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Give Our Students the Tools to Succeed

Welcome to The Meadows School
Thank you for choosing to join our school. We hope that your time here will be happy and fun and that you will gain skills and qualifications for your future life in and beyond school.

Arriving in school
Your taxi will bring you to school for about 8.30am. When you arrive you can get breakfast in the dining room and there are a range of activities you might want to try: the TV, newspapers and magazines, computer class, the gym or chatting to your friends.

The Day
8:40 – 9:05 Arrive at the Meadows from taxi’s and report to tutor group
9:00 – 9:50 Lesson 1
9:50 – 10:40 Lesson 2
10:40 – 10:55 Break
10:55 – 11:45 Lesson 3
11:45 – 12:35 Lesson 4
12:35 – 13:15 Lunch
13:15 – 14:05 Lesson 5
14:05 – 14:55 Lesson 6
14:55 – 15:05 Tutor time and await taxi’s home
On three afternoons you can choose to stay until 6pm for Extended Evening activities.

Induction/Joining the school
The staff team want to give everyone the best possible chance to settle well into your new school. We believe this is helped by meeting with families at the beginning (The Family Conference Meeting) to make sure we know what families/young people need and to explain what the school can offer and expect. We need to get to know every young person as quickly as possible so we can have an induction process which will be more carefully explained as you join the school. It is different for every child.

At The Meadows, we follow the National Curriculum which includes the core subjects English, Maths and Science, RE and a range of foundation subjects covering the arts, humanities and technology. In addition we offer Life Skills at KS3 which focuses on basic skills like literacy and numeracy in everyday life situations. At KS4, our older pupils also have Vocational Education but this focuses on the skills required for the world of work and adult life skills. Students also have opportunities to participate it both within school and externally with a range of businesses and partner colleges.

Extended Day Provision
Two nights a week Tuesday and Thursday we have extended nights until six o’clock. Participating pupils can visit a range of locations in County Durham and beyond. We also provide meals before pupils return home. We have various activities such as visiting our local Youth club, bowling, ice-skating, film nights, the beach and many more. For some students this can be their only social activities and is important for their emotional well being, self esteem and bonding with other pupils and staff in a different environment to school.
This is also a great opportunity to promote the spiritual, moral, social, cultural and physical development of pupils within school and the wider community. It is also a good place to have fun. If you would like to stay this is organised by Mrs Walker.

Charges for school activities or visits
There may be circumstances where a small contribution will be requested for some of our school activities and visits.

Disabled Access
Disabled access provision and ground floor of main building new build.

Student Life
Values and Ethos Image

Enriching Our Students Learning Experience

Vision and Ethos of The Meadows Special School


All members of the school community of The Meadows have a right to:
be valued;
an environment in which to develop trusting relationships;
be able to develop as a unique individual;
develop the skills to manage themselves, their emotions and the direction of their own life;
receive support for their own personal journey;
receive nurture and care;

Adults also have the responsibility to ensure that these values are offered unconditionally to all young people and they are accountable for providing this.


The school ethos, life and curriculum have been built upon the following three principles:

A Sense of Belonging;
Progress for all;
Additional and Different.

A Sense of Belonging: this includes
the development of relationships;
a place to belong;
the school which is not only a house but a home;

Progress for All includes:
personal development;
social competence;
meeting the individual’s holistic needs;
achieving the basic grounding for making choices about the future;

Additional and Different: includes
Additional input in learning and social situations;
A therapeutic environment and specific services;
Extracurricular experiences such as day and residential trips;
Family groups through vertical tutor groups;


This is a school where all pupils have a Education Health and Care plan (EHCP). They all began their education in mainstream and have failed within mainstream opportunities. 

The purpose for a special school such as this, is that pupils should make measurable progress in academic and life skills but even more that they will be able to overcome their emotional insecurity and social volatility so that when they leave us at 16, they will be able to create for themselves a positive future of their own choice. This is despite the challenging personal circumstances which the young people continue to experience at home while they attend school. We provide an ethos and curriculum which meets these specific needs and do not attempt to replicate the curriculum which has failed them in the past.

