top of page
Children working in class at Byrchall High School
  • How approachable is the Headteacher?
    In a word: very. However, it is unlikely you will need to speak with Mr Birchall as we have many points of contact for you in school, all of whom you will find extremely friendly, approachable and efficient. There are processes in school for dealing with all student-related matters and as your child settles in, you will learn quickly who the best person is to speak to. Form teachers, Pastoral Support Officers, Heads of Year and Assistant Heads of Year are usually able to deal with day-to- day occurrences. The Senior Leadership Team, including Mr Birchall, is on duty throughout the school day. There is always at least one member available to deal with any reported incidents, including before and after the school day. Class teachers and Heads of Subject are equally accessible and will be more than happy to discuss your child’s progress and any support they require over the telephone and by email. Face-to-face appointments with any member of staff can be booked by ringing our friendly reception team. Although this works exceptionally well, Mr Birchall welcomes contact from parents/carers and students.
  • Will my child fit in?
    Joining any new high school can be daunting but we find that students fit into life at Byrchall very well, and quicky too. We try to keep children with others who are moving from their primary school. It’s always nice to see a familiar face. There are a range of transition activities in the first month to support the development of new friendships and encourage participation. You will be surprised – and delighted – at how quickly your child extends their friendship group here.
  • What effect will the school’s New Build programme have?
    The new build represents an investment of approximately £22 million. It will provide a brand-new main building consisting of new classrooms, new Science laboratories, a large new Sports Hall and Activity Studio, new school hall, new Textiles, Ceramics, Food, Graphics and Resistant Materials rooms, outdoor performance space and landscaping. The building work is due to commence in early-May 2023 and the new school is due to open in September 2024. Learning will not be affected as the new building will be located in front of our existing school.
  • What are the school’s exam results?
    Our GCSE examination results for 2022 were highly positive. Our students, as well as all other students across the country had to live through a global pandemic and the after-effects of two lockdowns. Our staff worked extra hard to ensure all students felt comfortable and confident sitting their examinations. In 2022, 77% of our students achieved the standard pass of grade 4 or better in both English and Maths. 88% achieved the standard pass in English. (This is the equivalent of the old grade C) Nearly 30% of our students achieved grade 7 or better in English and Maths. Over 60% of the entries in separate Science GCSEs of Biology, Physics and Chemistry were grade 7 or higher. Our students achieve well within these core subjects and where appropriate also excelled in courses designed to nurture their specific talents. For example, 89% achieved a grade 4 or better in Art with 78% achieving a grade 5 or better. Of our students entered for the BTEC/CNAT qualifications such as Performing Arts, Sports Science, Health and Social Care over 80% achieved a level 2 pass or higher. 100% achieved a grade 7 or better in Further Maths. We provide a full range of courses allowing students, whatever their abilities and interests to achieve well.
  • What sort of pastoral support is provided?
    Our staff provide the highest level of supportive pastoral care. It’s something we are genuinely proud of. Every student matters here and you witness this for yourself as your child progresses through their five-year journey at Byrchall. Form tutors monitor the academic and personal progress of students and will usually be your main point of contact. Each year group has a specific location in school; this becomes a base for the year. Form tutors work closely with their Head of Year to deal with any issues which may be causing concern. During the first term, a ‘Settling In’ Evening will be held for Year 7 students and their parents/carers. Each year group has a non-teaching Pastoral Support Officer who can be contacted at any time during the school day. This is an essential role as it is dedicated to supporting all students in that year group.
  • What is the school’s policy on homework?
    Homework is an important part of your child’s educational journey. It encourages your child to work independently and helps them to consolidate the work covered in class. The school has a Homework Policy and teachers set homework in line with this. In Key Stage 3, core subject homework is set every week. Other subjects set homework as and when it is required, to link with their learning. In Key Stage 4, homework is set weekly for all examination subjects. All homework is set through our ‘Edulink’ app. This can be accessed on a mobile device, tablet, laptop or pc by all students and their parents/carers. Parents receive notifications of homework posted and each piece will have a deadline set. This deadline is visible on the notification.
  • How large are the classes?
    Year 7 form groups usually accommodate up to 27 students. Teaching groups vary according to ability, for example: smaller groups for lower ability sets as the learning can be more personalised. These classes will often have the benefit of Learning Support Assistants. Practical subjects (such as Food, Product Design) house smaller classes, usually no more than 20 students.
  • What is the school’s attitude to discipline?
