Orchard School Bristol: A Mum’s Perspective


One topic often discussed by parents living in and around Bishopston are the local secondary schools. Bishopston Mum recently featured a local mum’s positive experiences of Fairfield High School in Horfield which I think was encouraging for other local parents to read.

Today on Bishopston Mum, another local mum comes forward to kindly share her experiences about her daughter’s experiences of Orchard School Bristol.

Orchard School Bristol is a mixed gender sponsor-led school for 11-16 year olds on Filton Road. While it has an OFSTED grading of 3: ‘Requires Improvement’, in the same inspection, OFSTED also declared that the school’s teaching, behaviour and leadership as ‘good or better’ and noted other positives such as the school’s improvement in reading and maths, plus how current students were making progress in these subjects.

I hope you find this mum’s perspective of Orchard School Bristol helpful.

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“My daughter is in her second year at Orchard School.

When we began to research secondary schools, my husband and I had a very poor initial impression of the school, from an old Ofsted report and from hearsay. However, we decided to go and visit so that we could make a more informed decision. After several visits and meetings we were very happy to put it as our first choice of school, with Fairfield High as a close second.

Naturally, I was still nervous at the thought of my 11 year old moving from her familiar junior school to a bigger one, and finding her feet amongst lots of new children with diverse life experiences and values. However, the school uses a range of effective strategies to support positive relationships between students, and from what my daughter tells me about her days at school it sounds like a surprisingly harmonious community of teenagers!

In September 2013, Ofsted graded the school ‘Good’ in the following areas: Teaching and Learning; Behaviour and Safety; and Leadership and Management. My experience of the school bears this out and I am confident that it will support my daughter to fulfil her academic potential.

From what she tells me of her studies, and from my meetings with subject teachers, I think that lessons are taught in an engaging and challenging way. I like the emphasis placed on helping children understand how they can develop themselves as learners, and this self-evaluation will stand my daughter in good stead for university study.

The school complements its curriculum with diverse enrichment activities, often led by staff from universities and other local institutions. Recently my daughter had the chance to develop her writing during a week-long residential course. She has also enjoyed trying out sports such as judo and fencing, and next term will begin exploring philosophy.

A little while ago I read a widely-shared email which included an excellent list of what parents want a school to offer their child. It included things such as: safety and happiness, learning and a love of learning; a wide variety of opportunities and experiences; and learning tolerance, respect and citizenship. I am glad to say that Orchard School has turned out to provide all these important things for my daughter.”

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Many thanks to the mum who provided this review of Orchard School Bristol. If you are a parent who would be willing to provide an anonymous review of a local pre-school, primary or secondary school, please email me on bristol_mum@hotmail.com

If you would like more information on pre-school, primary or secondary schools in and around Bishopston, please have a look on the Local Education page on Bishopston Mum.

* Comments about this article will not be published.

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