At Portland, we ASPIRE in everything we do. Our Connected Curriculum is designed around 6 key principles:
Achieve greatness through independent learning
Possibilities are endless
Improve through reflection
Responsible for our choices
Everyone is important
These 6 key principles underpin the choices that our teachers make when deciding ‘what’ is going to be the drivers for the children’s learning. Our Connected Curriculum has been designed so that the children are at the very core of all our planning. We look to build upon our previous learning expanding and broadening the knowledge and skills our children have using carefully planned sequential learning and retrieval practice. Our fully inclusive approach allows us to adapt to the learners needs and promote challenge. We use carefully selected experiences to ensure that our learners have real life experience to underpin their knowledge and understanding with.
Our Connected Curriculum is underpinned with relevant, up to date research. The systematic approach of development has led to a progressive and diverse content which allows our children to holistically develop their knowledge, vocabulary and understanding of their local area as well as the wider world. To continue and build our aspirations, engagement, resilience and self-worth, we co-construct the planning of our curriculum following the interests of the children so we build on existing schema resulting in a broadening of the existing knowledge and vocabulary.
Subject Leaders play a large role in successful delivery with regular monitoring, evaluation and review of the curriculum.
Children leave Portland Spencer Academy with ambition, drive and enthusiasm because they are equipped with the tools to thrive in whatever path they choose to undertake.
Computing Curriculum Intent
At Portland Spencer Academy, we provide all pupils with a curriculum rich in opportunities to engage and succeed with technology. Our computing curriculum is designed to nurture creativity, whilst placing great esteem on mastering basic skills and becoming responsible digital citizens. We encourage pupils to consider the ways in which technology is shaping our world and how it influences our everyday lives. Thus, our curriculum design focuses on using technology as a device to enhance learning across all subject areas and provide a greater sense of purpose. We believe in providing all pupils with vital processing skills as it promotes inclusivity. Learners with varying levels of needs or barriers to learning are able to access and demonstrate learning in suitable formats.
The use of computing within our creative curriculum facilitates the development of literacy skills (reading for pleasure, acquisition of new knowledge/vocabulary and many opportunities to create/edit and publish content) and offers countless ways to create content (media, graphics, documents) for project based learning. Our pupils explore with confidence and interact with technology appropriately due to our development of an efficient toolset accessible from a secure infrastructure. Pupils are frequently encouraged to use technology at various stages of their learning to recognize the value it adds and to develop an appreciation for technology beyond its use as entertainment device.
In order to prepare our children for jobs of the future, we have developed a progressive “computational thinking” scheme of work which encourages the development of many transferable skills to be used across the curriculum. Our approach to teaching programming encourages discovery and scaffolds children to manipulate variables to achieve desired outcomes. Our regular CPD on programming allows teaching staff to unlock the potential of more able pupils to present their imaginative ideas using an array of functions and variables. We promote the use of key technical vocabulary to support the pupils in articulating their thoughts and reflections clearly.
We promote the development of digital literacy by equipping children and their adults with the knowledge and skills of being mindful online and interacting with safe sources. Through developing trusting relationships and supportive classroom climates, children feel empowered to discuss their experiences online and reflect on ways to promote online safety and wellbeing. We consider it integral to use every moment to model healthy uses of technology and an appreciation to the positive impact is has on our lives. This ethos extends beyond our school and we share great, research driven practice and suitable resources with parents and careers to support us in creating a unified response to teaching online awareness and to current issues.
‘Alan Turing gave us a mathematical model of digital computing that has completely withstood the test of time He gave us very, very clear description that was truly prophetic.’ – George Dyson
Maths Curriculum Intent
At Portland, we follow a connected maths curriculum to ensure that children build upon prior knowledge, and steps are taken to ensure that children can see how their learning is connected. We ASPIRE to all become masters of maths. This means that we will learn concepts in small steps to enable us all to master each topic. This deep understanding, along with dedicated fluency sessions, means that our pupils will become equipped to reason and problem solve and are ready for real life mathematical problems.
We believe that to enable our children to become the best mathematician, they need to explain their thought processes. This is why at Portland there is an emphasis on maths talk. Rich discussions and vocabulary is promoted through our ‘mastery microphones’ of explain it, use it, convince me, prove it and connect it. Along with our regular use of stem sentences, this gives the children the structure they need to talk maths.
‘Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.’ – Albert Einstein
PSHE curriculum Intent
PSHE at Portland, is woven through everything we do. From counselling, to nurture, to playground buddies, secret adults and weekly PSHE lessons. We follow a whole school overview using the SCARF scheme to support our teaching, connecting the PSE prime area in EYFS to the National Curriculum for Years 1 to 6. We take part in national events, such as #HelloYellow, knife crime workshops, the NSPCC speak out, stay safe program and anti-bullying week to promote PSHE in school and ensure the parents and wider community can see what we are doing and take part allowing for conversations to happen at home.
‘The final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.’ – Anne Frank
Life Skills Curriculum Intent
Life skills at Portland is taught through a variety of ways, using the SCARF resources for money, basic first aid, health and drugs, alcohol and medicine, as well as other skills such as sewing a button and changing a light bulb. We believe that our children need these skills alongside their academic subjects to ensure that they leave us as well rounded individuals who have received a holistic experience of learning.
