A Brockwood Education
‘The purpose, aim and drive of these schools is to equip the child with the most excellent technological proficiency so that he may function with clarity and efficiency in the modern world, and far more important to create the right climate, so that the child may develop fully as a complete human being. This means giving him the opportunity to flower in goodness so that he is rightly related to people, things and ideas, to the whole of life. To live is to be related. There is no relationship to anything if there is not the right feeling for beauty, a response to nature, to music and art, a highly developed aesthetic sense.’
The radical intentions of Brockwood Park School mean that what we give emphasis to in our curriculum is broad and interconnected. The curriculum is a dynamic element of school life, driven by questions and concerns such as the following:
The pursuit of Excellence can create a culture of comparison, stress, fear and obsessive perfectionism; can an educator avoid these pitfalls, but help develop the student’s abilities to the full?
All students spend one morning a week working on common courses, alongside staff members. These are: Inquiry Time, Human Ecology and Sports.
Inquiry time is the time in the week when the whole school meets and together looks deeply into the intentions of Brockwood, what it means to live together well, and other life issues. Inquiry time often includes an investigation of Krishnamurti’s teachings and their implications for our daily lives. Topics are chosen by students and staff who meet earlier in the week to discuss what is most relevant for the community at that time. Examples of topics include: relationships, authority, responsibility, body image and sexuality. Inquiry Time runs for half a morning a week.
Click here to watch Inquiry Time in action
Human Ecology: every student is required to take this programme, which is concerned with the exploration of our place in the natural world. The course runs for half a morning every week and has three aims, which are to learn:
• how to grow organic fruit and vegetables in our one-acre walled vegetable garden;
• about local and global environmental issues and reflect on their root causes;
• what it means to be in direct contact with nature — relating to it with the whole body.
Sports: physical activity plays an important role in the Brockwood curriculum. Twice a week, in the afternoon, the whole school (students, mature students, teacher apprentices and staff) participates in various sports and physical activities. Currently, the most popular (team) sports at Brockwood are football and ultimate frisbee, but throughout the year other games are offered as well, such as badminton, basketball, volleyball, cricket and tennis. Apart from these, we also offer a range of physical fitness activities, such as: yoga, dancing, hiking, swimming, running, slacklining, movement and games. Our facilities include a full-sized football pitch, a combined tennis and basketball court, an outdoor swimming pool (only open in summer) and some indoor spaces for dance, movement and yoga, as well as a small indoor gym.
Physical activity plays an important role in the Brockwood curriculum.
While offering team sports the school promotes cooperation and giving one’s best, over and above any competitive element. Most team sports are played with groups of mixed abilities and experience (and often mixed-gender) and learning how to play well together with the aim of challenging oneself, and enjoying the activity is encouraged for all. The school regularly organises football matches with other local teams and over the last few years it has been participating in a local futsal league (a variant of indoor football) with the Brockwood team consisting of staff, students and mature students.
Students who are inclined towards sports and physical education are encouraged to help in the organisation, coaching and coordination of sports and sometimes even offer activities on their own. Yoga and other gentle forms of movement are regularly offered, both during sports time as well as at other times in the week. These activities encourage the development of sensitivity, suppleness and body awareness.
The Core Programme is for students who are in their first year at Brockwood and who are aged 14 or 15 years old at the beginning of the school year. It consists of two parts: the Core Landing Programme (first term) and the Core Courses (second and third term).
During the first term, students will be involved in a variety of mostly hands-on/experiential learning activities each week. This gives them exposure to different areas and establishes a closer contact with many of our teachers. As one of the aims of these weeks is to help our younger students land at Brockwood, we are calling this our Core Landing Programme. Writing and journaling will be a key part of each week, ensuring that students develop their English skills and helping them to reflect on the experiences they have had. The first term ends with two weeks of transitioning to the five Core courses, which will then proceed during the second and third terms.
