Growing Strong Roots Curriculum
We have been developing our curriculum over the last couple of years. We have worked closely with other schools in Crofty MAT to create progression maps for different subject which focuses on the knowledge, vocabulary to be covered. Then as a school, we have built on these and created our own unique curriculum called ‘Growing Strong Roots Curriculum’. We have created long term plans for each class and a list of key experiences that we want our children to have whilst at Portreath School. Links to these documents can be found below our curriculum intent statement. More information about individual subjects can be found under the relevant tabs.
Our Rationale for our Curriculum
At Portreath we have three core elements at the heart of our school: relationships, experiences, and learning. By building strong relationships, providing thought-provoking experiences and high-quality learning opportunities and texts, we set our children off on a life-long journey of learning. We have devised a curriculum that matches the ambition of the National Curriculum and has 5 key drivers: communication, learning, thinking, citizenship and health. We want to help each child and staff member to become:
A deep thinker and an effective learner who is a confident communicator and a happy and healthy citizen that will make a positive difference to the world.
Portreath is a coastal town in a part of Cornwall that is considered to have areas of deprivation. The children are lucky to live in such a beautiful place, and our curriculum is partly about appreciating nature as well as preparing them for a tech-filled world. The school plays a role in ensuring our village is a wonderful place to live now and, in the future. We want the children to take what they learn in the village to make a difference to the wider world. We believe that it is very important to learn about environmental issues. The curriculum is designed to help the children to have a real sense of Cornwall’s heritage, as well as prepare them for life as global citizens. We are guided by the quote, ‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’ Marcus Garvey. We want children to grow strong roots of knowledge, concepts, skills and personal qualities in order to blossom as learners, hence the name of our curriculum.
In Portreath there is a strong community spirit. But living in a coastal village also brings its challenges. Aspirations for some may need to be more outward looking. Life in the village can be quite insular for some children; it is our role to build the children’s cultural capital. We have designed a curriculum to raise aspirations within our community, as well as foster a sense of belonging. It is designed to enrich the children’s lives, ignite their imagination and spark their interest and open the children’s eyes to the fascinating wider world around them world around them. We introduce them to a diverse range of art, music, historical events and give them experiences that help shape their lives. The whole school environment is a place to learn, and we have things such as large maps, local artists work, and we have a ‘Curiosity Cabinet’ to spark talk and enrich the children’s daily experiences in school. We explicitly encourage them to value diversity. We believe powerful knowledge opens doors and it is through knowledge that children can make sense of and improve the world we live in.
Our Growing Strong Roots curriculum provides the opportunity to acquire ‘essential knowledge’. The curriculum is a progression model; it is carefully and deliberately planned and sequenced in ‘small steps’ so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before. The architecture of the curriculum helps pupils to build the strong roots of knowledge and skills that can help the children grow as learners and people. It is not disconnected facts. For each National Curriculum subject the school has identified 7 golden threads that are the key concepts that weave throughout our curriculum starting in EYFS. Within a subject, these threads link the learning across the school together and help the children to make connections. The EYFS team start to ‘plant the seed’ of these concepts and the rest of the school help these seeds to grow. We provide regular opportunities for reactivation to help pupils transfer learning to their long-term memories. As a school we also recognise the importance of responding to children’s interests and needs. We like to take advantage of experiences and opportunities that arise; these might link to local, national, or international events. We have talented and interesting people in the local area and these people can contribute to our curriculum. Although we have adopted a cross-curricular topic approach, ensure the integrity of individual subjects is preserved. We want our children to act and talk like, for example, scientists, historians, and artists.
We recognise the importance of early language and reading as a vehicle to improve children’s communication. The teaching of systemic synthetic phonics is taught from the beginning of reception using RWI, with books that are matched to learning the sounds that children have been taught. We also invest in a rich literary environment and have chosen to embed high quality texts through our curriculum to enrich learning and develop foster a love of language and reading. Texts are carefully chosen to extend vocabulary and to understand the world around us and we have linked these texts to areas of learning across the school. We recognise the importance of securing maths skills and knowledge, then applying these, and developing reasoning skills to help them within school but also as a key life skill. We want to help them make sense of the numbers, patterns and shapes they see in the world around them, offer them ways of handling data in an increasingly digital world and help secure financial security in the long term.
Knowledge alone is not enough. Being creative and developing a good imagination are vital life skills; our curriculum includes opportunities for children to experience the creative arts. As a school we advocate everyone developing their growth mindset. Our school motto is: believe, work hard, succeed. We promote 5 learning behaviours: Being brave, ready, responsible, resilient and happy. We live out our five school values: honesty, gratitude, kindness, inclusion and empathy. We have designed the curriculum to help the children to be the kind of people who can be happy, fulfilled and successful. We want everyone to be:
- a knowledgeable and creative THINKER who is a fluent reader and problem solver that masters key skills in range of subjects.
- a motivated, resilient, ambitious LEARNER who demonstrates curiosity, independence and strives to improve.
- an effective and confident COMMUNICATOR who is a logophile and bibliophile.
- a HAPPY AND HEALTHY INDIVIDUAL who is confident and feels that they belong.
- a kind, respectful CITIZEN who is inclusive and celebrates diversity and makes a positive difference to others, the community, the environment and the world.
Why is it called ‘Growing Strong Roots Curriculum’?
We like to have visual images to help us make sense of things. Trees often feature in our school. For instance our classes are named after trees, our teams after fictional forests and we like to plant trees! Like trees, children need strong roots in order to grow and blossom. We believe that children need to grow a strong base of key knowledge, concepts, skills and personal qualities. From this they can build upon and grow their branches of knowledge, skills and understanding in a variety of subjects and become lifelong learners. We feel learning is most effective when learning is linked and contributes to the bigger picture. The roots continue to grow and act as an anchor, as both staff and children, continue to grow as learners. Like trees, every child is unique. Everyone’s experience and learning will be different, but we want to provide certain key nutrients to all children and this is our curriculum.
Class Long Term Plans:
The Early Years Statutory Framework is used to support an integrated approach to learning and care. The planning of learning follows the children’s interests and learning needs. Close tracking of individual children’s progress, through the use of the Early Years Foundation Profile, is carefully monitored to ensure all children make progress. For more details please see the EYFS tab under curriculum.
Parents and Carers
We believe it is essential for school and parent to work together to support our children through their learning journey. To support parents we have created three information documents: End of year expectations in reading, writing and maths (RWM) for each year group (see below), class termly/half termly curriculum leaflets and knowledge organisers. The curriculum leaflets for each class, explain some of the learning that will be happening during the term/half term and are sent out via Class Dojo. The knowledge organisers contain key vocabulary and information that the children are expected to learn during the topic. Children have one of these at school and one at home. We would really appreciate parents helping their child to learn these words and facts at home too. Each child has a Learning Journey Book that contains all their knowledge organisers. This is so they can refer back to them. As a school we understand the importance of revisiting and retrieving knowledge in order for it to be transferred to our long term memories and these books support this work. The children will be learning more than the things covered on the knowledge organisers and in the leaflets but these contain the key things we plan to cover. We hope parents will find them useful. More information about individual subjects can be found under the relevant tabs.
Please use the links below to look at the year group expectations for reading, writing and maths: