Sheffield’s newest secondary Mercia School: ‘A traditional comprehensive where the level of challenge is high’

One of Sheffield’s newest schools is thriving and is already oversubcribed – despite only opening its doors in September.

Merica School, on Carterknowle Road, is one of two schools built in Sheffield to cope with an increase in demand on school places.

Mercia School deputy headteacher Joshua Fisher, headteacher Dean Webster and assistant headteacher Ruth Hollingsworth

Mercia School deputy headteacher Joshua Fisher, headteacher Dean Webster and assistant headteacher Ruth Hollingsworth

The £20m school has no catchment area and this year welcomed 124 year seven pupils – from 24 different primary schools – through its doors.

Headteacher Dean Webster said the school is offering a ‘real choice’ to families in the area.

READ MORE: REVEALED: The most oversubscribed secondary schools in Sheffield

He said: “We are a traditional comprehensive school where the level of challenge is high.

Pupils do a jigsaw in the 'family room' at the school

Pupils do a jigsaw in the 'family room' at the school

““We are all about children making great progress.

“Our curriculum has been designed to ensure the level of challenge is high.”

The school is part of the Mercia Learning Trust which includes King Ecgbert School, in Dore and Newfield School, in Norton Lees.

It opens its doors at 7.30am for any children wanting to have breakfast – and closes at 5pm Monday to Thursday and at 3.45pm on Friday.

The sports hall at Mercia School

The sports hall at Mercia School

After school on Monday, pupils take part in creative and performing arts and on Wednesday they take part in sports electives, such as fencing, Gaelic football.

On Tuesday and Thursday pupils do homework after school.

“We are trying to give them a culturally rich experience,” said Mr Webster.

READ MORE: More Sheffield secondary school places needed to meet rising demand

Pupils take part in lunchtime activities

Pupils take part in lunchtime activities

“We have a real family feel here. Children are polite and they’ve got manners, which is part of creating their character.”

It features state-of-the-art classrooms, a huge sports hall, dance studio and, at the heart of the school, is a ‘family room’ where staff and pupils eat together.

There is 30 minutes for lunch where children sit on tables with a teacher and specific topics of the day are discussed. For a further 30 minutes children take part in sports, play chess and do jigsaws.

“Children carry their books and equipment to lessons but that is part of being responsible and it what is expected of you when you go to university,” added Mr Webster.

“We are getting children prepared for life. 

READ MORE: South Yorkshire alumni to boost state students’ university chances

The dance studio

The dance studio

“The school is built on social mobility.

“All the pupils have the same school bags and that is why we have a uniform, so everyone is the same.”

Mr Webster said 1,500 people had attended recent open days, with families keen to find out what the new school had to offer.

“We are not for everyone and that is fine because there are three other outstanding schools that parents have always had that are still there,” he said.

“We are offering the families in the south west a real choice.”