The Core Courses focus on five broad areas of study: Humanities, Art, Science, Maths and Health and Movement. The intention of these courses is that the student develops foundational skills by being exposed to a range of learning perspectives, and also that the student gets to explore, experiment and find their own motivation and agency in learning. Students also learn to organise their work outside of class during Study Hall; they are encouraged to present their work to each other throughout the year.
These courses cover a wide range of disciplines from which a student can build their learning programme for the year. These courses are available to all students who are 15+ years or who have completed their first year of Core courses. We make a distinction between academic and hands-on courses. It is part of the student advisers’ role to ensure that their students have a balanced timetable, in support of the first intention of the school. These are some of the Brockwood academic courses we have this year: Computer Science, Humanities, Global Issues, Science, Patterns and Complexity and Maths; some of the hands-on courses we have this year are: Photography, Fitness and Movement, Pottery, Woodwork and Life Skills classes.
This programme offers support for students developing their own projects.
A core element of our curriculum is our Project Programme. This programme offers support for students developing their own projects, based on a topic or question of their choosing. Support is given in the following manner: group and one-to-one mentoring; guidance with project structuring; assistance with time management, research and presentation skills. The intention of this programme is to encourage the student in their self-led exploration of the topic, foster their love of learning and deepen their study skills.
These projects may be either academic, or practical, or somewhere in-between. Some students work on a small project alongside their other studies and may devote one morning a week in their timetable to it. Older students may give it more priority, developing their project into a substantial body of work or portfolio that can be presented at interview for university and college placement, work internships or employment. Such portfolios can support other qualifications, or sometimes be considered sufficient to stand in place of required qualifications. A project is a substantial commitment and requires a deep interest in the topic, a competence in basic study skills, dedication and excellence.
All students present their work-in-progress to the school in the second term, and their final work at the end of the year.
We offer a range of subjects which follow the syllabuses and examinations from Cambridge International Education.
If students are looking for standard qualifications, we offer a range of subjects which follow the syllabuses and examinations from Cambridge International Education (CIE), Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) and Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA). These A level qualifications are of a high standard. They are recognised by universities globally and require a two or three year commitment. Interested students generally take one, two or three A levels, which are intended for students aged 16 years or over. Non-native speakers are recommended to have a very good level of English before starting an A level course.
Exam subjects taught at Brockwood: Art & Design (Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Communication), Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English Language and Literature, Geography, Mathematics, Modern Languages (French and Spanish), Music, Physics.
On rare occasions, a student may wish to study for an A level in a subject which is not taught at Brockwood. In such cases, if the student is sufficiently motivated and able, they may choose to self-study the subject. However, the school cannot offer taught classes in these subjects, and, while it may be possible to arrange tutorial support, this cannot be guaranteed. If the A level subject is not a syllabus offered by one of the three exam boards we work with, the student must register for and take the examination at an alternative institution. This will involve the payment of fees to that institution.
Every student has a student adviser.
Student advisers oversee the overall educational progress and well-being of the students. Every student has a student adviser who meets with them weekly and supports their learning journey. A student adviser (in cooperation with the Pastoral Coordinators) oversees the overall educational progress and well-being of the student. The adviser/student relationship is seen as a collaborative inquiry into motivation, self-discipline and the nature of learning as a whole, in which academic learning is included. Initially, they discuss academic plans and objectives and develop a timetable together. Each timetable reflects the individual student’s interests; students are not expected to fit into a pre-existing mould. Time and care is taken to ensure that each timetable is balanced, so that students are challenged and exposed to new areas of learning, whilst developing their strengths and interests. The adviser engages with the student throughout the year, exploring important questions about what it means to learn. The student is supported to develop a spirit of independence, resilience and autonomy of learning. Each student is taught about documenting their work and encouraged to develop study skills and presentation skills. All students are regularly encouraged to share what they have learned. They meet once a week, as a small group of five to seven students; they also have one-to-one meetings when necessary.
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