This school therefore takes a very different approach to the education and development of these pupils. Our curriculum is designed to meet their complex needs by engaging them equally in academic learning, support for their emotional and social needs and the development of vocational and life skills. The Meadows offers a therapeutic environment with specific therapies available as appropriate.

The priority here is to address the holistic needs of each individual pupil so that they become adjusted and successful young people when they leave the school. Our teaching focuses on providing intensive support for students as individuals, recognising their individual strengths and weaknesses. We offer a range of qualifications that gives every one of them the opportunity to attain. One-to-one support is provided as appropriate and is always flexible. We provide ongoing support for their emotional and social needs within and through a structured learning environment.

Each pupil receives regular individual assessment to ensure that their experience here meets the balance of their emotional, social and behavioural needs alongside their educational needs. We believe that without the focus on their barriers to learning, they will be unable to take advantage of the educational offer. The curriculum is therefore designed as an aggregation of individual pupils’ needs, rather than a fixed curriculum delivered to all pupils. This is provided within a caring environment which also offers fun for our young people and a range of stimulating experiences beyond the classroom.

Admissions Arrangements Image

What to Know About Admission

The Meadows is a Durham County Council Special School and as such all referrals must be made through the Statutory SEND Casework Team, Children and Adults Services, Durham County Council, County Hall, Durham. Telephone:- 03000 265 878

All our students have Education Health Care plans relating to Social, Emotional and Mental Health needs. Students can join us in any year from year 7 to year 11 after a referral from the Special Educational Needs Panel. The school has places for 60 students.

The majority of our students live in Durham County but we accept referrals from nearby authorities when referred by their local SEN panel. The school is currently over-subscribed; should this happen there will be a waiting list for prospective students referred by the SEN panel. The maximum number of students in each year group is 8.

The Meadows is a maintained school funded by Durham County Council, which publishes its school admission arrangements and information about SEN. If you wish to enquire about a place at The Meadows, would like information about the referral and admissions process, or wish to refer a student, please contact the School.

Admission Arrangements
Vision and Ethos

Our curriculum delivery is designed to ensure that it is coherent and pupils are enabled to make connections and understand one aspect of learning through the lens of another area of learning. We recognise that some students require support on arrival to the school and aspects of their learning are supported through appropriate elements of the KS2/1 curriculum.


In KS3 we offer:





In KS4 we offer:









Vocational Education



In KS4 we offer:



GCSE (9-1) English Language

GCSE (9-1) English Literature

Functional Skills in English

Entry Level Certificate in English

AQA Unit Awards



GCSE (9-1) Mathematics

Functional Skills in Mathematics

Entry Level Certificate in Mathematics

AQA Unit Awards



Entry Level Certificate in Science

ASDAN Short Course Science



The Project



ECDL Certificate in IT Application Skills

AQA Unit Awards



ASDAN Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (COPE)

NCFE Level 1 Award in Occupational Studies

NCFE Level 1 Award in CV Writing

NCFE Level 1 Award in Alcohol Awareness

NCFE Level 1 Award in Substance Misuse Awareness

NCFE Level 1 Award in Sexual Health Awareness

NCFE Level 1 Award in Health and Safety Awareness



GCSE in Art and Design

NCFE Level 1 Certificate in Food Technology



AQA Award and Certificate in Personal and Social Education


Physical Education

GCSE Physical Education (Full and Short Course)

We believe that academic, social and emotional development are inseparable and we visually represent these connections for our pupils through The Big 4: Think and Reflect, Take Responsibility, Manage Challenge and Connect with Others

Outdoor Education
John Muir

Our curriculum delivery is designed to ensure that it is coherent and pupils are enabled to make connections and understand one aspect of learning through the lens of another area of learning. We recognise that some students require support on arrival to the school and aspects of their learning are supported through appropriate elements of the KS2/1 curriculum. 

