What we teach
At Portway we follow the National Curriculum. Additional information regarding the primary curriculum is also available on this page of the Newham website, which describes a curriculum as ‘a set of courses or subjects for study. It describes the knowledge, skills and understanding that your child needs in each subject’.
As outlined in the links provided above, all children from Year 1 to Year 6 are taught: English, Maths, Science, ICT, PE, Music, Art & Design, Design and Technology (DT), History and Geography. The Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (for Nursery and Reception children) has its own curriculum page on the website.
We follow the Newham Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education (RE) and have reflection time every week to develop children's Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship (PSHCE) skills and understanding. Details of how we teach RE, and the link to the understanding of British values, are provided in a document to download on this page.
We aim to provide every child with access to a broad and balanced curriculum, that is taught in an interesting and stimulating way. All the subjects above are taught as either part of the core curriculum (English, maths, science and computing), or as part of the wider curriculum (all other subjects).
All aspects of our curriculum are supported by a programme of educational visits/school trips and extra-curricular events (a mixture of events held at school, in London and across the country). Parents are advised of the arrangements for these events in advance. Further details are available in the calendar on the website, which is updated on a termly basis.
The learning environment
Walking around our school, visitors notice it is a calm and focused learning environment. We firmly believe that children benefit from a purposeful and tranquil setting in which to learn.
At Portway there is a clear homework timetable (further details of which are provided on the Homework page of the website), and children are expected to practise and consolidate their learning from school at home, supported by their parents and carers. Newsletters are sent home to inform parents and carers about the term’s learning, school events and planned educational visits.
In addition, the Parents’ Area of the website contains both further information about our learning (i.e. a more detailed overview of the curriculum, class timetables and end of year targets for English and maths), as well as information for parents re how they can help support their children’s maths and reading at home.
We all have high expectations of our pupils. High standards of presentation and individual commitment are paramount at Portway. We believe that the classroom should reflect and celebrate the learning and teaching through large, bright and visually stimulating displays.
An overview of our curriculum
An overview of our curriculum, by year group and by subject, for the academic year, is provided as three documents to download on this page – for the autumn, spring and summer terms.
Additional details re our teaching of English and maths are provided below. Further information regarding our curriculum and the way in which it is taught is provided in our subject policies, copies of which are available under our Model Publication Scheme. Please contact the school office for further information.
English curriculum and teaching (including phonics) – summary information
The teaching of the National Curriculum for English at Portway consists of the following:
- The teaching of phonics and the scheme we use: we use the Letters and Sounds scheme. Children from Nursery to Year 2 have daily phonics teaching sessions. They are regularly assessed and data is analysed to ensure that effective support is provided to ensure that all children make good progress in their phonetic development. Phonics may be taught where needed to children in Key Stage 2 and a personalised programme will be drawn up.
- Writing: each week, the children undertake a ‘weekly learning journey’, based around the study of a carefully chosen text. A large variety of texts are chosen, to ensure that there is something of interest for all children. Spelling, grammar and punctuation teaching, as well as comprehension, is linked to the text being studied.
- Reading: Alongside the teaching of phonics, we have reading schema. We use a variety of reading schema such as Oxford Reading Tree and Project X Reading Scheme. Having a range of graded books enables teachers to closely match texts to reading development as well as providing children with a richer diet of reading material. All classes are also stocked with a class library of ‘real books’. Teachers listen to their children read through daily Whole Class Reading sessions. During guided reading lessons, teachers are able to provide pupils with a varied selection of texts, including phonically decodable books for each phase, from a range of genres. This enables children, even at an early stage of their phonics learning, to see themselves as successful and confident readers, which in turn builds their confidence and thus enjoyment of reading. Reading books for all year groups are handed out weekly, so that children can read at home every day. To further promote reading, we subscribe to Bug Club. Parents are encouraged to look at the website, and to speak to teachers re any further information they might need.
- Speaking and listening: Children at Portway have opportunities to carry out speaking and listening activities built into daily class practices and whole school events that run throughout the year, in addition to extra-curricular enrichment activities. These include: drama activities such as hot seating, end of term assemblies and debate mate.
- Handwriting: We start to teach letter formation in Nursery, with children refining their writing as they progress through key stage 2. Neatly presented work is a continual focus at school.
At Portway, more than 60% of our children use English as an additional language (EAL), and there are over 50 different languages spoken across the school.
Maths curriculum and teaching – summary information
The teaching of National Curriculum maths at Portway is designed to:
- develop children’s confidence, understanding and enjoyment through encouraging and supporting a positive attitude to mathematics;
- develop understanding of and efficient use of mathematics in meaningful contexts and to promote its importance in everyday life;
- integrate and apply mathematical skills and knowledge within the framework of the wider curriculum where appropriate; and
- to ensure that every child can develop to their full potential in their knowledge and understanding of maths.
Teaching methods and approaches
Children learn about measures, number and how to apply their numeracy skills. This is in addition to focussed teaching time that is set aside to reinforce the learning of times tables and mental arithmetic.
In Reception, the aim is to have prepared the children for a daily 45-minute maths lesson by the end of the Autumn term.
In lessons, children engage in:
- The development of mental strategies
- Written methods
- Practical work
- Investigational work
- Problem solving
- Mathematical explanation and reasoning
- Consolidation of basic skills and routines
Throughout school, we have incorporated the Maths Hubs programme to support and supplement the teaching and learning of mathematics.
Key areas covered by the end of key stage 2
Areas covered in the new primary curriculum (as at September 2014) are:
- number and place value - reading and writing numbers, counting forwards and backwards from any number, place value and solving number problems.
- number (addition and subtraction) - solving problems, number bonds and understanding mental and written methods and understanding the inverse operation.
- number (multiplication and division) - recalling multiplication and division facts and solving problems to do with multiplication and division.
- fractions - recognising, naming and writing fractions.
- measurement - choosing and using appropriate units of measurement, converting between units (e.g. cm and mm), time and money.
- geometry - properties of shape: identifying and understanding the properties of 2D and 3D shapes.
- geometry - position and direction: ordering and arranging objects in patterns and sequences. Describing position, direction and movement.
- statistics - interpreting and constructing tally charts, bar charts and tables etc. and answering questions on interpreting the data.
- ratio and proportion (year 6) - solving problems involving relative sizes, calculation of percentages and problems to do with scale.
- algebra (year 6) - use simple formulae, express missing numbers algebraically and finding solutions to simple equations.
Finally, NPW (Newham Partnership Working) has put together a selection of websites that support the learning we do at school.