Subject Overviews

The Curriculum

The 1998 Education Act brought in a compulsory National Curriculum. In primary schools, the subjects that all pupils must study are art and design, design and technology, English, geography, history, information and communication technology, mathematics, music, physical education and science. Religious education must also be provided.

Since the introduction of the new National Curriculum in September 2014, we have adopted a cross-curricular topic based learning approach across the school. 

We feel that offering an integrated curriculum in this ways teaches the links between subject areas and makes learning more effective.

Our Reception Class follow the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.




At Pensilva Primary School we aim for pupils to be confident and to develop effective skills within reading, writing, speaking and listening. It is important that pupils are able to use and apply these skills to develop their thinking and to communicate in a variety of styles which match the purpose and audience.  To support this, pupils are given opportunities to develop their use, knowledge and understanding of spoken and written English within a broad and balanced curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills.

 We aim for pupils to leave Year 6:

  • reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including self-monitoring and correcting their own errors;
  • with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment;
  • with an interest in words and their meanings; developing a growing vocabulary in relation to grammatical terminology;
  • understanding a range of text types, media types and genres;
  • able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the situation;
  • using their developing creativity, imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness;
  • having a suitable technical vocabulary to respectfully articulate their responses in any discussion.



Mathematics is a subject that divides opinion. Many people hate it, it brings to mind bad memories and people consider themselves terrible at it. At Pensilva we strive to ensure all children believe they are a mathematician.  Maths is not just about answering sums, it is about logic, reasoning, discussion and interpretation. We aim to make maths as fun as possible, ensuring children are suitably challenged. The maths curriculum aims to ensure all pupils become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics. It is an interconnected subject in which children are expected to use their acquiring knowledge in reasoning and solving varied and complex problems.

At Key stage 1 the main focus is to develop confidence with whole numbers, counting and place value. They work with the four operations and work is practically based wherever possible. Children learn to draw, compare and sort different shapes. They also learn to use a range of measures, comparing quantities such as length, mass, capacity, volume, time and money.

At key Stage 2 children become increasingly fluent with the number system including larger integers. By the end of Year Four they learn rapid recall of multiplication and division facts up to the twelve times tables. Pupils become fluent in written methods for all four operations and work with fractions, decimals, percentages and ratio. Children are introduced to the language of algebra as a means for solving a variety of problems.  Furthermore pupils learn to classify shapes with increasingly complex geometric properties.

By the end of the Pensilva Primary Years our young mathematicians are readily equipped in reasoning and solving problems out in the real world.



Our Science Vision Statement:

At Pensilva Primary School, science inspires lifelong learning by encouraging independent child-led thinking.  We strive to ensure that science is engaging, investigative, fun and cross curricular, solving real life problems to inspire tomorrow’s forward thinkers.

At KS1, children are taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

  • asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways

  • observing closely, using simple equipment

  • performing simple tests

  • identifying and classifying

  • using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions

  • gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.

The KS1 programme of study comprises the following areas which are taught to the children at Pensilva: plants, animals (including humans), seasonal changes, living things and their habitats, , uses of everyday materials,

Science teaching in lower KS2 enables pupils to broaden their scientific view of the world around them. They do this through exploring, talking about, testing and developing ideas about everyday phenomena and the relationships between living things and familiar environments, and by beginning to develop their ideas about functions, relationships and interactions. They ask their own questions about what they observe and make decisions about which types of scientific enquiry are likely to be the best ways of answering them, including observing changes over time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out simple comparative and fair tests and finding things out using secondary sources of information.

The lower KS2 programme of study taught at Pensilva comprises: plants, animals (including humans), rocks, light, forces and magnets, living things and their habitats, states of matter, sound, electricity.

At upper KS2, children encounter more abstract ideas and begin to recognise how these ideas help them to understand and predict how the world operates. They learn to select the most appropriate ways to answer science questions using different types of scientific enquiry, including observing changes over different periods of time, noticing patterns, grouping and classifying things, carrying out comparative and fair tests and finding things out using a wide range of secondary sources of information. Children draw conclusions based on their data and observations, use evidence to justify their ideas, and use their scientific knowledge and understanding to explain their findings.

The upper KS2 programme of study taught at Pensilva comprises: living things and their habitats, properties and changes of materials, animals (including humans), Earth and space, forces, evolution and inheritance, light, electricity.


Religious Education

Religious Education is statutory for all children on the roll and part of the core entitlement. Here at Pensilva we follow the Cornwall Agreed Syllabus for RE. It develops pupil’s knowledge and understanding of Christianity and four other world religions including; Islam, Sikhism, Judaism and Hinduism.

