‘A buzz for learning’ as Ofsted delivers glowing report for Orchard School Bristol


Ofsted has delivered a glowing verdict on a north Bristol secondary which delivers very definitely on its vision ‘Inspire today… empower for life.

Inspectors who visited Orchard School Bristol (in Horfield) last month said teachers have high expectations for students and they observed ‘a real buzz of learning in the classroom’.

Orchard School was rated ‘Good’ with inspectors noting ‘a harmonious atmosphere evident between students from different backgrounds’ and an environment where they ‘feel safe and enjoy school’.

They added that “the exceptional relationships at the school are testament to the quality of the high quality spiritual, moral and cultural education”.

The school was praised across all four of the inspection areas – leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; and outcomes for students.

Head teacher Dr Helen Holman was described as ‘communicating the very highest of expectations with regard to quality of teaching… and determined to ensure every student is successful’.

Orchard School Prospectus 2014 - TEACHER PORTRAITS

Dr Holman said:

“We are thrilled that the inspectors have recognised the journey this school has been on.

“Our motivation is now to continue and improve further. We will leave no stone unturned in our quest to deliver the best possible outcomes for every student of every background.

“Our staff
members have worked tirelessly over the past few years to introduce innovative, inspiring teaching and this is clearly paying off.

“We also receive tremendous support from our governors, members of the local community and our partners in Trust in Learning, our academy sponsor.”

The inspectors noted:

“On effectiveness of leadership and management, the leadership of teaching is highly effective and students receive high-quality spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. Parents who spoke to inspectors said the school values their role and ‘communication is brilliant’.”

“On quality of teaching, learning and assessment, as a result of strong subject knowledge among staff, students have a clear understanding of how they can reach the next level. Students love to solve complex problems and there is a real buzz of learning. Teachers pay meticulous attention to improving literacy skills.”

“On personal development, behaviour and welfare, as the quality of teaching has improved, students have grown in self-confidence. Bullying is rare and behaviour in class and at break times is good. Leaders are firm on standards of behaviour and uniform is worn well.”

“On outcomes, progress in maths at Key Stage 3 is impressive. Numbers of students achieving A/A* grades at GCSE are rising and disadvantaged students achieve very well. Students spoke passionately of their love of reading. New procedures mean disabled students and those with special educational needs have ensured more support is in place.”


The inspectors said that further improvement will come from teachers probing to deepen student learning and more use of effective questioning in the classroom.

Dr Holman said:

“This report reflects the changes we have introduced over several years and this is clearly paying dividends for students.

“Our mission now is to continue this upwards trajectory … inspiring today and empowering for life.”

To read the report, please click here.

If you would like to find out more about Orchard School Bristol, please visit http://www.orchardschoolbristol.co.uk/