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Orchard School Bristol


What will my child need for their first day?

The first day will start at the normal time at 8:30, however we recommend arriving at 8:10 to meet key staff members in the school hall. All pupils will spend the first two lessons with their tutor, at this time they will be provided with timetables and tutors will ensure they understand the timetable and know the direction of the day’s lessons. Pupils will have fingerprints loaded up ready for buying food/drink at break and lunch time on our biometric system.

Please bring a good school bag, to carry PE kit and stationary.

Ensure your child and yourself know the travel plan and timings that your child will come home.

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.

My child wants to be in the same house as their friend, is it possible to choose their house? 

House and tutor groups are allocated depending on the whole year group and individual children’s needs. We take into account all pupils’ needs, most able, SEN, EAL and ensure the needs of all pupils are shared to make sure all support is provided. We always take into account any requests but cannot guarantee the same house.

Will my child be able to continue with Children’s University?

Yes, OSB has over 260 pupils involved in Children’s University and 26 Children’s University volunteers. At OSB, Mr Keeling Burton and Mr Grafton have attended Children’s University courses to enable them to validate extracurricular events or activities run at OSB. We also work closely with local groups to sign up new sports clubs, drama groups etc – this will ensure that all activities are validated.

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.

What happens if my child is bullied?

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 will my child be assessed during their first few years at Orchard School Bristol?

We use lots of information from primary schools and the national SATS tests from Year 6 to help us understand what your child is good at and where they may need a little more support.

On their arrival at OSB they will also have some assessments to help us get more detail. Students will have a MidYIS test - MidYIS is a baseline assessment for secondary school students aged 11-14, designed to measure student aptitude for, and attitude to, learning. MidYIS assesses students in key cognitive areas which research shows are linked to later academic outcomes. The assessment comprises four separate, timed modules, always following the same order of vocabulary, mathematics, non-verbal and skills.

Students may also have to take a reading test which has been designed to drill down into pupil’s reading and comprehension skills. This will allow us to see where a student needs literacy support and we can plan their learning accordingly. Each subject may also ask students to undertake a baseline test so they have robust information that tells them what a student knows or can do at the beginning of Year 7. Lessons and adapted following this and future assessments can be tracked to see if progress has been made.

How will I be able to support my child with homework?

You can support your child by checking what homework they have been given and the deadline it is due by on the school’s homework system (currently Show My Homework). You can establish with them a routine at home for completing homework perhaps doing some each day before they play games or go out.  You could also ensure they have a quiet space in which to work, the equipment they need and then check how they are getting on. Ask them if you can help and if they are struggling refer them to either (a) homework club which is on every day in the LRC or (b) their class teacher well in advance of the deadline. If you would like your child to do additional study then we always recommend reading to and with your child – both fiction and non-fiction on a regular basis. Just 20 minutes reading a day will boost their knowledge and vocabulary no end!

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. We are not complacent in this area at all. 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 (SEN). 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 will be on offer to my child?

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 will be on offer to my child?

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 will be on offer to my child?

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.