Skip to content

Orchard Class

Orchard Class

Orchard Department Key Information

Teacher:   Caroline Sutherland (SENCO)    

Apple Orchard Staff: Michelle Roscoe Julie Banner-McGrath Gemma Fewtrell

Visiting SSSEN (Support Service for Special Educational Needs) Teacher: Mrs Maggie Goley   

Cherry Orchard Staff: Cath Priestley  Louise Amesbury  Shelley Winterbottom                      

Orchard Class is a small, mixed age department for children with additional needs. It is organised into two classes, Apple Orchard for Reception age children, and Cherry Orchard for children in Years 1 upwards.

Each child follows a bespoke curriculum designed to support their academic progress alongside developing their social and communication, physical, emotional and sensory needs. We follow a key worker system with each keyworker caring for a maximum of three children and there is a member of staff in each class, in addition to the key workers.

 Caroline Sutherland (SENCo) oversees planning, provision and assessment in the department and ensures that the children access a broad and balanced curriculum suited to their individual needs. 

Our Classroom Environment

Our environment ensures:

  • that children feel emotionally safe.
  • that their sensory needs are met through appropriate resources.
  • that each activity whether it be child centred or adult focused is planned to support the acquisition of new vocabulary and language- we use many visual aids to support the children’s learning including communication boards, Makaton and visual timetables.
  • that the children are given the time and space to process new information and communicate their needs whether it be verbally or non-verbally
  • that the children have lots of FUN learning!

Planning and Teaching


  • Adapted to meet the individual needs of the child taking into account personalised speech and language targets whilst ensuring access to curriculum entitlement. 
  • Liaison with mainstream teachers to support learning.
  • Liaison with speech and language therapists to support learning.
  • Teaching in small groups and one- to-one.
  • Lots of opportunities to develop playing and learning skills through a continuous provision model.
  • Daily opportunities to integrate with mainstream children when appropriate.
  • Teaching of life skills.
  • Real life experiences- teaching using real objects and trips and visits throughout the year to reinforce learning.



  • A carefully designed environment.
  • Use of visual prompts .
  • Use of Widgit software to create visual/symbol aid to learning and to promote communication skills.
  • A wide range of sensory toys and equipment to support interactions and daily activities such as Attention Autism, Curiosity Programme and Identiplay.
  • Maths and English schemes, designed for children with complex needs, adapted for each individual.
  • Musical Instruments for daily music therapy.



Take a look at our learning...




What's happening in the Autumn Term?

‘Me and my Community’ is our learning project this term.


This project supports children with settling back into the new rules and routines of school and encourages them to make new friends and feel confident in their class. It teaches children about being helpful, kind and thoughtful both at school and at home. This project also teaches children how they are unique and special, the importance of friendship and how people in their family, school and local community are important and can help them.

This project runs alongside another project- ‘Exploring Autumn.’ Children will learn about the natural changes during the season of Autumn including how the weather changes, why trees lose their leaves and how wild animals prepare for winter.

Our Makaton signs this term will be basic communication skills- hello, goodbye, please, thank you, toilet, food and drink, more and finished, happy and sad. We are always happy to share these signs with parents and carers.

Trips this term.

We have not yet booked any trips. For some of our children, trips can be a little overwhelming so we choose our venues with care. Once our new starters have settled in, we will let you know our plans. Watch this space!


What's happening in the Spring Term?

‘Roots and Fruits’ is our learning project this term.


This project teaches children about being healthy and explores the benefits of exercise, healthy and unhealthy foods and finding out where our food comes from. The children will enjoy fruit and vegetable tasting, making vegetable soup and of course- fruit and vegetable printing! We will also investigate ‘where do seeds come from?’ and ‘are carrots orange?’ 


Our Makaton signs this term will be – banana, apple, orange, pear, pineapple, grapes and strawberry. Keep an eye on our dojo page where I will be posting videos of these signs! 


As part of this project, we will be reading the story ‘Handa’s surprise’ and completing lots of exciting activities based on this including using our senses to explore exotic fruits, investigating how heavy/light a fruit is and completing a whole class story map.


What's happening in the Summer Term?

‘What can you see in Summer?’ is our learning project in the summer term. This project explores the sights and smells of summer, the changes that happen in the natural world and things people do during summer.

The children will learn how to stay safe in the summer months, enjoy a role play ice cream shop (as well of tasting real ice cream of course!), enjoy listening to the story ‘Summer is here’ by Heidi Pross Grey and make comparisons of their summer observations compared to the ones in the book.

We will have fun mark making in water, sand and ice and enjoy counting seeds in delicious summer fruits! 

Sensory Exercises

Each morning, the children  complete a sensory circuit. This involves a sequence of physical activities that are designed to alert, organise and calm the child and prepare them for their day ahead. They are a great way to both energise and settle the children so they can focus and engage better in the classroom. Staff enjoy it too!

Examples of our sensory exercises:

  • Alert- hop up and down on one foot, spin a hula hoop, skipping on the spot
  • Organise- blow a paper ball to a target, heads, shoulders, knees and toes, yoga
  • Calm- peanut squash, lie still and focus on breathing, push the wall with flat hands

Music Therapy

Music is a really important part of the curriculum in both Orchard classes. Our children sometimes respond more to music and song, than to the spoken word so we can often be heard singing instructions and key phrases to the children.

Each day, we sing, play musical instruments, tap out rhythms, dance and join in with familiar actions. We make the most of every opportunity and take advantage of musical events in the local area.