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Orchard School Bristol

  • 28 June 2024 - Letter to Parents


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

    28 June 2024

    Dear Parents and Carers,

    I hope that you and your families have had a lovely week. We had lots of lovely trips running this week, including a Y7 trip to Mojo Active, a rewards trip to We the Curious and a Geography Field trip to Minehead. Prom last night was also very special, and it was a good way for us to send off Mr Davis, who leaves us today to take a promotion to Deputy Headteacher at a school in Somerset. He is replaced by Mr Fish as Assistant Headteacher.

    Key Dates for Term 6

    Wednesday 3 July – Transition Day for Year 6 students
    Friday 19 July – Last day of Term 6 – students will finish at 12:40pm
    Thursday 22 August – Results Day


    Attendance to the current mock exams by Year 10 has been very pleasing so far. End of Year assessments have just begun for Years 7, 8 and 9 so please continue to encourage your child to attend school on time every day. Forms with noteworthy attendance in the past week are 7W2, 7D1 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)


    Thank you to parents and carers for your support of the school as we entered into lockdown due to the report of an intruder being spotted in the car park near the end of the school day. We entered lockdown as a precautionary measure and contacted the police to confirm that the site was safe - we had had reports that the intruder had run away, but we wanted to be extra sure before letting children leave at the end of the day, as I am sure you will understand. We recognise that an event such as this one is stressful for you, but please can I remind parents and carers that in the case of lockdown, you should not attempt to enter the school site and should not call your children on mobile phones as this can bring additional risk to students and staff. We will always keep you updated throughout any incident, and let you know when it is safe for your child to leave the site.


    We delivered an assembly to all students this week on the new Yondr pouch system for storing their mobile phones. We’re also going to hold drop-in sessions for them at breaktimes a couple of days a week so that they can let us know of any problems or concerns. Mobile phones have not been allowed at Orchard for several years, so we were pleased to see children so engaged in this new storage solution. They get to keep their phones in their pouches on them all day. We know that even having a mobile phone in sight causes distractions from learning, and we are confident that Yondr will help our children to focus, to socialise and to experience improved mental health without the burden, for example, of social media. Thank you for your support with this. The Yondr pouch system is being funded by the Trust for all students for 2024-25 and forms part of our required uniform moving forwards. Students have their pouches on them for their whole time at Orchard, from Yr 7 to Yr 11 so, unless they lose them or damage them, there will not be a cost to parents and carers.

    Please note that, from July 1st, we will be staggering the 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- This will begin for Year 10 from July 2nd
    Year 9 14:54
    Year 8 14:58
    Year 7 15:00

    From September 1 2024, all students will finish at 3pm as usual.


    Key Stage 3 Updates

    This week has seen Year 7 go out on two great days at Mojo Active learning team building and resilience skills with a huge dose of fun thrown in! Fortunately, they were out of school in beautiful weather.

    Year 7,8 and 9 students are in the middle of their end of year progress tests which will let them, you and the school know how well they are doing on their journey towards GCSEs. This information will be reported to you in the end of term reports.

    Key Stage 4 Updates

    As mentioned earlier, the Year 11 Prom yesterday evening was an excellent event, and we are so proud to see the cohort move to the next chapter of their journey. Congratulations, all, and good luck for this summer’s Results Day.

    Year 10 Geographers have completed their field research, and the year group as a whole continues with mock examinations through to the end of next week. We are excited to see their results before the summer and look forward to working with them to ensure progress ahead of next summer’s public examinations.

    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: 11 July 2024
    Time: 9 - 10:30am
    Location: Orchard School

    Community Information

    Join the Lockleaze Pop-up Nature Festival on Saturday 13 July in Gainsborough Square. There will be nature walks, food, music and fun family activities.

    Southmead Festival is also taking place on Saturday13 July. More information can be found here.

    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