Skip to content ↓

Brakenhale School

Update 22nd March

The Brakenhale Way, Summer Term, Teaching & Learning, SEND, Culture & Ethos, Tools for Learning, Operations, Sixth Form, School Day, Support, Parental Voice & Community Engagement

Dear Parents/Carers

The Brakenhale Way

It has been a great half-term at Brakenhale, getting to know all of your children and to recognise their achievements, in and out of the classroom. Like all schools we are continually learning and striving to further improve our provision. Priorities for us next term are: to ensure that all lessons are disruption free, as all children have the right to disruption free learning; ensuring a consistent approach of high expectations for all; developing our support offer for children with additional needs.

Summer term

After Easter we are focusing on resetting our culture and ethos. We want all children at Brakenhale to have the best possible education to ensure they live lives of choice and opportunity. Students, staff, parents and the community all play a vital part in the culture of our school (how we do things here; The Brakenhale Way), it is therefore really important that we are all clear on our approach and expectations. We know that predictability is incredibly important for students to thrive and be successful and we are working hard to ensure they have a consistent experience. 

As an inclusive organisation we have unapologetically high expectations, and we will work hard to ensure in liaison with yourselves, students meet these expectations. I have made it clear to all your children in assemblies this week, that we as a school will continue to believe in them, even in the moments they doubt themselves. Schools with the best academic outcomes and happiest students do so through getting the small things right every day and never lowering expectations. It is our ambition that our students achieve at least a grade better than their peers nationally, giving them the best possible starting point.

Teaching and learning

Recruitment.  As you will be aware there is a national issue with teacher recruitment and retention. We are fortunate to have recruited new staff that are starting with us after Easter. As a result, we are now fully staffed within our English department, where you will be aware we have had a shortage of teachers. We are interviewing today for a Humanities teacher and have recruited a new Science teacher, who will start shortly after the start of the summer term. 

Where teachers are absent temporarily we are introducing centralised cover. Students will complete a memory recall task and deliberate practice in silence, with the support of staff that are known to them. This alleviates the need to use agency staff that don’t know the children and have limited knowledge of our approach, leading to inconsistency. SEND students will have their regular lesson support. 

Lessons will be disruption free. Teachers will consistently adopt our inclusive approach to ensure high quality teaching for all students. Best practice for students with additional needs is best practice for all students.  Students will complete a memory recall quiz for the first 5 minutes of every lesson to support with their knowledge retrieval. Teachers will then complete cycles of ‘ I do’ (they model), ‘We do’ (they question and co-participate/co-construct with students), ‘You do’ (students complete an independent task whilst the teacher circulates to provide live feedback and address misconceptions). This is an evidence based approach that supports all learners effectively. Throughout the lesson teachers will use common strategies to support in checking students' understanding, providing challenge and developing their responses. 

Students will be expected to be silent during lessons. Unless they are asking a question; answering a question or completing a 'turn and talk' activity. We expect them to sit up straight; be ‘hands free’ and to track the speaker. This ensures they are focused and making the most of every minute of every lesson. These expectations are commonplace in all high performing schools. 

Where a student disrupts learning, they will be given a warning. Their name will be placed on the board to ensure clarity for all. If they disrupt learning a second time or there is a serious incident they will spend time in our reflection room, before returning to lessons. 

Our Sixth Form lessons follow the same format. 


If your child has a special educational need, in addition to our high quality teaching offer, they will have a pupil passport. This supports teachers in understanding any adaptations that are required. These are in the process of being revised to ensure they are informed by up to date research. You will be invited in over the summer term to review your child’s passport and any planned interventions. The SEND department will be writing to parents next week to ensure you are aware if your child is on the SEND register and to make you aware of review dates. Moving forward we want to ensure that you and your children are fully informed of their support offer and appraised of the impact it is having. 

If you do not receive a letter regarding your child being on the SEND register your child will not have a pupil passport. 

If you are concerned your child has an additional need and you do not receive a letter next week, please contact our pastoral team via email who can triage your concern at

Culture and Ethos

Staff will continue to adopt and receive training on a warm/strict approach in all interactions with students, to ensure students ‘know what to expect’ and have a consistent experience. They will be greeted warmly at all times. We are moving to adopt a common language, to support a consistent approach and embed this culture. 

