Curriculum design at Ysgol Bryngwyn School is driven by learners’ interests, aspirations and needs. This ensures there is appropriate variety and opportunity for all.
Age range: 11 - 16
Date of inspection: May 2017
Information about the school
Bryngwyn School is an 11-16, mixed, community school. It is situated in Dafen, on the north-eastern side of Llanelli, and draws its pupils from parts of the town centre and from a number of outlying villages. There are 1,050 pupils on roll: The proportion of pupils eligible for free school meals is around 20%. Bryngwyn and Glan-y-Môr were formally federated in September 2014 becoming the pioneer pilot for secondary federation. Both schools are pioneer and lead creative schools.
Context and background to sector-leading practice
Bryngwyn has developed a curriculum that is driven by pupils’ interests. It is highly flexible and personalised to learners.
The school seeks the views of all stakeholders and adapts the curriculum each year according to the needs of learners and the local community. This ensures there is appropriate variety and opportunity for all.
The school has an extensive track record of creativity and innovation within the curriculum and the excellent progress of pupils at Bryngwyn is a result of many of these progressive developments.
Description of nature of strategy or activity
Knowing learners, their interests, aspirations and learning needs is fundamental to the school’s approach to curriculum design. Pupils are closely monitored through extensive tracking and consulted through a range of learning forums to ensure that robust feedback is gathered to inform the curriculum model.
Staff also form a key part in the ongoing dialogue in curriculum design. This allows the school to offer a wide variety of courses across subjects and within subjects. The well-planned, extensive breadth of provision enables all pupils to engage with the curriculum and ensures that pupil success can be celebrated at every opportunity.
Balance in the curriculum
The curriculum provides the necessary balance to ensure pupils develop skills as well as subject knowledge. Skills development is carefully planned and effectively tracked across each subject area. Bryngwyn has a coordinated approach to skills development, in particular numeracy, literacy and digital literacy, while allowing departments the flexibility to incorporate opportunities to develop skills in relevant and meaningful ways.
The curriculum provides opportunities for enhancement for learners of all abilities. Nurture and extension groups are used effectively to provide appropriate support and challenge to learners and pupil groupings are regularly reviewed. Successful support strategies are used with a variety of mentoring programmes and intervention groups targeting learners in key stages 3 and 4. More able pupils are extended through a range of provisions including extension courses in Maths and Welsh and Saturday clubs in partnership with post-16 providers. All learners have access to a full array of wider activities that provide the variety of learning experiences that makes the curriculum so effective. High levels of engagement in the Eisteddfodd, subject competitions, clubs, eco projects, music and many more activities contribute to a culture and ethos that looks to celebrate the success of pupils at every opportunity. This is most notable in the school’s use of praise and rewards, culminating in an exceptional and well attended prize evening, that ensures pupils, parents, staff and governors take pride in their collective achievements.
The highly flexible curriculum at Bryngwyn allows pupils to choose a pathway suited to their needs. In commencing their chosen pathway in year 9, pupils are afforded the opportunity to trial their choices to ensure they are an appropriate match. At Key stage 4, pupils have the choice to follow three different pathways: Extension; Enhancement or Enrichment. The balance of time and choice of options vary according to the pathway a pupil follows.
The option process is heavily learner led. Pupils are given free choice on which subjects they would like to study and a careful support network is in place to provide pupils with the appropriate guidance to ensure successful outcomes. Pupils have the opportunity to choose options that cover a range of experiences reflecting both academic and vocational experiences. Choices are not restricted to one particular pathway and the school gives equal value to both. An extensive range of subjects is offered and supported through a highly successful partnership with post-16 providers that contribute to delivering a range of carefully selected vocational courses. The development of the innovative Vocational Skills Centre is a particular strength of the school working in partnership with the Llanelli cluster to provide real-life experiences.
The school is committed to innovation and has a track record of creativity within the curriculum. A range of focus weeks, projects and partnership schemes result in the creative and imaginative curriculum offer seen in Bryngwyn. A unique award has recently been developed that focuses primarily on pupils’ involvement in the wider skills in Wales. The award “Bryngwyn Baby Bac’ (B3) was very successful in its pilot year with students in year 7 and 8 facing a series of challenges linked by a common theme with assessment focused on each of the wider skills. Both staff and pupils reported high levels of participation, enjoyment and engagement. Achievement for pupils is celebrated with an award at either gold silver or bronze
What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?
The continued curriculum developments and commitment to regular dialogue and review with staff and pupils has enabled Bryngwyn to demonstrate significant progress in pupil outcomes at key stage 3 and 4. The design of the curriculum adds significant value to pupils at Bryngwyn in both their skills development and their overall outcomes.
Pupils are confident, independent and collaborative learners who display high degrees of resilience and are highly engaged in their studies.
How have you shared your good practice?
As part of a federation, Bryngwyn ensures that all developments are shared across the federation. Partnership with the post-16 provider in Llanelli and other secondary schools ensures that resources and opportunities at 14-19 are shared. This is evident in the Vocational skills provision. Bryngwyn also works with the DEPNET curriculum group in Carmarthenshire. As part of the pioneer network the Bryngwyn and Glan Y Mor federation also has the opportunity to work with a number of schools outside the region on curriculum developments.