17 September 2021 Letter to Parents
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17 September 2021
Dear parents and carers
We have had a great week again, with wonderful weather so the children can be outside almost every break and lunchtime. The best part of my day is always talking to students about their day, what they are enjoying, what is challenging in lessons, and finding out how they are managing home learning. I am very impressed by the respectful way they talk to staff, and the fantastic questions they ask me.
Our Open Evening is on Tuesday 28th September. We can’t wait to show families around the school so they can see what Orchard feels like from the inside, and to see our facilities including our expansive green spaces and playgrounds at the back of the school.
In order to ensure we are ready to greet parents/carers and children in Year 6 to look around the school, we will be making a few amendments to the end of the school day on Tuesday 28th September:
• Students will leave school 10 minutes earlier
• There is no Year 11 Prep or Homework Club
• Other clubs will be cancelled unless the member of staff informs the students directly otherwise
To ensure we keep Covid aware, we are asking families to book a place at an agreed time. You can do this through our website by following this link, Book Open Evening or by phoning our Reception team on 0117 377 2000 who can book you in directly.
Earlier in September we managed to rearrange the Prom for last year’s Year 11, which had been postponed due to Covid. The young people now in Year 12 at sixth form, or at college or on apprenticeships looked magnificent, and enjoyed a fantastic evening together. We look forward to hearing how they get on, which university/college destinations or employment options they choose over the next few years.
Trips and Visits
I want to keep you updated on plans which are going ahead this year for some larger year-group trips. A common theme from our Parent Survey last summer was that students were not receiving the number of trips you were hoping for. We want to make amends
for the last two academic years where trips were often cancelled due to Covid, as well
as adding in more exciting trips further afield and residential.
In the next few weeks, students in Year 7 and 9 will receive information about their yeargroup
trips, which we are hoping will be residential (overnight) trips. Full information will
come out to you shortly, including how we can support financially, if required.
A reminder please to parents/carers that if your child is taking regular medication, or has
recent adjustments to medical needs, please contact our lead First Aider, Sandra Curry,
who will ensure we have all the right consent documentation in place for you. Phone
0117 377 2000 to speak to Sandra or you can email email@example.com and Sandra
will contact you back.
You will have heard in the news that Covid vaccinations will be offered to all children
aged 12-16 over the coming weeks. Schools are asked to provide a venue and send out
details, but all the consent forms/vaccinations will be carried out by our local health
provider. We have not been sent information yet, but I will keep you up to date on this
as soon as details come my way.
Key Stage 3 Assessments
Over the next few weeks students in Years 7 and 8, and some in Year 9 may be involved
in assessments. These are opportunities to see what your children can do, and where
any gaps may be that could have arisen due to interrupted schooling. These
assessments include reading, writing, maths among others. There is no revision required
for these assessments, and we don’t want children to worry. These assessments help us
plan the learning to meet the children’s needs as best we can in the classroom. Reports
will be made available to parents/carers once we have a full picture.
School Engagement Officer
I would like to introduce PC Kris Withers, who is joining us once a week initially as our
School Engagement Officer. This is a Bristol-wide initiative, and we are pleased that PC
Withers will be bringing educational opportunities and workshops to Orchard. His role will
be to provide personal, social and health education related to safety, crime and our
community. As a police officer, very experienced working in schools, he will also provide
a supportive presence at the gates before and after school, before continuing his
education workshops within the school. PC Withers has a letter to share with you here:
Please allow me to introduce myself. I am PC 2544 Kris WITHERS the new School Engagement Officer at Orchard School Bristol. From the week commencing Monday 20th September 2021, I will be working at Orchard School Bristol once a week alongside my other commitments. I will be working closely with the Safeguarding Team at the school to ensure your child is safe; I will also be providing educational inputs on Police-related themes, working closely with the PSHE department.
I have worked with young people from a Policing point of view for just over six years now, with
previous experience working as a School Police Officer in two secondary schools in South Bristol.
As a result, I have a good understanding of the issues facing young people. I see my role as a great opportunity to educate young people and steer them away from the criminal justice system if they ever find themselves on the wrong side of the law. I also see this role as an opportunity to support young people and their families to have positive communication with the Police.
I will be reminding the students that they are ambassadors for Orchard School Bristol when they are making their way to and from school; to that end, I expect the students to behave in a way which upholds the values of the school and the positive reputation it has in the community. You will hopefully see me on gate duty whilst I’m working in the school. Please come and say hello if you get the opportunity to do so.
PC 2544 Kris WITHERS
A reminder that Homework Club is open every day in the library for students to study
quietly and use laptops as necessary. Details of after school clubs are being finalised
right now, ready to launch to students along with Enrichment next week. Breakfast Club
will be available for some students soon, with Pastoral Managers inviting students in for
this. Please contact your Pastoral Manager if you think your child would benefit from
I hope your children are now feeling settled back in school and have got back into
routines. I wish you all a lovely weekend.
With best wishes
Julia Hinchliffe, Headteacher