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’. 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. We have created 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.
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. These are shared with parents via Class Dojo. We would really appreciate parents helping their child to learn the words and facts on the knowledge organisers 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 maths and English can be found under the relevant tabs.
Class Long Term Plans:
Portreath School’s Curriculum Intent Statement
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 like the use of visual images to support understanding. We like to imagine us all as trees. 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. Our intent is to enrich the children’s lives, ignite their imagination and spark their interest in all aspects of the world around them. The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of our pupils and their understanding of the core values of our society are woven through the curriculum, with a focus on our school’s key values: honesty, gratitude, kindness, inclusion and empathy. We believe powerful knowledge opens doors and it is through knowledge that children can make sense of and improve the world we live in. We aim to provide a broad, balanced, and creative curriculum that is underpinned by the teaching of basic skills and knowledge to ensure each child becomes:
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.
Our curriculum drivers are elements that are central to our curriculum. They help to drive and shape the curriculum and are incorporated across all subjects, topics and enrichment activities. Our key drivers are: communication, learning, thinking, citizenship and health.
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. Someone who know their Cornish heritage and is also prepared for life as a global citizen
- 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
For each KS1 and KS2 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. By considering these threads when planning the EYFS team start to ‘plant the seed’ of these concepts and the rest of the school help these seeds to grow. We hope the image of the thread, like the image of a tree gives the children a way to visualise how learning can be connected.
Content and Structure of English and Maths
In Maths we have adopted a mastery approach and use the Whiterose Small Steps planning documents, along with NCETM guidance to plan our daily maths lessons. We use the NCETM’s Mastery Number programme to compliment this in lower school. There is a focus on using the concrete, visual, abstract system when teaching number, with reasoning and problem solving being a key feature. We have a calculation policy that demonstrates the journey of maths throughout the school. In English we have created a writing curriculum which includes teaching a variety of genres and follows the National Curriculum (NC). Our English work is linked to our topic when appropriate and this enables English work to have context and purpose and allows the children to gather information through the texts explored. Class Books (novels and non-fiction) are an important feature and six of these per year for each class are linked to the topic work. The other class books have been selected so we offer a range of high-quality texts from a range of authors, and we have considered things such as having female, as well as male lead characters. We want children to be logophiles and bibliophiles. We recognise the importance of vocabulary to fully access the curriculum and promote a love of language. We develop academic transferable language (tier 2 vocabulary) as well as knowledge of subject-specific language (tier 3 vocabulary) and promote and develop the rich language found in fiction and poetry. We emphasise the importance of speaking and listening, as we believe great learning ‘floats on a sea of talk’. In Key Stage One we use the ‘Talking the Text’ approach to teach some elements of the curriculum, as well as a variety of books. We use Read Write Inc for phonics and spelling across the school. For specific details please see our mathematics policy and our reading and writing journey at Portreath School documents.
We have created our own unique curriculum to meet the needs of our children. We recognise the importance of having a structure to the curriculum in order for it to be coherent. The subject leads from the Crofty MAT came together and broke the NC statements into smaller progressive steps for the skills, knowledge in each subject. For science, history, geography, and art these small steps have been used as a basis for our curriculum and adapted by our staff to meet the needs of our children. Each half term there is a medium-term planning that, alongside the small steps, identifies the key vocabulary, the golden threads, the curriculum drivers and 3 key facts. The children learn so much more than the 3 key facts, but these are the 3 key things that we expect all children to recall as they go through the school. We provide a knowledge organiser for each history, geography, and science topic. These are shared with parents, as well as children, and are used to help learn and reactivate knowledge. In Music we have created a long-term plan using the Charanga scheme and we compliment this with a whole school composer of the half-term and opportunities to listen to live music. For DT we have a long-term plan based on DT Association projects; these always focus on designing, making, and evaluating something, for someone for some purpose. For computing we have recently adopted the ‘Digital Learning Cornwall’ scheme.
As a small school we have created a two-year rolling programme for children. This is because children spend 2 years in 2 classes during their time at the school, so we want to build on rather repeat work. As a school we pride ourselves on offering a rich and deep curriculum and we find by linking subjects together when appropriate and relevant this gives context to learning and makes the learning more meaningful and deeper. 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. Our subjects’ golden threads identify the key concepts in each subject. On our website you can find position statements for different subjects that gives more details about how that subject is taught. A key question for our teachers is “Why am I teaching this?” We ensure that we make the reasons for teaching particular skills and topics explicit to the children, so they understand the purpose of their learning and see how it fits in to the bigger picture. The curriculum documents provide us with the basics for what we will cover, but we do not let this limit us. Rather than cover a wide range of topics superficially, we choose to take our time and cover topics in more depth, usually working on one topic for half or a whole term. We understand the importance of building upon what has come before to create coherence. Reactivation is a key element of our curriculum and time is given to revise previous learning not only from the current year but previous years’ too. There are somethings that we teach in addition to the NC because we feel they are important and relevant to us as a school and reflect our ethos and community.