‘It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.’ – Ann Landers
PE Curriculum Intent
PE at Portland is taught by a specialist PE teacher and PE apprentice who follow a curriculum that is closely linked to Focus Education and Real PE with EYFS concentrating on the Prime Area of Physical Development and KS1 cementing basic skills like throwing and catching, jumping and moving in different ways. KS2 builds on these skills by developing them through the teaching of different sports. We offer a variety of sporting after school clubs and enter inter-school sporting competitions in football and basketball. Children at Portland are given the opportunities to experience different sports and ASPIRE to be their best by teachers and sporting champions, ensuring they leave Portland believing in themselves.
‘Physically educated persons are those who have learned to arrange their lives in such a way that the habitual activities they freely engage in make a distinctive contribution to their wider flourishing.’ – James MacAllister
Writing Curriculum Intent
At Portland, we follow a knowledge-engaged approach where children learn skills alongside knowledge so both are explicitly developed. By following a cross-curricular approach, different areas of the curriculum are connected, which helps to deliver an exciting, innovative literacy curriculum both enabling and empowering our children’s written and oral communication. Kagan structures are used to develop spoken language, writing and grammar, and provides opportunities for children to build confidence in conveying answers fluently. Each half term the children experience quality texts, which generate high quality writing opportunities where children can learn to become great writers. We incorporate Talk for Writing opportunities within our theme lessons, which helps to support all children and encourages them to share their ideas with their peers and develop sophisticated vocabulary.
‘If you want to change the world, pick up a pen and write.’ – Martin Luther
Reading Curriculum Intent
At Portland, reading is at the heart of our learning. All year groups base their learning around a book which enriches children’s knowledge and vocabulary. Reading is taught by embedding word recognition (phonics) and language comprehension together. Reading opportunities are carefully planned in all curriculum subjects and a variety of texts and genres are chosen to build and improve children’s knowledge and understanding as well as strengthening their reading skills The children have lots of exposure to reading and books from vocabulary rich environments, engaging reading corners, 1:1 and group readers and teachers modelling reading. We want children to leave Portland as fluent, life long readers who have a love for reading.
The reading journey starts in nursery and progresses all the way to year 6. In nursery, lots of rhymes, songs and objects are used to start developing the basic reading skills. As this carries on into F2 and KS1, daily phonics sessions are taught to decode words in order to read. Alongside this, whole class reading sessions are taught in KS1 which are linked to the primary text. In KS2 phonics is no longer taught, only as an intervention to support individual pupils, but reading lessons continue to embed and progress the reading skills taught.
To encourage a love of reading, teachers make reading sessions interactive and engaging. At the end of the day, teachers prioritise time for a story. As well as this, reading days and events take place throughout the year, which include reading fairs and authors and poets invited into school to grow children’s enthusiasm and passion for reading.
‘When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.’ – James Earl Jones
History Curriculum Intent
To enrich history across the curriculum to enable children to draw connections between the subjects. The children will draw on specific moments throughout history, in chronological order and explore the cultural, religious, scientific and geographical links that are relevant to those periods of time and relevant to modern day.
‘A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’ – Marcus Garvey
Art Curriculum Intent
Art at Portland is taught thematically within a connected curriculum. Our children are taught skills and knowledge in a way that allows them to draw on their learning across the other foundation subjects and year groups. This is whilst developing an appreciation for the value of the arts within British culture and the world.
‘Every human is an artist.’ – Don Miguel Ruiz
MFL Curriculum Intent
Following the National Curriculum, languages is taught from years 3-6 to ‘provide an opening to other cultures’ . Spanish is the chosen language as this is also the language being taught in all of our secondary feeder schools- hence giving our children an advantage when coming from a disadvantaged beginning. Being taught to learn a new language builds deeper understanding of decoding, grammar and language structure. In accordance with our mission statement, teaching languages is helping to raise aspirations.
‘You live a new life for every language you speak. If you only know one language you only live once.’ – Czech proverb
Music Curriculum Intent
Music lessons are taught by class teachers. We did have a music teacher but the amount of time she could teach and the range of year groups involved was deemed insufficient. We have since bought into ‘Charanga Music’ which breaks down what is taught into year groups and is simple to navigate.
From year 4 all pupils learn an instrument (taught by an outside provider) and then in year 5 and 6 instruments are a choice offered to all with the opportunity to complete grades in these. Coming from a disadvantaged background the pupils are being given a great opportunity to learn an instrument without financial obligation. The new curriculum provides connections with all other subjects making it more meaningful.
‘Without music, life would be a mistake.’ – Friedrich Nietzsche
Geography Curriculum Intent
Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum at Portland enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas and cultural development. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
‘Geography underpins a lifelong “conversation” about the earth as the home of humankind’ – Geography association
RE Curriculum Intent
We believe that RE is vital for all our pupils to learn from and about religion, so that they can understand and appreciate the world around them. Through Religious Education, pupils develop their knowledge of the world faiths, and their understanding and awareness of the beliefs, values and traditions of other individuals, societies, communities and cultures which are so diverse in the location of the school. We encourage our pupils to ask questions about the world and to reflect on their own beliefs, values and experiences. Our Religious Education curriculum is enhanced further with trips to places of worship in our local area.
‘RE is like an iceberg. As you unpack ideas, you come to understand a deeper meaning’ – Anonymous
Design Technology Curriculum Intent
‘Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.’ – Steve Jobs
Science Curriculum Intent
Science: it’s like magic, but real. – Anon