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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 these 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 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, 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


We offer three different levels of courses within our Life Skills Curriculum:-


Life Skills: Communication, Choice and Control

Personalised learning goals and targets working towards EHC Plan outcomes. Students assisted to co-produce these and understand their learning and achievements through appropriate communication techniques including objects of reference and visual support.

Development of communication skills to enable choice and control in adulthood.

Use of appropriate digital AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication)

Input from Speech and Language Team, Music Therapist and Physiotherapists according to individual need

Rich and varied curriculum enabling exploration and experience of a range of environments, activities, people and objects in the local community.

The building of social and independence skills in College and the local community.

Choice of ASDAN Towards Independence modules tailored to individual learners’ needs. Options for achieving Arts Award (experiential level).

State of the art site and facilities including hydrotherapy pool, assistive bikes and track, rebound therapy, college mini bus.

Progression:  Social services placement, residential or day placement


Life Skills: Skills for Independence


Personalised learning goals and targets working towards EHC Plan outcomes. Students assisted to co-produce these and understand their learning and achievements through appropriate communication techniques.

Development of communication skills including the use of appropriate digital AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) according to need.

Input from Speech and Language Team, Behaviour Team, Music Therapist and Physiotherapists according to individual need

Rich and varied practical curriculum enabling exploration and experience of a range of environments, activities, people and objects in the local community.

The building of social, self management and independence skills in College and the local community.

Choice of ASDAN Towards Independence modules tailored to individual learners’ needs. Options for achieving Arts Award and Duke of Edinburgh Award.

State of the art site and facilities including hydrotherapy pool, assistive bikes and track, rebound therapy, college mini bus.

Rich and varied practical curriculum enabling learning in a variety of college and community settings

Participation in College enterprises and real life learning about the world of work through volunteering and internal work experience activities

Become an active member of the local community.

 Progression: Supported Living, Social services placement


Life Skills: Skills for Independence and Work

Personalised learning goals and targets working towards EHC Plan outcomes. Students assisted to co-produce these and self evaluate their learning and achievements on a regular basis.

Development of communication skills with familiar and unfamiliar people.

Input from Speech and Language Team, Behaviour Team, Music Therapist and Physiotherapists according to individual need

Rich and varied practical curriculum enabling exploration and experience of a range of environments, activities and people in the local community.

The building of social, self management, independence and work skills in College and the local community.

Choice of ASDAN Towards Independence modules tailored to individual learners’ needs. Options for achieving Arts Award and Duke of Edinburgh Award. Other qualifications available according to need.

Partnerships with a variety of community partners facilitate the development of work skills and opportunities which will extend after college.

Rich and varied practical curriculum enabling learning in a variety of college and community settings

College enterprises provide opportunities to learn about the world of work which then can be extended through volunteering and work experience activities

Participation in active leisure time pursuits to keep physically and mentally healthy in later life.

Progression: supported internship, pre-supported internship, supported work placement, supported living, social services placement


Functional Skills

Maths, English and, for students working at lower levels, 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.




Organisation of Learning at College 

Currently within College there are three 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 (where appropriate) 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.  We have 4 main curriculum strands that all students study:


Independent Living/Life Skills

 Students are taught a range of independent living skills including cooking, shopping, cleaning and washing skills.  Their progress is recorded and evidenced through our Life Skills strand on Evidence for Learning.

To accredit this subject ASDAN modules are offered in Independent Living (Introduction and Progression) and Meal Preparation. Students initially learn to make a simple sandwich or snack that they could make themselves and progress to heating food in the microwave and learning to follow the instructions on packets. Students shop for their food weekly, either online or in person. They learn to find an item in a shop and many progress to planning and writing their individual shopping lists.

Students learn skills including where to store fresh, packet and frozen food, the safe use of appliances and equipment, hygiene associated with food preparation and safety in the kitchen and the community.

Students recently designed and furnished our new flat. This has a bed and wardrobes in and has been used to extend the range of independent living skills that students learn.

Functional maths learning includes the use and handling of money, using timing and temperatures when cooking and counting opportunities.  Reading and writing opportunities include the writing of lists, using a picture/symbol/written shopping list, writing instructions, reading packets and recipes.


Friends, Relationships and Community/Citizenship

It is a priority that students learn to make productive use of their leisure time and are included in their communities. We offer a wide range of community and leisure activities some of which are supported by our Manchester United Foundation SEND officer.

Students choose from a range of off and onsite activities including: cycling, swimming, boxing, the gym, visits to museums, parks, the pub, cafes, bowling, badminton, games sessions in the community and an inclusive computer gaming centre. 

Whilst in the community students develop their understanding of socially acceptable behaviour and their responsibilities as adults. They learn skills for travelling by foot, on college transport and where appropriate public transport.

Students learn about their local communities and access activities that they can continue with when they leave Brentwood, supported by their families or social care provision.  Students are encouraged to try a range of different activities and learn to communicate their feelings about them.

Accreditation of this learning is through the ASDAN module offered Using Leisure Time and Out in the Community.  Students choose new indoor and outdoor activities and learn about suitable clothes to wear, if equipment is needed and how to participate safely interacting with peers and members of the community appropriately.

Students practice their literacy by learning to read social and safety signs in the community.

