Skip to content

Curriculum Overview

At Springwell Leeds Academy we offer an innovative curriculum that is specifically developed to meet the needs of young people with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The over-all aim of our curriculum is to:

  • Cater for individual needs of our children
  • Support the development and growth of the whole child, based on their different and varied starting points and experiences by addressing needs which are:
  • Develop a sense of safety and security
  • Foster strong child : adult and child : child relationships
  • Develop a love of learning
  • Provide students not only with the literacy skills to access curriculum successfully, but to foster a love for reading
  • Prepare children for a positive next step in life, whether that be education, work or training

Personalised Curriculum

The curriculum at Springwell Leeds Academy, across all key stages, has been developed in order to allow for the flexibility and personalisation required to respond to the individual needs of each child. All curricular areas aim to support students’ SEMH needs by providing learning opportunities in which students can develop social skills, self-control, self-awareness and skills for learning through highly engaging, creative, and knowledge-rich content. Through this framework, we provide a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum that supports every child’s SEMH, academic and vocational development, as well as their spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development.

A more detailed outline of our curriculum offer at Primary and Secondary Phases can be seen here:


Students at Springwell Leeds Academy are assessed soon after entry to inform and tailor their curriculum offer. This pathway helps define key priorities based upon their starting points and therefore what the focus of their personalised curriculum will be.

A Focus on Nurture

In order to ensure that the social and emotional needs of our children are met, Springwell Leeds Academy takes a nurturing approach with the six Principles of Nurture forming the foundation our curriculum and teaching and learning pedagogy. These are:

  • Children’s learning is understood developmentally.
  • The classroom offers a safe base.
  • Nurture is important for the development of self-esteem.
  • Language is understood as a vital means of communication.
  • All behaviour is communication.
  • Transitions are significant in the lives of children

At Springwell Academy Leeds all time is learning time and opportunities to foster positive relationships. We aim to prepare students to have positive experiences when we welcome them to school each morning, support our young people to manage the demands of the social school day successfully, and provide enrichment opportunities where students can practice positive social skills and spend quality time with peers and key adults before finishing their day. Three key aspects of our school day; nurture breakfast, family dining and social time, and team time, support the implementation of our SEMH curriculum. At lunch time, students and staff have meals together either in our communal dining spaces or in class areas allowing staff to model, facilitate, and reinforce positive social skills for young people in a structured and safe environment.

For a more detailed outline of each curriculum area, please click below

Nurture breakfast 

Team Time 

Trauma Informed Approach

We aim to promote the safety and security of our children by taking a trauma informed approach to the curriculum. This means we aim to:

  • Provide our children with daily access to emotionally available adults, who believe in them, and can relate to them with compassion, empathy and unconditional positive regard.
  • Support children experiencing painful life events, by helping them process, work through and make sense of what has happened.
  • Ensure that staff interact with children at all times with kindness and compassion.
  • Develop our settings in ways that help children feel calm and safe
  • Foster a culture in which staff and other adults interact with all children in a way that makes them feel valued as individuals throughout their day
  • Staff and adults adjusting their expectations of vulnerable children to correspond with their developmental capabilities and experience of traumatic stress.

Each site has a therapeutic intervention team that enhance the core curriculum with bespoke sessions including:

  • Sensory intervention

  • Thera-play

  • Thrive interventions

  • Counselling

  • Anger management

  • Music intervention

  • Art intervention

  • Animal Therapy

See the Springwell Academy Leeds Framework for Learning (link) for a more comprehensive view of our approaches to teaching and learning.

All of our pupils have social-emotional needs and this need underpins our curriculum offer. In order to support staff, students and parents/carers in recognising both SEMH and academic progress, we measure social skills, ability to understand and manage emotions, and developmental deficits, in addition to measures for academic development.

The following measures comprise our “whole child progress standards”

  • The assessment of each child’s progress against the objectives set out in their Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

  • Academic progress data exemplified through the production of individual flight paths for all students in reading, writing and mathematics

  • Boxall Profile data

  • SEMH tracker data


For a more detailed outline of our assessment policy, please click here (link).