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.
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.
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 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 School 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 newer 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.
In Key Stage 3 the students are being challenged by working towards a twenty minute play which they not only have to write but choose the subject of and choose 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. In addition if students move towards formal examinations they would have to write an academic portfolio of their development. Suddenly, drama is not only fun and an expression of their imagination but something more academic.
In humanities, students gain conceptual understanding as they deepen their knowledge and understanding of the world past and present. The skills that are particularly focused upon are communication and critical thinking.
The units primarily have either a geography or history focus, in order to prepare students for the separate subjects at IGCSE and to give them a secure foundation in each discipline. However, links between geography, history, political ideas and religious education are made whenever relevant and a number of units are also closely aligned with English units. This interdisciplinary approach aims to build a connected curriculum. The curriculum reflects Brookes’ identity as an English school with an international focus. The units incorporate local, national and international case studies to encourage students to develop a global outlook whilst also gaining a sound understanding of local and national historical and geographical topics.
Whenever possible, students take part in trips, as we firmly believe in the importance of experiential learning. This year, trips include Hampton Court, Framlingham Castle, the Imperial War Museum and Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.
Our aim in mathematics lessons is to develop students’ knowledge, skill and understanding of methods and concepts. The mathematics curriculum is divided into four subject areas: Algebra, Data, Number and Shape and Space. The subject units are taught and revised over the key stages to provide greater variety and to help improve the retention of the skill learned. In order to give maximum engagement an emphasis on relating mathematics to real life problems and scenarios is incorporated into lessons to give meaning to what is being taught. Mathematical games, competitions and kinaesthetic materials are regularly used in lessons to make learning fun and to maximise understanding.
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 will follow a course that is divided into a series of up to six projects per year focusing on a variety of musical genres and styles. Topics include: film music, vocal skills, musicals, the blues, West African drumming, keyboard skills, Britpop and electronic dance music. They will learn about the elements of music, language and characteristics related to particular styles as well as notation and instrument specific skills. Additionally they will gain knowledge and understanding about music through performing, composing and listening.
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.