Orchard Head Junior, Infant & Nursery School

About Us

Our School 


The school was built in 1959 on an open site mid way between Pontefract and Ferrybridge and accommodates children from Orchard Head, Stump Cross and New Hall areas.  The land on which the school was built was originally a cherry orchard (hence its name) connected with the Old Hall, which used to be in the valley below.  Later, liquorice was grown here but the growing of this plant has now disappeared in this area.  An extensive view from the school takes in the whole of Pontefract and the power station of Ferrybridge, and the area is rich in historical content.  The Earl of Lancaster was executed in Orchard Head Lane and the Castle and Priory are not far away.


The school was originally built to house three infant classes and four junior classes of children, but numbers in the 1960s rose from 280 to 450 and six temporary classrooms were added.  In recent years we have about 235 children in school by the summer term.  In 1976 a purpose built Nursery was added to the school site - morning or afternoon sessions.  Two new classrooms were added to Main School and officially opened by Yvette Cooper M.P. in the Autumn Term 1999.  A new extension to the front of School was built in 2002.  This holds a large computer suite, a refurbished office block and a new link corridor.  A new junior library was also added in 2002.  In April 2003, a new Key Stage 2 cloakroom was opened.  In March 2009 a two classroom extension and the refurbished Lower Foundation Stage were opened. 

A substantial refurbishment of Key Stage one and Upper Foundation Stage learning environments has now taken place. New floorings, sink areas, furniture and resources have been purchased as part of the refurbishment.

A trim trail, outdoor classroom/shelter and an outdoor canopy for Upper Foundation Stage have been completed more recently (May 2011)

Academy Status

On the first April 2013 the school became a member of the Pontefract Academy Trust. As such the school works cooperatively with The Kings High School, Carleton Community High School, Larks Hill J & I School, The Rookeries J & I School and Halfpenny Lane J, I & N School to ensure we offer the best possible provision for our children.


General questions relating to the school in the first instance should be taken up with the Headteacher, but each school has a governing body on which there are parent representatives, and, of course, other representatives from the local community. 

The school governors can be contacted through the school.


All staff work in close harmony, both as a professional body and with the children to ensure a calm, sympathetic and stimulating working environment.

Orchard Head School have started the journey towards becoming a fully Restorative School. Restorative approaches provide our school with a range of practices which promote mutually respectful relationships and manage behaviour and conflict, address bullying and absences and build community cohesion.  Restorative approaches are not new, but offer a framework upon which to build on existing good practice.  There is a wealth of evidence that shows how the use of restorative approaches alongside Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL), helps to develop more resilient and self regulating learners, thus creating healthy learning environments. All staff have been trained in the use of Restorative Practices and these will be used throughout school to resolve issues/incidents as appropriate. 

We endeavour to create welcoming surroundings via a variety of displays, which are of a high standard throughout the building.

The teachers are responsible for setting work, seeing that the work is completed and also are responsible for discipline and pastoral care within the classroom.  School Nurse Services screen children at Foundation Stage and Year 6.

A variety of teaching techniques and methods are employed by all staff according to age, aptitude and ability of the children - (a) as individuals, (b) in small groups and (c) as a whole class.  Planning for differentiated activities is clearly shown in teachers’ short-term plans.  The Headteacher and core curriculum co-ordinators regularly monitor each class to ensure that both planning and provision are matched.