Student Welfare

Pastoral support at Birchwood High School aims to provide students with a sense of community, inclusion and responsibility. Interventions are designed to assist in building resilience and self-awareness so that they may develop the confidence to navigate life.

We have designed these pages to introduce you to our Pastoral Team and provide an overview of how we support students who are experiencing difficulties.

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Pastoral Team

Our most valuable resource in addressing the pastoral needs of students is our staff. The role of the Form Tutor is essential in providing that day to day contact with a member of staff who knows the student best.

Parents, carers and students can contact the Form Tutor in the first instance to raise any concerns. Any issues that cannot be managed by the Form Tutor will then be escalated to the student’s Head of Year.

CMO, KPE, CRS, WSK, RNT, CHI, JCT, ITE, Debbie Le Gallienne (Attendance), Clare Mackinlay (Student Welfare), Joe Harlow (School Counsellor), Georgia Willsmore (Behavioural Support)

External Providers

Safe Space Logo
Just Talk Logo

JEPECA, SAFE SPACE (Counselling in Schools), Stort Valley Mentoring


A support group for LGBTQ+ students

Fusion is Birchwood’s equality group, celebrating difference and diversity in our learning community. We meet weekly on a Tuesday lunchtime in D4. By coming to Fusion, students have the opportunity to go on relevant trips and attend speaker events (recently hearing Peter Tatchell and Olympic gold medalist Kate Richardson Walsh speak about their experience of being LGBT+), whilst also providing a regular space for students to meet their peers and create a supportive network within school. Being part of Fusion enables students to play an active role in school community through engaging in fundraising activities and ensuring that an attitude of acceptance and respect for all remains a central part of life at Birchwood.

Young Carers

A support group for students
who are caring for family members

A young carer is someone who helps care for a relative with a disability, illness, mental health issue, or a drug or alcohol problem. Birchwood Young Carers meet once a week on a Wednesday lunchtime in A3. This is an opportunity for students to chat with a member of staff about any issues they might be having, as well as having some time with peers who have similar caring responsibilities, playing games and chilling out. Any student is welcome to come along and be part of the group – whether they are a young carer or whether they would like to be a Birchwood Young Carer Ambassador and help raise the profile of young carers within school.


Many parents and carers feel out of their depth when faced with their child’s distress, particularly if this has started to affect their day to day functioning. For example, expressing their distress through self-harm or avoidant behaviour. Being well informed about the nature of their difficulties and having strategies for helping your child manage them more effectively can significantly impact the outcomes for both yourself and your child. Below are a number of useful links to access this information and advice.

Some resources for home:

Anxiety is the most common reason given for prolonged absence from school. Understanding the anxiety cycle is crucial in breaking unhelpful behaviours.

It can be helpful to view mental health in a similar way to physical health. We all know the key ingredients to enjoying good physical health (diet, exercise, sleep etc). The five ways to wellbeing identifies the key ingredients to enjoying good mental health.

Some students experience problematic levels of stress. The stress bucket can be a useful tool in identifying helpful and unhelpful habits associated with stress and give the young person a useful reference guide to managing it more effectively.


Stonewall Bronze Champions

Since December 2016, Birchwood High School has been a Stonewall School Champion. Stonewall is Britain’s leading LGBT+ charity, campaigning for the equality of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. Belonging to the programme demonstrates our school’s commitment to tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying and celebrating difference and diversity in education. This has seen Birchwood staff and students start an equality group, present assemblies to raise awareness, build links with other schools in our community and work to ensure that acceptance without exception is a central part of school life. Last week was the culmination of a lot of hard work when Birchwood received the news that we had been granted the Stonewall School Champion Bronze award. As a nationally recognised award, we can all be very proud of what has been achieved to date, working and learning in a school where difference and diversity is respected and celebrated. The work now begins towards gaining Silver status in the new year.

Fusion irit

Stonewall school role model

Stonewall school role model Rabbi Irit Shillor from the Reform Community Harlow recently visited us.

Thank you Irit for answering our questions, hopefully we can arrange a visit to the synagogue.

Stonewall Young Campaigner

Out of over a hundred applicants Jonathan Cowen (12ZBL) has been offered a place as a Stonewall Young Campaigner by Stonewall. This platform will enable Jonathan to change perceptions and encourage diversity as well as increasing his knowledge and confidence on all LGBT+ matters. Jonathan will be required to attend a residential programme which will include workshops on how to be an effective campaigner. Jonathan is excited about this opportunity to work with Stonewall and represent Birchwood High School.
We are all extremely proud of Jonathan!
Mrs Manners & FUSION