13 Jun 2022

A Spring Term to Remember

Zoe Ramshaw, Head of site – Friary Hall (Orange Tree School) – writes about a new addition to the school and the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.

Standing at over 2 metres tall and 3 metres wide, it is fair to say that one of our latest members of Friary Hall (Orange Tree School) is also the largest. 

Fred the Shed joined the community shortly before the end of the spring term. Students and teachers gave him the traditional Friary Hall (Orange Tree School) warm welcome and he has quickly grown into a literal and figurative cornerstone of the site. He has seamlessly accommodated the needs of our growing provision. Whether you need a moment alone to decompress in a quiet space, want to take in the summer sun (on the days when it decides to make an appearance), or are looking for a place to have lunch, Fred is there for you.

It’s true that he didn’t quite get to choose his name – it was chosen through a democratic vote involving all the teachers and students – but now that it’s his we really can’t imagine him being named any other way! Standing majestically at the front of the school, he is a beacon for all. 

If Fred the Shed’s appearance marked one those unforgettable moments in the short but ever-growing chronicles of Friary Hall (Orange Tree School) – our new provision for children with SEMH needs in Whetstone, North London – then the Jubilee day marked another. Held on the final day of the spring term, the Jubilee was a golden (or dare I say, platinum) way to end the term. The students celebrated the commemoration in style and, with the weather most definitely on their side, all the them had a day off timetable where they could explore a number of fun, British-themed activities. They had a special ‘Jubilee Yoga’ session, quite literally bending over backwards in support of the Queen. They then participated in a session of ‘Gardening with Craig’ which involved the creation of beautiful flower beds, pots, and hanging baskets – many of which would then adorn Fred the Shed himself. Finishing off the morning was a chance to learn all about the rich history of the monarchy.

The centre piece of the day was a special lunch where everyone in the school – staff included – ate together. The British origin of some of the food was perhaps slightly dubious (I’m not sure if avocados count as British), but the spirit of Britishness was there for all to see: community, inclusion, and liberty.

A great deal of thanks must be given to the tireless efforts of our staff who collectively planned, organised, and executed the day to perfection. None of this would be possible without them.

What was so powerful about both of these events – welcoming Fred the Shed and having a Jubilee day – was the palpable feeling amongst both staff and students that we are all one big community where every member is able to feel that they belong and is free to express themselves. It is always a special moment when you see students opening up and smiling ear to ear or not being afraid to get stuck into something new.

Every day at Friary Hall (Orange Tree School) is different. There are days where you laugh, days where you are stressed, and then there are the days that you don’t forget; the days that you wish you could bottle up and keep for a rainy day. We’ve already had quite a few of these in the short time that Friary Hall (Orange Tree School) has been in existence. Here’s to many more to come!

For more information any about Friary Hall (Orange Tree School), please click here.

Zoe Ramshaw

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