We do not tell children what they should believe rather we teach them about the religions, giving them knowledge and understanding and we allow them to learn from religion to result in self-awareness and personal knowledge.

Through RE we aim to foster the qualities of; commitment, fairness, respect, self-understanding, enquiry and openness and the skills and processes of; investigation, interpretation, reflection, empathy, evaluation, analysis, synthesis, application, expression and collaboration.

At foundation stage RE is learning about celebrations and experiences of festivals (a minimum of two Cornish celebrations) taught through planned purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. The children will cover human experiences within their own live and the lives of those around them.

At KS1 RE will include 60% Christianity and 40% Hinduism. They also cover the Curriculum Kernewek which includes; Celtic crosses, special festivals, special people (such as St. Petroc and St. Piran), standing stones and local places of importance.

At KS2 RE will include 60% Christianity and 40% one other religion from Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam or Judaism. Plus the Curiculum Kernewek which includes; Cornwall as a place of spiritual inquiry and Cornwall as a place of Christianity. The latter encompasses; the Celtic church, prayer Book rebellion John Wesley, Catholic Emancipation and translation of the New Testament into Cornish.

Parents have the right to withdraw their children from Religious Education.

At KS1 children at Pensilva are taught what algorithms (a logical step by step procedure) are; how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; and that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions. This is taught through devices and software such as Bee-bots and various iPad apps. Children create and debug simple programs and use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs. Children are taught to use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content from devices such as laptops, digital cameras and iPads, as well as recognising common uses of information technology beyond school. Through E-Safety lessons (and Safer Internet Day) the children are taught to use technology safely and respectfully, keeping personal information private; identify where to go for help and support when they have concerns about content or contact on the internet or other online technologies.

At KS2 the children of Pensilva are taught to design, write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, including controlling or simulating physical systems; solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts. As well as using sequence, selection, and repetition in programs; work with variables and various forms of input and output, through software such as ‘Scratch’ and ‘Purple Mash’ coding. The children use logical reasoning to explain how some simple algorithms work and to detect and correct errors in algorithms and programs. In KS2 children are taught to understand computer networks including the internet; how they can provide multiple services, such as the World Wide Web; and the opportunities they offer for communication and collaboration. Links are made between classes from other schools to enable collaborative working and sharing of information through sources such as email and Skype. Children are taught to use search technologies effectively, appreciate how results are selected and ranked, and be discerning in evaluating digital content. All KS2 children are taught to select, use and combine a variety of software and a variety of iPad apps (including internet services) on a range of digital devices, such as laptops and iPads to design and create a range of programs, systems and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information. Through E-Safety lesson (and Safer Internet Day) the children are taught and made aware of how to use technology safely, respectfully and responsibly; recognise acceptable/unacceptable behaviour; identify a range of ways to report concerns about content and contact.

At KS1, the children will develop an awareness of the past and passing of time.  They will begin to understand where people and events fit within a chronological framework.  The curriculum will focus on stories and other sources to understand similarities and differences between ways of life at different times.  The children will develop their historical vocabulary, understand some of the ways we find out about the past and learn to ask and answer questions.  The children will study the lives of significant individuals who have contributed to national and international achievements.

At KS2, the children will continue to build on the skills and processes introduced in KS1.  The children will study changes in British history from the Stone Age to 1066, including the impact of the Roman Empire, invasion by the Scots, Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings.

The curriculum will also include a study of an early civilization, a non-European society as well the Ancient Greeks and their achievements and influence on the western world. The children will be able to study in depth an aspect or theme in British history which extends chronological knowledge beyond 1066.



At KS1, the children will develop their geographical skills and fieldwork by investigating the  geography of the school, its ground and surrounding environment.  They will use maps and other pictorial resources to locate and name the seven continents and five oceans.  The children will learn the countries which make up the United Kingdom, their capital cities and surrounding seas.  The curriculum includes developing an understanding of geographical similarities and differences through the study of a small area of the UK and making a comparison with a contrasting non-European country.  The children will identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the UK and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles.

At KS2, the children will continue to build on the Geographical skills and fieldwork introduced in KS1 by extending their compass and map reading skills.  They will locate the world’s countries, using maps, to focus on  the physical and human characteristics of Europe and North and South America.  The children will name and locate counties and cities of the UK and identify their human and physical features.  They will identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern and Southern Hemispheres and time zones.



At KS1, the children will be taught to use their voices expressively and creatively by singing songs and speaking chants and rhymes. They will also experience playing tuned and un-tuned instruments musically.   The children will be taught to listen with concentration and understanding to a range of high-quality live and recorded music as well as experimenting with, creating, selecting and combining sounds using the inter-related dimensions of music.

