The curriculum at Arbour Academy intends to promote learning, personal growth and emotional wellbeing. As an academy, where appropriate, we follow the National Curriculum alongside a bespoke curriculum for each student, which is broad and ambitious, combining academic subjects with a range of vocational and therapeutic activities that the academy organises both onsite and with outside agencies. We place equal value on both aspects of our curriculum, believing that this combination enriches the pupil experience and develops the resilience and emotional growth of those in our care.  We aim to teach our pupils those positive, responsible behaviours, including social and basic life skills so that they may become contributory members of the extended community in their lives outside the academy.

Our ambition for all pupils is for them to be given opportunities that will offer them the best understanding of how to be successful in 21st Century Britain. At Arbour Academy we explore and develop all opportunities that allow pupils to experience activities beyond the classroom in line with their more socially advantaged peers. Activities have included swimming, climbing, ice-skating, learning to play a musical instrument or furthering their exploration and enjoyment of life skills such as preparing and cooking their own meals.

In addition to this, we have forged links with local artists and businesses that further enrich the cultural capital of the pupil experience at Arbour Academy. The Lowry Theatre have provided pupils with work experience placements as well as drama and media workshops, and students make regular visits to local places of interest and heritage such as Salford Museum and Chester Zoo.

We strive to ensure our young people are developing the skills and knowledge they need to make informed and aspirational career decisions throughout their working life. We do so through a comprehensive programme of Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) and have been recognised for achieving the Gatsby Benchmarks of good practice (DFE- Careers Strategy 12.17). A combination of access to an independent careers adviser coupled with specialist onsite support helps us to ensure that our pupils all have realistic plans in place to take their first step towards employment on leaving our school. 

Our mission statement states that we care for young people and their families – providing them with opportunities to learn and flourish. We pride ourselves on our high expectations of what our young people can achieve, academically, socially and emotionally, and extend that support outwards to ensure their families can flourish too. The curriculum is created to re-integrate students who face barriers to school attendance or those with extreme anxieties. This is the true strength of our curriculum here at Arbour Academy, meeting as it does the needs of those young people and their families by empowering them to embrace education once again - allowing it to enrich their lives and positively impact upon their future beyond our walls.

Key Stage 3 and Nurture

At KS3 and within our Nurture groups we have a wide therapeutic offer and strong emphasis on emotional well-being to ensure pupils are in a place where they are able to learn. We follow the National Curriculum in the core subjects of English, Maths and Science. We have a strong emphasis on literacy, with most pupils following the Bedrock Programme to develop their literacy skills to help them better access the curriculum, and all pupils also have access to MyMaths and Educake in Science in order to provide a remote learning offer alongside classroom learning.

We also deliver a Learning Outside the Classroom offer, which incorporates Forest School, Woodworking classes and conservation work onsite. This is integral in supporting the pupils in team work, co-operation and building their own confidence and self-esteem, something which is a constant struggle for the majority of our cohort.

Key Stage 4

At KS4 we offer a breadth of subjects to enthuse and prepare our young people for the wider world. Priority is given to Maths, English and Science; these subjects provide pupils with the necessary building blocks to enable the successful study of the other subjects we offer. Our curriculum develops the skills imperative to our pupils’ ability to cope in the wider world and their ability to sustain employment.

We combine therapeutic sessions such as the Zones of Regulation programme with a carefully planned Life Skills/RHSE scheme of learning in which we believe pupils are encouraged to develop a growth mind-set to enable them to become the best versions of themselves it is possible to be. A small number of KS4 pupils follow a bespoke, personalised timetable which allows them to best access the timetable to the best of their capabilities and ensures the best possible educational and social outcomes for them post 16.

Careers Education Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG)

At Arbour Academy we ensure that each pupil receives bespoke careers education.

Our careers curriculum builds upon each student’s unique personality, talents and aspirations.

We want our pupils to make well informed and realistic decisions about their choices, both at school and post 16. Our school careers leader is Claire Cooper.

Arbour Academy delivers CEIAG through discrete careers lessons as well as a focus on CBI skills throughout the academic curriculum. We also work closely with training and education providers.

Arbour Academy has an Enterprise Advisor who works in local industry. This year, our Advisor has delivered sessions to staff, pupils and parents about traineeships and employer expectations. Arbour Academy also offers impartial information, advice and guidance weekly via a Career Connect Advisor.

All Year 11 pupils are offered work experience placements.

Arbour Academy has been awarded the Silver Inspiring IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) Award.

Read more on our Careers information page:

Computing & ICT

Arbour Academy offers BTEC level 1 and level 2 qualifications in Digital Information Technology, we also offer the IDEA computing award at bronze, silver and gold levels. We strive to enthuse and prepare our young people for the wider world to develop ICT skills imperative to our pupils’ ability to cope in the wider world and their ability to sustain employment. This is incorporated through teamwork, promoting communication and literacy/numeracy skills in all computer science lessons and computing in the wider world. 

Key stage 3: Pupils are taught to design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems and are taught how to understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking. Pupils learn that hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems. They are taught to understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system and to understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits. Pupils undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data. Pupils also learn a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; how to recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.

Key stage 4: All pupils have the opportunity to study aspects of information technology and computer science at sufficient depth to allow them to progress to higher levels of study or to a professional career. All pupils are taught to develop their capability, creativity and knowledge in computer science, digital media and information technology to develop and apply their analytic, problem-solving, design, and computational thinking skills. Pupils learn how changes in technology affect safety, including new ways to protect their online privacy and identity, and how to identify and report a range of concerns.

Learning Outside the Classroom


At Arbour Academy, we want all pupils to have the opportunity to learn through a wide range of first hand experiences. That throughout their time at Arbour they will be excited by their learning experiences, be inspired to try new things and develop interests in new things. Through the use of outdoor learning, we intend for the pupils to become passionate and knowledgeable about the environment and how we can look after it.


Our whole curriculum is based on the six principles of Nurture, and promotes learning, growth and emotional wellbeing. Our pupils are given a wide variety of opportunities to learn outside the classroom. The use of our school grounds, local environment and trips further afield alongside visitors to the school are part and parcel of our day-to-day teaching and learning. On average 3 lessons a week, in each year group, are taught in the school grounds or at a local provider such as local allotments. Each half term there is a focus on a particular ‘Big Theme’ topic which incorporates elements of learning outside the classroom - either in the form of a field trip or visitor to the school. We take every opportunity to offer pupils enhancements to their learning. Pupils will watch visiting theatre groups and musicians. They have worked with local artists, visited Salford cathedral and local places of worship. They have been taught about their local environment and have visited places of local and national interest. All students have a two hour weekly Healthy Minds and Bodies lesson that incorporates walks and other activities such as yoga. Pupils learn about caring for our environment, what we can do to help our local and global environment and work with conservationists and the RSC at Salford. 


Pupils will be passionate about their learning, excited to try new things and discover interests and skills to develop further. They will develop a love of and feeling of responsibility towards our local and global environment. They will be fully aware of issues such as climate change and sustainability and will make an active contribution to their local area. 


As a core subject, mathematics is important as it has the capacity to enable us to think more deeply and intuitively about the wider world. The study of mathematics is not just about learning the core content, but also about training students to think logically and approach problems with resilience and tools to unpick the problem and find a solution.

At Arbour Academy lessons are carefully planned to be engaging, personalised and flexible enabling students to reach their full potential, whatever their starting point.

Good quality, positive relationships are built with pupils helping to ignite an interest in maths and reconnect pupils with a subject they may have previously had a negative experience in. We foster high standards and expectations of behaviour and positive attitudes in Maths lessons.

Tasks and lessons are well differentiated and/or scaffolded to meet the needs of all pupils, so they are able to access the work and be successful in their learning.

The sequencing of our curriculum has been designed to allow our students, irrelevant of ability, to progress successfully through the content. Sequencing helps students recall prior knowledge and understanding from the National Curriculum, allowing them to apply and extend their knowledge further. It is our aim that through careful sequencing we will be encouraging students to develop and use their long- term memory more, thus freeing up their short-term memory to allow them to interact with new material more productively.

At Arbour we help students gain confidence, acquire skills for life and be prepared for the next phase of education, training or the workplace. Students who leave school with critical thinking skills and effectively problem solve are better equipped to be numerate in multiple settings across society and flourish in a variety of fields.

Lessons built on prior knowledge and provide sufficient opportunity for guided and independent practice. Teachers present all new materials in small steps with students giving them sufficient time to practice those new steps. Moving individual students on at their own pace allows them to secure their own end points and achieve their own potential.


Arbour Academy offers GCSE (9-1) Double Award Science, following the AQA Trilogy programme. This qualification identifies the activities and experiences learners will come across in everyday life, and links these to scientific ideas and their implications for society. It provides the opportunity to acquire scientific skills through a series of core practical experiments, across the three science disciplines of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Students studying GCSE Science have 6 science lessons each week. For those students who are unable to access the Science curriculum fully, an experience of science for the wider world is provided using experiments and subjects that impact upon their daily lives, such as climate change. Learning Outside the Classroom is a huge part of our curriculum offer, and forms the majority of our Key Stage 3 Science curriculum. All of our students have the opportunity to visit a local community garden.

We strive to enthuse and prepare our young people for the wider world to develop the skills imperative to our pupils’ ability to cope in the wider world and their ability to sustain employment this is incorporated through teamwork, promoting communication and literacy skills in all science lessons and science in the wider world. We also incorporate STEM experience as part of the curriculum.

Cultural capital is provided through a programme of off-site visits and experiences: The Science Museum, Manchester; Jodrell Bank Observatory; The Big Brain Event, Manchester University; Visits from STEM Ambassadors and local conservationists. 

We strive to ensure our young people are developing the skills and knowledge they need to make and implement informed and aspirational career decisions throughout their working life. We pride ourselves on our high expectations of what our young people can achieve this is celebrated through pupils being more confident individuals, being able to understand Science in the world and achieving a qualification in Science. Excellent work and attitudes to learning are celebrated in reward assemblies, postcards home and end of term reward trips.