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Meadowhead School

Meadowhead SchoolAcademy Trust

Curriculum Overview

At Meadowhead our curriculum enables the personal development of the individual, the fulfilment of academic potential and participation in an extensive extra-curricular provision.

Our guiding principles:

  • To enhance student’s knowledge and skills allowing them to fulfil their potential and function in the world beyond school;
  • To create good citizens who 'make a difference': respecting others and their environment;
  • To enable and inspire students to enjoy and embrace learning;
  • To fill students with a sense of pride and self-worth;
  • To promote British values: democracy, respect and tolerance.

Our core values:

Central to life at Meadowhead are our ‘Make a Difference’ skills which we promote and celebrate in all aspects of the curriculum with specific delivery through assemblies, form time and extra-curricular experiences as well as through our academic curriculum.

Our academic curriculum

‘Learning is defined as an alteration in long term memory. If nothing has altered in long term memory nothing has been learned.’ 

Kirschner, Sweller and Clark (2006)

The curriculum is designed to be inclusive and cater for all learners with knowledge at its heart. We believe in high challenge for all with a knowledge-based curriculum that provides breadth and balance across a range of subject disciplines.  The content is structured to allow for the enrichment of knowledge, the development of core skills and the broadening of experience across a wide range of subjects. We seek to develop a student’s cultural capital through introducing them to new and unfamiliar materials and texts as well as providing planned opportunities for creative and practical learning.

Our academic curriculum is based on these core strands:

Knowledge  - we recognise that each subject area has core knowledge / skills. We have identified this and carefully sequenced it to support student learning. Our carefully chosen content is both enriching and challenging.

Memory – in order for students to learn, they need to commit some knowledge to memory. Based on cognitive science research, we have built opportunities for students to develop their knowledge retention and test their recall at various stages over the course of study. Our knowledge organisers are a useful revision and assessment tool; within these, we have outlined the key concepts, key vocabulary and main points of each topic. We also show students how to develop their long-term memory and teach them ways to revise.  We believe in focusing on developing memory, this will aid students in becoming life-long learners.  

Literacy – we recognise the vast amount of academic language required to access a subject. We support students in the literacy of each subject by teaching vocabulary explicitly and developing their communication through talk, reading, and writing. Students are exposed to word-rich environments with opportunities for reading and extended writing. In each curriculum subject area we have identified core academic vocabulary which links with key concepts. We place great value on the importance of reading which we develop through the subject curriculum as well as our wider curriculum (see Reading for Pleasure section).

Numeracy - numeracy is a core skill for both academic subjects and everyday functions. The teaching of numeracy is carefully mapped out so students move from mastering the basics to developing more complex skills. Numeracy skills are required across a range of subjects and, therefore, their subject areas are carefully aligned to allow students to use skills across a mix of subjects.

Assessment and feedback

We give regular feedback to students during each unit and ensure they know what to do to improve. Teachers use this information to support and challenge students on an individual basis as well as doing frequent low-stakes quizzing to help embed learning. As part of our formal assessment, we have dedicated Assessment Weeks in all year groups to enable students to familiarise themselves with test conditions and to measure their long-term retention and learning.


The curriculum has been built and sequenced to allow students to build key knowledge as a progression model allowing students to explore key concepts and ideas whilst embedding core knowledge. There are progression routes for all learners; we offer academic and vocational pathways with a range of GCSE, A-level and BTEC courses. We also provide opportunities for some students at KS4 to do work-related learning.


Form tutor curriculum

We have a dedicated form tutor programme each morning with core strands across the year groups. In the five sessions across the week students in year 7-9 have structured opportunities for discussion of topic issues, an assembly, and dedicated reading sessions.

Additional support for some students is provided through our reading programmes, literacy catch-up and numeracy development. 

For years 10-13, students have study support sessions based on core and EBacc subjects to develop independent revision strategies with specialist teachers supporting them. They also have a specific careers session, a weekly assembly and structured opportunities to discuss topical issues. 

