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Students at The Brunel Academy study a specialised curriculum that reflects the academy’s local context by addressing the cumulative dysfluency they arrive with.  While the focus is on useful maths and English, they work towards GCSE qualifications in English, maths, science, citizenship and Physical Education. In addition, the curriculum also includes: Personal Social Health and Economic Education and Religious Education.  


To avoid disadvantaging students by disproportionately narrowing the curriculum, Learning Experiences form part of the KS3 curriculum and Entry Pathways and the Arts Award form part of the KS4 curriculum.  This gives them access to the corpus of knowledge that should be the entitlement of every student - key events that have shaped our nation, how the natural environment has been formed, key scientific concepts that underpin everyday life, along with appreciation of art and music.  KS3 Learning Experiences uses 'Cornerstones' at its core and mean that subject skills and knowledge are coherently sequenced and delivered through a range of engaging learning projects. Authentic cross-curricular links enrich learning and enable the delivery of a broad and balanced curriculum.


Key Stage 3 (Years 7 - 8)


Students in Key Stage 3 at The Brunel Academy follow a broad and balanced curriculum that takes into account their prior attainment at KS2 and leads them towards aspirational success in KS4.  


Students are taught the following in their tutor groups:  

  • Literacy, maths, science, citizenship, PE, PSHEE and RE are taught as discrete subjects.  
  • Half termly ‘Learning Experiences’ enable students to learn: English, history, geography, art, IT, life skills and Thrive.


Students who are behind in their age related expectations for reading, spelling or numeracy are prioritised for additional support through 1:1 or small group interventions to help them to catch up.


Some students have additional literacy and numeracy support.


Every student is assessed half termly and this data is reported to parents/carers termly:

  • Reading Age and Spelling Age: literacy
  • Entry levels: English, maths, science, citizenship
  • GCSE levels / grades: PE


Key Stage 4 (Years 9 - 11)


At Key Stage 4, students continue to follow the core curriculum:  English, maths, science, citizenship, PE, PSHEE and RE. In addition, they have access to: vocational courses at South Devon College, Work Experience and Entry Pathways.  The specifics of these are different for each individual and we communicate carefully with students and parents/carers to help each individual choose a course on which they will achieve success and which will open gateways to higher education and employment.  


Students who are behind in their age related expectations for reading, spelling or numeracy are prioritised for additional support through 1:1 or small group interventions to help them to catch up.


Students following Functional courses, will have 6 opportunities throughout year 10 and 11 to pass the external exams.  The majority of students taking GCSE exams will do so at the end of year 11; however there are elements of the courses (controlled assessments, coursework, practical assessments) they will have to complete throughout Key Stage 4.


Every student is assessed half termly and this data is reported to parents/carers termly:

  • GCSE grade and Functional Level: English, maths, science
  • GCSE grade: citizenship and PE


Outreach Provision


The Outreach provision is designed to offer bespoke packages to students who are unable to learn effectively in the Academy and cannot work without disrupting the learning of others.  Some of the students on the provision suffer with huge anxiety around the thought of attending school which is why they are educated elsewhere. The aim of the provision is to work with these students to develop their social and emotional skills, engage them in an academic curriculum and reintegrate them back into the main site. 


The Outreach provision helps us facilitate arrangements to: 

  • identify early students who may have additional barriers to learning 
  • meet the needs of students by drawing on specialist support
  • help students to engage positively with the curriculum
  • ensure students have a positive experience of learning
  • support students making progress and achieving outcomes


To be successful, students on the Outreach provision need to feel safe and trust the staff who work with them.  With this in mind, where possible, students on Outreach are assigned a member of staff as their key worker.


The curriculum offer is in line with what is offered to students onsite: 

  • Core curriculum. Maths, English, science, citizenship, PSHEE and RE.  Work is planned, resourced and marked by subject teachers to maximise progress.  We encourage all Outreach students to sit their exams on site. That said, in certain circumstances, special applications are made so that they can sit their formal exams in a different setting that better meets their needs and ensures that we give them the best chance of success.  
  • Additional qualifications. In addition to this core curriculum offer, students work towards AQA Unit Award qualifications in vocational areas or areas of interest e.g. ‘Horsemanship’ or  ‘Ecosystems of rock pools’.
  • South Devon College. Some of the students also attend vocational courses such as ‘Mechanics’ and ‘Hair and Beauty’ to better prepare them for post 16 provision.  Initially, their key worker remains with students at South Devon College during the day, reducing this over time to support them to become more independent and increase their chances of success.


In addition to working with students to help them progress academically, we also support students with their social and emotional development:

  • Discussing behaviours with students - why they are displaying them and supporting them with strategies 
  • Assessing where students are at in terms of Thrive and using this to help inform the work we do with them.  
  • Interacting with peers and those unfamiliar to them.  Where we can, we pair students up so that they can develop their skills in working within small groups building this up to them reintegrating back on site.
  • School counselor 
  • Lynx programme
  • Sirona Horse Therapy


Personal Development


We ensure that SMSC is evident in the everyday life of the Academy and that the teaching of British Values is incorporated into everything we do.  SMSC is a priority of the Personal Development curriculum and is mapped out across all curriculum areas.


Subject based lessons are supplemented by Personal Development lessons which provide opportunities for the students to acquire problem-solving, decision-making and personal and social skills.


The specific and generally significant needs of students at The Brunel Academy means that daily focus is required to help students to make accelerated progress in their personal development. 


The CCEA defines Personal Development as:


“Encouraging each child to become personally, emotionally, socially and physically effective, to lead healthy, safe and fulfilled lives; To become confident, independent and responsible citizens, making informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives.”


During the afternoons, students engage in a personal development curriculum aimed at helping them make progress with their inter and intrapersonal skills.  The core purpose of this is to better equip individuals to be positive members of modern day Britain. The timetabled activities link to: creativity, sport and team work, problem solving, outdoor education, working in three dimensions, and health and wellbeing.  These are rotated across the academic year and sit under the academy’s Growth Mindset and Motional half termly themes: determination, resilience, team work, independence, courage, kindness. The impact of these sessions on an individual's development is assessed through focussing on a particular Motional strand (an online profiling system).


The emphasis upon providing additional opportunities for students to engage in physical activity is supported by a substantial body of research exploring healthy development and successful learning. This has proposed a strong relationship between healthy behaviours and academic success. As such, placing an emphasis upon activities in which physical exercise and fitness are key helps not only to support students to develop skills that will prepare them for later life, but also to improve the likely potential for academic outcomes.


There is a growing body of evidence that suggests a number of psychological, social, and behavioural factors are protective of health and well being. These are particularly important during adolescence. (WHO, 2002)

Further Curriculum Information