Part of the Forward Education Trust

Curriculum Offer

Children attending Brays School will usually require augmented and modified curriculum opportunities including an overarching mobility curriculum and a sensory experiential curriculum for our more profound learners. Brays School underpins all of its curriculum delivery through continually developing its communication work so that pupils may access their learning in a way personalised to their needs.

The timetable includes a subject based teaching element for key areas of the curriculum and a cross curricular programme of topic based work through which the remaining areas are taught.

Relationships and sex education is fully integrated into the curriculum and not isolated, taken out of context, or over-emphasised. The school works in close co-operation with the Birmingham Health Education Unit and uses materials such as `My Body’ and `Health for Life’ which they recommend and which are widely used in Birmingham schools.

The school Key Stage 1 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 Christianity and other major world religions.

The Thematic Approach

The thematic approach to Science, Computing, History, Geography, Art, Design Technology and Music adopted by Brays School provides opportunities for every element of the National Curriculum requirements to be studied in contexts that enable relevant and stimulating early learning, exploration and investigation that can be consolidated, embedded and extended throughout the Key Stages supported through a Local Curriculum that is interwoven to provide real experiences, enable personal development and which promotes British Values.

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.

Homework

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: head@brays.fet.ac

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.  

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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. 

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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. 

The curriculum 

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. 

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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 
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External Validation 

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.

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