Brays School’s Curriculum centres around three pathways for learning. Pathways are not defined by age or key stage but by pupils need and achievement; pupils may therefore move from one pathway to the next at any point in their school career. Each pathway covers skills, knowledge and understanding across a range of learning opportunities.
At Brays School we are committed to our pupils making the best possible progress within the context of their personalised learning objectives and EHCP focus. The four key areas of each pupil’s EHCP form the basis of priorities for pupil provision. Cognition and Learning, Communication and Interaction, Sensory and Physical and Social and Emotional Skills are addressed through one of the three pathways outlined in this document (Pre-formal, Semi-Formal and Formal pathways)
We take a thematic approach to the curriculum, providing pupils with a creative, pupil centred approach to learning that meets the holistic needs of each pupil, focusing on key areas outlined in the pupils most suitable pathway. Through our pathways, we aim to cultivate each pupils’ existing strengths and foster a lifelong enjoyment of exploration and learning, equipping them with the skills needed to reach their full potential.
All pupils have access to specialist areas within school that help to support learning. Classes are timetabled for sessions in our sensory drama studio, light and sound room, soft play and hydrotherapy pool. These areas are used to support learning across the curriculum and to give pupils the opportunity to develop and generalise learning in different environments.
We recognise that our pupils face complex challenges to their learning and in their daily life and we consider every pupil on an individual basis. We seek to develop good practice and find the best possible approaches to positively impact our pupils learning and progress. We focus our school offer on proven learning strategies, suitable resources and a stimulating school environment. This approach ensures that all pupils receive a varied, creative and engaging curriculum, in a happy and safe environment, where all pupils can feel respected and valued.
The school Key Stage1 phonics lead is Paula Russell, and the phonics scheme used at Brays School is Read Write Inc.
Religious Education is provided and a daily act of collective worship forms an integral part of school life.
The School is non-denominational and assemblies usually have a religious and moral element, providing an understanding of the major world religions. Relationships and sex education is fully integrated into the curriculum and not isolated, taken out of context, or over-emphasised.
The Thematic Approach
At Brays School we believe all pupils are creative individuals. Creativity takes place during sessions and activities that help pupils learn in different ways, through taking part in activities that are engaging and differentiated according to our pupils needs and learning. We believe all learning should be exciting for our pupils, every half term we cover a different theme on a four yearly rota. Teachers plan their lessons around the themes, this means that there are always new ways of exploring learning.
Aids to Communication
Where needed, a range of low-tech electronic aids, and computer equipment is available to facilitate communication and help pupils access the curriculum. In cases where vocalisation is difficult an electronic communication aid may be used to augment or replace speech, while difficulties in recording work may be overcome through the introduction of word processing technology. Signing and symbol systems such as Makaton may also be used where appropriate. Visual timetables and symbols support, including Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), are used to support communication for pupils with Autism and other pupils where appropriate.
Provision for Sport
The school gives a high priority to physical development and sporting activities. Participation and involvement are our main considerations and each year children can experience a wide variety of activities. All these are differentiated appropriately for pupils with more complex or physical difficulties.
Whether striving for excellence, maintaining fitness or merely enjoying participation, all children can benefit from Sport and Physical Education. Carefully chosen or specially adapted sporting activities help them to develop important educational skills and can provide a lifelong source of interest and enjoyment.
Although homework is not compulsorily set for younger pupils, they may be given homework challenges to complete with parents or siblings. They may also be asked to take home and read their reading book. Older pupils may receive a limited amount of homework and the cooperation of parents is requested in order to see that it is completed.
Remote Learning Statement
Careers Education Guidance
At Brays School we support our pupil’s development into happy and successful citizens who have a sense of belonging in their community and in the workplace. We do this by giving them a breadth of experiences that include:
- Education based visits
- Lessons which have content relating to the world of work
- Visits by people from the workplace and from the local community
- Links with the local business community
During their time at the school children will have explored the work that people do in different economies and different countries, usually through a themed approach to learning which also includes discovering different cultures and different approaches to the world of work.
Our lead teacher on PSHE will be able to provide further details upon request. They can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We measure the impact of our careers curriculum through conversations with our pupils prior to the annual review of the EHCP, and through discussions and work produced in our PHSE lessons.
The Creative Space
The Creative Space is the sensory drama studio at Brays School, where we run a programme of facilitated workshops throughout the year that are thematically linked to the school’s curriculum. Established in 2010, the studio has become an integral part of the children’s experience at Brays.
How it works
Every half term we have a new theme at Brays that drives all the work in the classrooms and in The Space. As part of the planning for each theme we devise five workshops for The Space. For example in the theme based on India, the workshops in The Space were Tiger, Carpets, Market, Bread and Festival. The workshop itself usually has three main activities which are accessible to all the children. In the Tiger workshop for example the children arrived at a bamboo house decorated with tiger motifs. First they cleaned and tidied the house, then they decorated themselves with stripes using face paints before the lighting changed and a video of tigers was revealed.
Each week’s workshop takes place in a specific environment which is created by The Build Team on Friday afternoons. Each teacher receives notes and photos about the workshop and a short briefing session on Monday afternoon. They then take their classes in at their designated time each week.
Why it works
At Brays School we believe all pupils are creative individuals. We actively encourage creative play and aim to provide activities that are fun, engaging and accessible for all the children. In addition, we often carry elements of activities over from week to week, so the children get a second chance to participate. As a general rule most of the activities are to do with problem solving, and different children will see the activity in different ways. So for example an activity that involves hanging pieces of wool over a line might involve sorting the wool into colours first, or maybe hanging them all at equal distances, or just delighting in seeing the growing design. For other children the challenge may simply be how to physically engage with the activity. If a child engages in a certain way, that’s the way we go. ‘Child lead’ is a much used. term but in essence we believe the children will engage more with their own ideas.
Additionally, in The Space we are able to utilise the tried and tested methods used in the theatre. We use lighting to highlight areas of specific interest and to set the general scene and music to support or add context to the activities. We have also built up a large wardrobe of costumes and an extensive collection of props and resources. including many unusual musical instruments.
We also reinforce ideas and themes across the school. We will for example use a specific palette of colours throughout a theme, so the work produced in art classes echoes, supports and reinforces the work in The Space. And vice versa.
Having a thematically based curriculum enables us to directly relate the work in The Space to the work in the classrooms, where we can give an additional visceral experience. When the theme was AncientEgypt we used a 4m shaduf to move water in The Space, before digging up clay to make tablets to present to the Pharaoh. When the theme was Space, we boarded the spacecraft, paying due attention to all safety procedures, before heading off to explore the surface of Mars. When the them was On The Land we gathered apples and pressed them into juice.
The impact on the children
This is a long-term project and we aspire to affect positive change in the children, many of whom will have participated in upwards of 200 sessions in The Space during their time with us. We see many developments in the children, including the following:
- Increased focus and attention span. The classroom can be a challenging environment for many of our children but many blossom in The Space where we can use the lighting, sounds and resources to create different environments for them to explore
- Increased independent working
- Increased participation with others
- Increased anticipation of the workshops
- Increased tolerance of new situations.
- Decreased unwanted behaviours
The Creative Space forms a key part of our current Arts Mark Gold status and our current Leading Aspect Award. The case study has been featured on the Leading Aspect Award website as an example of excellent practice this academic year.
To find out more about our curriculum we can provide further details upon request, contact us by email: email@example.com