Subject Overview

Common Curriculum Principles


Portland follows the Trust wide scheme for Maths which is taught 5 sessions per week. Students access all areas of the Maths curriculum which is taught on a rolling programme with built in diagnostic, formative and summative assessment to support progress. Maths is linked to concrete experiences and functional skills; learning activities are primarily based around kinesthetic activities, this then leads to written calculations. There are a range of catch up activities and 1:1 /small group tuition

SPACE First Step Maths

MEASURE First Step Maths

NUMBER First Step Maths


Science is taught for 3 sessions per week. Students access all attainment targets teaching is very practical. Key Stages 3 and 4 follow a rolling programme which ensures that students access a varied and practical curriculum covering all aspects of Science.

This compliments the topic based curriculum as far as possible. ( see topic overview)

The Arts

The arts form an important part of our curriculum as it encourages communication through a range of media. We deliver;

  • Visual art
  • Dance
  • Drama
  • Music
  • Music therapy (The Sage)

The arts are significant in raising self-esteem, forging relationships, developing communication and improving confidence.


There is a varied PE and sports programme. All students access at least 3 hours of physical exercise per week through swimming and PE lessons, with many accessing extra-curricular sports. We have our own PE teacher and an outdoor education instructor qualified in a range of outdoor education activities. This means that students access skiing, kayaking and climbing as part of the sports curriculum. We recognise the importance of gross motor development and its impact on learning and therefore the OT will identify students who will benefit from additional gross motor sessions.

We aspire that students across the Key Stages will;

  • Begin to master basic movements including running, jumping, throwing and catching, as well as developing balance, agility and co-ordination, and begin to apply these in a range of activities.
  • Play competitive games, modified and adapted where appropriate.
  • Take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team.
  • Swim competently, confidently and proficiently up to or over a distance of at least 25 metres, using a range of strokes effectively including front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke.
  • Evaluate their performances compared to previous ones and demonstrate improvement across a range of physical activities to achieve their personal best.


The Design and Technology curriculum offers students access to textiles and food technology. In Key Stage 3 these sare taught on a carousel to provide a varied curriculum.

All students are able to access Food Technology. The lessons allow students to develop a range of basic cooking skills which includes methods such as rubbing in, creaming and basic vegetable preparation.

All students learn the importance of keeping themselves safe in the food room and demonstrate this through practical sessions. Students develop these skills whilst producing a range of sweet and savoury dishes. This also links in to student independence targets for cookery and nutrition.

At Key Stage 5 students are offered the opportunity to undertake Jamie Olivers Home Cooking Skills.

 Forest School

The Forest School is available for all students. The forest school aims to encourage and inspire students and teachers to use the outdoor for learning across the curriculum. The provision enables students to grow food, care for animals and the countryside. Specific course support these areas, e.g. The John Muir Award, Animal Care and Horticulture. These courses ensure that students are given first-hand experience of the natural world around them and integrate outdoor learning activities into every day teaching practices.


PSHE is taught across the key stages, both as a timetabled lesson and in opportunities throughout the school day. The focus is on equipping students with the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep themselves and others healthy, safe and to lead happy and fulfilling lives. It is delivered through a link to each term’s topic, which promotes cross-curricular teaching and learning. It is a ‘spiral programme,’ whereby new and challenging learning is introduced while reflecting and building on prior knowledge and meeting the developmental needs of our children and young people.

At Portland we strive to provide a safe and supportive learning environment where children and young people are confident to ask questions, express opinions, challenge information they are offered and draw on personal experiences.

All staff are responsible for the delivery of PSHE, and this ensures the principles are embedded in every aspect of developing our young people.

The curriculum is enhanced through community visits and visitors into the academy.


SRE is lifelong learning about physical, sexual and emotional development. It is about the understanding of the importance of stable loving relationships, respect, love and care for family life. It involves acquiring information, developing skills and forming positive beliefs, values and attitudes.

At Portland we implement SRE as part of a wider programme of PSHE, and from aspects that form the relevant part of the national curriculum of study for science.

For our children and young people, there is often a need for clear, explicit and repeated teaching about relationships and sex education to avoid confusion. Students at our school will need to understand the consequences of their actions; avoid being exploited or exploiting others and be able to communicate effectively by developing appropriate terminology for sex and relationship issues.

Lessons are delivered by confident, competent teachers who refer to ‘The Whole Picture’ programme of study for appropriate learning strategies.

SRE is compulsory from the age of eleven, and at Portland we welcome parent and carer enquires about any aspect of this subject.


Citizenship is delivered as project-based learning, to enable students and students to create, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate their work before celebrating successful outcomes. It helps to produce motivated and responsible students, who relate positively to one another, to staff and to their community. An understanding of the democratic process and decision making creates active citizenship, with young people being willing to participate in society at a local, national and global level.


The spiritual, moral, social and cultural ethos of a school should be felt upon entering it, and at Portland we expect that everyone connected with the school is aware of our values and principles.

We aim to provide an education that gives opportunities to explore and develop values and beliefs, spiritual awareness and personal behaviour. SMSC plays a significant part in learning and achievement as all curriculum areas have a contribution to make.

Children and young people show evidence of this learning by demonstrating a positive, caring attitude towards other people, an understanding of their social and cultural traditions and an appreciation of the diversity and richness of other cultures. Adults model and promote positive behaviour and values, treating all people as worthwhile individuals and showing respect for students and their families.  Students and students are taught to differentiate between right and wrong in as far as their actions affect other people.  We understand the need for rules and the need to abide by them. School and classroom rules will reflect, reiterate, promote and reward positive behaviour and provide opportunities to celebrate the work of students and their achievements.


In line with the Government’s Prevent strategy, we encourage students to respect the fundamental British values of individual liberty and mutual respect. We do not promote extremist view through our curriculum and/or teaching, and offer students a balanced view.


The humanities curriculum forms a key part of the topic based curriculum in KS3 and KS4. Students learn geography, history and RE through themed projects. At KS4 students follow a humanities option.

See topic curriculum overview and current terms topic


The IEP lesson enables tutors to work with individuals or small groups to work towards individualised targets (ieps). There are also planned assemblies throughout the week that develop spiritual and moral awareness and celebrate achievement.