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Brentwood College

Skills For Life

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Curriculum Subjects

The College’s aim is to equip each student with the essential skills that they will need for the future as they work towards their Outcomes for Adulthood.  The College facilitates the transition of students into their adult lives.



Brentwood College has designed its curriculum around the Outcomes for Adulthood. We work with community partners to provide a range of relevant, practically based and highly motivating learning opportunities which enable students to explore their future options and develop life skills.


The College uses its expertise around communication to help students express their views which are incorporated into their their personalised programmes. All students have individual timetables that reflect activities to support the achievement of their long term goals and individual preferences. Some students have clear ideas about what they like to do, others need to explore options through first-hand experience.


Students transition from College into a range of options including supported living, personalised day services, group day services, further learning or supported work. We work closely with students, families, our Connexions Adviser and Family Support Worker to ensure that after College students move on to the highest possible quality post Brentwood provision.



The Curriculum

Currently within College there are four mixed ability tutor groups which students stay in for registration, some of their lessons and for Brentwood events eg Sports Day.  Other lessons are grouped according to need, ability or student choice. All students are baselined comprehensively on entry to College.


Students have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) which sets out the priorities and targets for each term. IEP targets are small step targets which contribute towards students meeting their yearly targets and EHC Plan outcomes.  Parents and students are encouraged to contribute towards identifying and prioritising targets. Progress is monitored by tutors and analysed by the Senior Management Team.


Students are taught to be as independent as possible in every aspect of the curriculum. Staff are trained to break down tasks, use appropriate strategies to support and then gradually withdraw support as students become more independent. 


Our main curriculum strands:

Communication and Functional Skills

Maths, English, communication and calculation are taught functionally across the curriculum to increase students’ skills, knowledge and independence. Opportunities are taken in all areas of the curriculum to maintain and develop functional skills and for students to learn concepts that enable this, for example, how to use money. Progress is recorded and evidenced by teachers on our small steps assessment system and in addition students keep any work produced in students’ work folders.


Teachers and support staff identify where functional maths, English, communication and calculation concepts can be delivered across the curriculum.  Students have an initial baseline assessment in these areas from which appropriate and challenging targets are set.  This contextualises the learning within subject areas.


In addition to cross-curricular teaching students working within Entry Level 1-3 in functional skills will have small group or individual sessions to progress their maths and English. Students are now able to work towards Entry Level qualifications.


Students are supported to develop appropriate communication strategies according to their needs, which may include speech, symbols and photographs, sign and assistive technologies. All students have communication targets and staff work alongside the Speech and Language team to develop their communication skills. Progress in communication is recorded on the communication strand of our assessment system.


Examples of the specialist SEN strategies we use include: PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System), Social Stories, Signalong (an adapted signing method to support the development of language), Intensive Interaction, Proloqo to go, Lego therapy, Switches and Big Macs. Increasingly, technology is used to support students and promote their independence both within college and out in the community.


Students are supported to develop social skills and encouraged to engage in appropriate social interaction. Students are given opportunities to use their functional communication in a range of situations and wherever possible to express their preferences and make choices about activities they find rewarding. The importance of learner voice is prioritised at all levels of learning.


Students are supported to use their maths, English, communication and calculation skills both within the college environment, and whilst out in the community or on work experience. Examples of maths opportunities include teaching students to understand money, and applying this understanding to transactions out in the community, and carrying out work experience in the College Café. Students will have the opportunity to increase their number skills in horticulture, counting seeds or selling produce in the farm shop. During gym sessions they will use equipment for a set period of time, or count the number of repetitions they complete. Where students have reading targets, they are encouraged to read whenever the opportunity arises, for example when reading instructions, menus or when ordering food. The college also has a reading corner which provides students with the opportunity to read books and magazines linked to their own personal interests. Those students with writing targets will be given the opportunity to write lists, work experience diaries and to complete worksheets relevant to their accredited learning.


Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)

Students participate in Relationships and Sex Education throughout their time at Brentwood College. Staff are aware of the need to reinforce students’ understanding of forming healthy, caring relationships and support their understanding of issues linked to sexual behaviour and attitudes. This is delivered through an age-appropriate and personalised approach where questions are answered honestly at the appropriate level.


College staff have excellent relationships with students, and a clear understanding of pertinent issues with regard to their sexual understanding and development, alongside ongoing and consistent support in forming and upholding positive relationships.


Examples of Relationships Education include:


  • Personalised interventions around key issues identified by staff, parents and carers.
  • Behaviour plans.
  • Community opportunities to encounter new peers and form relationships.
  • Transition amongst college groups.
  • Promoting tolerance and understanding both within college and the wider community.
  • Developing students’ understanding of different relationships, within their own lives and the lives of others.
  • SaLT input to support communication in social interactions.


Examples of Sex Education include:


  • Reinforcement of appropriate behaviour with regard to public and private
  • Understanding of personal space and appropriate touch
  • Appropriate use of the internet and other means of communication


If appropriate for an individual, interventions would be implemented to broach issues of consent, attraction, rejection and general understanding of sexual relationships. Following the fundamental principles of the Mental Capacity Act, and working alongside parents, carers, other agencies and significant adults, staff will work with individuals in a developmentally appropriate manner to ensure full understanding.  



The curriculum is determined by learner needs, interest and aspirations.  In some subject areas accreditation is used to provide evidence of this achievement:-


From ASDAN’s Preparing for Adulthood Programmes (SEND), we are using ‘Towards Independence’ which provides a framework of activities to develop and accredit personal, social, work-related and independent living skills. Towards Independence offers formal recognition for small steps of achievement towards a larger goal.  All modules can be adapted for students on the Communication, Choice and Control pathway. Students have choice around choosing subjects that support their aspirations and promote the development of personal, social and work-related abilities. 


In addition Arts Award (Bronze and Experiential levels) accreditation is offered and the Duke of Edinburgh Award (Bronze and Silver) are available this year. These awards challenge students to extend their interest in the Arts, and volunteer, take up new skills and participate in an expedition.


Behaviour Management

We aim to support all students to behave in an age appropriate way so that they:


  • Can behave appropriately within Brentwood College and the co-located Brentwood School
  • Can engage in lessons and activities to enable them to achieve and make progress
  • Can enjoy a life outside College, freely mixing in the wider community
  • Are prepared for the time when they leave school and go on to further education, supported work or social care provision


If required, individual behaviour plans are written by the college team on entry into college following information gathering from parents/carers, previous settings and observations which informs the baseline. The plans document levels of behaviour, possible functions of behaviour, proactive strategies, sensory issues and opportunities for debriefing.  These ensure consistency of behaviour management and any incidents are monitored. 


Where needed, students have a behaviour target on their IEP which is evaluated termly.  Positive behaviour is rewarded and students are encouraged to self-manage their behaviours.