Our aim at Brooksbank is to provide an outstanding educational experience for every one of our students. We take a holistic approach towards developing talented and personable young people, with the aim that they will go on to live happy and successful lives and forge rewarding and successful careers.
The curriculum is underpinned by our vision to inspire all students to:
Displayed prominently across the school, this vision reminds us all that we should strive to do our best, every moment of every day.
The intent of the curriculum matches many of Brooksbank’s core aims. In essence, we believe that the curriculum should enable all young people to:
- Develop as talented and personable young people who will go on to live happy and successful lives and forge rewarding and successful careers
- Be equipped with the knowledge and skills required to play an active and successful role in a highly competitive and fast-changing 21st Century world
- Participate in the widest possible range of exciting learning opportunities
- Encounter a culture where every student is encouraged and supported and their learning and achievements are celebrated
- Experience equality of opportunity for all and know that they can overcome any barriers
Our intent is that the Curriculum:
- Provides a broad, deep, ambitious and knowledge rich journey that is truly comprehensive and accessible to all students
- Is designed and sequenced to allow all students to build, retain and retrieve powerful, transformative knowledge
- Delivers experiences for students to learn to be successful, to gain useful, transferable skills and achieve high standards of academic achievement
- Affords opportunities for all students to develop the reading, literacy, numeracy and oracy skills required for success in the wider curriculum and in adult life
- Expands students’ perspectives through a range of spiritual, moral, social and cultural opportunities to promote their sense of moral and social responsibility
- Develops respectful and responsible citizens who are able to thrive as healthy individuals who can make a positive contribution to society
- Ensures that all students are safe and understand how to stay safe
- Fosters a strength of character, confidence and resilience that will help students to cope with choices and overcome the challenges they are likely to encounter in life
- Supplies an appropriate range of opportunities and experiences to inspire students to succeed in the next stage in their education, training or employment
- Contributes to the knowledge, understanding and skills that students need to lead healthy, fulfilling and meaningful lives, both now and in the future
- Promotes a culture of high expectations for students’ behaviour, attitudes and personal development
At Brooksbank we believe that a carefully planned and structured curriculum is the foundation upon which excellent learning and development is built. The curriculum is designed and implemented in such a way that it builds on prior knowledge and prepares students for the next stage in their education. This is complimented by the ‘Ten Principles of Effective Teaching’, a research based philosophy that ensures that all lessons are engaging, challenging and appropriately planned so that every student can achieve their full potential.
Development of skills, vocabulary, building of knowledge and sequencing of learning are integral to curriculum planning. Curriculum Leaders, who are experts in their subjects, carefully construct a programme of study that promotes a deep understanding of a wide range of topics. Teachers plan learning that allows students to embed and recall knowledge through researched techniques such as interleaving of topics and spaced retrieval practice. This builds firm foundations for progression to the next level and examination success.
Whole school, bespoke and subject specific CPD, is delivered with the curriculum and the ‘Ten Principles of Effective Teaching’ at the foundation; driven by robust evidenced based research, which ensures that all teachers are improving alongside an evolving curriculum.
All subjects are supported by the student Knowledge Organisers that encourage independent learning and revisiting of knowledge from previous lessons to help students commit this into their long-term memory.
In tutor time activities, students are introduced to challenging academic vocabulary which is revisited in lessons to ensure retention and mastery. The Oracy Charter builds on students’ vocabulary skills and confidence to secure a solid foundation for extended written work.
The development of student reading is high profile – within lessons and through the wider curriculum. Challenging texts are read by all students. Weaker readers are supported through a number of reading intervention schemes and all staff adopt a common approach to reading strategies in the classroom to support reading.
A discrete, developmental and responsive Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship programme is at the centre of the school curriculum and provides opportunities to teach concepts, knowledge, language, strategies and skills that enrich the wider curriculum. We recognise this subject’s role in developing interpersonal skills such as listening, questioning, team-working and risk identification and its impact on students’ academic achievement, behaviour and success beyond school, including employability.
Formative assessments are used within lessons to embed knowledge, check understanding and inform planning: targeted questioning, low-stakes quizzing, multiple choice testing, pair-and-share activities, group feedback, spelling and vocabulary tests to name but a few. Regular feedback ensures that misconceptions can be addressed swiftly and immediate intervention put in place.
All staff use routines in lessons and the Brooksbank ‘Not for Sales’ ensure consistent and high expectations are in place across the school. These are used along with positive language to promote a culture of success and celebration.
Key Stage 3 is three years (Years 7, 8 & 9).
At Key Stage 3 all students follow an ambitious, balanced, coherently planned and sequenced curriculum which builds towards the knowledge and skills required for Key Stage 4. All students study English, Mathematics, Science, Art, Design Technology, Geography, History, ICT, a Modern Foreign Language, Music, Physical Education and Religious Education. In addition, all students have a forty-five minute lesson a week, taught in forms, which includes aspects of Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Careers education. In Mathematics, Science, English and Physical Education, students are grouped according to ability. Staff use a variety of assessment information to determine these groups and groupings are reviewed regularly.
