Curriculum Rationale




As a TCAT academy, our curriculum is designed based upon the principles set out in the OECD Learning Framework 2030. We will help every young person:

  • develop as a whole person
  • fulfil his/her potential
  • contribute towards a future built upon the social and economic well-being of the individual, the local community and the wider world

Academies within TCAT will provide a broad and balanced curriculum which prepares young people for the social, economic and environmental challenges of modern living. We will encourage our young people to value individual and collective well-being, prosperity and sustainability.

We will promote the knowledge, skills, attitudes, beliefs and values necessary to support future ready young people who are able to exercise ‘learner agency’ and to take responsibility for their own education and to participate positively in the world. We will do this by providing a solid foundation of language development which ensures literacy, numeracy, general knowledge, digital/technological competence, physical health & well-being and enable them to mobilise disciplinary and inter-disciplinary knowledge, cognitive and social skills and attitudes and values to meet complex demands.


Our Curriculum Rationale and Drivers

  1. Language Development

Our curriculum aims to be talk and vocabulary rich to help counter inequality, widen access to learning and improve life opportunities  [1]. Therefore, Language Development is key to the curriculum at Meadowside. Research has shown a language and communication deficit for some pupils, particularly pupils from low-income households. Our school has a higher level of deprivation among our pupils (see IDACI rating) and therefore language development is key to the educational success of our pupils.  If we are to achieve our mission statement, ensuring that they fully access their next steps in education and go on to engage in the wider world work and to build a better future individually, locally and for the wider world, then language development must be central.  Our curriculum aims to be talk and vocabulary rich to help counter inequality, widen access to learning and improve life opportunities. Talk can also foster empathy and understanding contributing to the development of our attitudes and values shown below.

  • Teaching of Oracy is key to this language development. ‘Great speakers are made, not born’ (Gaunt and Stott) [2]. We aim to employ strategies throughout the curriculum to develop the physical, linguistic, cognitive and social and emotional aspects of learning.
  • ‘Dialogic teaching harnesses the power of talk to engage interest, stimulate thinking, advance understanding, expand ideas, and build and evaluate arguments, empowering students for lifelong learning and democratic engagement. (Alexander) [3]
  • Vocabulary Development “By closing the vocabulary gap for children within our classroom with their peers, we can offer them the vital academic tools for school success, alongside the capability to communicate with confidence in the world beyond the school gates” (Quigley) [1]. Vocabulary development is pivotal to our curriculum and it is planned, sequenced and explicitly taught.
  • Reading Dickenson et al [4] suggests that “reading offers our children the opportunity to hear new vocabulary items embedded in varied grammatical sentences. Books written for children use well-formed, relatively short sentences that are rich in varied vocabulary. Furthermore, books often use the same words in diverse grammatical constructions, offering implicit lessons in how words are used. The texts of books tend to have more low-frequency words than does spoken language [5] and books encourage use of a wider range of words than would occur in everyday conversations. Senechal and her colleagues [6], consistently finds that “parent reports of shared reading were a robust predictor of children’s receptive and expressive vocabulary” (page 179). “


  1. Knowledge
  • The teaching of knowledge is central to our curriculum. Throughout the curriculum, both substantive knowledge (specific, factual content for the subjects) and disciplinary knowledge (knowledge of the disciplines necessary to study a subject) is specifically chosen and deliberately sequenced to ensure retention over time. The teaching of knowledge is spaced and revisited in order to have long term impact, in line with the research of Foot-Seymour and Wiseheart [7]: ‘If the goal is for students to retain as much information as possible, teachers need to be aware of cognitive strategies like the spacing effect so they can make small changes to their teaching practice to help students become more successful.’
  • The curriculum is organised to enable children to build webs of knowledge (schemas), with explicit links being drawn between new and existing knowledge [8].
  • According to Blooms, the teaching of knowledge underpins critical thinking and a child’s ability to go deeper in their learning [9]. When knowledge is secure and links have been made, children are encouraged to take this knowledge deeper and apply this critically in different situations. Oracy development then allows children to express their thinking and views.


  1. Skills
  • Cognitive and Meta cognitive strategies are used by staff in delivering the curriculum, as we believe that the children need to know how best they learn in order to improve learner agency. Therefore, ideas such as cognitive load, working memory etc. are taught throughout the curriculum so that they can develop this understanding.
  • While the teaching of disciplinary knowledge is key to progress in subjects, children require the opportunity to turn this knowledge to practice and apply Our Curriculum planning ensures that these opportunities are embedded for all children.


  1. Attitudes and Values


  • Developing growth mindset [10]. Rather than simply praising success, we praise effort and persistence. We believe the best thing to do is to teach children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort and keep on learning. For children who find work easy we make sure they encounter more difficult tasks. Our children recognise that effort, persistence and good teaching are what help them improve.
  • Developing intrinsic motivation and self-efficacy [11]. Throughout the curriculum we aim for the children to see themselves as readers, writers, mathematicians, artists, musicians etc. We want their motivation for them to work in this way to be down to their understanding of themselves and the potential they have.
  • We recognise the responsibility we have for the physical development and the well-being of our pupils. Our approach to our curriculum aims to build self-esteem, a respect for self and others, kindness and resilience, with staff modelling across the curriculum how to deal with challenge and adversity. We also have a role to ensure that pupils learn about what they can do to maintain positive mental health, what affects their mental health, how they can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues, and where they can go if they need help and support.  British Values permeate through the curriculum.
  • Both the teaching of oracy and knowledge underpin the children’s ability in critical thinking [9].

 Local, Societal and Global

  • As an Inclusion Quality Mark flagship school, inclusivity is key to our culture as a school. Within the curriculum, we aim to celebrate difference and diversity.
  • Sustainability is one of the key themes that is going to prepare our children for life in the future. Key questions about sustainability form central parts of our curriculum.
  • The Rights Respecting agenda plays a key role in school life at Meadowside and provides a strong ethos to foster purposeful learning attitudes and positive relationships. This initiative underpins the school’s aims to provide a values-led curriculum. The children learn about their own responsibilities, through learning about their own rights and the rights of others, as set out by the United Nations Convention Rights of the Child (UNCRC).


[1] The Vocabulary Gap, Chris Quigley
[2] Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Talk, Amy Gaunt and Alice Stott
[3] (July 2020)
[4] How Reading Books Fosters Language Development and the World (November 2011)
[5] Beginning Literacy and Language: Young Children Learning at Home and School, D.K. Dickenson and P.O. Tabors (2001)
[6] A model of the concurrent and longitudinal relations between home literacy, M Senechal in Handbook for early Literacy Research, S.B Neuman and D. K. Dickinson (2011)
[7]Judging the credibility of websites: an effectiveness trial of the spacing effect in the elementary classroom, Foot-Seymour and Wiseheart (2022).
[8] Making Kids Cleverer, David Didau
[9] Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, BS Blooms (1965)
[10] Mindset, How you can Fulfil Your Poptential, Dr Carol S Dweck (2006)
[11] Toward a Psychology of Human Agency, Bandura, A (2006)


For more information about our school currciulum, please contact Mr Clay 



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