At KS2, the children will be taught to sing and play musically with increasing confidence and control. They will develop an understanding of musical composition, organising and manipulating ideas within musical structures and reproducing sounds from aural memory. The children will be taught to play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression. They will improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music as well as listening with attention to detail and recalling sounds with increasing aural memory. Pupils will use staff and other musical notations and appreciate and understand a wide range of high-quality live and recorded music drawn from different traditions and from great composers and musicians as well as developing an understanding of the history of music.



Learning a foreign language provides an opening to other cultures, fosters pupils’ curiosity and deepens their understanding of the world. Children should be enabled to express their ideas and thoughts in another language and understand and respond to its speakers. Language teaching should provide the foundation for learning further languages at secondary school.

At Pensilva, Spanish is the foreign language taught to all KS2 children. The children listen to spoken Spanish and show understanding by joining in and responding. They explore the patterns and sounds of Spanish through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words. Children are encouraged to engage in conversations, ask and answer questions, express opinions and respond to those of others. Children are taught to speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures. Children develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases. In upper KS2, children are taught to write phrases from memory and adapt these to create new sentences to express ideas clearly.


Physical Education

At Pensilva Primary School, Physical Education and Sport are very important. We have achieved Gold for the Sainsbury’s Sports Award four years running!

It is our aim that every child is able to find a sport that they enjoy and develop a positive attitude to exercise and keeping fit. We are keen that those children who already enjoy sport, have opportunities to build upon their skills and interests, and to participate in competition. However we are also keen to encourage all children in sport and to ensure that they know how important it is to exercise and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Since the Sport Funding we have employed a PE specialist, Mr Jones, who has a wealth of experience in teaching both in the classroom and outside. He teaches high quality PE lessons to all of the children in the school, and runs a range of exciting and different after school clubs including Playground to 5K running club, Mountain biking and Table Tennis to ensure we are broadening experiences and has supported staff to improve their teaching of PE.

PE in KS1Pupils should develop fundamental movement skills, become increasingly competent and confident and access a broad range of opportunities to extend their agility, balance and coordination, individually and with others. They should be able to engage in competitive (both against self and against others) and co-operative physical activities, in a range of increasingly challenging situations. 

Pupils will be taught 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
  • participate in team games, developing simple tactics for attacking and defending
  • perform dances using simple movement patterns.

PE in KS2

Pupils should continue to apply and develop a broader range of skills, learning how to use them in different ways and to link them to make actions and sequences of movement. They should enjoy communicating, collaborating and competing with each other. They should develop an understanding of how to improve in different physical activities and sports and learn how to evaluate and recognise their own success. 

Pupils will be taught to:

  • use running, jumping, throwing and catching in isolation and in combination
  • play competitive games, modified where appropriate [for example, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, rounders and tennis], and apply basic principles suitable for attacking and defending
  • develop flexibility, strength, technique, control and balance [for example, through athletics and gymnastics]
  • perform dances using a range of movement pattern
  • take part in outdoor and adventurous activity challenges both individually and within a team
  • compare their performances with previous ones and demonstrate improvement to achieve their personal best.


Design and Technology

At Pensilva Primary School we follow a Topic based curriculum, this provides us with lots of opportunities to deliver exciting, relevant and creative Design and Technology lessons. 

Our lessons are planned using the National Curriuclum (2015) and skills progresson so the children develop their knowledge and skills throughout the year and are built upon as they move throughout the school.


Design: At Pensilva we are encouraged to think carefully about designing functional and appealing products. We get the opportunities to test out different materials for their durability and strength before choosing the best materials for our product and we are encouraged to label our designs further with colours and ideas. Most recently the children in years 1 and 2 designed and created their own 3D castles for our term 3 topic “knights, castles and dragons”.

Make:  We have a wide range of different tools and activities and throughout the year we will experience cookery, construction and textiles. In Key Stage 1 we focus on gaining skills in cutting, sticking, sewing, mixing and measuring. As we move into Key Stage 2 we broaden our experiences and learn to shape, join and finish our products with more skill and precision. The year 3 children made beautiful Roman busts in term 2 and we were proud to show these off in a fantastic class display.

Evaluate: Having designed and made our products it is important that we can evaluate them. We compare them to our initial designs and consider challenges that we may have faced (and often overcome) throughout the project. Year 4/5 children recently made delicious pizza and the children evaluated their products on taste, look and smell.

Further technical knowledge: In years 1 and 2 we explore how to make structures stronger, stiffer and more stable. We also use mechanisms (levers, sliders, wheels and axels) in their products. In years 3,4,5 and 6 we work with more complex structures and mechanisms as well as using electrical systems (bulbs, buzzers and  motors) in our work.


Art and Design

At Pensilva Primary School we follow a Topic based curriculum, this provides us with lots of opportunities to deliver exciting, relevant and creative Art and Design lessons. 

Our lessons are planned using the National Curriuclum (2014) and skills progresson so the children develop their knowledge and skills throughout the year and are built upon as they move throughout the school.

We believe it is important for our children to be given opportunities to explore artists both in their local area and from around the world. 

At KS1, the children will explore and develop their ideas by recording what they see and imagine, asking and answering questions about their and others work.  They will develop their skills using different materials, tools and techniques in 2D and 3D. The children will work with colour, pattern, texture, line and tone, shape form and space.  They will evaluate the work of artists, craftspeople and designers in different times and cultures.

At KS2, the children will develop the skills introduced in KS 1 continuing to work in both 2D and 3D.  They will create and use their own sketch books and improve their observational drawings.  Links will be made with history and geography as the children study artists, craftspeople, designers and architects from around the world and throughout history.


PSHE at Pensilva

What is PSHE Education?

PSHE Education (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education) is a planned programme of learning through which children and young people acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills they need to successfully manage their lives – now and in the future. As part of a whole-school approach, PSHE Education develops the qualities and attributes pupils need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.

What do schools have to teach in PSHE Education?
According to the National Curriculum, every school needs to have a broad and balanced curriculum that:
• promotes the spiritual, moral, social, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school;
• prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life;
• promotes British values.
From September 2020, primary schools in England also need to teach Relationships and Health Education as compulsory subjects and the Department for Education strongly recommends this should also include age-appropriate Sex Education.
Schools also have statutory responsibilities to safeguard their pupils (Keeping Children Safe in Education, DfE, 2019) and to uphold the Equality Act (2010).
The Jigsaw Programme supports all.

At Pensilva, we have introduced a whole school PSHE scheme called Jigsaw. Jigsaw combines PSHE, emotional literacy, mindfulness, social skills, and spiritual development.

What is Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, and how does it work?

Jigsaw is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme (Puzzle) at the same time. This enables each Puzzle to start with an introductory assembly, generating a whole school focus for adults and children alike.

Jigsaw aims to help children know and value who they really are and how they relate to other people in this ever-changing world.

There are six Puzzles (half-term units of work) each with six Pieces (lessons). Every year group studies the same Puzzle at the same time (sequentially ordered from September to July), allowing for whole school themes and the end of Puzzle product, for example, a display or exhibition (like the Garden of Dreams and Goals) to be shared and celebrated by the whole school. Each year group is taught one lesson per week and all lessons are delivered in an age- and stage-appropriate way so that they meet children’s needs.

The overview below summarises the content in each of Jigsaw’s units of work (Puzzles):

Being Me in My World covers a wide range of topics, including a sense of belonging, welcoming others and being part of a school community, a wider community, and a global community; it also looks at children’s rights and responsibilities, working and socialising with others, and of pupil voice.

Celebrating Difference focuses on similarities and differences and teaches about diversity, such as disability, racism, power, friendships, and conflict; children learn to accept everyone’s right to ‘difference’, and most year groups explore the concept of ’normality’. Anti-bulling, including cyber bulling, is an important aspect of this Puzzle.

Dreams and Goals aims to help children think about their hopes and dreams, their goals for success, what their personal strengths are, and how to overcome challenges, using teamwork, skills, and tasks. There is also a focus on enterprise and fundraising. Children learn about experiencing and managing feelings of pride, ambition, disappointment, and success. They get to share their aspirations, dreams, and goals of others in different cultures/countries, and their dreams for their community and the world.

Healthy Me covers two main areas of health: Emotional/mental health (relaxation, being safe, friendships, mental health skills, body image, relationships with food, managing stress) and Physical Health (eating a balanced diet, physical activity, rest, and relaxation, keeping clean, being safe, first aid).

Relaxation starts with building a respectful relationship with self and covers topics including families, friendships, pets and animals, and love and loss. A vital part of this Puzzle is about safeguarding and keeping children safe, this links to online safety and social networking. Children learn how to deal with conflict, build skills in assertiveness, and identify their own strengths and strategies for building self-esteem and resilience.

Changing Me deals with change of many types. Growing from young to old, becoming a teenager, assertiveness, puberty, self-respect and safeguarding. Each year group thinks about looking ahead, moving year groups or the transition to secondary school and how to cope positively with such changes.