05 January 2024 - Letter to Parents
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05 January 2024
Dear Parents and Carers,
Happy New Year! I hope that you and your families have had a great break. We are looking forward to the new term, and to supporting all of our students to be the best they can be.
Key Dates for this Term
• Year 11 Parent Subject Consultation Evening – Thursday 1 February 3.30 – 7pm
• SEND Parents’/Carers’ Coffee Morning – Thursday 18 January 9 -10.30am at Orchard School Bristol
There is no need to book for the coffee morning, but if you would like to register your interest then please click the link here.
Attendance – Message from Ms Fields and Mr Bevan, Assistant Headteachers
We are so pleased to have welcomed our students back this week. We have communicated with all parents and carers over the past 2 terms, keeping you updated with how your child is doing with regard to their attendance and punctuality. Thank you for your continued support and feedback. We want students in every day because we know that great attendance has a positive impact on progress and outcomes and, crucially, allows students time with their peers, which is good for their mental health. We also understand that life events happen and that there are times that students are unwell. Please continue to inform us every day that your child is absent, via the school’s absence line on 0117 3772021 (24-hour answerphone), or via email to email@example.com.
The NHS guidance Is my child too ill for school? - NHS (www.nhs.uk) provides a helpful guide about whether students can be in school if they are feeling unwell. An example provided is that if your child has a cough, cold, or sore throat, they can still come to school.
We look forward to seeing students every day, on time and ready to learn.
Extra-curricular timetable for this term
Please visit our updated website page for details of the Key Stage Three Enrichment programme and Term 3 Clubs timetable. We look forward to seeing as many
students as possible at one or more of our clubs this term! Participation in enrichment has multiple benefits for students, including improved mental health, the chance to make new friends and the opportunity to learn new skills. Please do encourage them to engage with our activities.
Year 11 Mocks Update
Our first fortnight of Year 11 mock examinations has been excellent, with students making full use of the time in examinations, and the revision beforehand. Staff have already started marking, and we are looking forward to seeing all students and parents on February 1 for the mock-results day, and Parent Consultation Evening.
The return from Christmas has been a success, with the first of the exams getting back underway – and I look forward to seeing Year 11 finishing off strongly.
Here is a useful link to guidance on helping with revision at home - Study Support - and a student friendly version can be found here - Student Study Support.
Year 10 and 11 Family Session 2: Supporting your Child to Learn
We will be holding our second family support session in the library from 6pm-7pm on January 25. The session will involve talking through effective study and revision habits and how to create an effective revision timetable. Mrs Morris, one of our SEMH Practitioners, will also be giving advice to parents on how to support resilience and manage exam stress. You do not have to have attended session 1 to attend session 2; all families are welcome. Session 1 for Years 7-9 will be held in term 4.
The Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust is running various community activities and courses from January that can be viewed here. For example, Wellbeing and Family Walks, a free budgeting and Maths course for adults and Peace of Mind sessions at The Hub.
Key New Staff
We are pleased to have welcomed Ms Woodman as new Teacher of Humanities, and Mr Lloyd as our new School Business Manager, who replaces Mrs Guy as she moves into a promoted post within the Trust as Estates Manager. Mrs Guy will still regularly visit us at Orchard in her new role.
In response to student and staff feedback, we have been busy reminding students of some of our key behaviour routines as part of our behaviour curriculum. Simply put, this means that we are giving students the opportunity to practise key routines that they encounter throughout the typical school day that help to keep our school calm and safe. These routines are not new, but we are building in extra time to actively demonstrate to students what they look like, to give them the best possible chance of success. We have also designated toilets to specific year groups, as was requested in recent student voice surveys.
We are also delighted to have appointed a new Behaviour and Belonging Manager, Ms Burke, who will staff our Independent Study Room (ISR) each morning, supported by Mr Coxon and other Senior and Middle Leaders, which will move to the main hall from 15th January so that we can carry out intervention work with students in small groups in the current ISR. Ms Burke is very experienced at supporting students and their families, and will be planning sessions for our children, where they need additional support in managing their behaviour, working with a variety of stakeholders including The Grove, parents and carers and the Pastoral team. We care about our students and want them to be successful both in school and beyond and are hopeful that this additional support will help those especially who frequently receive detentions or ISR referrals; we know that working with students who need additional structure through positive mentoring and through establishing strong partnerships with people who support them at home will lead to success now and in future, when they leave Orchard School. Students have welcomed the structure this week and have started the term really well. We are proud of them.
Wishing you a restful weekend.
Melanie Sweet, Headteacher