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Curriculum Intent

We want our students to be valuable citizens of society, community and country.

Our Curriculum Mission Statement

At Essa Academy our curriculum is key in allowing all students to gain the knowledge and skills they will require for life.  We believe that the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences students have now will have a huge impact on their abilities to break through social barriers in the future and equip them for a successful and fulfilled life.  We have carefully considered our Academy’s local context and intake when planning our curriculum.  

We built the curriculum with the intent that students will be:

  • literate and able to communicate effectively

  • aware of the world and how it functions

  • able to take care of themselves and the world

  • healthy, safe and fit in mind and body

  • ambitious and able to make appropriate life choices

  • numerate and able to manage finances

  • technically literate and aware

  • able to value creativity within myself and others

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Students experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum:

 We look at our offer as one fluid key stage from 7-11, where experiences and subject choice is built upon and layered. We offer qualifications that go beyond the norm and add breadth and depth to the foundations of the students prior learning.  The curriculum is accessible to all and every student succeeds; they leave equipped with the qualifications that will improve their life chances and employability. 

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Students have a broad and exciting curriculum at Key stage 3 and are exposed to a wide range of subjects and opportunities.  The curriculum builds on KS2 learning, cultural capital and provides awe and wonder through all subjects so that students develop a love for learning and a real insight into every subject.  

At the end of year 8 students are well informed, through their compulsory careers lessons, at this point they make three choices on their curriculum path; they select the arts, languages and a leadership program.  We wanted to ensure students received the suitable amount of exposure to the humanities subjects and this is why these are continued into Year 9; this is where the students develop a depth of knowledge, learning and a mastery of skills.  We believe this gives a staggered approach to the choices the students make and we know that students feel secure in their option choices because of this.   Students continue to get a breadth of opportunities in Key stage 4, with the outstanding careers provision, PSHE and Essa Experience days, professional interview days and work experience.

Students experience a broad, deep and knowledge rich curriculum through the following areas:

Our students WILL be valuable citizens of society, community and country.


Local Context

We aim to support our students in becoming well rounded citizens of their society, community and country.  We have designed the curriculum to combat barriers that are presented to our students in the local community but also ensure our students are well suited to the opportunities that are available to them in the North West region in the coming years. 

Our children predominantly come from the Great Lever area, this area of Bolton is in the bottom 20%-11% of deprived areas in Bolton.  Bolton is considered the 9th most deprived borough in Greater Manchester.  Great Lever has a high unemployment rate and 13% of Bolton’s population have no qualifications, this is well above the country’s figure of 7.8%. The average wage in Bolton is £21000, one of the lowest in the country. We believe that our curriculum helps tackle the poverty cycle, raise aspirations for our students in the local area and ultimately reduce deprivation in Bolton.

Bolton also has lots of opportunities; it is a gateway town for refugees and international new arrivals so is growing, a rich mix of cultures and communities. Bolton is in need of a larger labour force, the types of employment in the area are shifting with Media and the arts growing alongside social care and businesses. There has been a £1.1billion injection of funding to improve Bolton town centre, there is a bright future ahead for our students as they enter their local community.  Our students have been exposed to a wide range of subjects and careers advice which will support them in finding their place and role in this growing community.

Life choices and deprivation have a direct impact on life expectancy, our curriculum will support students in making better life choices and have a positive influence on the future life expectancy of the Bolton area. Deprivation is strongly associated with higher levels of obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, smoking and poor blood pressure control.  All these factors lower life expectancy. They are also inextricably linked to the development of Type 2 diabetes or the risk of developing serious complications for those already diagnosed. The most deprived people in the UK are 2 1/2 times more likely to have diabetes at any given age. Also Type 2 diabetes is four times more prevalent in South Asian communities, who also tend to have more complications and increased mortality compared with the British white population. Our curriculum has considered this carefully and by providing physical education, PSHEE, food technology throughout their time at school our students will be able to make better life choices which will have a positive impact on their health and ultimately the communities in which they live. 

Mental health is equally as important to us as physical health and it is imperative our students find strategies to cope with stress and mental health problems. The WHO estimates that major depression will be the world’s second most debilitating disease by 2020 after heart disease. Depressive disorders are directly related to social deprivation and we want to combat this.  In the UK 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem (in any given year). Suicide remains the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 (www.mental health 2019). These statistics have supported our careful planning of mental health in the curriculum and the support around it. The impact from the PSHEE lessons and the strong mental health and well-being messages that thread through everything we do at Essa will help protect and support our students as they grow and learn to cope with the tresses of life.

For more information about our curriculum please contact

Essa Experience day,paid for by the Academy for all students, is a key part of our offer.  Students get to visit museums, theatres, stadiums and the countryside and many other places linked to specific subjects three times a year (15 visits minimum).  They also get to see universities, raising aspirations and opening their eyes to the opportunities around them (see intent map).

Within the curriculum we have built in leadership courses for all students from year 9 upwards, these include Young Leaders, Cadets, Sports Leaders and the Duke of Edinburgh award.  Every student will have something that gives them the ‘edge’ when they go out into the world of employment and understand what good leadership looks like.

The Arts are a compulsory part of the curriculum offer; In a time where The Arts are being side-lined in many school’s at Essa Academy we strongly believe that children should have access to a wide range of subjects in the arts, we want all students to have time to express themselves and find their talents and love for the Arts.  We offer Music, Drama, Fine Art, Photography and Graphics.  All Students also work towards completing the Arts mark qualification which gives them exposure to The Arts through various projects, shows and trips.

Food technology is compulsory throughout all 5 years at Essa Academy, we have facilities that are second to none and we see this as a key skill for every young person to have when they leave us.  Dietary advice, basic cooking skills, budgeting, planning and being independent are all instilled in our students in these lessons.

PE is compulsory for all, we wish to support the advice from the department of health and social care that 5 -18 year olds need to be doing at least 60 minutes a day of exercise, whilst we could not feasibly provide this level of PE, we have put as much as we can in the curriculum to support this.  We provide a wide range of sports through the curriculum and extra-curricular; these are available to students so that they can find their exercise of choice. The facilities allow us to deliver a high quality offer in this area.

PSHE is compulsory for every year group.  Students cover a range of topics including, positive relationships with peers, family and the wider world including exploring the ideas of finance, drugs and alcohol, mental health, the law, citizenship, online safety and prejudice and discrimination. All aspects of PSHEE link back to the relationship’s students have with the people they will encounter every day. PSHEE ensures that students are well-rounded individuals who are able to integrate into society with knowledge and understanding of the wider world.

We have a range of activities that take place throughout each year group that meet the needs of the Gatsby Benchmarks. These include professional interview day, student development day, careers fairs, work experience college and university visits. Careers sessions are compulsory throughout the 5 years.  In these sessions we cover making choices, labour market information, stereotypes in careers, enterprising skills, rights and responsibilities and workplace law. We also support students with C.V.’s personal statements and college applications. This allows our students to fully informed when considering future careers, linking it to the local labour markets and even consider those careers that do not exist yet but will.