For further details of specific support, please see Support Areas section of the website.


As part of a student’s personal development and the promotion of British values, they all study Ethics, which incorporates PSHE, SRE and religious education. Within the Ethics curriculum students are encouraged to debate, explore and study ethical issues to help them understand living within a democracy and the wider world. They are given opportunities to identify and challenge stereotypes and discrimination, gain insight into religious faiths and beliefs, learn about mutual respect and tolerance, and understand the rule of law. (see our Make a Difference curriculum)


Our extensive careers programme is tailored to the needs of each year group from year 7 to 13. We provide relevant experiences of work through the curriculum as well as planned visits. We prepare students for each new step in their education and beyond as well as ensuring they make well-informed choices. At key career points we have specific events:

  • WOW – World of Work Week: an immersion into different career choices available with a range of employers showcasing their experiences (all year groups)
  • Mock interviews at both year 10 and 13 using a range of employers to suit the students’ career aspirations,
  • Work experience for year 10 and year 12.
  • Career guidance for applications (year 11 / 13) and options processes (year 9 /11)

Our Key Stage 3 runs over three years (year 7-9) where students study:

  • English, mathematics, science
  • Geography and history
  • A language (German, French or Spanish)
  • Health, Fitness & Well-being (HFWB)
  • Ethics
  • ICT
  • Drama and music
  • Art and technology
  • All students have a 25 minute Reading Time twice a week.

Our KS4 runs over two years (year 10 and 11).

The school is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive curriculum with a range of guided choices. All students study:

  • English Language and Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Health, Fitness & Well-being (non-examined)
  • Ethics (non-examined)

The guided choices we offer are:

  • Languages (Spanish, German, French)
  • History and geography
  • Triple Science
  • BTEC Sport, BTEC Health / Social Care and GCSE sport
  • ICT imedia and ICT Computing
  • Art general, Textiles, Photography and Graphics
  • Design & Technology, and BTEC Construction in the Built Environment
  • GCSE Music and BTEC Music
  • BTEC in performing arts (dance or acting)
  • All students have a 25 minute Study Time each morning.

Sixth Form:


Our new purpose built Sixth Form Centre opened in November 2017 and provides students with a dedicated working environment which is an integral part of the school. The Sixth Form Centre contains teaching rooms, social space with a cafeteria and areas for private study. The centre is fully equipped with the latest ICT and wifi access.

We work with our Trust Partners, including Sheffield University, Sheffield Hallam University and The Sheffield College, to enable us to personalise the curriculum and offer our students the widest range of courses in the city with excellent guidance and support to progress in the future.

Learner Success:

A personalised learning programme is in place for individual students about suitable courses and qualifications, based on their own interests and ambitions and supported by our detailed knowledge of their strengths and potential. Offers of places on Sixth Form courses are based on secure evidence with a high degree of confidence that the courses are appropriate for the individual. We offer extensive career support with mock interview, work experience and dedicated guidance on the application processes.

As an 11-18 sixth form school, we have been able to offer a curriculum for our Sixth Form students to enable them to progress further. Currently, our Sixth Form programme allows students to access A-level and BTEC courses in:

  • English (Language, Literature)
  • Maths, Further Maths and Core Maths
  • Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, BTEC Science)
  • Humanities (History, Geography, Sociology, Philosophy & Ethics, Psychology)
  • Languages (French, German, Spanish)
  • ICT
  • PE (A level and BTEC Level 3)
  • Art
  • Art Textiles
  • Product Design
  • Business Studies (BTEC Level 3)
  • Performing Arts (BTEC)
  • Music
  • Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
  • Health and Social Care (BTEC Level 3)
  • We also offer a Football Scholarship in partnership with Sheffield FC.

Please refer to the dedicated section on the Sixth Form for further details.

Please open the document below for comprehensive information about the structure of the curriculum.