following document if you are having any problems using the online lesson system. If you cannot find the solution you need here, please e-mail IT Student Support on

Updates and Announcements

CoronaVirus (Covid-19) – w/b Monday 16 March 2020

The school will be open as normal this week unless there is a directive from the DfE. At present, no member of our student or staff community has tested positive for Covid-19. However, we remain vigilant about keeping the school as hygienic as possible with additional daily cleaning operations.   Our students have been excellent in making sure they use soap or hand sanitisers as and when they require.  As you will be aware, young people appear remarkably resilient to the virus but they can spread the illness to older family members or anyone with an underlying health concern.

If things change, we will inform you immediately.  If students are sent home early for Easter, we have developed an array of on-line learning tools and virtual lessons so students’ education does not fall behind.

Please note that we are  postponing  the Year 9 Parents’ Evening on Tuesday.  If you want to contact your child’s teacher in the meantime, please be aware that all staff can be contacted individually through the ‘Contact’ section of this website.

Finally, we are authorising absences for any child who is unwell to ensure that bugs do not spread – equally if you feel that your family is unwell and you would like your child to be at home for the same reason, please let us know via the student absence line.

Thank you for your support and understanding in these exceptional times.

Yours sincerely

Dr Chris Ingate