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Orchard School Bristol

  • 12 January 2024 - Letter to Parents


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



    12 January 2024

     Dear Parents and Carers,

    I hope that you and your families have had a great week. We have had another
    positive week, with students really enacting our behaviour routines and participating
    in a good range of extra-curricular activities. Please do encourage them to come
    along to the many clubs we have on offer.

     Key Dates for this Term

    • Year 11 Parent Subject Consultation Evening – Thursday 1 February 3.30 –
    • SEND Parents’/Carers’ Coffee Morning – Thursday 18 January 9 -10.30am at
    Orchard School Bristol
    • Revision session for Years 7-9 - 22 February, 6 -7pm in the Library
    There is no need to book for the SEND 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

    7W1 and 8D1 started the year off with the highest attendance across the 3 school
    days last week - well done!
    We have noticed that whole school attendance on Fridays is on average lower than
    other days during the week. We will shortly be sharing an attendance report which will
    share your child’s attendance from September through to the last day of term in
    December (Terms 1 and 2). We will also include their average attendance for each
    day of the week across the same time period. Please do discuss this information with
    your child when it is shared and ensure that your child attend every day of the week,
    including Fridays. Learning continues every lesson, every day. Thank you.

     Special Days/Trips Update

    This month our Belonging Door Signs raise awareness around ability and disability;
    assemblies next week will focus on Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging.
    This month, we also have Year 11 students attending a Poetry Live event at Bristol
    Beacon on 22 January, which is an exciting opportunity for students to hear GCSE
    poetry read by the poets themselves, bringing to life these core English Literature texts.
    Parents can complete consent forms on Parent Pay. 
    There are plenty of sporting fixtures during January, including Orchard’s Basketball
    teams taking on the likes of Trinity Academy and Fairfield. We wish them luck!

     House Champions’ Update

    We have an exciting term ahead for students with a range of different events and
    competitions taking place. There are interhouse basketball and hockey competitions,
    too; more details to follow for students on tutor notices.
    In February, we will be marking and celebrating LGBTQ+ history month, with
    assemblies and art competitions.
    The next round of House Council meetings will also take place this term with tutor
    group representatives having an opportunity to share student views with the school
    Prefects and Senior Leaders for feedback.
    Please encourage your child(ren) to get involved with as much as possible!

     Year 11 Mocks Update

    Year 11’s mock examination season is now at a close, and we couldn’t be prouder of
    them. Attendance in Year 11 was the highest of any year group in that period, and
    most students performed admirably – working to the very end of each exam. I am
    excited to share their results with both them and you at Parent Consultation Evening
    on Thursday 1st February. 
    Our attention reverts to coursework-based subjects for the next couple of months, with
    final deadlines before the Easter break at the end of March. We also hope Year 11
    post-16 interviews are going well, with lots of Bristol schools offering places this month.
    Public GCSE examinations will begin from the week beginning Monday 13th May, and
    run through until the ‘contingency day’ on Wednesday 26th June. As soon as we have
    a more specific timetable from the examining bodies, we will share this with you and

     Sports & Health Update

    This term all students in PE will take part in the ‘British Red Cross First Aid Champions’, a
    programme which builds up students’ knowledge each year with different real-life
    situations from asthma attacks to seizures, head injuries and sprains. It is taught by the
    Sports and Health team with lots of opportunities to practice, as well as our ‘Start the
    Heart’ annual CPR training. There is a homework quiz at the end of the course with
    multiple choice questions and a Start the Heart training certificate.
    There are also football and basketball fixtures to look forward to throughout terms 3
    and 4. Please encourage your child to check the fixtures board in the Sports Hall.

     The Big Ambition – Have your say!

    The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has launched The
    Big Ambition, a national survey of children and young people across England. The Big
    Ambition aims to hear from children across England on what they think is important. In
    the lead up to the next General Election, the Children’s Commissioner wants to take
    children’s thoughts, opinions and ideas to decision-makers, to make sure that the
    Government hears young people’s voices on what they think needs to be done to
    make children’s lives better in England.
    The Big Ambition survey will be open until Friday 19th January. Children and parents
    or carers can complete the survey here:

     Severe Weather

    Following the recent slight snow fall we want to make parents aware of the protocol
    regarding severe weather. The school will only close if there is safeguarding and/or a
    health and safety concern.
    Should you need to check on the possible closure of the school, please refer to either
    the school website or the Bristol City Council website under ‘School Closures’.
    Alternatively, you can listen to the local radio station, Heart FM, who will provide
    details on all local school closures.
    Communication will also be made to parents and carers via push notification text and

     Community Information

    Ebenezer Church in Lockleaze is promoting their Taste Cafe as a warm space for all
    those in the community. The are also running a Community Breakfast on Fridays, 9am
    - 10.30am. More information here.
    Nominations are open for the Lockleaze and Horfield Community Awards. Click here
    for more information if you would like to nominate someone!

     Hot Chocolate with the Headteacher

    I am looking forward to meeting the children, in the last week of term, who have been
    nominated by staff for the Headteacher commendations throughout Term
    3. Children can be nominated by teachers for writing an exceptional piece of
    independent research for home learning, carrying out exceptional student
    leadership, for example in organising a charity day, or for exceptional contribution to
    an out of school activity such as playing sports at county level or winning an external
    award. Where they are happy to, please do encourage them to talk to their tutors
    about the wonderful activities they are involved in outside of school so that we can
    continue to celebrate their successes.


    Wishing you a restful weekend.

     Melanie Sweet, Headteacher