GCSE / IGCSE Subjects
The students are introduced to many techniques, backed by a rich understanding of art history which underpins them. Exploring a wide range of themes, techniques, scales and approaches whilst challenged to learn the vocabulary of the artist , the children will be encouraged to be adventurous and to take important learning risks. Such risk-taking is at the heart of creativity and can be harnessed if accompanied with a focus on safeguarding the growing confidence of the learner. Thereafter, anything is possible and as a student matures with confidence they can truly explore the boundaries of their subject. Such confidence in their creativity assists them in other subjects as well, and indeed in the adventure of life. Developing transferable skills in critical thinking, discussion, problem solving and analysis.
Computing and ICT learning centres on six primary areas: Computational Thinking, App Development, Data and the CPU, PYTHON as an introduction to programming, Information Technology and Creative Communication. Each area is developed as students progress through the school continually checking their ability to solve increasingly more complex problems. The ICT coursework relates to ‘real-world’ problems and solutions.
In Key Stage 3 Drama the students perform scripted works as well as working on their own plays which may contain some improvisation or are more lengthy pieces for which they have to choose the subject of and the characters and focus particularly on character development. In addition to the writing and performing students will have to work on the direction and production, set and costume design and most challenging of all do this as a team.
English lessons at Brookes aim to inspire in students a life-long love of literature, to nurture their creativity, and to support them in becoming competent and versatile readers and writers. Communication skills are essential in today’s rapidly changing world, and our diverse curriculum equips students with the skills to flourish into confident, proficient communicators. Their critical-thinking skills are sharpened and they are encouraged to become engaged, perceptive speakers and active, sensitive listeners.
Brookes is committed to developing students who are thoughtful, ambitious readers and by studying a range of ancient and modern works, this literature becomes a pathway to discussing topics of personal, national, and global importance. Throughout their secondary education, students explore a wide breadth of novels, literary non-fiction, poems and plays; by studying canonical and non-canonical authors, students read works from both long-established and contemporary voices, representing a variety of cultures and experiences. This enables them to appreciate the historical growth of literary genres and the diverse richness of world literature.
The geography curriculum that Brookes is designed to give students a wide understanding of our planet, how it works and how as humans we interact with our environment. There is a balance between physical and human geography at key stages.
We start this amazing journey in year seven with a unit called amazing places where we look in detail at a number of unique environments including Coral reefs and the Himalayas. We then go on to investigate rivers and flooding and finish the year looking at the tropical rainforest.
In year eight we start the journey with sustainability and how we can design sustainable homes and communities. We then look at population followed by weather after that we look at fashion as a global industry and finish the year study in coasts.
Your nine start with the unit called Food for thought where we look at global food supplies. We then go on to look at development as a topic and this is followed by natural hazards and then we look at globalisation and migration in preparation for GCSE.
Our GCSE includes the following units: river environments, coastal environments and hazardous environments. We then study urban environments, rural environments and economic activity. This covers the physical and human geography elements we then go on to study two units that stretch across both human and physical geography. These are entitled fragile Earth and globalisation and migration.
Geography is a subject that very much lends itself to fieldwork and every year the group has an opportunity to get out of the classroom and take part in field study. The location is very much dependent on the students we have and we can tailor our provision to them. In a post-Covid world we hope to be able to run international geography trips as well.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3 history, your child will study local, British and world history. This will include learning about significant events, people and changes from the recent and more distant past. Students approach topics from a variety of perspectives, including political, religious, social, cultural, aesthetic, economic, technological and scientific. In the new curriculum, lessons focus more on themes and the international relevance of historical events. This prepares the student for their study at Key Stage 4.
Key Stage 4
Students follow the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE course. In Key Stage 4 students have to take two depth studies: Germany: development of dictatorship, 1918–45 and A divided union: civil rights in the USA, 1945–74. This makes up 50% of their total GCSE with a 1 hour and 30 minute exam paper.
