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Tributes paid to retiring head Dr Holman

Published on 25/07/17

Moving tributes have been paid to Orchard School Bristol’s head teacher Dr Helen Holman, who has retired after 11 years of remarkable transformation.

A special farewell event at OSB in the last week of term was attended by community figures, local politicians, people in education, parents and Orchard School staff.

Speakers spoke of her dedication and the way she has transformed the former Monks Park School. Tributes were paid by long-serving deputy head Peter Gould, Trust in Learning Academies chief executive Mark Davies and chair of the school’s local governing body, Martina Peattie.

Among the gifts presented to Dr Homan were a special Bristol Blue Glass apple to symbolise the name of the school, and a large apple decorated with an orchard and students' fingerprints as the apples.

Orchard School is now rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted and is set for a full Year 7 intake in 2017/18.

The new headteacher will be Julia Hinchliffe, currently the deputy principal at Oasis Academy Brightstowe in Shirehampton, and previously assistant principal at Bristol Metropolitan Academy in Fishponds. She will take over the role in September.

Dr Holman said: “It has been a privilege to have been headteacher of OSB and I will miss every aspect of my work here. I know how much Julia wanted this job and how excited she is to be leading it to outstanding outcomes. I know too that she has a talented team of students and staff and the positive support of the wider community who will be there to support her all the way."

Mrs Hinchliffe said she was excited about the new role, with the school making such good progress.

She said: “Orchard School Bristol is a fantastic school with high quality staff, friendly students and a vibrant learning environment. Dr Holman has built a remarkable school, with calm behaviour, best ever exam success and an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’.  It is a huge privilege to be appointed headteacher and I am excited to be leading the school to an even brighter future from September."

When she announced her retirement, Dr Holman said: “We have a team of exceptional professionals amongst the whole staff; the highest calibre of leaders, teaching staff and a support staff who give us all such crucial backing. I have no doubt when I say that our teachers have developed and refined teaching and learning best practice which would be the envy of many schools across the city.

“This was reflected in our latest Ofsted report and we have further ‘upped our game’ with the hugely successful ‘Ready to Learn’ system which has produced a cultural revolution in the classroom and beyond."

Orchard School Bristol’s Chair of Governors, Martina Peattie, said: “Dr Holman has been the catalyst for great change and huge improvements at Orchard School Bristol in the 11 years she has been headteacher. 

“I and my fellow governors are confident that Julia Hinchliffe will be able to guide the school further along its improvement journey in the years to come and that she will embrace the ethos and values that all of us at OSB hold dear."

This year, Orchard School has introduced the revolutionary Ready to Learn system which is producing remarkable results in the classroom, with learning maximised and behaviour problems reduced to a minimum.

The school, part of the Trust in Learning chain of academies, has also recently announced a tie-up with local primary schools, including Horfield CofE, Filton Avenue and Bishop Road to create a new programme of teaching Latin.