Apple Orchard School has been rated “Outstanding” by OFSTED in all of its inspections since 2006. The school is a very important part of Apple Orchard and complements the work done by the care and therapy staff. The Head teacher leads the experienced team of teachers and part-time educationalists. Between them they can offer a wide range of subjects which covers all of a modified National Curriculum. Apple Orchard is a non-political organisation
GCSE certificates can be gained in English, Mathematics, Science, Information & Communication Technology, Physical Education, Design Technology, Electronics, History, Art and Photography. The school also offers National Certificates in Religious Education, literacy and numeracy skills as well as interest courses in drama, music and Spanish. Courses on Personal, Health and Social Education along with careers advice are undertaken throughout the school year, but concentrated in the summer term to help pupils who are preparing to leave or move onto college courses. Taster days at local colleges and work experience placements augment the formal education.
The school has well-qualified teaching assistants who assist the teachers in giving more 1:1 support to individual boys. They also run and moderate an individualised literacy scheme which has shown some excellent improvements in reading skills as well as high levels of motivation and enjoyment from the pupils. The boys are usually taught in classes of no more than six, allowing for high levels of supervision and individual attention. The school day is from 9.00am until 3.30pm and is split into 6 periods of about 45 minutes each. The teaching groups can be split either by age or ability, but usually boys are in a group with peers who are of a similar academic level. There is an amount of flexibility built into the system to allow pupils who may be experiencing specific problems within their group to have ‘time out’ and join another class temporarily, while still keeping up with their own level of work.
Over the last year we have been delighted with the high GCSE pass results from many of the pupils. There were 54 GCSEs gained, including 6 As and a grade 9 in English, with 43 % gaining a C or above. The evidence of good practice in the classroom has resulted in these good quality passes at GCSE level and much improved numeracy and literacy levels allowing pupils to take a variety of Functional Skills and Entry Level National Certificates. This has led to pupils gaining entry to colleges in Guildford and Brinsbury to study mechanics, electrical engineering, animal care, horticulture, sports skills, furniture making and a variety of valuable life skills. Past students have been rated as the outstanding student at some of these colleges, one was offered a full-time mechanics position after a successful work experience placement. Other students have successfully applied to Diploma level music courses and to football training colleges where coaching is carried out by FIFA and FA coaches up to semi-professional levels.
Again, we are very proud of our sporting successes, which have included team and individual county champions in badminton, basketball, cross-country and athletics, with opportunities to have individual participation in archery, golf and outdoor activities.
I can see that my son has blossomed during his time at Apple Orchard. Thank you for all of the hard work that you carry out here.
Mother of Apple Orchard Student 2015
A work experience programme has been running successfully for over ten years. Our most recent OFSTED report stated that the school was ‘Outstanding’ and that the pupils made excellent progress through a developing and individualised curriculum. Any of the school’s policies are available to parents on request.
The school facilities are of a very high standard. There are six purpose built classrooms including an ICT room with eight linked computers, a large practical room where design technology and art are taught and one room which can be used for photography or science experiments. Each classroom has an interactive whiteboard and its own computer. The large dining area is used for lunches and for twice daily meetings with the whole school. Basketball and tennis can be played on our own court and a grass area allows the boys to play a variety of games outside. Our Physical Education classes often take place at a nearby sports centre where a variety of team and individual activities are offered. We also use local pitches and tennis courts to extend the range of sports that we offer. As members of the Sussex and Surrey Special Sports Association we compete against other schools at football, basketball, badminton, cross-country and athletics. Internal competitions are held in archery, Superstars and golf.
Pupils at our school receive Pupil Premium funding. This works out to being £5000 per academic year. This funding is used to provide students with extracurricular activities including football coaching, guitar and drum lessons, boxing coaching and funding for sea and army cadet placements. In school the funding is used to support students who require extra resources and support in lessons. By using this funding on the targeted pupils, they have been able to improve their behaviour and focus in lessons as well as their academic levels across all subjects. The use of pupil premium funding is reviewed annual at the end of each academic year.
A behaviour modification scheme is successfully established in the school. Points are awarded for pupils who are recognised to be making positive efforts during school time. Rewards are given for the type of courteous, thoughtful and diligent behaviour that is expected from the pupils. The rewards include greater trust, increased computer time, Magic Tickets which give the opportunity to win a major prize, certificates that can be sent home to families or carers and access to day trips. Recent trips have included visits to Hampton Court Palace, Tate Modern, The Big Bang Science Day, The Millennium Seed Bank and The Life of Christ open air play.
Every effort is made to create a calm, pleasant, stimulating and fun environment in which to learn. Each pupil is encouraged to strive to realise his own potential and to achieve as much as he can during his time at Apple Orchard School.
I feel that Apple Orchard is meeting the young person’s needs exceptionally well. He has made enormous progress in the period of time he has been at Apple Orchard.
Buckinghamshire County – Council Social Worker