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Brynmawr Foundation School

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  • Curriculum Overview

    The Curriculum

    The curriculum at Brynmawr Foundation School is designed to provide all pupils with a high quality education appropriate to their needs in order to prepare them academically, socially and personally for the opportunities, challenges and responsibilities of further or higher education, employment and adult life.

    The curriculum aims to help pupils to:

    • Develop lively enquiring minds, the ability to question and argue rationally and to apply themselves to mental and physical tasks.
    • Acquire knowledge, skills and practical abilities that are relevant to adult life, employment and leisure in a rapidly changing world.
    • Develop the effective use of language, number and ICT skills.
    • Understand the world in which they live and to recognise the interdependence of individuals, groups and nations.
    • Develop respect for spiritual and moral values and tolerance towards other races, religions and ways of life.
    • Appreciate human achievements and aspirations.
    • Develop skills and understanding to take their place in a democratic society as responsible citizens able to exercise their rights and duties.

    Throughout the school, the curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils will have access to a broad, balanced, relevant learning experience which facilitates continuity and progression.

    The following areas of experience will be addressed in a balanced way – aesthetic and creative, human and social, linguistic and literary, mathematical, moral, physical, scientific, spiritual and technological.

    The school is required, by law, to provide a basic curriculum for all pupils up to the age of sixteen.

    The National Curriculum is divided into four key stages:

    Key Stages 1 and 2, delivered in the primary sector.

    Key Stages 3 and 4, delivered in the secondary sector on pupils’ transfer from the primary sector.

    An overview of the curriculum

    Key Stage 3 (Year 7 – Year 9)

    All pupils are taught:

    • National Curriculum Core subjects – English, Mathematics and Science.
    • National Curriculum Foundation subjects – Art, Design and Technology, French, Geography, History, Information Technology, Music, Physical Education and Welsh.
    • Religious Education (according to SACRE guidelines).
    • Performing Arts

    Pupils are placed in mixed ability tutor groups. At Key Stage 3 setting occurs in English, Mathematics, Science and Welsh. All other subject areas are taught within a mixed structure.

    Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11)

    At KS4 all pupils will study/follow:

    • The core subjects of English, Mathematics and Science to full GCSE level.
    • GCSE short or full course in Religious Studies, Welsh and PE.
    • The Welsh Baccalaureate including Skills Challenges.

    At Key Stage 4 mixed ability tutor groups are retained. Setting continues in English, Mathematics Science and Skills.

    The option groups are generally mixed ability.

    Teaching and learning is the core purpose of all schools and Brynmawr Foundation School devotes a considerable amount of its professional development resources on promoting personalised learning, independent learning and skills development. Pupils are actively encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. Our ICT facilities include a wireless infrastructure, interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, banks of laptops in teaching areas

    In line with the National Curriculum requirements, all pupils follow a Welsh language course throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

    All signage throughout the school is bi-lingual and although English is the day-to-day language of communication in the school pupils and staff are encouraged to use incidental Welsh in a variety of contexts

    Religious Education and Collective Worship

    Religious Education is provided in school under guidelines set out in the 1988 Education Reform Act and in accordance with statutory requirements. The approach used is multicultural and multi-faith with a emphasis on Christianity. The school has no affiliation to any religious denomination and follows programmes of study approved locally by the Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE). All pupils follow these programmes of study throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4. At Key Stage 4 all pupils complete a short or full course GCSE in Religious Studies.

    There is a programme of regular whole-school and year group assemblies, supplemented by form tutor periods which constitute the daily act of collective worship. There is a “Thought for the Week“, which acts as a catalyst for thought and reflection.

    Any parent who wishes to exercise their rights under the 1998 Act to withdraw their child from Religious Education lessons or the daily act of collective worship is asked to contact the Headteacher in writing.

    Physical Education, Sport and Health-Related Activities

    Brynmawr Foundation School has an excellent tradition of sporting achievement and participation. In recent years the school has provided athletes who have represented at a high level in a wide variety of sports. The school enjoys a close relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and employs a full time rugby coach for both boys and girls rugby.

    Several pupils have also achieved honours at district and county level.

    As well as encouraging excellence in sport, the school aims to promote enjoyment of sport by all pupils through active participation. This is encouraged through well-structured programmes of study and a varied programme of extracurricular sporting activities delivered by an enthusiastic and experienced PE Department.

    Through Physical Education we promote not only participation and competition, but also an active interest in a healthy way of life. Pupils have the opportunity of following the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and the school’s traditional provision of extra-curricular activities is supplemented by support from the 5×60 officer who has created further opportunities for fitness.

    Physical Education is not only a statutory requirement at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, it is also the foundation for a healthy life style.

    PSE and Sex Education

    The school’s Personal and Social Education (PSE) programme is now delivered though the skills programme in Key Stage 3. At Key Stage 4 there are timetabled lessons and these support the Welsh Baccalaureate programme. The PSE programme covers a wide range of issues to prepare pupils for adult life. Outside agencies are also used to support and enhance the programme.

    The PSE programme includes Sex Education in line with National Curriculum guidelines. Appropriate teaching materials are selected to match the needs and ages of the pupils. Sex Education is treated sensitively and pupils are encouraged to have due regard for moral considerations and the value of family life.

    Any parent who wishes to exercise their rights to withdraw their child from Sex Education lessons should contact the Headteacher in writing.

    The school works closely with Careers Wales in order to develop successful partnerships with employers. Employers from a broad spectrum of industry and commerce regularly visit the school to deliver presentations.