"Children are extremely well-mannered and courteous."
In Year 5, we are looking to see our children turn a corner in their study of English and develop the focus, resilience and determination which will ensure their success in Year 6. They complete timed pieces of work at regular intervals in order to become accustomed to working within time constraints in preparation for any external exams next year. Year 5 is a time when our children really start to blossom creatively and we place a great deal of attention on encouraging them to experiment with a greater variety of punctuation and paragraph their work effectively. They study different genres and learn to write with an awareness of purpose, style, tone and language. We aim to create confident writers who are able to control the English language to suit their purpose and audience.
As well as continuing with the school reading scheme, the children begin their Senior Awards which are part of our Highfield Reading Stars challenge. Comprehension work becomes more focused on deductive and inferential questions and children are encouraged to take note of mark schemes and to ensure that their answers contain sufficient detail. We also aim to develop a breadth of vocabulary which will enable our pupils to be successful with verbal reasoning papers as well as further developing their skills and strategies in this area. We dedicate time each week to developing a child’s verbal reasoning skills and help our pupils to develop and understand strategies which enable them to tackle the different types of question. Once again, we work against the clock to help children to work under pressure without a feeling of panic so that by the time they are sitting external exams in Year Six, the children feel comfortable and confident with the exam format.
By Year Five, there is an expectation that children have learned the basic rules of number; that they are familiar with their number bonds, times tables and units of time and measure. Now, the focus is on speed of recall. We want to help children to have these facts at their fingertips and so we have regular mental warm up games and puzzles alongside more formal timed Mental Arithmetic tests. We also dedicate time each week to the study of Non-Verbal Reasoning, helping the children to understand what the question is asking for and to look carefully at: shape, number, orientation, shading, lines, position and size.
At Highfield, we place a great deal of importance on Problem Solving across all subjects and encouraging the children to become more independent learners. In Maths, we dedicate a double period each week to solving word problems and investigations.
All children have their own MyMaths login so that they are able to complete some homework on the computer at home and reinforce the work that they have done in class by completing lessons, activities and by playing mental maths games. The teacher charts the progress they are making in their individual exploration of maths.
We aim to give our pupils a general knowledge base of which they can be proud. They are encouraged to be aware of and to ask questions about current affairs through targeted lessons, watching the news, reading the papers and through class discussions. In Year Five, we focus on Great Britain and ensuring that the children have a thorough knowledge of the countries and people of Great Britain. We also look at great historical events, people and inventions from across the world. Topic work is completed on The Tudors, The Stuarts, Rivers and Africa.
We continue with our broad-based approach to the teaching of Religion in Year Five by studying Islam and Christianity in detail. We look at the life of Muhammad, Muslim belief and practice; the Christian Bible and Christian belief and actions. We encourage our children to discuss their own experiences and beliefs and to share celebration days with each other. This helps children to develop greater understanding and tolerance of each other, appreciating any differences and asking questions about aspects which may confuse them.
In Year Five, our pupils continue with their study of Science: investigating topics, challenging their environment, charting their findings and drawing conclusions from the data. Science lessons are held in our Science Laboratory or our outdoor classroom: Highfield Haven. The following topics are covered in Year Five.
Materials (including their properties and reversible and irreversible changes)
Living things (observing lifecycles)
Earth in Space
Year 5 are taught French by a native French speaker which really helps with their pronunciation and the development of an authentic French accent in their oral work. In Year 5, there is a great deal of focus on building vocabulary to extend their conversational French. The running theme for Year 5 French is School and the children are able to talk about hobbies, likes and dislikes and daily routines. They learn the vocabulary of school subjects and telling the time too. The most exciting part of Year 5’s French lessons is French Breakfast, where the children enjoy a delicious feast of croissants, pains au chocolat and hot chocolate, which they order in French!
Time is set aside each week to focus on this important aspect of a child’s development. We look at how they all operate as individuals, as members of the school community and as members of Society. We help children with the confusing and worrying questions that crop up in the course of a week and we create an environment of trust so that questions can be asked and answered without embarrassment. It is also a time when we focus on any difficulties that might be occurring in the playground or in the way the children interact with each other. We continually reinforce how children can help themselves and each other to stay safe. The children have a circle time session and a dedicated lesson each week.
PHSE takes on increasing importance as the children are nearing puberty and a new start in a new environment: High School. They have many questions, doubts and anxieties and our curriculum is focused on helping them through this confusing time. In Year 5 the children learn about puberty and how their bodies will change as they change from children to adults. These lessons are taught in single sex groups.
There are 3 core themes to the curriculum which cover a variety of topics within them. These are:
Health and Wellbeing - Health, Nutrition & Food, Aspirations, Emotions and Safety
Relationships - Communication, Collaboration, Similarities & Differences, Healthy Relationships
Living in the Wider World - Rights & Responsibilities, Diversity and Economic awareness & Enterprise
These core themes are supplemented with work on the Fundamental British Values (FBV)
The children are taught Art by a specialist teacher in our Art Studio. Visitors to the school regularly comment upon the standard of our artwork and find it hard to believe that it has been created by Preparatory school pupils! In Year Five, our pupils learn about the Glasgow great, Charles Rennie Mackintosh. They respond to his work in textiles. Complementing their history work the children also sculpt clay Tudor roses. In Design Technology the children learn about how cams can create different types of movement. They include cams in their designs of a moving toy before they make their product.
For Year 5, a computer is taken apart into its individual components and the children have the opportunity to physically handle the different parts, investigated the crucial roles they all play. Excel databases and spreadsheets are also core topics with the children using functions and commands to build interactive workbooks. A firm favourite topic for this year group is exploring the Kodu Gamelab. Children are shown how games are designed and created and how both simple/complex commands can be used to create a range of games from racing, collecting and even battle games.
The children are taught music by a specialist music teacher who instructs them in: Musical Elements, Notational Theory, Musical history and traditions and Music Technology. They perform together musically in their Spring Show and they are invited to audition for The School Choir which meets every Friday.
The children are taught HPSED by a specialist teacher in our Performing Arts Studio. In Year Five, they are introduced to the study of interview technique. They are encouraged to become aware of any annoying habits that might be creeping in when they are concentrating on answering a question. They are also asked to answer a variety of questions and to talk for a minute on any given topic. They think about how they present themselves and how to make a good first impression. They then take these skills into the Boardroom as they become Young Apprentices. Their task is to create, market, advertise and pitch a supermarket product. Their final pitch is examined by Mrs Jones and an external examiner. In the Spring Term, the pupils rehearse their spring drama production which they put on with Year Three and in the Summer term they study the art of debating, culminating in a balloon debate.
The children enjoy an afternoon of Games and a PE session each week as well as various sporting activities in their lunchtime and afterschool. They learn Dance and Gymnastics, as well as invasion games: football, hockey, rugby, netball; and striking games: Cricket, Kwik Cricket, tennis and Rounders. Every child in Year 5 is given the opportunity to play in a competitive fixture against another school. In the Summer Term, the focus is on Athletics and there are inter-school Athletics tournaments as well as the school Sports Day, in which every child competes to earn points for their school House.
A residential activity weekend is offered to children in Years 5 and 6. This helps the children to grow in confidence and independence as well as developing their ability to work with, and support each other, as part of a team. Their challenges include high wire ropes, an underground maze, abseiling and kayaking. It is an extremely popular weekend!