Upper Key Stage 2 – Years 5 and 6
In years 5 and 6, we are doing everything we can to support the children in reaching their full potential. The school day like in Lower Key Stage 2, begins at 8:50 however the children can walk into their classrooms from 8:40 each day, and are then collected by parents/carers at their 'lines' on the infant playground when the school day finishes at 3:20pm. For some parents/carers they may give permission for their child to walk home in friendship pairs. We ask that if this is the case this information is put in writing for the attention of the class teacher. For safety reasons some parents/carers may wish for their child to have a mobile phone with them on their journey. We ask that our mobile phone policy is read and agreement signed, we also ask that these devices are handed over to the office team every morning and are then collected each evening before making their way home.
We believe it is essential to stretch all of our children so they can leave Harold Court Primary School believing in their own ability and start their secondary education with confidence and positivity. The main areas of focus for us are ensuring that our children are confident in leaving school in the core areas of reading, writing and mathematics.
All lessons are differentiated to ensure that identified groups of children are challenged appropriately. We use MAPLE (more able pupil learning experiences) tasks to really stretch the mind and skills learnt We have also introduced numerous literacy and numeracy booster sessions, mainly for year 6 children, these really focus on the children’s needs in order to successful meet their targets.
Children actively take part in assessing their own learning, it is essential that they know what they need to do next to improve. We regularly speak to the children about their targets, in their workbooks they make comments about their learning, this is also invaluable for teachers, allowing us to mould our planning so as to meet the children’s individual needs. Children’s progress is carefully monitored and tracked, allowing us to identify children who are struggling to make progress and those children who are excelling our expectations and need further challenge.
In years 5 and 6, we are focusing on developing the children’s comprehension skills. The children need to be reading as much as possible and discussing what they have read with their parents and teachers. It is usually the underlining meaning that the children struggle to recognise, and explaining their own views as to why authors use certain words or choose to set out texts in particular ways. Within school, we have weekly comprehension lessons and daily Guided Reading sessions. Your child may also be working in an additional comprehension group, which is targeted to their needs.
Both reading and talking to others, using correct grammar and an interesting vocabulary, will also aid the children in their writing. Children are encouraged to use a varied vocabulary in their writing in order to produce written work which appeals to their reader and makes people want to read on. Children should confidently begin their sentences with a variety of interesting sentence starters, they should be able use a range of appropriate connectives to extend their sentences and descriptive words to describe both nouns and actions. The new SATs tests, introduced in 2014, have rightly brought a focus back to grammar, punctuation and spelling. We look for every opportunity to develop the children’s written work in all subject areas.
In Maths, there is an emphasis on developing mental maths strategies, children need to be able to quickly select the correct strategy and calculate at speed. We can only stress the importance that all children in year 5 and 6 know their times tables. We have introduced daily mental maths sessions and weekly mental maths tests in order to develop children’s speed of mental calculation. The school has introduced mental maths challenges and there is a weekly ‘Mathematician of the Week’ award. Children are all given maths number cards which they can take home to learn and which contain key number facts suited to their ability. Children are then tested at school on these key number facts. They can achieve bronze, silver and gold stickers before moving on to the next level.
The MyMaths website is an aid to the teaching of maths and is used for homework activities. ‘MyMaths offers a fully interactive, online learning solution for all abilities’ – MyMaths.co.uk. Interactive lessons, games and worksheets are linked to a powerful Assessment Management system that allows teachers to teach in a fun and dynamic way while tracking progress effectively.
Even though Literacy and numeracy are the main focuses, it is essential that our children experience and broad and balance curriculum, that both interests and excite them.
Below is a taster of what we get up to day to day...
Science in year 5/6
Our current science topic is ‘how we see things’. The children have been learning about how the eyes work and how light behaves; they have developed their understanding of the different parts of the eye and how they function together to allow us to see. They have also enjoyed experimenting with light as shown in the photographs using resources such as mirrors and periscopes. This kind of hands-on experience is crucial in the development of scientific understanding.
Art in year 5/6
This term we have been looking at how movement is conveyed in art in our unit on ‘people in action’. The children have been looking at how various artists have portrayed movement in their work and experimented with some of these styles in their own work. This unit has also allowed the children the opportunity to have a go at life drawing, whereby they pose for each other to try to capture the essence of movement. Class W6 had lots of fun moving around in slow motion to develop their familiarity with the dynamics of a body in action.
Freshwater Theatre History Workshop: The Tudors
Year 5/6 were lucky enough to receive a visit from the Freshwater Theatre, who put on a marvellous interactive performance, which really helped to bring the children’s recent topic on the Tudors to life! We joined them in their time machine for a trip through history, meeting several famous figures with whom the children had become familiar over previous weeks; it was a dangerous adventure whereby we had to solve puzzles in order to return to the present day, but with all the fabulous learning that the children had been doing we weren’t worried one bit!