FAQs for Prospective Parents
These FAQs are for parents who are considering Orchard as a future school. If you already have a place at Orchard, you will find more information on our transition pages, here.
Will I get in to your school?
The vast majority of pupils will be allocated a place at OSB, but as a school growing in popularity, please ensure you place OSB as your first choice.
What rewards system do you have in place?
As part of our Ready to Learn (RTL) behaviour system, we have introduced RTL Rewards where our students are recognised and celebrated for outstanding behaviour in the classroom. When students exceed expectations in the classroom, they receive a '1' on the school system - the more 1s a student receives, the more points they accumulate to redeem special prizes. Students who have received the most 1s in each house are also recognised on our 'Star of the Fortnight' board in our school corridor. We also hold termly house assemblies where students receive certificates and prizes for high attendance and good behaviour, and regular rewards trips which our students thoroughly look forward to.
Students receive 1s for the following: Independent learning, teamwork, great questioning, caring for others, helping staff, resilience, high quality work, sustained improvement, responding positively to feedback, showing initiative, representing school, and linking learning.
What extra-curricular activities will be on offer to my child?
Currently all students from Years 7-9 take part in lesson 6 on Wednesday and have been able to take part in a wide range of activities including fencing, boxing, debating, drama, comic book club, sport, yoga to name a few. Students can suggest activities and if they are popular we endeavour to run them.
In addition, students are able to take part in a wide variety of sporting activities during lunch times and after school, including sporting fixtures and the Stages dance competition.
Students in Years 7-9 participate in the Children's University scheme and from Year 9 are able to act as volunteers who help younger students run the scheme. This is a nationally recognised scheme that results in a graduation ceremony each year at Bristol Cathedral.
Students from Year 9 can participate in the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze and Silver Award Schemes. All students are eligible for participation. The school also participates in the Ten Tors event each year – a difficult and challenging walking event based in Dartmoor.
How do you deal with bullying at Orchard?
We take bullying at OSB very seriously and there is a comprehensive reporting system which records any incidents and informs relevant members of staff. The pastoral team always deal with any cases of bullying swiftly and uses the restorative justice approach to resolve matters effectively.
How do your grades compare with other schools in Bristol?
Our exam results are improving year on year and we are ambitious that they continue to do so. In 2019, our GCSE progress score was in line with the national score. We have improved on this every year and were confident that our 2020 score would have been even better, had it not been for the Covid-19 pandemic, which means that this score won't be recorded for schools. We are not complacent in this area at all, though.
Schools cannot be directly compared as the cohorts and intake vary, particularly when they are fully comprehensive.
Our exam results for children of comparable ability stand up to other schools in the city … in other words, your child will likely match or exceed the expectations from when they leave primary school.
How do you accommodate high achievers?
High achieving pupils are accommodated in two main ways at OSB: through our curriculum and through extracurricular activities. In lessons we have high expectations of pupils. Tasks provided are challenging and encourage pupils to consider topics in depth and develop key skills. Outside the classroom pupils are provided with a number of different opportunities to expand on what they have learnt in school. This includes lesson 6 options, trips and workshops. Examples of extracurricular activities include visits to universities, learning Latin and the Sports Leader Award.
My child has Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND). What support will you provide for them?
If your child has special educational needs they may receive a range of support. We will ensure that their teachers are aware of their needs and that they have the knowledge needed to be able to meet their needs in the classroom. We may also look at assessing your child and providing them with a relevant, outcomes-based intervention to support their needs in a certain area, such as literacy. Some pupils are provided with a key worker so that they have someone they can check in with and talk to if they are finding they need it. Some of our pupils are part of our Thrive programme where we support them with their emotional needs.
We do have a small team of learning support assistants who provide in-class support in some classes and run interventions. A number of the learning support assistants are also in school early in the mornings so that pupils can come to get some help with homework or just have a chat. We have a break and lunch club where pupils can eat and socialise as well as somewhere they can eat breakfast. We offer an enhanced transition package for those who will benefit from it and can offer more visits or opportunities to meet people if where needed. One of the most important things to us is staying in contact with you and working with you to ensure that we are meeting the needs of your child together.
What sports opportunities are available at Orchard?
In sport, we run equal opportunities for all, although seasons may vary in length. We have a variety of club links including Hawks gymnastics, Bristol Handball, Bristol Storm basketball club and Bristol Rovers. We also encourage students to be part of the Leadership Academy.
What drama opportunities are available at Orchard?
The English department incorporate drama activities into their lessons, whether it be recreating a storm in Macbeth or becoming fantasy creatures from the novel Northern Lights. Furthermore, Orchard School takes part in a national event called The Shakespeare Schools Festival every year. This involves several months of rehearsals that lead to performances of Shakespeare's plays at a variety of Bristol theatres (such as The Tobacco Factory). We are also hoping to teach GCSE Drama next year and are currently recruiting year 9 students.
What music opportunities are available at Orchard?
We encourage all instrumental players to continue lessons with their previous teacher. If the teacher works through Bristol Plays Music we will contact them directly.
The music practice rooms are bookable during lunch and break times for independent practise. We have a range of opportunities throughout the school year for students to perform in front of audiences. We encourage that they join the local Orchestras run by Bristol Plays Music.
During enrichment we offer singing, music technology, samba band and guitar lessons. All of the lessons are delivered by trained music teaching staff. This is a popular choice for student during Period 6 on Wednesdays.