Additionally students access the community for one off events, eg the pub for our Christmas meal, special trips and celebrations and inter-college sports events.

Progress in this area is recorded in our Citizenship strand on Evidence for Learning.


Employment: Work Skills

Students learn about the world of work through Business Enterprises, Horticulture and Animal Care, Work Experiences, Volunteering and Visits. Current Enterprises include our farm shop, Baking for Cafe, and the Brentwood Car Care Company.


Accreditation is through ASDAN Towards Independence module Business Enterprise. Students are supported to plan, start up and run our enterprises. Within each enterprise students learn to complete jobs to a required standard using visuals and task strips. When possible links are encouraged with external partners eg vegetables picked by students on the Wythenshawe Horticulture work experience are made into Chili Jam to be sold at the Farm Shop; skills learnt in the College Café are transferred to a work experience at the Sunshine Café in Sale West.


Enterprise is an opportunity for the contextual use of functional skills. Students are encouraged to be independent in their tasks through the use of visuals and there are many opportunities for developing communication skills. Numeracy opportunities occur through counting orders, items, handling money, monitoring stock and the repetition of tasks.


Students can choose to study Horticulture if that is one of their interests. This subject is designed to have cross curricular links with community work within Sale West, a session at Princes Park Community Garden Centre and The D of E volunteering project at a local allotment. Students work in our extensive grounds area learning to grow plants, fruit and vegetables in our raised beds and polytunnel. Fruit and vegetables are eaten or sold in our farm shop and hanging baskets/bulbs are potted up for selling as gifts.  Students learn about the safe use of tools, what clothes to wear and about growing plants indoors and outdoors.

Animal Care is used to provide opportunities for work experiences, independence tasks, communication and interaction. Students learn to care for the animals providing them with water, food and a clean living environment. The chickens and quails’ eggs are sold in the farm shop. Thea the therapy dog accompanies students on walks and visits.

Where appropriate, students are able to access internal and then external supported work experiences.

Internal work experiences include office work, grounds maintenance including litter picking, feeding our animals and volunteering in the school.  Students working towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteer on a local allotment project called ‘Growing Trafford’s Roots’.

External work experiences are being re-established with Manchester United, Coppice Library, the local pub, Sunshine Café and British Heart Foundation.

Progress in Work Skills is measured through our Work Skills strand and individual portfolios of work.  Work Skills measures progress in looking after belongings and money, travelling in the community and doing tasks independently as these are all necessary skills that have to be in place to be able to have a job.


Students working at our higher levels will be able to progress to a supported internship either through Trafford or Manchester.


Good Health/Physical and Mental Well-being

Physical and mental health promotion is a focus of the College and students are encouraged and supported to be active and make healthy choices in all areas of the curriculum.


Our Manchester United SEND Officer works with staff to plan and support sessions including the ‘1km a day’ morning walk, inclusive sport lunch time clubs, inter college competitions, onsite swimming, cycling and trampolining as well as sports sessions at local gyms, parks, and local leisure facilities. 


Progress is recorded through our Physical and Health strand on classroom monitor and staff work alongside health professionals to achieve the best outcomes for students.

Post 19 students with therapy and care needs have their needs met in College in liaison with the Community Learning Disability Team and a Multi-Disciplinary Team of Therapists. 


Therapy needs are bought in by College on a needs basis.  Currently we have physiotherapy (including hydrotherapy) provided by Physiotherapy 4 Life, SALT provided by SLT for Kids and music therapy delivered by Nordoff Robbins. We have strong links with social care and community health teams to support our students and families with any issues. Students are assessed on entry to college by the SALT team and Manchester Physio and any equipment necessary for learning is purchased including assistive technology.


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.


Our Facilities

Brentwood College shares state of the art facilities with Brentwood School. College students learn within their section of the building which they share with the school sixth form. This includes general classrooms, a social area, two life skills teaching rooms, our enterprise area, and outside games and gardening areas.


College students have access to the specialist rooms in the rest of the school including the Computer Suite, Drama and music studio, Soft Play area, Hydro Pool, Sports Hall, Sensory light rooms, the bike track and

adapted bikes and the trampoline. College use outside areas including the all-weather pitch and the field, the horticulture area including the polytunnel, outside classroom and the chicken shed and woodland.  Students in College regularly make use of a range of off-site community facilities for sporting and leisure activities, community visits, work experience (where appropriate) and have links with other colleges and social care providers.


Extra-Curricular Activities

There are many extra-curricular activities which students can be involved in according to their interests. Lunch-time clubs currently inclusive sports clubs (table cricket and boccia), college band, pet club, gardening club. After school clubs include swimming and drama club. We have links with many theatre companies and musicians who come into Brentwood to perform including Live Music Now, M and M productions and Bamboozle Theatre Company.


Each year there have been end of term class visits to the pub for a college meal and class trips out for a variety of Christmas celebrations.


College Residential at Bendrigg

Each year we run a subsidised college residential where students get the chance to experience a range of new activities away from home.  The July 2021 residential took place providing fantastic memories and experiences for students who had had their experiences limited by Covid. All students:

  • Took part in new activities
  • Developed independence and confidence
  • Flourished in a different environment
  • Worked alongside unfamiliar staff

And some students achieved the residential section of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award