Skip to content ↓

Medeshamstede Academy


Curriculum Statement

Please click on the above image to enlarge it

Key Curriculum Aims

From KS1 through to KS4, the overarching aim is that each student engages, achieves, and makes the most personal progress they can over time from their starting points. This is to enable them to have the most fulfilling, enjoyable, and independent life as possible – whether this ultimately be independent or supported living and wherever possible access to the world of work.

The academy curriculum at Medeshamstede has been devised with the learner at the centre of our delivery. Our academy population is very diverse and requires a curriculum that is tailored to the individual needs of the learner and is accessed through a common framework, personalised to the learner where possible. The Academy has chosen to use the Cornerstones Curriculum as a foundation for our curriculum offer.

Cornerstones curriculum is built on a sequenced knowledge and skills framework and is informed by the latest findings from cognitive science about how students learn best. It is made up of Curriculum projects that are carefully sequenced and interconnected to support students’ learning over time. The Cornerstones curriculum builds on the national curriculum programmes of study and breaks all subjects down into sequenced sections of skills and knowledge from high level concepts to granular knowledge and skills objectives (see curriculum matrix for all topic areas). This can be adapted to all ages and needs.


Baselines are in place on entry to ascertain key skills and gaps our learners may have. Baselines carried out include B Squared data assessments: Progression steps - Word Reading and Comprehension/ Writing including Composition, Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation, Handwriting and Presentation/ Spoken Language Engagement Steps Cognition and Learning, Communication and interaction, Social Emotional and mental health, sensory and physical (other areas Communication, functional movement, making connections, self and emotions and sensory) This information can be accessed by all teachers on the B Squared system. 

Curriculum Matrix

The academy curriculum Matrix  shows the main areas of study each of the groups and individuals will follow and the broad themes that are being delivered throughout the year. The matrix shows developmental sequencing of topics as matched to the Cornerstones programme. Those at the more formal stage have matched programmes of study linked to subjects. The academy currently follows a  three - year cycle.

Our older students may access learning relating to:

  • Careers, World of Work (WoW), Work experience
  • Enterprise
  • Independence e.g Travel training, Shopping, Money, Leisure

All the above are accredited through ASDAN award units.

Medium Term plans are established by the teacher to consider how the curriculum offer can be best delivered to the group and individual learner.
The timetable is constructed to best match the varying needs of the academy population and matched to the curriculum matrix


Assessment (See assessment reporting and recording statement) is through a small steps assessment tool (BSquared) to identify learner’s progress and attainments which in turn supports teachers in planning. This includes where additional support or interventions may be required. 

At Key Stage 4 students following higher routes of accreditation will be assessed against the exam board criteria


Teachers identify the strategies (See teaching and learning policy) that each student needs to access the curriculum and engage to achieve and make progress. This is individual to each student. Strategies include: Intensive Interaction, structured visual support, Picture Exchange Communication System, Makaton, work/reward/ multi-sensory delivery, TAC-PAC, Attention autism, repetition, ELSA trained staff, etc. Teachers use a range of strategies to support students to learn and retain information.

At Medeshamstede academy we capture data in the following ways which then enables us to support student progress


Marking and feedback (informing next steps)

B Squared small steps (Progression and Engagement)

Photographic evidence

Accreditation outcomes

Parent/Carer Communication

Parents/carers are informed about the curriculum themes being covered in termly newsletters and through the website. The themes enable key skills and knowledge to be worked on in each lesson within an exciting and motivating context. Each subject has skill and knowledge progression mapped but each student will work on their next steps and teachers will break down into further small steps or widen due to the unique nature of each student and how they engage and access the curriculum. There are three Parents/Carers evenings and reports annually.

General principles

Our curriculum will give students the opportunity to:

  • understand within their cognitive ability the purpose and value of their learning and see its relevance to their past, present, and future
  • experience the challenge and enjoyment of learning
  • meet individual needs to ensure access to a broad curriculum and being ready for their next steps
  • undertake core and foundation subjects in the most meaningful way for each individual student to learn.

At Medeshamstede Academy student engagement and access to meaningful learning in a suitable format is at the heart of our provision.

Social Moral Spiritual Cultural education/Fundamental British Values

Our curriculum will give students the opportunity to:

• Recognise democracy, right and wrong and respect the rule of law; individual liberty understand consequences; investigate moral and ethical issues and offer reasoned views

• show and understand Tolerance and respect - including mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs

• be Safe and understand how to keep themselves and others safe in wider society

Medeshamstede Academy values the importance of the development of the whole student. We champion the academy values Respect, Resilience, Responsibility, Reflection in all that we do.



