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Orchard School Bristol


As science educators, we have a duty and drive to inspire the next generation of scientists to enjoy this challenging and diverse subject beyond just the practical aspects, and beyond year 11. We think this is crucial, because science helps us understand the world including where we have come from, how we fit into it, and how to make it a better place. We achieve this through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. 

We spark curiosity in our students, so that they wonder and question in order to develop the skills to evaluate and analyse information and data.  Students are exposed to practical work where possible to support the learning of content, but also to become good practical scientists- an important part of our subject.   

We impart our knowledge to students in an engaging and relevant way, using concrete examples of challenging scientific concepts so students understand the fundamentals of the science that effects their day to day life. We develop enquiring minds through the acquisition and application of knowledge, enabling students to make predictions and informed decisions. 

We expose students to current and up to date science, using news and journal articles in order to build awe and curiosity. Science in the news can help to make the subject more relevant to students, and open up some great discussions about what is happening now and the potential impact on our futures.  

Staff Profiles

  • Janet Criddle, BSc (Hons), PGCE - Head of Faculty

I graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Genetics and went on to complete a PGCE at the University of Birmingham. I have a particular interest in biochemistry, the development of novel drugs, and advances in genetic and biochemical research. I am a Chemistry GCSE examiner and a member of the Chartered College of Teaching, and have been a Leader in Science for over 10 years. I trained with the National College and am a facilitator for the training of Middle Leaders in education.

  • Madeleine Selman, MSc (Hons), PGCE - Second in Science

Miss Selman is currently on Maternity Leave.

  • Ms Humera Akbar Hannam, BSc (Hons), PGCE - Second in Science (Maternity Cover)

I graduated from the University of Manchester with an honours degree in Chemistry. I taught in London for 8 years before moving to Bristol where I am the Second in Science. 

  • Miss Aimee Bovill, BSc (Hons), PGCE

I graduated from the Royal Agricultural University with a degree in Animal Science. I have a particular interest in how to encourage more girls into STEM subjects and am a part of the Be Her Lead programme at Orchard.

  • Mrs Sharen Cordy, RSciTech 

Prior to joining the Orchard Family I had a variety of Science focused jobs, working in the Laboratory of UK Transplant (now known as NHS Blood & Transplant) and in private sector microbiology work testing food & water samples, before transferring those skills into a Senior Science Technician role in an education setting.   I gained Registered Science Technician status in July 2019.

  • Mr Simon Davis, BSc (Hons), PGCE

I graduated from Bath Spa University with a degree in Environmental Biology. I have a particular interest in wildlife conservation and ecology and am passionate about encouraging young people to explore the wildlife that is living around them. I am a member of the Chartered College of Teaching.

  • Ms Fiona Fields, BSc (Hons), MA, PGCE 

I graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Physiology. I went on to complete my PGCE and MA in Education at UWE. I have a particular interest in human physiology and biochemistry. I am a science GCSE examiner. I achieved my National Professional Leadership Qualification for Middle Leaders in 2019 and I am a member of the Chartered College of Teaching. 

  • Ms Paulina Genzels, MChem (Hons), MRes, MRSC, PGCE

I completed a master’s degree in Chemistry (MChem) and a master’s degree in Catalysis at Cardiff University (MRes). I received my PGCE from the University of the West of England (UWE). I have been a Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) for several years, which demonstrates my professional development as a Chemist. I am interested in catalysis and sustainable processes. 

  • Mr Mat Grafton, BSc (Hons), MSc, FCCT, CTeach 

I graduated from Cardiff University with an Applied Biology degree which covered a wide range of subjects including microbiology and freshwater ecology. I then attended the University of Reading to study a Masters in Ecotoxicology, which is the study of the effect of pollution on the natural environment. This remains an interest to this day and is currently very topical. I am a Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching and had the great experience of becoming one of the first Chartered Teachers in the country.

  • Miss Viv Hayles, BSc (Hons), PGCE

I graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Biological Sciences. I also completed my PGCE at the University of Bristol. My areas of interest are epidemiology, conservation and animal behaviour. I am part of the 'Be Her Lead' group which works to empower young women. 

  • Mr Adam Payne, BSc (Hons), MRes, PGCE, MCCT 

I read marine biology and coastal ecology at Plymouth University. After graduating I went on to complete a Masters of Research post-graduate degree in marine biology with Plymouth University and the Marine Biological Association of the UK. I studied for my PGCE with the University of Bristol as a biology specialist. Since beginning my teaching career I have developed a passion for physics and have recently qualified as a DfE-registered physics specialist.

  • Dr Lan Wang, Science Technician

I graduated from King’s College London with a doctorate in Molecular Biology. I have worked in Biotechnological industries for many years, and have also worked at both Birmingham and Cambridge Universities for over 12 years. As a school science technician, I have a great passion to inspire young people to achieve their full potential in exploring science.

Curriculum features 

We teach through a curriculum that builds upon and revisits core concepts in Key Stage 3, into Key Stage 4, and in preparation for A Levels and beyond. We  focus on understanding threshold concepts to ensure deep understanding, target common misconceptions and build powerful, well informed knowledge.  Students follow units specifically in biology, chemistry and physics. 

Follow us on Twitter, @OrchardScience!