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Bidwell Brook School
Shinners Bridge, Dartington, TQ9 6JU, UK Totnes
+44 (0)1803 864120

Welcome to Bidwell Brook School

Bidwell Brook School is an all age community special school situated in South Devon. The school caters for pupils with severe learning difficulties and those with profound and multiple needs.

Head Teacher: Audrey Finch
Deputy Head : Stella Ensor


To treat every individual with dignity and respect

To work collaboratively to ensure the individual needsof the pupils are met.

To provide a safe environment that is happy, child centred, and flexible to develop healthy pupils.

To create a secure and positive environment in which pupils can refine and develop skills in all areas that will prepare them for life beyond Bidwell Brook.

To enable pupils to participate in their local community, schools and colleges.

To fully integrate the therapy and sensory needs of our pupils into

classroom practice.

To deliver a curriculum that is broad balanced and relevant.

To encourage students to reach their full potential


Admissions to Bidwell Brook are made through the Local Education Authority. Admissions may take place at any time during the year if places are available. We encourage prospective parents to visit the school by appointment. Once a place has been offered we will discuss ‘taster’ visits for your child.


Our children have specific and highly individual needs. Their progress is carefully monitored and is supported and promoted by a structured, yet flexible, curriculum. Our curriculum ensures that the acquisition of skills and knowledge is relevant to the needs and abilities of our children. The ‘whole’ curriculum can be regarded as encompassing the following key components.

The Primary Department

The Primary Department includes the Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 & 2. The Foundation Stage has its own curriculum based on early learning goals in:

Language and Literacy


Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Physical Development

Creative Development


The Foundation Stage class can admit pupils from 3 years old. In their nursery year children attend part time increasing to full time in their reception year. In Key Stage 1 pupils follow a topic-based approach to the curriculum, based on six broad topics. These are linked to the National Curriculum which is adapted to meet their needs:

Ourselves and Senses

Celebration and Food

Journeys, Transport and Our World

Fur, Feather, Skin, Scale and Minibeasts

The seaside and the Elements

Homes, Families and People Who Help Us

In Key Stage 2 the delivery of the curriculum is more subject-based. Subject-based themes last for a term. This is also linked to the National Curriculum at an appropriate level.

Secondary Department

Secondary Department offers teaching programmes for students with severe and profound learning difficulties until they are 19. The students work within tutor groups according to age. Students follow Key Stage 3 and 4 National Curriculum subjects at a level appropriate to their ability. The emphasis is on Literacy, Numeracy and Social Skills. ‘Moving On’ and the OCR National Skills Profile offers an accredited syllabus that can further develop our students in the 14-19 age group. Residential experiences, Ten Tors expeditions, inclusion with local mainstream schools and colleges, work experience, access to the Connexions service and many other opportunities prepare the students for leaving school. Independent living skills become a feature of the curriculum as our students mature. Our aim in the department is to enable students to achieve their best and effect a well planned transition to Further Education. Many students will still benefit from access to a therapeutic/sensory approach to learning. Their needs will be incorporated into this curriculum by offering a wide variety of age-appropriate sensory experiences and activities, for example, modules of Hydrotherapy, Aromatherapy, Additional Music, Rebound, Riding, etc.


Out of doors we are incorporating three curriculum areas. In environmental education Mary Dodson has planned with Dartington Trust the Eco Watch project. This is jointly run by Mary and the Trust’s warden and has Heritage lottery funding. The students are working on a conservation initiative adjacent to the school and learning conservation techniques and environmental skills. Horticulture has moved to a new garden area with polytunnel and raised beds leased to us next to the school which, over time, will allow full disabled access and fulfil the horticulture syllabus as well as building on the students skills in life skills and healthy eating. Outdoor pursuits are also part of the curriculum as leisure education, keeping fit and as personal challenges. Ten Tors continues to be a focus in May but we are including graded moor walking, rock-climbing, sailing and canoeing to commence in the spring. Students will all have access to a residential week as well as short trips and visits lasting one to two days.

The Moving On curriculum allows us to expand and enrich areas of work. To do this we often use the rich diversity of skills and talent on our staff. We have groups working beyond the syllabus in Textiles, Pottery, Theatre and Drama, Hairdressingand Beauty. We also use outside support from our neighbouring schools and colleges. This may take the form of inclusive activities, visiting tutors or use of other facilities. Areas already being accessed are music, food technology, dance, horse riding and sport and fitness where the whole group use the Totnes leisure centre and fitness suite. Students play tennis, volleyball, basketball, badminton, five a side football, rollerblading and have supervised workout programmes in the fitness suite.

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Editorial office:
tel. + 48 (094)