At Orchard School we have a vibrant house system. When each child joins us, he or she is allocated to one of four houses - Avalon, Butterfield, Dorchester and Wisley - named after four prominent Orchards. They are also assigned to a tutor group.
Apples have been gathered by humans since the Neolithic and Bronze ages; they have played a part in keeping us healthy and well fed. Domesticated apples, close to those we eat nowadays, originally came from central Asia and the Middle East. These apples were different from traditional English apples, but open-minded Victorians enthusiastically nurtured them, using grafting techniques to develop apples to support them to thrive in England, and then shared them across the country.
Orchards have had a major role to play in Britain’s cultural history, and many artists and writers have been creatively inspired by them. Legend has it that Newton saw an apple falling from a tree in the 1600s and this piqued his curiosity and inspired his theory of gravity.
Apples from across the world have brought people together, to learn about different cultivars and respect different horticultural approaches. Orchards have struggled over the years to be maintained, particularly in the face of intensive farming and international competition. However, groups of determined individuals have worked at a local level to bring back many orchards, recognising their environmental value, supporting biodiversity, wildlife habitats, and our responsibility for conservation and caring for our planet.
National collections of home-grown fruits, whether apples, cherries, medlars, plums, quince, pears, gages, crab apples, or other soft fruit, have been brought together ambitiously, to recognise and celebrate our heritage.
Each house has a House Champion who will organise competitions and events.