Our Heritage and The Environment
We feel it is particularly important for children to have a real sense of their heritage and work linked to Cornwall is a feature in some way for every year in each class. This links to our driver of ‘thinking’, we want each child to be someone who know their Cornish heritage and is also prepared for life as a global citizen. 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. The school has achieved ‘Plastic Free Status’ and is involved with #loveportreath to ensure our village is a wonderful place to live now and in the future. We believe that it is very important to learn about environmental issues and this is linked to our driver of citizenship. We want to help the children to be someone who makes a positive difference to others, the community, the environment and the world. We are passionate about outdoor learning and helping children to learn to manage risk for themselves. We want them to remain in touch with the natural world and we make use of the fantastic school grounds and local environment, including the beach and woods.
Learning as a Whole School
One of our drivers is to be a happy, healthy individual who feels like they belong. Each child should feel that they belong to the whole school as well as their class and year group. The importance of coming together and learning together is very important to us and during the year we have themed days, and our assemblies help us focus on particular themes as a whole school. To build a feeling of belonging, the school now has four teams: ‘Forbidden Forest’, ‘Farthing Wood’, ‘100 Acre Wood’ and ’Enchanted Wood’. We believe there is much to learn from each other, and the older children should play a part in the education of the younger children. Our Year 6 and Reception child buddy system is a core part of this.
Learning Behaviours and Learning to Learn
Our curriculum is designed to foster a love of learning. As well as preparing the children for life in the 21st century, we also want to celebrate the joy of learning. We believe that a child needs to know how to learn and so characteristics of effective learning and behaviours for learning are emphasised. Metacognition is integral to our lessons; we want the children to understand how we learn and use this information. As part of this we promote 5 learning behaviours: Being brave, ready, responsible, resilient and happy. We teach our children to become independent so even from EYFS we look at how routines, expectations and the environment enable them to do this. We explicitly teach children that mistakes are not bad but a natural and important part of learning. As a school we advocate everyone developing their growth mindset. Our school motto is: believe, work hard, succeed.
Mental and Physical Health
Personal, social and health development is a strength of the school because it is interwoven into all we do, as well as through our PSHE curriculum. We live out our five values: honesty, gratitude, kindness, inclusion and empathy. This is linked to our drivers of health and citizenship. We want our children to be happy and healthy individuals who make a positive difference to others. We have a relationship policy which guides how we treat each other, and this influences how the children treat each other. We want our children to understand some of the basic principles behind how the brain works so our curriculum includes learning about emotions. It is guided by Trauma and Mental Health Informed School (TISUK) principles. We want to give everyone the skills and understanding to build happy, healthy and trusting relationships. We teach the children how important it is to have a healthy body and mind. The school is involved in a variety of competitive sporting events but also offers a range of experiences to engage all children in physical activity. We have a sports specialist that teaches much of our PE.
Being creative and developing a good imagination are vital life skills; our curriculum includes opportunities for children to experience the creative arts. This links to all our drivers, and particularly to communication. We feel the arts help children to understand that things can be expressed in a range of ways. We believe it is important for children to work with professional artists and make use of our creative community. As well as including regular professional theatrical experiences, the school prides itself on the performances the children stage. Each half term a composer and an artist are chosen and work by them is shared in the assemblies.
We aim to help our pupils to appreciate and be interested in the wider world around them; we introduce them to a diverse range of art, music, historical events. We explicitly encourage them to value diversity. We like to take advantage of experiences and opportunities that arise; these might link to local, national or international events. We use these to supplement and direct our teaching. Enrichment is provided through off-site trips, visitors and special experiences. We have created a list of key experiences we strive to provide for each child during their time at the school. 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 understand that a primary school is only one stage of a child’s learning journey and, as such, the curriculum, or what a child experiences whilst at Portreath, needs to be carefully thought through, planned and implemented. Through high quality teaching, the aim is for our pupils to develop transferable skills together with the knowledge, enthusiasm, concepts and values that will help them to thrive not only in secondary school but also in life as global citizens. Our curriculum promotes our motto: Believe, work hard, succeed.
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.
Please use the links below to look at the year group expectations for reading, writing and maths: