Remote Scholastic Book fair

This year Barr Beacon will be running a remote Scholastic Book fair. To give you the opportunity to buy books below is a list of all the books available to purchase. If you would like to buy a book, you will need to order over the phone at home where you will receive a transaction code. The order slip with the transaction code and book title will then need to be sent back into school where the book will be then delivered to the pupil.

There is also a range of stationary available to purchase. The list for this is also below.

When buying books from the Book Fair the money also raises money for the school to enable us to buy great new books for the Library.


Help your child revise: the science of revision

To support Year 11 with their revision ahead of their mocks, we have produced this video explaining the science of revision. It will help them identify what they can do more effectively to get more information to stick in their memories. They have already been shown this in assembly and it has been emailed to them, but we thought it would be helpful for parents and carers to see as well so you can understand the science of revision and support them in their efforts.

This is a PowerPoint file so just start it as a slide show to hear a running commentary and right click your mouse to pause at any point.

If your child does not have PowerPoint at home, don’t worry – they can use our Microsoft 365 subscription (they need to log in using the Home Access button in the top right of this page).


Mock exams

Government Exams Update

As you have probably seen, the Department of Education has announced the following: 

 “Almost all” A levels and GCSEs, exams will start on Monday 7th June (first day after the spring half-term holiday) and end on Friday 2nd July. “Almost all” means, according to the government, that “one maths and one English GCSE exam will be held just before the May half-term, giving any Year 11 pupils who are affected by Covid-19 the best possible chance of still sitting a paper in each of these core subjects.” Vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC) are expected to be “align” with GCSEs and A levels.  

The government, through their exams regulator Ofqual, has made some adjustments to some qualifications. 

The full details are here: www.assets.publishing.service.gov.uk

This is how it affects the courses our pupils study: 

  • GCSE Art & Design: assessment will be based solely on pupils’ portfolios. 
  • GCSE Biology, Chemistry & Physics: required practicals may be taught through observation. 
  • GCSE Computer Science: programming can take place in unsupervised time. 
  • GCSE Drama: pupils may evaluate recorded performances rather than having to visit a theatre. 
  • GCSE English Literature: we will be able to choose a text we won’t study. 
  • GCSE Food: the amount and complexity of Non-Examined Assessment (coursework) has been reduced. 
  • GCSE French, German & Spanish: instead of speaking examinations, there will be a spoken language endorsement (accredited as either pass/merit/distinction/ fail) that will be reported separately alongside the 9 – 1 GCSE grade. 
  • GCSE Geography: students will not complete fieldwork but will be examined on the theory associated with fieldwork in the exam instead. 
  • GCSE History: we will be able to choose a topic we won’t study.  
  • GCSE Media Studies: coursework has been reduced. 
  • GCSE Physical Education: pupils will need to demonstrate only two activities. 
  • GCSE Design & Technology: there is no longer a requirement for the production of a full prototype 
  • A Level Biology, Chemistry & Physics: required practicals will be reduced to a minimum. 
  • A Level Geography: there will be more flexibility in the non-examination assessment (coursework) in relation to the students’ own fieldwork. 
  • A Level Physical Education: the exam board will require less evidence for activities. 

For all subjects, there will be no changes to the length, number, or format of the exam papers, except as necessary to accommodate the specific changes listed above. 

Exam results days for 2021 have been set as follows: 

Tuesday 24th August for A levels 

Friday 27th August for GCSEs 


Careers Guidance Pupil Hub

We are excited to launch our brand new Careers Guidance Pupil Hub.

Pupils need to be prepared for the evolving working world and so, at the heart of our Careers Programme, is a focus on building up essential lifelong employability skills.

Visit our new website to access a wealth of careers guidance, designed to support both pupils and parents.

With our brand new resources, you can…

  • Choose a subject you love and see where it might lead
  • Explore your options for when you leave school
  • Gain valuable advice on applying to university, apprenticeships and jobs
  • Practice your interview skills
  • Discover alternative options like gap years or starting your own business



UK University & Apprenticeship Search Virtual Fair returns!

Wednesday 21st October: 12.00pm-6.00pm 

Designed for Year 11, 12 and 13 students and their parents, this is an unmissable opportunity to meet over 100 universities and apprenticeship providers. You can also gain vital advice from 10 webinars (see here) throughout the day, on topics such as taking an apprenticeship and UCAS applications.

You can sign up and find out more here: https://ukunisearch-west.vfairs.com/ 


Time to try a new hobby?

By Emily Allen, Deputy Head Girl

I will admit that I have never been the person to stick to the same things. Growing up I tried a range of sports and clubs, but I have never stuck to them. However, that is not always a bad thing; your time at school is the perfect time to start trying new things as whether it’s your first year at Barr Beacon or even your last, there is still time to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things. The list of hobbies is endless; use this time at school or even during the holidays to expand your list of tried things. From testing a lot of sports, I have finally concluded that I love to play tennis, whether it is playing it or just coaching. Without the experience of the different hobbies, I wouldn’t have found something that I love. Use spare time to find your passion. My example of sports is just the beginning of the list. There is no age limit to going out and experiencing new things, it has taken me this long to find out what I enjoy, and I am in Year 13. Even when you have left school and go to university, an apprenticeship or get a job, there is still time for you to go out and try new things. However, this time at school is a great time to start trying out new things. 

The benefits of having a hobby are endless. Here are just a few that comes to mind:

  • It helps you to relieve any stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy. 
  • Hobbies can increase your social life and create a bond with others. 
  • They bring a sense of fun and freedom to life that can help minimise the impact of chronic stress. 
  • Helps you keep motivated.

From experience, I know how hard it is to maintain motivation at home. Having to look after my two dogs sometimes makes it hard to stay concentrated on my schoolwork. But from having to deal with this throughout lockdown I came up with a solution that helped both myself and the two pups: having a small break from my work to take them to the park and get some exercise walking them finally allowed me to concentrate as they fell straight to sleep when we got back. Not only did it benefit the dogs, I also benefitted from going outside and taking a break from my work. Therefore, I have made a habit to stop being lazy and go for little walks whenever I can. Getting out into the fresh air revived my energy and gave me motivation to go back and finish my work. Hobbies do not just include exercising; the list is endless. Whether you are into collecting Lego, engaging in astronomy, baking, or even just reading a book. A hobby can be anything. 

At this point of school, we are just getting back into everything and getting our heads around new routines. Even with the Covid measures in place, our school has found a way of continuing with after-school clubs, such as badminton and there are still hundreds of hobbies you can take part in that does not involve contacting others. A great example of this is learning a new skill. I am hardly at a professional level, but I learnt the alphabet in sign language. This was a little while ago. And at that time it felt so good to have learnt something new and it made me want to continue learning and trying out new things. Perhaps I should pick it up again?

I am sure most of you are spending quite a lot of time online, whether it is on YouTube, TikTok or other forms of social media. However, you could use this time for trying new things. Even using a fraction of that time that you would have spent on your phones and doing something else instead would be extremely beneficial for your mental and physical health. Even if you do not fancy going out to explore the hobbies that are available to you outside of home or school, you can even make a hobby out of your phone or laptop. Start a blog maybe? Use your time to make a positive change online. 

Do not think that it is too late to start something new: you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, so try new hobbies, meet new people and have fun. 


Black History Month

School Council representatives made this assembly for the beginning of Black History Month:

Screenshot 2020-09-30 at 08.58.06

Dance Competiton

All year groups welcome!

Any dance style!

To enter, you must record a solo performance of 3 minutes and send this via your school email to Miss Salmon by Monday 5th October at 3pm.

The top 5 entries will win house points for their house and get the chance to represent the school at The Great British Dance Off this year!

Message Miss Salmon if you have any questions.


Keep up with your learning – even if you have to stay at home

If you are not in school, you can keep up with your learning by logging in to Microsoft Teams using your school email account. Any other email account will not work. Everything is explained in this video. Your teachers are uploading work and assignments weekly.

Please note that the work and assignments are for those working at home only – not for those in school. The work and assignments mirror what pupils are doing in school.


Sixth Former wins top film-making prize

After coming first in a film-making competition, Year 13 student Josh Palfrey has been offered a placement at multi BAFTA award-winning film animation studio, Blue Zoo.

Josh himself explains:

“This offer came very much out of the ‘blue’ and was due to the fact that they had seen my winning film in a competition called the “summer of animation” (summerofanimation.com) an event where young people are challenged to make a short film over the summer. Blue Zoo was a sponsor of the event.) I won the competition with my film and, when contacted about my prize of a £2000 laptop, I also asked whether it would be possible to get a tour of Blue Zoo (as that was the prize for 2nd place). After a couple of weeks of sending that request, I received the following email:

Hi Josh, 

 Wanted to say congratulations on your winning film – we loved it here at Blue Zoo and think you thoroughly deserved the win! 

I heard that you’d like a tour of Blue Zoo, but we’d be very happy to go further than that an offer you a paid work placement and bypass the internship programme. We’d need to work out times of when it would suit us both best due to current work restrictions.

Also, we’re recording a podcast soon about the Summer Of Animation and we would love it if we could record a short voice call with you, asking you a few questions about the wonderful film you made?

“Obviously I am extremely excited and eager to respond.”

Watch Josh’s brilliant animation here: https://youtu.be/EV76-WAP0lY

Find out more about Blue Zoo https://www.blue-zoo.co.uk/

Contact Info

Barr Beacon School
Old Hall Lane
Aldridge, Walsall
West Midlands

T: 0121 366 6600

Monday - Thursday: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 3:30 pm

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