The Brier School

The Brier School

Preparing for life – Building on our strengths

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Gems Pod - Upper School

In Upper School we have 5 classes: Diamonds, Emeralds, Sapphires, Crystals and Opals. 

Children start their secondary education in either Diamonds or Emeralds and they remain in these classes following a two-year lesson cycle where we cover the National Curriculum subjects in new and exciting ways. There is always a theme that runs through each of the subjects. 


We also have, in addition to these two classes, a Lower-Level Learner Class called Amber. Children within this class follow a specialised, bespoke curriculum focusing on a much more sensory / communication-based approach. This class is a bridging class between Lower and Upper School. 


In Year 9, the children then move into the Crystals, Sapphires or Opals. At this stage the children will begin to follow a pathway that leads them into Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11). Children within Year 9 begin to develop their skills to support them when they undertake qualifications in Year 10 and 11. Using a curriculum that teaches initial skills and knowledge that is then revisited throughout is fundamental to the children’s success at The Brier and allows children to be placed in the correct qualification pathway in Year 10 and 11. 


The majority of lessons in Upper School are carried out as a class with the class teacher as lead or in small intervention groups. Pupils do, however, carry out some lessons with specialist teachers. We have extra support staff in each class who work individually with the children and with small groups to provide more focused work. 


Pupils have regular phonics, literacy and numeracy lessons in all classes.  


In addition to the above, we also cover a wide range of outdoor activities such as Road Safety, and Cycling. Year 10 and 11 Students in Opals and Sapphires attend college once a week and have links with the local community for work experience.  

Pupils in Year 10 and 11 work towards Functional Skills Level qualifications, with some doing GCSE’s. Others will be completing their Life and Living Skills Awards. All pupils will be actively considering their next steps on to Further Education. 


Key Stage 4 pupils will also have extended activities to prepare them for leaving The Brier School such as: 

  • Attending a local college. 
  • Taking their Cycling Proficiency tests. 
  • Undertaking their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards with qualified instructors. This will entail walking expeditions, camping and Life Skills in the Outdoors. 
  • Having outdoor experiences at Astley Burf (Year 9) 
  • Completing a Work Experience with an outside agency or in house within our school environment according to their needs.