There is extensive provision and, where needed, intervention through years 7 & 8 for the development of core numeracy and literacy skills, particularly in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Key Stage 4 is two years (Years 10 & 11).
Our Key Stage 4 Curriculum has a strong focus on the core EBacc academic subjects of English, Mathematics and Science as well as Languages and Humanities. All students are given the opportunity to choose this pathway.
All students study a core curriculum of English – both Language and Literature, Mathematics, Science – all three sciences as a double or triple award and Physical Education.
Options are structured in such a way to allow students a free choice. This ensures equity of delivery, with all students having equal access to subjects. The options are designed to stretch and challenge students and to meet the demands of the local labour market. Students are offered a mixture of practical and academic subjects from all areas of the curriculum. Within the option subjects, Brooksbank offers a range of different accreditation routes including academic and vocational options. This gives every student a broad and balanced curriculum, but still offers a flexibility to maximise the outcomes achieved by each individual. This model also maintains the widest possible choice for progression routes Post 16 as every student has a greater range of subjects on which to choose future opportunities for education and training.
Option subjects include GCSE or BTEC awards in: Art and Design – Fine Art or Photography; Constructing the Built Environment; Design Practice – Fashion and Textiles or Product Design; Drama; Enterprise and Marketing; Food and Nutrition; French; Geography; Health and Social Care; History; ICT – Creative iMedia; Music – Music or Music Practice; Physical Education – PE or Sport; Religious Studies.
All students continue with a forty-five minute lesson a week, taught in forms, which includes aspects of Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship, Careers and Religious education. In Years 10 and 11 setting takes place in all the core subjects. Most option subjects are taught in mixed ability groups.
Course details do vary each year, and so it is important that the correct course guidance booklet is consulted. The most recent booklet for 2021 completion is available here.
Level 3 Programme
We offer over thirty different subjects at Level 3. These include traditional A Levels and BTEC courses. Most students study three A Level / BTEC courses over the two years, although some students may be allowed to study four, if required.
- The A Level courses we offer are Art and Design, Biology, Chemistry, Drama and Theatre Studies, English Language, English Literature, French, Geography, History, Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Media Studies, Photography, Physical Education, Physics, Sociology and 3 Dimensional Design.
- BTEC National Diploma courses (equivalent to two A levels) are available in Business Studies, Health and Social Care, Applied Science and Sport.
- A BTEC Diploma course (equivalent to one A Level) is available in Criminology.
- BTEC National Extended Certificate courses (equivalent to one A Level) are available in Health and Social Care, Information Technology, Music Performance, Applied Psychology, Applied Science and Sport.
- A BTEC National (equivalent to one A Level) is available in Applied Law.
While we endeavour to offer a broad range of subjects to our students, we are delighted to be working in collaboration with other local secondary schools to widen subject choice further. The Calderdale 6 (C6) initiative currently involves five local secondary schools; Brooksbank, Brighouse High School, The Crossley Heath School, Lightcliffe Academy and Ryburn Valley High. It works by allowing students to stay at their ‘home’ school for the majority of their courses, but then travel to one of the other C6 schools to take a subject they would not otherwise be able to study. Working together offers students more breadth in subject choice. Currently Politics, Textiles, Medieval History, Business Studies, Economics, Religious Studies and Music are all part of this collaborative option.
Level 2 Programme
We offer a one-year Level 2 programme for students who wish to improve their existing GCSE grades and gain more qualifications. This course gives some students the grades they need to stay on to study Level 3 courses. For others, it gives them additional qualifications for further training or employment.
Two courses are to be chosen from the following list:
- Business Studies (BTEC Extended Certificate)
- Children’s Play Learning and Development (BTEC First Certificate)
- Public Services (BTEC Level 2)
- Combined Science (GCSE)
Each course on the Level 2 programme is equivalent to one GCSE pass. Students also study English, Mathematics and Citizenship. This may allow students to improve their existing GCSE grade or develop their literacy and numeracy skills through a Functional Award. Extension Studies give students a number of extra opportunities, some of which lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Students also complete two weeks of work experience.
All students in the Sixth Form have a weekly form period which is run by form tutors and covers a range of activities including individual tutorial work, sessions on study skills or university preparation and one off talks/lectures from outside speakers.
At Brooksbank our curriculum will:
- Ensure that the sequence of learning builds on previous knowledge whilst supporting future progression
- Lead to qualifications that are of worth for employers and for entry to further and higher education
- Enable all students to fulfil their potential
- Meet the needs of students of all abilities and backgrounds
- Allow students to acquire an appreciation and respect for their own and other cultures
- Prepare and develop the skills for students to compete in the global economy
- Empower students to make informed choices at the end of KS3, KS4 and beyond
- Help students develop lively, enquiring minds and the ability to question and argue rationally