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Brimsham Green School

Brimsham Green School

Curriculum 

 Curriculum Intent

Our ‘curriculum’ is far broader than subject knowledge which is taught in lessons and that is assessed through externally awarded qualifications. Rather it is the sum total of all of the formal and informal learning opportunities we provide (before, during and after school), all geared to preparing students for their future lives.

Furthermore, our curriculum reflects and embodies everything we believe about young people and our purpose as a school. We firmly believe that our learners have limitless potential, and our responsibility is to nurture this, so that students achieve more than they think possible, academically, socially, and personally.

Naturally our curriculum is informed by what we value and therefore it promotes and provides opportunities for students to become:

  • Resilient, independent and enquiring learners who are highly motivated to achieve their full potential;
  • Aspirational and confident individuals who are fully engaged with their learning and development;
  • Respectful citizens who make a positive contribution to their community and are reflective, showing understanding towards others;
  • Leaders of themselves and others, always willing to take on responsibility.

To support our students in their academic, social and personal development, we have designed our curriculum with the following principles in mind:

Our students will be:

  • The future workforce, and our curriculum needs to reflect local, national and international employment opportunities;
  • Leaders, and need opportunities to learn to influence others’ thinking and behaviors, and take on significant responsibility;
  • Future partners and parents and need to learn how to build and sustain respectful, healthy relationships

Therefore, our students need:

  • A sound body of subject-specific knowledge across a wide range of subjects in KS3 and KS4, including in the performing and visual arts;
  • Frequent opportunities to re-visit and apply this knowledge so that it is consolidated. Therefore, our curriculum is intentionally sequenced, well planned, coherent and demanding, catering for the needs of individual students;
  • The highest levels of literacy to communicate effectively. Each curriculum area in each Key Stage (KS), uses a ‘disciplinary’ literacy approach, and promotes the links between reading, writing, speaking and listening within their subject. All teachers ensure students have regular opportunities in lessons and in Tutor Time to improve their literacy development. For example, all teachers are trained in ‘reciprocal reading’ so that they can instruct students to use the approaches a fluent reader takes;
  • Opportunities to learn and practice subject-specific skills, and more generic skills such as; finding, interpreting and evaluating information and data; communicating thoughts and feelings in writing and verbally; working effectively with other people in teams.
  • Clear learning pathways, with progression routes clearly planned and known by students, from the KS3 National Curriculum into KS4, and then into KS5 and beyond.

And our curriculum must:

  • Deliver aspects of the National Curriculum that are statutory for all schools. This includes relationship and sex education at Key Stage 3 and 4 personal, health and social education;
  • Provide Careers’ Education Information, Advice and Guidance throughout a students’ school experience so that they can make informed decisions, having been exposed to career options with which they and their families might not previously be familiar;
  • Take account of students’ differing needs, be this because of their different academic starting points and/or their additional special educational needs; regardless, we have the highest expectations of our students to fulfil their potential. Our curriculum, therefore, is not identical for every student, nor for every cohort;
  • Broaden students’ cultural awareness and promote social mobility, especially for our least advantaged students;
  • Be enriched by the provision of a wide range of extra –curricular activities Promote British values and guard against radicalisation;
  • Not promote partisan political views.

Implementing our Curriculum

The House System in Key Stages 3 and 4 is our prime driver for student leadership development. Our Tutor Time curriculum and the embedded Connection Circles draw heavily on a student-led model, with students regularly leading discussions. Assemblies are also often student-led. This approach allows students to build their resilience, confidence and oral communication skills, therefore preparing them for later life.

Students’ learning continues from Key Stage 2, therefore we use primary liaison time to develop a good understanding of students’ prior learning. This ensures that in year 7, students are mastering key concepts and skills, not simply repeating learning. We identify students who have and have not met the Expected Standard, to identify who has not yet consolidated key learning from the primary phase; their curriculum is shaped accordingly. For example, through the provision of a Fresh Start Secondary Literacy Programme. This is flexibly timetabled to enable students to continue to study the full KS3 Curriculum.

At Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9), students study the National Curriculum of: English, Mathematics, Science, Art Design and Technology (ADT), Computing,  Drama, Humanities (Geography, History and Religious Studies), Modern Foreign Languages (French or German), Music, Personal Social Health Relationships Education (PSHRE), and Physical Education.

