Mike Burton
School Principal
Principal’s Vision

“To create an engaging and broad curriculum which raises aspirations, inspires positive behaviour, promoting a change to life-long learning.

To work with parents and stake holders to provide a nurturing and welcoming provision that caters for the needs of our community.

To provide our learners with the resources, support and guidance they need to succeed in both education and life.”

‘Giving all young people the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background or life circumstances’

Orchard Independent School is a specialist provision who support learners with a diverse background of need. We are an ‘Inpedendent Special School’ (Ofsted Nov 2018) with an expertise in supporting learners with Autism, ADHD or more general Social, Emotional and Mental Health Need (SEMH).

Our bespoke curriculum works around a general theme of continual positive regard in order to get the very best out of our learners. Often, learners who attend at The Orchard have had a traumatic experience of education and we pride ourselves on the fact that we can successfully re-engage learners back into school, gradually building confidence and with a considerable emphasis on positive development.

Our school is based around nurture principals and we work to class sizes of no more than 5 learners per class, each class has a minimum of 1 Teacher and Support and many have further support available. We also offer 1:1 and home tuition for learners who are anxious about their education and school environment.

During our Ofsted visits throughout 2018 (March 2018 – Graded ‘Good’) and an additional material change visit in November 2018 to recognise the work we do with learners supported by an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). We received excellent feedback which included ‘unique and special school’ which makes us incredibly proud of the work all members of staff do in going above and beyond what would normally be found in a school.

We work tirelessly to support our learners both inside and outside of school and offer parents mobile phone numbers of all key staff in order to give confidence in what we offer and a direct line through to the decision makers in the school rather than generic reception numbers. This parental engagement is a key factor in working together to achieve the very best outcomes.

Our learner journey is not without “bumps in the road” but we work individually with all learners to manage emotions, behaviour, confidence and to develop strategies to continue in their journey to adulthood.

This is the essence of who we are and what we provide as a school, we are a small Independent provider whose values and ethos are based around similar experiences of the educational system which makes us sensitive towards every student need.

Case Study: Learner A

Learner ‘A’ joined our school in 2016 following an exclusion from an Independent Special School where he was placed. He had been out of education for approximately 1 year and had considerable reservations about making the step back into education. Learner ‘A’ had a diagnosis of ASD (autism Spectrum Disorder) and wider SEMH issues and was extremely anxious and apprehensive about making the step back into school.

Initial contact was made with learner A in his home environment in order to build relations with Orchard staff and this progressed gradually to academic sessions completed at the home address which helped build rapport and engagement. Once learner A was more confident in the relationship, he had built he was supported gradually by the same staff member to transition into school on a part time basis, again fully supported by the same member of staff throughout. (It is important to make sure consistency and continuity are an essential part of any transition).

This then progressed into fuller days within the school, followed by a gentle introduction to new tutors and support staff, finally followed by a transition into a small classroom. Throughout the journey learner A made at The Orchard a key factor in assessing his progress was around building confidence and relationships with key staff in order to give confidence and awareness that support is always available. If transition was to be rushed we would possibly so regression in students progression so each step that is made is gradual and with full support of staff and family at home.