Covid-19 - parent info

Welcome from the Headteacher

Dear Parents, Carers and children,
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Orchard Academy, a proud founder member of the East Midlands Academy Trust. I am proud to say with certainty that on a daily basis at Orchard you will find a positive, family atmosphere in which we develop friendly, welcoming, confident and independent young people.

Whilst the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it many challenges, we are proud to have been 'open' every school day since the begninning - supporting our critical worker parents and vulnerable children. We are hugely proud of our community's collective approach to these difficult times, responding to support each other as best as possible. We, in turn, have tried hard at every possible moment to keep parents and carers informed of government decisions, supported with remote education and assured that we are still here for them (even if their children are at home).

At the beginning of the pandemic, we (through our Trust sponsor, EMAT) provided and delivered packed lunches and hampers to our families who are entitled to free school meals. We latterly administered vouchers to those families, and continued to do this into January 2021. We have loaned dozens of laptops and mobile wi-fi 'hot-spots' to families who have had difficulty accessing remote education. During both periods of partial school closure we have regularly telephoned our most vulnerable families to check on their wellbeing.

Our staff here have worked incredibly hard since the start of the pandemic, and continue to do so. I'm enormously proud, and grateful to them for all their efforts. I'm also exceptionally proud of our pupils, who have taken all of the many changes to school life over the course of the coronavirus outbreak in their stride. Finally, I'm also proud of our parents and carers, many of whom have made huge efforts to ensure their children are able to access  our remote education offer, even though they may have several children at home and be working too. I'd also like to offer my thanks and gratitude to them for their support of the school and its staff. The many kind messages and tohughtful gifts have been greatfully received.

In normal times, we have a fine reputation for the service we provide our pupils. Challenging lessons mean pupils of all abilities are stretched in an atmosphere which allows them to be confident and comfortable enough to take risks and make mistakes. This is coupled with a calm and purposeful learning environment in which pupils thrive and can feel both secure and safe. Our children’s attitudes to learning are excellent. Progress tends to accelerate as the children move through the year groups and they make exceptional progress in Years 5 and 6, especially in mathematics and English. As the pupils journey through the school they reveal their strengths and develop their interests, inspired by our excellent curriculum.

Beyond the classroom, Orchard provides many wider opportunities through sport, modern languages and music that are second to none! We offer around twenty clubs after-school, four afternoons a week; all thanks to our extremely dedicated staff team. This is complemented with an array of residential visits for each year group, and curriculum-based activity days spread throughout the academic calendar.

Together with strong community links, we share leadership, teaching and administration with our neighbour, Shepherdswell Academy, allowing us to offer the pupils a continuing broad and balanced curriculum at both key stages 1 and 2. Through the Orchard creed we encourage the boys and girls to celebrate diversity and respect others regardless of ability, gender, ethnicity or religion. We aim to sustain a happy, caring, supportive and positive learning community where each child can develop and extend their potential and achieve success.

When I first visited Orchard in the summer term of 2017, I was thoroughly impressed by the positivity and attitude of all of the pupils I met. Even those who were coming to the end of their time at the academy were keen to get to know me and tell me about the school they were so evidently proud of. Despite the fact they were almost ready to begin their new journey in their secondary schools, they wanted to ensure that I understood just what the Orchard community means to them, and how strong a community it really is. This struck me very powerfully, and I am so very much excited to be working alongside our hardworking, approachable and caring staff team to ensure that all Orchard pupils, both current and future, will feel the same passion about the Academy and all that we do.

I am excited to work alongside all of our children’s parents too. We understand that parents are a very important part of our Orchard family. Parents are a child’s first, best and most important teacher. We aim to build upon the positive relationship between home and school, and invite parents to celebrate their child’s successes at our weekly Celebration Assemblies. It is through working together that we will provide the children with an outstanding experience in preparation for secondary education as well as the demands of modern living. In this endeavour, you will have our full commitment. The Academy is committed to working in partnership with parents and we welcome you to take full advantage of the many informal and formal opportunities to enhance the home-school relationship.

The first line of our school creed begins,

Every journey begins with a single step.

An exciting journey awaits all of us and we are so proud to be a part of it.
Enjoy the journey. Enjoy success. Together, we will achieve!

Yours sincerely,
Callum Brown
Headteacher

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