The Curriculum at Portfields
At Portfields we offer broad and balanced curriculum based on the National Curriculum 2014. We aim to make this curriculum appropriate to the age and ability of the children we teach. Our curriculum develops a progression of skills across each of the core and foundation subjects that supports the deepening of knowledge and ability of pupils as they move up through the school. We also try and make it exciting and full of rich opportunities to learn new knowledge and skills. We regularly review our curriculum so it reflects current trends. We also make sure it reflects the area in which we are - Newport Pagnell.
At Portfields Primary School we place great emphasis on the teaching of literacy as it is fundamental to so many other aspects of the wider curriculum. Being literate increases opportunities for the
individual in all aspects of life and lays the foundations of lifelong learning.
We aspire to empower our children to be confident writers who can produce detailed and creative texts that are engaging and imaginative. In our pursuit of this, we aim to equip our children with a well-developed vocabulary and an in-depth knowledge of writing techniques and genres.
We strive to make our children fluent and accurate readers. It is our intention that they become enthusiastic readers with the motivation to read for pleasure as well as for academic purposes. We mainly use Oxford University Press reading schemes and Letter and Sounds to support the development of Phonics.
Speaking and Listening is an important part of our literacy provision. Our children learn to be excellent communicators who are able to engage in meaningful and respectful conversations, even when views
and opinions differ.
Mathematics is a subject at Portfields that has continuously performed very well, in fact the results for maths at the end of key stage 2 are in the top quartile of results nationally and in the highest quartile with similar schools of this size. Similarly, the results from key stage 1
have also been continuously above National standards. These are results that all teaching and support staff are particularly proud of.
From Year 3, pupils are taught in sets for their mathematics lessons, this enables focused teaching based upon specific learning needs and necessary pace of learning. Portfields now makes use of interactive whiteboards in class which empower the pupils to fully participate in their own learning. Within maths lessons, ‘using and applying’ (MA1) is a prime focus, allowing pupils to put their knowledge and understanding to full use across all aspects of problem solving, i.e. number, geometry, measure, statistics, ratio and algebra. Clear emphasis is also directed towards developing pupils’ mental skills to enable them to quickly and easily compute numbers. Portfields sets weekly, differentiated mental maths homework based on the new National Curriculum objectives; this homework informs
continuous, formative assessment. Here at Portfields, pupils enjoy their learning in maths as it is engaging, interactive and relevant to real life application.
Science is taught in all year groups within the school. It provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics. Children are encouraged to understand how science can be used to explain what is occurring, predict how things will behave and analyse causes. We teach some Science in a dedicated science room.
Key stage 1
The principal focus in key stage 1 is for pupils to experience and observe phenomena, looking more closely at the natural and humanly constructed world around them.
Key stage 2
The principal focus in key stage 2 is to enable pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. This will be undertaken through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas
about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments. In addition, ideas about function, relationships and interactions will be developed.
The arrival of the new National Curriculum in 2014 saw the introduction of the new subject of Computing, which replaces ICT. The new subject looks in greater detail at how computers and computer systems work. Rising Stars’ Switched on Computing is a programme of study written for this new curriculum subject. It addresses the core strands of; Programming, Computational thinking, Creativity, Computer networks, Communication and collaboration, as well as Productivity. Our curriculum delivers clear progression of skills from Early Years Foundation Stage, Year 1 through to year 6.
History is taught in all year groups in the school. The aim is for children to gain knowledge of the past in Britain and the world, to develop critical skills and to understand change and difference over time,
as well as between different groups.
Key stage 1 - Children develop an awareness of the past, beginning with living memory and then extending into the distant past. They use the lives of famous individuals and significant events to inspire learning, as well as studying local history.
Key stage 2 - Pupils continue to build on the knowledge and skills attained in Key stage 1. They develop chronological knowledge of local, British and world history and understand and use historical terms.
In addition, they compare and contrast similarities and differences within and between different periods of time, and consider how historical knowledge is based on a range of sources. They learn
how to carry out simple research and to present historical findings in different ways.