As well as the two depth studies students have to take one historical investigation and one breadth study: The USA, 1918–41 and Changes in medicine, c1848–c1948. This makes up 50% of their total GCSE with a 1 hour and 30 minute exam paper.
Whenever possible, students take part in trips, as we firmly believe in the importance of experiential learning. This year history trips include the Old Operating theatre London, Norwich Castle.
Our aim in mathematics lessons at Brookes is to develop students’ knowledge, skills and understanding. The mathematics curriculum is divided into the subject areas – Algebra, Data, Number and Geometry. These subject areas are taught over the key stages with increasing levels of difficulty and variety to help improve retention and deepen understanding. Mathematical concepts learnt will be incorporated into real life and current events as they happen, where relevant, to motivate and increase student engagement. This will serve to stress the importance of mathematics in our daily lives whether used directly or indirectly. Students in Key Stage 4 will aim to complete past papers to obtain a good amount of experience in tackling exam style questions. They will sit the IGCSE Pearson Edexcel exams.
Modern Foreign Language
Senior language learning is perhaps most characterised by the key study skills which pupils develop in order to overcome the frequent challenges it presents. Learning by discovery becomes of real importance; spotting patterns, deducing and explaining why things are the way they are mean that pupils continuously unlock new aspects of the language. Pupils study a range of subjects, from all about themselves and those around them to global issues such as poverty and the environment, and learn the value of consistent and rigorous self-study in order to build vocabulary in order to discuss these topics. By tackling grammar in such depth, language learners also find themselves better well-equipped to broach the finer points of their mother tongue, and with universities so favourable towards those who can master a second language, it is more often than not only the starting point in a lifelong study of dialects and cultures.
Students learn about a variety of musical genres and styles. Topics include: film music, vocal skills, the Blues, West African drumming, keyboard skills, Britpop and electronic dance music. Through performance, composition, listening and appraisal, students learn about the elements of music and characteristics of different styles whilst developing their notation and instrument specific skills.
The science curriculum is designed to develop an inquiring mind and spark an interest in the subject as well as covering all the key concepts of biology, chemistry and physics to give a firm foundation for the requirements of Key Stage 4 and beyond. During Key Stage 3 students build on their scientific knowledge and understanding and make connections between different areas of science. They use scientific ideas and models to explain phenomena and events, and to understand a range of familiar applications of science as well as thinking about the positive and negative effects of scientific and technological developments on the environment and in other contexts. All of this is done with a practical approach that enables connections to be made with how scientific ideas can explain many things that happen in everyday life.
The PE curriculum and the Sports programme in the senior school over a wide range of activities which include some new sports including basketball, volleyball and golf. An important aim is to foster a love of sport and exercise which will continue into adulthood. The students learn about the four aspects of performance development: technical, tactical, physical and mental and investigate how they can improve in each and how they can help their peers to make progress. At the heart of the programme is teaching and learning of ‘good people skills’. This is achieved in lessons through activities and reflective discussions on building character and embedding moral values e.g. kindness; integrity, patience and compassion. Health and well-being are also a large part of the learning where topics such as sleep; rest; relaxation; and reducing stress are all explored. In each lesson students are supported and challenged in the cognitive domain through engaging in analysis and evaluation of performance; comparison; problem solving and divergent thinking. The overall objective is to have students who have a lifelong love of sport and exercise and who are confident and competent in their performances and who have developed into good young people.
PSHE / Citizenship
Our PSHE and Citizenship curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of students at the school and within the wider society. It aims to prepare students for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Within the subject students are taught how to keep themselves healthy and safe, and the subject prepares them for life and work in modern Britain. As well as separate lessons for these many elements are picked up in other curriculum areas. We believe that our society is becoming more diverse. We need to become a more tolerant society which understands the different religious communities; this subject gives all students an opportunity to become more rounded citizens. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to engage with contentious issues, developing an awareness of social justice, democracy, government and how laws are made. It allows students to develop a social, moral, political and philosophical awareness.