We are passionate about reading, and all subject areas make extensive use of our Study Centre for individual and group independent learning. Each teacher takes responsibility for supporting students to develop the skills to read fluently in their subject. The English Curriculum includes fortnightly lessons dedicated to reading. Book-borrowing and student choices are monitored closely to encourage students to enjoy challenging reads. A wide range of books includes a wide selection of ‘dyslexic friendly’ choices, as well as those for weaker readers; weaker readers are a prioritised to read to an adult. Where students’ reading age is below their chronological age, they access the Lexonik Programme to accelerate their progress through the Tutor Time Curriculum enrichment option. Tutor Time curriculum sessions also promote the development of students’ literacy skills; Connection Circle activities, and daily access to The Day promote discussion and understanding of current affairs.

Students develop their leadership skills via the following opportunities and programmes: Digital Leaders, Sports Leaders, Library Leaders, Music Leaders and Language Leaders. These programmes have significant involvement in outreach primary work. The Student Librarian scheme and House Council provide further opportunities for students to give something back to their school community. Students have an input into shaping their learning through regular student voice, and this then influences the PSHRE scheme of learning, alongside other evaluative methods, such as the Online Pupil Survey.

Film Club and Book Groups provide cultural enrichment activities, as do Choirs and a variety of school Bands. The annual whole school production provides multiple opportunities for students to act, sing, produce, direct, choreograph, stage-manage and set-design.

Coding Club, Lego Club and Race for the Line are options for students wanting to develop their design and technological skills. In Year 8, the Science Fair is the culmination of a term’s long independent project set within the Science curriculum, and projects focus on the interdependence of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Independent learning is continuously promoted through Home Learning, and Study Club is available for any student who wishes to attend after school.

Visits by employers and to their work places are organised frequently and regularly; career options and requirements are explored through PSHRE, and through the Tutor Time ‘Working Wednesdays’ curriculum.  Links with Higher Education providers such as the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol also enrich curriculum delivery, such as in Modern Foreign Languages and Science.

Students’ teamwork, health and fitness are developed through the array of lunchtime and afterschool sports clubs and teams, which include: Dance, Football, Netball, Rugby, Athletics, Rounders, Cricket and Cross Country. Students’ mental health and well-being is nurtured, and is a focus of PSHRE, but is additionally supported by trained student peers, individualised provision by our Mental Health First Aiders, and our LGBTQ+ Safe Space.

At Key Stage 4 (Years 10 – 11), students continue to study a broad and balanced curriculum which promotes a variety of different progression routes into sixth form, Further Education and apprenticeships. 

Students study GCSEs in English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, and Science (Combined Science or the separate sciences of Biology, Chemistry and Physics). Students choose to study a Language (French or German) and Humanities subjects (Geography and History), and therefore their taught, formal curriculum is Ebacc compliant. This is not necessarily the most appropriate pathway for all students, however, and our individualised CEIAG input enables students to make informed choices.

The performing and visual arts are strengths of our curriculum, and uptake is high in: Art GCSE, Art Textiles GCSE, Dance BTEC, Drama GCSE, Music GCSE, Music Technology BTEC and Sport Science Cambridge National.

Design Technology GCSE, Engineering BTEC, Computer Science GCSE and Creative Media are offered; our local economy demands skilled workers in these fields.

In addition, students can select from Religious Studies GCSE, Business Studies GCSE, and Food Preparation and Nutrition GCSE.

All students participate in a full PSHRE (Personal, Social, Health and Religious Education) programme that also includes impartial Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance sessions.  All students benefit from a Mock Interview Day in Year 10. There are opportunities throughout KS4 for all students to have one to one careers guidance meetings and access a range of bespoke employer engagement activities. Where appropriate, very vulnerable students access Pre-NEET mentoring, to ensure that no students are NEET at the end of KS4. Furthermore, all students receive four hours of recreational sports across the timetable, and can opt for a diverse range of off-site options.

A very small minority of students may study Entry Level qualifications, normally in English and Mathematics, and a wider cohort may also have additional mathematics and / or English tuition. Small cohorts of students will follow a bespoke curriculum tailored to their needs. This may include additional English or Mathematics support or the SWEET programme, designed to build confidence and develop basic skills of communication and thinking and preparation for life post 16. Developing high levels of Literacy remains a priority and diagnostic testing of students experiencing learning difficulties allows us to target specific learning interventions. This includes students with low reading ages accessing the Lexonik programme. Some students may have additional time on their timetables to support their pre/over-learning, and help them take responsibility for managing their Home Learning.

Students can continue to develop their leadership skills via Sports Leadership programmes, and the Language Leaders initiative. The Student Librarian scheme and House Council are also open to KS4 students. Our Student Leadership Team rely on our Year 10 and 11 students to role model to younger students what they are capable of influencing, leading and implementing. The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme begins in Year 9, and students undertake voluntary activities and new learning, as well as physically demanding expeditions in their pursuit of the Bronze Award.

Theatre trips provide cultural enrichment activities, as do Senior Choir and a variety of school Bands; KS4 students often lead these activities and initiate these groups’ existence. The annual whole school production provides multiple opportunities for students to act, sing, produce, direct, choreograph, stage-manage and set-design, and not just for students studying qualifications in Drama, Music, Dance or Art.

Coding Club and Lego Club are examples of clubs led by KS4 students.

Independent learning is promoted through Home Learning, and a KS4 Independent Study group is available for any student who wishes to attend after school; after school revision sessions operate all year round and are increasingly available for Year 10 as well as Year 11 students.

Visits by employers and to their work places are organised frequently and regularly; career options and requirements are explored through PSHRE. The Community Apprentice scheme links students with local employers and promotes students’ employability skills; it is prioritised for students who are socio-economically disadvantaged.

Students’ teamwork and health and fitness are developed through the array of lunchtime and afterschool sports clubs and teams, which include: Dance, Football, Netball, Rugby, Athletics, Rounders, Cricket, Cross Country. Students’ mental health and well-being is nurtured, and is a focus of PSHRE, but is additionally supported by trained student peers, access to the LGBTQ+ Safe Space, and individualised provision by our Mental Health First Aiders. Every opportunity is taken to use student voice to refine and plan our provision, including in PSHRE, to ensure it stays relevant to students’ lives; we augment this with the Online Pupil Survey.

At Key Stage 5 (Years 12 - 13), our sixth form curriculum is delivered in collaboration with Chipping Sodbury School and Yate Academy, known as Cotswold Edge Sixth Form.  Students from the three institutions benefit from a highly flexible and diverse range of Level 3 academic and vocational qualifications, Level 2 academic and vocational qualifications and a Level 1 provision for students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. 

Every student is able to study three Level 3 courses, agreed after personalised consultation sessions, delivered across both schools.  A range of academic Level 3 qualifications are offered, including the following:

  • Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Fashion & Textiles
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • Drama
  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Mathematics
  • Photography
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Music
  • Product Design
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology

Students in our sixth form are also able to study a carefully selected range of Level 3 vocational qualifications:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Children's Play Learning and Development
  • BTEC Sport
  • BTEC Applied Science
  • Digital Media
  • BTEC Dance
  • Music Technology
  • BTEC Engineering

We also support students to access Level 2 studies, including students who are improving their achievement in English and Mathematics.

Vocational Level 3 assessment comprises a range of continuous assessment, controlled assessments and formal examinations.  Students’ progress is carefully tracked and monitored by individual teachers, subject leaders and the Sixth Form leadership team.

Brimsham Green Sixth Formers participate in a comprehensive enrichment programme.  For example, students are able to: pursue an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ); engage in the Peter Lloyd’s Tycoon business enterprise programme; organise events and activities as they complete the Level 3 Sports Leaders programme, support national antenatal and bereavement charities whilst learning and developing crochet skills; volunteer to work with lower school students by running clubs in lunchtimes such as Read Aloud, Manga and Harry Potter Club.  Students also volunteer to work in partner primary schools and local nurseries; participate in the National Citizenship Service; or work closely with senior citizens in the local area.  A wide range of sports and mentoring activities are also included within the school’s enrichment programme. The Duke of Edinburgh programme extends through Silver and onto the Gold Award.

Finally, Sixth Form students also receive a personalised programme of Personal, Social and Health Education (PSE).  Within this part of the curriculum, students continue to develop their independent study skills, receive Sex and Relationships Education, and receive personalised careers education and guidance.  Students are fully supported in all their future career aspirations. A very high proportion of students complete the UCAS application process, including those students who complete Oxbridge applications and Russell Group. We also support significant numbers who go on to higher and degree level apprenticeships. The impact is shown within our destinations data.

If you wish to find out more about our curriculum please do not hesitate to contact us at admin@brimsham.com

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