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Orchard School Bristol

  • 05 July 2024 - Letter to Parents


    To translate this letter, please use the translate function at the top of this page, above the Orchard School Logo 

    5 July 2024


    Dear Parents and Carers,

    I hope that you and your families have had a lovely week. We have had a lovely week, with a particular highlight for me in seeing our Year 7 and 8 students compete in the ‘Speak Out’ Challenge at Bristol Grammar School. I was so proud to hear their powerful speeches, and delighted that we picked up both a winner and a runner up at Orchard. It was also brilliant to welcome our happy new Year 6 students for their transition day, and their parents and carers to our transition evening. They had a great day, and are already part of the Orchard family.

    Key Dates for Term 6

    Friday 19 July – Last day of Term 6 – students will finish at 12:40pm
    Thursday 22 August – Results Day
    Thursday 22 August - Y7 Transition Picnic at 12.30 – 2pm


    Please encourage your child to attend school until the last day of term as valuable learning and exciting events are taking place. Forms with excellent attendance in the past week are 7D1, 9D2, 10A1, 10W2 and 10B2. If your child is missing school on a regular basis, please contact their Pastoral Manager as we will continue to use our ‘support-first’ approach to help pupils and their families to tackle barriers to attendance.

    We would also like to remind you of some key changes to attendance, released by the government, which take place from August 2024:

    • All schools will be required to consider a fine when a child has missed 10 or more sessions (5 days) for unauthorised reasons.
    • From August 2024, the fine for school absences across the country will be £80 if paid (per child and per parent) within 21 days, or £160 if paid within 28 days.
    • In the case of repeated fines, if a parent receives a second fine for the same child within any three-year period, this will be charged at the higher rate of £160
    • Fines per parent will be capped to two fines within any three-year period. Once this limit has been reached, other actions such as a parenting order or prosecution will be considered.
    • For further information please visit: Fines for parents for taking children out of school: What you need to know - The Education Hub (blog.gov.uk)


    We are so proud of how well our students have adapted to using their Yondr pouches. It’s been much quicker and easier than we had anticipated to get students’ phones pouched in the morning and unpouched after school, and we have been busy entering everyone doing the right thing first time into our voucher draw. Thank you for your support as we have introduced Yondr. All the research tells us that it is likely to benefit their mental health, social skills and their outcomes across all subjects, and is not a major change for Orchard students, who have not been allowed phones for a number of years.

    A reminder of the staggered end of the school day by a few minutes for each year group as follows so that, whilst students practise unpouching their phones, we are able to best support them and avoid any issues as a result of potential delays whilst they get used to the system. The end of the school day for each year group from July 1 to July 12 will therefore be as follows:

    Year 10 14:50
    Year 9 14:54
    Year 8 14:58
    Year 7 15:00

    From September 4th, 2024 all students will finish at 3pm as usual.

    Key Stage 3 Updates

    This week has seen a big day in the life of Orchard School. Our annual transition day happened on Wednesday during which over 200 year 6 pupils spent an exciting day at school, getting used to the new environment and starting to make new friends. They were supported in this by 40 excellent Year 7 transition leaders and the Year 10 prefects. We look forward to welcoming them in September with our new Year 7 team, Mr Davis (Head of Year) and Mr Scott-Mullen (Pastoral Manager).

    Key Stage 4 Updates

    Year 10 have completed their mock exams – which have mirrored the style that the actual GCSEs will take. This has given students familiarity with the procedures of GCSE exams and given teachers a great insight into what areas of each subject we need to focus on next. Year 10’s mature attitude towards revision was something that a number of staff have commented on. To support students achieving the best GCSE grades possible, we will be sending a pack of subject guidance on what students should be working on over the summer holidays.

    In addition, Year 10 Geographers have completed their field research which was great to see. Staff were really pleased with how maturely students approached the trip as a whole.

    SEND Coffee morning – message from the Bristol Parent/Carer Forum:
    Come along to our SEND Coffee morning where you can find out more information on what support is available locally for your child with special educational needs and disabilities. It doesn't matter if you don't have a diagnosis, we are here to support every family in Bristol and we are parents ourselves, so we get it!

    Bristol Autism Support will be joining us at this coffee morning they will provide a brief talk about autism and answer any questions.

    There is no need to book, but if you would like to register your interest then click the link here.
    Date: 11th July 2024
    Time: 9 - 10:30am
    Location: Orchard School

    Safeguarding in the summer holiday

    The summer holiday is a period when families can spend time together, enjoying one another’s company, in addition to hopefully enjoying the British weather. The wellbeing of our students is at the forefront of our minds over this spell. With it being a long period away from school, we advise parents/carers to ensure they know where their children are socialising outside and with who to ensure all members of our community are safeguarded. The image below shows a checklist for parents and carers that can be used to help create a safety plan around community events that take place during the summer holidays. In addition, your children may increase their usage of social media during this time. For practical tips for parents in helping to minimise risks of social media use, please click here.

    If you have concerns about any young person over the school break, or at any other time, you can contact First Response using the telephone number 0117 903 6444. If you wish to report a concern anonymously to the school for us to be aware of for September, please use the Whisper button on the Orchard School website, but please bear in mind that the Whisper button is not for emergencies during the holidays, but only for school related issues that the Pastoral staff will pick up when the new term starts in September. There is additional information on the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership website with support for Bristol residents around a number of matters. You can contact emergency services to report concerns on 101 and of course, 999 can be dialled in an emergency.

    If you, or anybody else, needs emotional support at any time, you can also reach out to The Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.

    Keeping safe at community events - checklists for parents and young people - Templates (bristolsafeguardingineducation.org)

    Community Information

    A list of local summer holiday activities will be sent out to all families in our end of term mailing pack, but here are some local events happening before the end of term:

    Really Wild Lockleaze:
    Wednesday 3rd July 6-8pm - Become a Bee Monitor - at the Cameron Centre
    Wednesday 10th July 4-6pm - Yellow Rattle Seed Collection Walk in Stoke Park - meet at the Hub
    Thursday 11th 4-6pm - Butterfly Walk across Stoke Park - meet at the Hub
    Saturday 13th July 10am-12pm - Lockleaze's Pop-up Nature Festival @ Gainsborough Square
    Thursday 18th July 6.30-8.30pm - Lockleaze Nature Network Get Together - bring and share food - at the Vench
    Friday 19th July 6-8pm - Become a Butterfly Monitor - at the Cameron Centre
    Thursday July 25th 5-7pm - Rangers Ramble in Stoke Park - meet at the Hub
    The Lockleaze Community Picnic is this Sunday 13 July, in Gainsborough Square

    School Uniform

    Uniform Appointments are now available for parents and carers to book with our uniform supplier, Monkhouse. They are 1:1 appointments that allow for you to avoid queues and get your uniform sizing correct ready for next year. Book your appointment on our school page at www.monkhouse.com.

    Wishing you a restful weekend.


    Melanie Sweet, Headteacher