The Meadows Curriculum can be found by clicking on the button below

We believe that academic, social and emotional development are inseparable and we visually represent these connections for our pupils through The Big 4: Think and Reflect, Take Responsibility, Manage Challenge and Connect with Others

Think and Reflect
Take Responsibility
Manage Challenge
Connect with others

The BIG 4 is a framework designed to create coherent opportunities for talking with young people about attitudes that enable young people to face difficulty and uncertainty calmly, confidently and creatively. We believe that conversations support understanding and students who are more able to talk about their learning and abilities, learn faster and learn better.

We use the Big 4 phrases to encompass Spiritual Moral Social Cultural aspects of learning as we believe that a consistent framework can support our students to make meaningful connections.

If you require any additional information about our curriculum please contact the school on 01388 811178 or email for the attention of the Headteacher.

Learning to read

We ensure high-quality phonics teaching to improve literacy levels giving a solid base upon
which to build.


To support young people who are struggling to learn to read we use two targeted
programmes. That Reading Thing and Read Write Inc Fresh Start, which is a validated
systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) programmes.   



Our selected interventions have been reviewed by Greg Brooks in the fifth Edition reviewing
the effectiveness of intervention schemes for literacy.


Tutor groups read together with this process aiming to generate a love of reading. We use
the Reciprocal Reading framework to help young people to develop reading for information
through across subjects.

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There were 9 pupils in the 2022-2023 cohort.


100% students left with an accreditation in English and Mathematics 


88.89% students gained at least 5 GCSE or equivalent. 


0 % students with a good pass at GCSE English and Mathematics (grade 5 and above) 


The number of students attaining 5 GCSEs or more was 11.11%


Percentage of students who achieved a grade 4 or above in GCSE (or equivalent) in 5 or more subjects, including English and Maths - 0%


Percentage of students who achieve Progress 8  and Attainment 8  - 0%


Percentage of pupils who achieved the English Baccalaureate 0%


** of students had confirmed post-16 education, training placements or employment

KS4 Results
Curriculum Principles Image
Pupil Premium

Pupil premium is funding to improve education outcomes for disadvantaged pupils in schools in England. Evidence shows that disadvantaged children generally face additional challenges in reaching their potential at school and often do not perform as well as other pupils.

Pupil premium - GOV.UK (


In June 2020 the government announced £1 billion of funding to support children and young people to catch up on missed learning caused by coronavirus (COVID19). This is especially important for the most vulnerable pupils and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds who we know have been most affected.

Catch-up premium - GOV.UK (


The Pupil and Catch Up Premium are used to enhance teaching and learning in order to raise attainment for disadvantaged students. For our population we recognise that non-academic gains, such as improving pupils’ mental health and resilience and attendance at school underpin a readiness to learn and longer term success in school and transfer to Post 16.


85% of our pupils are categorised as PP or PP+ and are eligible for the Pupil Premium / Catch Up Premium and/or are Children Looked After. Given these high levels all our staff development, school systems and practices are designed to support disadvantaged pupils.


We apply a tiered approach as evidence from the Education Endowment Foundation’s (EEF) pupil premium guide with interventions guided by the evaluation of effectiveness from the Foundation being mindful that our students are underrepresented in terms of research findings.


Pupil Premium and Recovery Funding

Pupil Premium Strategy statement 2022-23

Pupil Premium and Recovery Action Plan and Impact Statement for 2021-2022


Policies and reports are regularly reviewed and are updated on the website after Governor approval                   

*Items which are grey are under review


Covid Catch Up Report

COVID-19 catch-up premium 2021 Review          

Pupil Premium Strategy 2021-2023 (Under Review)                                 

Year 7 Catch Up Review 2019-2020

Pupil Premium Strategy 2019-2020 (Pre Covid Plan embeded in 2019-2022 Strategy)   

Attendance image

The government considers 95% to be a level of attendance that most pupils should reasonably be expected to achieve each year.


Pupil attendance at school is extremely important. Pupils who have high levels of school attendance are most likely to achieve success at the end of Year 11 and transfer to post 16 life in education, employment or training. We celebrate attendance stars each term.


Our essential information for parents can be obtained by contacting the school office.

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