Geography is taught through a cross-curricular approach, or as a separate subject where appropriate.
We endeavour to match geography with other related subjects such as Science to ensure a depth of experience without unnecessary duplication.
Map work skills are developed throughout the school. Many aspects introduced in Key Stage One are revisited and further developed in Key Stage Two.
The Design Technology Units of Work develop pupils’ skills in evaluating existing products, generating a design, and planning and making a finished product of their own. The Units build on children’s technical knowledge and experience through the key stages, for example in cutting, shaping and joining a variety of materials, and also includes Food Technology.
The curriculum enhances children’s appreciation, knowledge and experience of different styles, techniques and materials through 2D and 3D projects. Children learn and develop their skills and ideas, as well as investigating those of other artists. The content of pupils’ work is derived from other subjects, such as History or Literacy, as well as other significant Works of Art.
At Portfields every child in Key Stage 1 and 2 access to a broad and balanced P.E curriculum each week. This is split into an indoor session and Outdoor Games. At foundation stage the children have one session of timetabled P.E a week and outside physical activities everyday as part of their lunchtime routine. Premier Sports provide Sports Coaches to the school to improve standards in Sport.
Key Stage 1 focus is on progressive multi-skills of balance, co-ordination and agility alongside Dance and Gymnastics.
Key stage 2 scheme of work is broad and balanced allowing for continuity and progression of skills within the main 6 areas of P.E - Games, Athletics, Gymnastics, Dance and Outdoor Adventurous activities. Swimming is offered in Year 5.
Music is a high profile subject at Portfields and our children are able to explore their creative capabilities with the numerous opportunities available to them:
- Weekly singing assemblies for all children.
- Peripatetic lessons provided by Milton Keynes Music Co-operative.
- School productions.
- Festivals / Concerts throughout the year.
- Music lessons provided by Milton Keynes Music Service for some year groups.
- Dedicated music room with a variety of instruments from around the world.
- Ipads for ‘Music Technology’
The creativity and confidence that music offers the children, underpins everything they do here at Portfields. We aim to instil a strong self-esteem and inspire them through the power of music.
Modern Foreign Languages
French is taught in KS2 from the Framework for Languages units.
We enable children to make substantial progress through the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills: listening and responding, exploring patterns and sounds, using sentences, presenting ideas, describing, reading, appreciating spoken verse (including rhymes and songs) and understanding basic grammar. As their learning progresses, children speak and write with increasing confidence, fluency and accuracy.
We are also aiming to teach some conversational Spanish and German.
Whilst there is no national curriculum for RE, from Y1 onwards children are taught from the Milton Keynes Syllabus; this contributes to a ‘broad and balanced curriculum,’ based on the concepts of Belonging, Believing & Behaving. Structured learning opportunities are accessed through the study of Christianity, Bible Stories, Religious & Moral Stories, Festivals & Celebrations, Learning from Religion, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. In EYFS the younger children gain an ‘understanding of the world’ by looking at communities and traditions; their topics include Festivals, Bible Stories, New Life and Valuing Differences. To support our curriculum and daily act of worship we have links with the local Christian churches.
Parents do have the right to withdraw their child from some or all of the RE curriculum, please contact the Headteacher to discuss this.
Personal, Health and Social Education (plus Citizenship)
PSHE helps to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy, independent lives and to become informed, active and responsible citizens.
Children are encouraged to take part in a wide range of activities and experiences across and beyond the curriculum, contributing fully to the life of their school and communities. In doing so they recognise their own worth, learn to work well with others and become increasingly responsible for their own actions.
Children are also given opportunities to reflect on their experiences and understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues. They find out about the main political and social institutions that affect their lives and about their responsibilities, rights and duties as individuals and members of communities.
Children at Portfields learn to understand and respect our common humanity, diversity and differences so that they can go on to form the effective, fulfilling relationships that are an essential part of life and learning.