    We are proud that the vast majority of our students are responsible, hard-working and love to learn. We have a Behaviour Code and School Rules that are well-communicated and easily understood. We make our expectations clear from the outset and reiterate these regularly through the five-year journey. We believe that clear expectations, guidelines and structures are essential in encouraging the highest standards of behaviour. Positive behaviour allows for the most engaging and enriching experiences in the classroom. We work positively to help any student who doesn’t meet our expectations. We support and nurture. We find that this works with almost all learners. In the event of any conflict or continued unacceptable behaviour, an established procedure of intervention is used. Levels of behaviour are defined in this, as are the strategies we use for dealing with and resolving the conflict. Everybody needs encouragement and we are focused on celebrating achievement and rewarding hard work. Students’ work is displayed regularly. Students earn reward points for good work and positive behaviour in lessons. These can be exchanged for Fairtrade or recycled products in school. There are Celebration Assemblies, raffles, certificates, and trips for those who are doing well. Prizes are given each year for academic achievement and effort; certificates awarded for excellent attendance and punctuality are given. Our House System is also a source for rewarding students and certificates and prizes are given throughout the year to students who make a difference.
  • Have there been problems with drugs or alcohol?
    We have no problems with drugs or alcohol in our school. However, our pastoral team are fully trained on dealing with such issues and they would work with both the Wigan ‘We Are With You’ team and the Police to provide the necessary support and quick resolution needed should the issue ever arise.
  • Will my child be bullied?
    Every student has a right to feel safe and happy at school. We believe any type of bullying is unacceptable behaviour and have a clear policy on what we believe bullying is and how we will deal with it. Fortunately, serious issues of bullying are a rarity here. Regardless, bullying is not tolerated. We find that communication is always key, so if your child mentions something (even in passing) then we would want you to reach out to us and share their feeling. This will enable us to resolve any issue or potential issue of bullying speedily. Once a report is made by any member of our school community, regular contact is maintained to ensure there are no further occurrences. We have a peer support system in school which students can use for help and support if they feel they are being bullied or have any other concerns about school life.
  • How will I be kept informed of my child’s progress?
    You will receive regular updates about academic progress, including a termly progress report. This will include information on your child’s progress towards their targets in addition to a written report. Parents’ evenings will offer you the opportunity to meet your child’s teachers and form tutor. The Year 7 Form Tutor Evening will highlight how you child is settling in and give you an opportunity to talk about their experience so far. Advance notice, of these evenings, allows you to plan times that suit you.
  • Is progress accelerated for more able students?
    Students are placed in sets accordingly to their ability. In each year, there are 2 express sets for the most able students. Our examination results show that more able students perform well at Byrchall.
  • Is there provision for students who require learning support?
    Students who are identified as having Special Educational Needs will receive the most appropriate level of support to meet their need. This may include additional interventions, small group work, one-to-one sessions and in some cases, in-class support. Each student is given a programme which is tailored to their individual needs. Our SENCO, Mrs Sutton is available to discuss your child’s individual needs and the support we can offer to help them settle in and make great progress.
  • Which children do best at Byrchall High?
    All ability groups make strong progress from their starting points in Year 7. There is no ceiling to success here; all students will be challenged to be the best they can be. This is why Byrchall students do well: in school and beyond.
  • Ability Groups
    High ability students: 6 students gained 7 or more Grade 9s. (The highest grade) 15 students gained 7 or more Grade 7s or better. (Grade 7 is a A) These figures will be among the very best in the area. Many of these students gained the higher grades in Maths, English, Chemistry, Biology and Physics, the others were in the wide range of options that are available. Middle ability students: These students also performed very well, as can be seen in the high percentage of students achieving Grade 5+ in both English and Maths, and being in the top 3 schools in Wigan Lower ability students: Performed very well also, and benefitted from access to a wide range of suitable options, different types of qualifications and the additional support they received.
  • How does the school deal with the varied cultural and religious backgrounds of students?
    We have a commitment to: “treat everyone justly regardless of religious belief, ethnic origin or social background”. This message is paramount to the ethos of our school. We encourage, promote and celebrate this throughout the school environment. We deliver assemblies on key themes surrounding celebrating diversity and it is built into our Personal Development curriculum, as well as across subjects.
  • What sports are offered – curricular and extra-curricular?
    The PE Department offer a range of sports within the curriculum. They include football, rugby, badminton, hockey, netball, trampolining, table-tennis, athletics, health-related exercise, basketball, rounders, softball, dodgeball, futsal, gymnastics, dance, leadership skills and volleyball. The department strongly believes in offering a broad curriculum to ensure there is something for every student to enjoy and participate in. They believe that sport should be accessible to all. There is a range of extra-curricular sporting activities that takes place during lunchtimes and after school. Additional activity tasters are also offered over the year.
  • What is the school policy on competition generally and competitive sports?
    The school operates a Fair Play Policy and firmly promotes the ethos of sport for all. The school supports competitive sport. We believe it allows students to develop new skills, meet and challenge students from other schools and develop excellence and resilience whilst progressing towards higher levels of competition and participation.
  • What extra-curricular activities are available?
    There are a wide variety of extra-curricular activities, which include: homework clubs, study support, music, drama and special interest clubs. Theatre trips prove very popular and many take place throughout the school year. Popular trips include a day trip to Ypres, skiing in the USA, language trips to France and Spain and regular trips to Alton Towers. Any specific requests and ideas from students will be considered. At the start of each term, students are provided with a comprehensive list of what is available (and when) so everyone can plan to be involved. We provide a Year 7 residential bushcraft trip in the first half term.
  • How long is the school day?
    The school day starts at 8:30am and ends at 3pm. The school dining facilities open at 7:45am for Breakfast Club. All students are welcome to attend. Breakfast can be purchased. The Learning Resource Centre opens at 8am and closes at 5pm. It is a supervised facility providing study care and support free of charge.
  • How long are lessons?
    All lessons last for one hour. Students enjoy 5 one-hour lessons each day, Monday to Friday.
  • Is it hard in the first few weeks?
    Starting anywhere new is always going to be hard, whether that’s high school, college, university or a new job. Students will notice that lessons in high school have a quicker pace and will cover more advanced material than ever before. Your child is bound to be nervous in the first few days, even weeks as this is a significant change. We are fully aware of this, and the Year 7 Form Tutors and all subject teachers will do their best to help with the settlement process. We plan for your child’s transition into high school and there are a team of professionals involved in the process, including: a dedicated member of SLT for Transition, a member of SLT for student welfare, our SENCO, a Head of Year and Pastoral Support Assistant. Together, we will ensure your child has all of the support they need to settle in and enjoy coming to high school.
  • How long is break and lunchtime?
    Break time takes place at 10:55am and last for 20 minutes. Students return to class at 11:15am. Lunch time takes place at 1:15pm and lasts for 45 minutes. Students return to class at 2pm.
  • How will I pay for my child’s school meals?
    We operate a biometric catering system which students will be shown how to use on their first day. Pupils can top up their account with cash before morning registration (at 8:30am), during break and lunch and after the school day (3pm). Additionally, we also offer an online payment – Wisepay – where parents can top up their child’s account using a debit or credit card. A guide to using Wisepay is available through our website.
  • Can I have a look around the school during the school day?
    Open Evenings are a wonderful opportunity to see what a school has to offer. It doesn’t always answer your questions and sometimes you may want to see for yourself, what a busy high school environment can look like. We openly invite you to visit our school during the school day. To take advantage of this, email (detailed at the top of this booklet) or ring reception. You will work around your availability as best we can.
  • How do you keep in touch with parents?
    We request all of your contact details from you prior to your child starting with us. We will use all of the contact information you provide to keep in touch, including: email, text and phone. Our ‘Edulink’ app is a quick and easy way to contact you and for you to contact us. You will be given log in details once your child starts at Byrchall. Additionally, in this age of technology, we share updates regularly on our Facebook and Twitter profiles. Many of our departments have their own Twitter pages too where they celebrate student achievement and effort.
  • Can my child stay on the school site before school starts and after?
    The school dining facilities open at 7:45am for Breakfast Club and the Learning Resource Centre opens at 8am and closes at 5pm. Students are welcome on site before and after school to use these facilities. Additionally, many of our extra-curricular activities run after school so students are welcome to attend these too. When evening trips take place, students are welcome to remain onsite or go home and change beforehand. We will always wait, at the end of the evening, until every child is picked up.
  • How will my child get to and from Byrchall?
    Many of our students travel to and from school by bus. This, at first glance, may appear a daunting task but buses travel into Byrchall from across the Wigan and St Helens boroughs. We provide detailed information on buses and times so students can organise themselves well in advance. For many, we are merely a painless bus ride away and the distance travelled is worth it, for the five-year experience here.
  • When does the school year start and end?
    Year 7 students start on Tuesday, 5 th September 2023 and finish, for their summer holidays, on Friday, 19 th July, 2024.
  • What happens if my child feels unwell during the school day?
    If your child informs a member of staff that they feel unwell, they will monitor the child and rule out common reasons (going to the toilet, keeping warm, cooling down, being hydrated). They will also check our system for any pre-existing medical conditions. If your child still feels unwell, they may be sent to our first aider who will talk to them about their symptoms. Following this, our first aider will communicate with you to discuss the situation and agree next steps.
  • Where do I order a school uniform from?
    We have two suppliers of our school uniform. Although we don’t recommend one over the other, our advice is to check the pricing with both. You may find one more competitive than the other. Many uniform items are available from high street stores, and even supermarkets.

Please find below, answers to questions that parents/carers have asked us in the past. If we haven’t answered your specific question, please contact us on 01942 728 221 or send us an email and we will get back to you with a response:

bottom of page