Our curriculum will give students the opportunity to:

• learn in a peaceful and supportive environment

• learn how to respect themselves and others

• develop self-esteem and confidence in their abilities
At Medeshamstede Academy we aim to work as part of a larger team, building key skills for successful futures.

Student Voice.

We ensure our students are heard in meaningful ways, including using AAC (Alternative Augmentative Communication) where appropriate.

Our curriculum will give students the opportunity to: 

• express their opinions on a range of different topics and issues

• explore ways of becoming an active citizen

• take part in cognitive age-appropriate discussions

At Medeshamstede Academy we work to ensure students understand how to have their voice heard and accept boundaries. This includes a student academy council that promotes communication, respect and provides a voice for the whole academy.


Our curriculum will be taught through a pedagogy that:

• excites, promotes, and sustains students’ interest

• enables and fosters students’ natural curiosity

• promotes problem-solving, creativity and communication

Based on Resilience, Reflection, Respect and Responsibility

At Medeshamstede Academy we aim to develop learners with a love of learning, who can go on to have successful futures. Some students may benefit from a semi-formal and/or sensory approach to learning and will follow provision appropriate to these needs.

Careers Education

Careers education is delivered through the ASDAN careers and experience of work short course (accredited) this has been matched to the Gatsby Benchmarks.

Careers education is Time tabled as part of Personal Development and discreate sessions.

Work Experience is being reviewed as part of the overall delivery and has been delivered in house and within the local community

Impartial advise is brought in through Changing Education who meet students


We enrich our curriculum by: 

• using quality resources in and out of the classroom

• developing partnerships with external providers that extend students opportunities for learning

Medeshamstede Academy values the use of enrichment opportunities to embed and build on classroom learning. Special interests are utilised where appropriate as part of the personal development programme.


The academy has mapped out its curriculum provision delivery as follows:

Pre-formal Pathway: For students working at below pre-key stage standards that are pre-subject specific, the intended progression of fundamental key skills and knowledge is a pathway that will be utilised to ensure that lessons are meaningful. The National Curriculum subjects are adapted to provide a context for multi-sensory delivery to engage students in learning and to achieve the pre subject specific/cross curricular skills and knowledge. There is a significant emphasis on self-regulation, key functional skills, independence and targeted preparation for the next phase of their life.

Semi-formal Pathway: For students who are working towards subject specific learning.  The National Curriculum subjects are adapted to provide a context for multi-sensory delivery to engage students in learning and to achieve the pre subject specific/cross curricular skills and knowledge. There continues a significant emphasis on self- regulation, developing key skills, independence and accessing accreditation and targeted preparation for the world of work. Some students will access elements in the continuum in the subject specific skills and knowledge based on their next steps.

Formal Pathway: For students who are working within subject specific learning the academy has mapped out the intended progression of skills and knowledge leading to the end points that are outlined in the National Curriculum. The outcomes target key next steps to achieve and retain. The emphasis will be on preparation for the next stage of learning, gaining the highest accreditations suited to the learner and targeted preparation for the world of work

For each student their next step will be based on their assessed previous skills and knowledge rather than for their age or year group, it will be highly personalised. Due to the particular special needs of an individual student, some students may not have an even profile and steps may be broken down and further personalised. The curriculum provides the opportunity for students to access a broad and balanced curriculum at a differentiated level meeting statutory requirement. Students can access different aspects of the pathways as the need arises.


Supporting access to the curriculum:



Medeshamstede utilises the Read Write Inc Scheme (RWI) (on the approved Department of Education list) to inform provision and planning as a first port of call. This is aimed at maximising curriculum access.

The academy recognises that many students may not yet be at a developmental level to be able to move into a full phonics program and at this point in their learning journey they will continue to work on their pre reading skills necessary to move on at the earliest opportunity.

Phonics is embedded into the curriculum across timetabled sessions for learners to develop their consistent use of phonics application.

Where RWI teaching has not enabled a student to progress in their phonics development, teaching staff will plan for specific interventions (in collaboration with the Speech and language therapist) to support them. This may include 1:1 intensive teaching support, switch on reading, precision teaching or the whole word approach to reading once phonics teaching has been exhausted.


Reading is a priority life skill area and has daily timetabled sessions alongside the phonics sessions.

Each class maintains a reading file with on-going records of materials read and targets for individual reading. Class teachers have access to a library of banded books to ensure progression in reading book choices.

The academy has timetabled reading sessions and reading for pleasure sessions built into the timetable

As students develop their reading skills, appropriate comprehension and inference skills are built into their 1:1 reading time and English lessons.

The academy annually checks students reading progress

Reading at home

Where appropriate to the individual learner and family, reading is allocated as home learning (homework). All families are encouraged to share texts in any form out of academy in a relaxed manner to promote motivation and engagement.