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 we have developed a curriculum that 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 nurture the student’s abilities to the full?
Learning is about the whole of life; can it continue for the whole of life without the motivators of competition, punishment and reward?
The Relationship between the educator and student is one of mutual respect and inquiry; the educator has authority in their specialist subject, but can they avoid placing themselves on a pedestal in the classroom?
Observation is vital. Can the educator and student observe both the outer world (the object, topic, concept) as well as the inner world (their reactions, images, beliefs) and learn from both, equally?
The Wholeness of life is often sacrificed to increasing specialisation and fragmentation. How is the educator to ensure the student understands the necessity of balance and harmony of heart, mind and body?
Nature is life, but our alienation from the natural world and our destruction of it now constitute a major global crisis. What can the educator and student do to address this?
What is Right Livelihood in a world fraught with competitive self-interest and destructive behaviour? What is the place of talent and passion in the discovery of this?
Knowledge is critical to human existence, but it is also limited, incomplete and conditioned. What does this mean for learning and for life?
Common courses are activities that all students participate in weekly. These are Inquiry Time, Human Ecology, ATWAM and Sports.
Inquiry Time is the time in the week when the whole school meets and looks deeply into the intentions of Brockwood together: what it means to live together well, to understand our own reactions and behaviour. 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. We cover topics such as identity, authority, fear, responsibility, society and freedom. Inquiry Time runs for half a morning, once a week.
Click here to watch Inquiry Time in action
Human Ecology is concerned with the exploration of our place in the natural world. The course runs for half a morning, every week, and has three main 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.
Physical activity plays an important role in the Brockwood curriculum.
Sports and physical activity play an important role in the Brockwood curriculum. Three times a week, in the afternoon, the whole school participates in various sports and physical activities. Currently, the most popular 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, and some indoor spaces for dance, movement and yoga, as well as a small indoor gym.
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); learning how to play well together with the aim of challenging oneself and enjoying the activity is encouraged for all.
Students who are inclined towards sports and physical education are encouraged to help in the organisation, coaching and coordination of sports. Yoga and other gentle forms of movement are regularly offered, both during sports time, in the early mornings, and at other times in the week. These activities encourage the development of sensitivity, suppleness and awareness of the body.
For Younger Students
Brockwood has long embraced students building their own individual learning programme each year, with support from their student adviser. For students under 16, this is further supported by a requirement to choose at least one course in each of the following broad areas of study: Humanities, Art, Music & Drama, Science, Maths, Health & Movement and English. 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 can explore, experiment and find their own motivation and agency in learning.
Students also learn to organise their work outside of class during Study Hall, with the support of their weekly student advising sessions and by using the Study Skills Classroom. Throughout the year, students at Brockwood are encouraged to present their work in their classes, during our whole-school Class Showback events and in school assemblies.
These courses cover a wide range of disciplines from which a student can build their learning programme for the year. We make a distinction between academic and hands-on courses. It is part of the student adviser’s role to ensure that their students have a balanced timetable, in support of the first intention of the school. We offer academic courses in subjects such as Computer Science, Humanities, Global Issues, Science and Maths, and hands-on courses in fields including Photography, Pottery, Graphic Design, Woodwork and Life Skills (Kitchen or Garden).
Students at Brockwood Park School speak a wide variety of languages and have different levels of proficiency in English. To meet this diversity, the English courses are necessarily student-tailored. Non-native speakers focus on learning vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and syntax. Students with an intermediate or advanced level of English – including native speakers – develop their language skills through the study of literature, drama and poetry. Experiential learning is at the core of our approach to language acquisition, and our classroom can open into any area at Brockwood and beyond, including the outdoors.
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 Assessment International Education (CAIE), 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 may vary from year to year depending on interest but there are always options in the Sciences, Humanities and in the Arts. Exam subjects currently on offer here at Brockwood include Art & Design (Fine Art, Photography, Graphic Communication), Biology, English Literature, Geography, Mathematics, and 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.
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 and 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, deepen their love of learning and hone 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 and dedication.
All students present their work-in-progress to the school in the second term, and their final work at the end of the year.
Every student has a student adviser.
Every student at Brockwood has a student adviser. Being responsible for a group of about five to seven students each, student advisers oversee the overall educational progress and well-being of their students, in cooperation with the curriculum and pastoral teams. 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. Through weekly group and one-to-one meetings, 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 in learning. Each student is taught about documenting their work and encouraged to develop study and presentation skills. All students are regularly encouraged to share what they have learned.
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