Culture cards will have additional categories to provide more opportunities to ensure we continue to recognise students’ manners and acts of kindness; this also supports students in developing their confidence and building relationships with staff through these positive interactions. Our rewards and recognition programme will continue to run in the same format.

Lineups support a calm, positive start to the day. Students line up with their tutor groups (weather permitting), their tutor checks their uniform and we resolve any uniform issues by providing spare uniform where items are missing. Students go to their tutor time in silence, in single file, to support a calm and efficient entry to the building. Years 7-10 then complete tutor time reading, where their tutor reads to them to support their love of literature and exposure to tier 2 vocabulary. Year 11 attend turbo tutor to continue to support their exam skills. Sixth Form have their own bespoke tutor time programme. 

Tools for learning

We have purchased A4 size whiteboards; whiteboard rubbers and pens for students, which will be given out on the first day back. Students need to have these along with their other tools for learning with them at all times. 

Tools for learning will be checked in tutor time. Students have the opportunity to obtain tools for learning in the canteen at an equipment station from 8.20am each morning. Smaller items such as pens will be given free of charge and larger items will be available for purchase. 


Student cards.  From half term we have simplified our card system. If your child has a medical condition, long term or acute e.g. a broken leg, our trained paramedic will issue your child with a medical card. She has been in contact with you this week to ensure her records are up to date. Similarly if your child has a medical condition that requires them to access the toilet more frequently than at 50 minute intervals, this will be issued by Ms Tindall in liaison with you. 

For SEND students that require support with self regulation, Cubbie cards will be issued by the SEND department that allow your child to access our Cubbie to support them to regulate. 

In exceptional circumstances, where a SEND or medical need requires a uniform adaptation a card will be issued by the SEND or medical team.

All other cards will cease. New cards will be issued after the holiday by tutors on behalf of the SEND and medical teams. 

Sixth Form Entrance

There is a new entrance and exit for Sixth Formers. THey now enter and exit through their own entrance to the side of the building. 

The start and end of the day

Students need to continue to arrive at school by 8.30am. Line ups will now commence at 8.33am to ensure we maximise tutor time. If students are not in the line by 8.33am they will be marked late and a detention issued.

The Coningsby pedestrian entrance will no longer be open to students in the morning; this ensures their safety, as there is a high volume of traffic around our one way system. Please can I remind you that if you do drop off by car that you maintain our 5MPH speed limit. 

At the end of the day teachers will lead students from line ups to the gates to support a safe and calm exit. The Coningsby entrance will be open at the end of the day. 


We have a fantastic support team at Brakenhale. An onsite alternative provision staffed by Ms Leech and Ms Campbell to support our vulnerable students. An early intervention and safeguarding team staffed by Ms Gosling, our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Ms Silvey, Ms Spender and Ms Bracken. A behaviour support team, Ms Palmer, Ms Harris and Ms Gilmore. Our SEND team, Mr du Toit our SENDCo, Ms Butcher our Deputy SENDCo, Ms Patel our HLTA and Ms Belstone our intervention coordinator. Next term we have additional support from the trust school improvement team with SEND, from Ms Patel a Senior School Improvement Lead and Ms Vardy the SEND Lead. We also have a Head of Year and Assistant Head of Year for each year group. 

We have expanded our emotional and mental health provision to increase from 1 day a week of counselling provision to the equivalent of 2 full time counsellors with Place2Be and Brym and we will continue to offer ELSA; Drawing and Talking therapy; Art therapy and dog therapy. We are seeking to expand our offer to include a Speech and language therapist and are developing our interventions for literacy; numeracy and social skills. 

We don’t want to lower our expectations of what our students can achieve, we want to ensure we support them effectively to meet our high expectations. 

Parental voice and community engagement 

It is important that we have regular communication to allow us to work together to enable us to have a positive community relationship between parents and school. If you are interested in becoming a member of a parent forum. Please email 

I appreciate that this is a lot of information and would like to welcome you to visit next week so that I can answer any questions you might have. I will be available for coffee and cake on Monday 25th March 10.00-11.00am and Wednesday 27th March at 11.00-12.00pm. 

After Easter we will be operating, everyday is an open day, sign up sheets will go out early in the term enabling you to visit and see our practice in action. 

Yours sincerely,

Camilla Douglas, Headteacher