About us

What we do

Brantwood Specialist School opened in 2011 by the Ruskin Mill Trust. Our students’ complex needs include Autism Spectrum Conditions, Pathological Demand Avoidance and Attachment Disorder and can lead to them experiencing high levels of anxiety. They have struggled to cope in a range of settings and many have been school refusers prior to joining us. Their placements are funded by Local Authorities. Using our therapeutic and practical skills curriculum, we successfully support students to re-engage with education and as a result of this support, they can re-imagine and realise their potential.

At the heart of the school’s offer is the understanding of human phasic development that underpins the Waldorf curriculum that is used in Rudolf Steiner schools across the world. Our core approach is the Practical Skills Therapeutic Education method, using natural materials and meaningful learning opportunities. Young people learn from skilled craft tutors to create products of purpose, value and beauty. The experience of working directly with the material and the master-apprentice relationship with the tutor both help to re-shape their sense of themselves and their potential. This transformative process can create a virtuous circle, enabling them to re-apply themselves to subjects they have under-performed in previously such as Maths and Science and to consider different career paths. Teachers then capitalise on opportunities to help the students generalise and apply their learning e.g. using scientific knowledge to develop a furnace. We are proud that some of our young people who spend a significant portion of each day on craft and land-work are now exceeding age-related expectations in Maths.

Therapeutic insight weaves throughout the school’s offer and individual students benefit from a range of therapeutic intervention according to their assessed needs. These include the impact of the craft and land work activities, the availability of speech and language and occupational therapies as well as specialist movement, art and massage therapies.

Although we are inspired by Rudolf Steiner, we are a non-denominational school and our calendar of celebrations reflects the diversity of both the local and global community.

Two Brantwood pupils with one of the farm animals

Who we are

The school’s Head Teacher is Mr. Eric Knutsen
The school’s proprietor is Aonghus Gordon. Aonghus is the founder and Executive Chair of RMT and he can be contacted at the Trust’s head office: Ruskin Mill, Old Bristol Road, Nailsworth, Gloucester, GL6 0LA, by email at enquiries@rmt.org or by phone on 01453 837500.

Pupil Progress

Data is used at a whole school level to inform school improvement planning as well as in the review of individual pupils. Whilst we find the individual student analysis really powerful in shaping each student’s learning needs and pathway, as a Leadership Team we also find it helpful to use the data to identify emerging trends and to evaluate the effectiveness of specific interventions.

The academic year 2017-18 was a stable year for young people, staff and families with an improving picture for behaviour and attendance; this enabled a more consistent focus on Teaching, Learning and Assessment.

Young people all made progress against their starting points, with 48% of young people making outstanding progress in English and 63% making outstanding progress in Maths.

Further Information

The school’s Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy can be found by following this link.Other key policies are available on this website; please click on the ‘policies and procedures tab’.

If you would like hard copies of these posting to you free of charge or have different access needs, please contact Dawn Mirfin, Brantwood Specialist School, 1 Kenwood Bank, Sheffield S7 1NU, by email at enquiries@brantwood.rmt.org or by phone on 0114 258 9062

Additional information about the school and the way it operates can be found in the following documents

Practically Minded, an exploration of the value of practical activity for school-aged students
• The specialist therapies available at BSS.

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