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Curriculum – Year 5


During each term the children explore both fiction and non-fiction themes which are linked to our topics. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are also taught through these topics.

Autumn Term

Our topics for this term are Beast Creator and Alchemy Island. The children will build vocabulary through reading, writing and performing a free verse about a relative, as well as read, write and evaluate a cinquain using figurative language based on a precious gem. The children will also write an information leaflet about mini beasts, as well as debate and write on whether to visit or stay on Alchemy Island.

The children will then write a fantasy story telling of their mini beast adventure and write a fantasy story about Alchemy Island.

Spring Term

Our topics for this term are Stargazers and Allotment. The children will perform a free verse about gravity and use this to create a rap, as well as create a TV/radio advert. The will also compose a diary entry explaining what it was like to land on the moon, as well as write a persuasive letter to a local councillor.

The children will then write a myth focusing on effective characterisation, interweaving speech and action.

Summer Term

Our topics for this term are Pharaohs and Scream Machine. The children will create and perform a time travel poem and write and perform a free verse based on the sensations experienced on a funfair ride. The children will also construct a chronological report detailing the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb and write an explanation on how a ride they created works.

The children will then write a story detailing a day in the life of an Egyptian and construct a persuasive radio advert encouraging visitors to a theme park.


MATHS (Maths No Problem)

Year 5
The autumn term begins with a focus on reading and writing numbers, place value and calculation using all four operations with numbers up to 1,000,000. They will be comparing and ordering numbers and learning to round them. The children will be further developing their understanding of addition and subtraction using a variety of methods including the formal algorithms. They will be introduced to the terms factor, multiple and prime number and they will be learning to multiply by single digits and 2-digit numbers. In division they will be learning to divide 3 and 4-digit numbers by a single digit. They will then spend some time consolidating these skills and applying them to word problems. Their knowledge of graphs will be revised and they will spend time learning to read and interpret a range of line graphs including those featuring more than one line.
In the spring term the focus is on fractions, decimals and percentages. They will be dividing whole numbers to create fractions, finding equivalences and working with mixed numbers and improper fractions. They will be adding and subtracting unlike fractions by finding a common denominator. They will be multiplying fractions and mixed numbers by whole numbers. They will revise their knowledge of decimals and how to read, write and compare them. They will be learning to add and subtract decimals including in the context of money. They will then be learning to convert values into percentages. This is followed by some work in geometry on the properties of shape. They will be learning to use a protractor to draw and measure angles and will be investigating angles within a variety of shapes.
This term start with the children using co-ordinates to name and plot points and identify where a shape is after translation. Having covered some learning about position and movement, the children move on to learning about measures, converting units of measure, calculating area, perimeter and volume. They will of course be applying this new learning to word problems. At the end of term, Year 5 will revisit number and place value in the context of Roman Numerals and will be learning to write these up to 1,000.


The National Curriculum requires children at KS1 & KS2 to study science. Starting in the school year 2017 – 2018, children throughout Holdbrook are following an exciting new science scheme called ‘Engaging Science’. This scheme covers all aspects of the National Curriculum and is supplemented by additional exploration in relevant Cornerstones topics. The life and work of famous scientists are linked to relevant units of work throughout both Key Stages.

The national curriculum for science aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop scientific knowledge and conceptual understanding through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.
  • develop understanding of the nature, processes and methods of science through different types of science enquiries that help them to answer scientific questions about the world around them.
  • are equipped with the scientific knowledge required to understand the uses and implications of science, today and for the future.

Further detail about the National Curriculum requirements for science at Key Stages 1 & 2 can be found by following this link:

National Curriculum Science

Our Curriculum:


Year 5

Life Cycles

Children revisit the life cycle of plants, and learn about pollination. They compare the life cycles of birds, mammals, insects and amphibians and learn that insects and amphibians undergo metamorphosis.



Earth & Space

Children study our solar system, learning about the relative movements of the planets and the Moon and relating these to the way we experience the Sun and the Moon on Earth.   They carry out some research into planets and investigate the way meteorites have shaped the surface of the Moon.


Mixtures & Reactions

After reviewing and extending their knowledge of materials from previous years, children study dissolving and learn how to recover materials from a solution. They look at other methods of separating mixtures and carry out an investigation on “sewage” to clean it up before discharge into a river. They investigate chemical reactions including burning and use a key and a series of simple tests to identify some mystery powders.   They learn about reversible and irreversible changes and they create a drama about the life of a famous materials scientist.



Human Development

Children learn about the human life cycle and about the changes of the body during puberty. They learn about the development of a baby during pregnancy and about the birth of a baby. This unit has been written to match lessons in Personal, Social and Health Education on puberty and the feelings associated with growing up.


Children learn more about the forces of gravity and friction and investigate the friction of different surfaces. They study air resistance, investigate paper spinners falling, look at floating and sinking and build a self-righting boat. Learning about simple forces includes activities to study pulleys, gears and other simple machines and gives children the chance to use their knowledge of machines to build a catapult.


Additional unit: Decay & Recycling

This unit is intended to be taught across the whole year with at least two lessons in each term.   Children will carry out a number of visits in and around the school to look for evidence of decay. They will create a compost heap and observe it over time. Natural and man-made materials will be left in different places to see how well they break down. Children will also carry out a litter survey in the local area and report back through a school assembly.

The Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in London are both free and well worth a visit.

TOPIC (Cornerstones)

We follow the Cornerstones Interactive Learning Projects scheme of work in order to build a group of well-rounded individuals who love to learn in innovative and dynamic ways. This new scheme has allowed us to create links between pupils’ learning, the classroom environment, the outdoor space as well as consolidate learning through trips and visitors.

Each half-term we engage our children with a new topic, develop their ideas and understanding, allow them to innovate with their new skills and express their ideas using all of their creativity.

Below is a summary of what Year 5 will be learning about during each half-term. You will find information about their topic, the books they will be reading, the phenomena they will be investigating – as well as information about what they will be studying in each of the foundation subjects during that time.

Ensuring children are exposed to high-quality literature is key to improving vocabulary and writing as well as developing a love for reading that will stay with children for life. We have invested in classic literature which supplements and adds to the curriculum themes. Our English curriculum has also been developed in line with the Cornerstones’ scheme of work so that children’s understanding and application of skills can be developed throughout the school day.

Homework ties in with the curriculum in school- the details for this can be found in our revised Homework Policy.



Autumn 1 – Beast Creator Ge SF 1 & Ge SF 3

Is predominately a Geography focussed topic where the children will be developing their understanding of physical and human geographical features from around the world through comparative studies. They will also be conducting field studies in their local area to assess the impact of human features on the natural environment as well as global studies using atlases and the internet to determine the wider effect of this which involve map making and scientific investigations to provide evidence of their theories.

Autumn 2 – Alchemy Island Ge HP 1 & Ge SF 2

Another Geography focussed topic but instead the children will be developing their map reading and cartography (making) skills through a study on the fictitious island. We will be continuing to develop the children’s knowledge of geographical human and physical features of Earth but we will also be looking at map reading very closely with the intention of making our own maps of the island and later the local area. The children will be learning about the eight compass points, four and six-figure grid references, common features found on ordnance survey maps and how to use a key.

Spring 1 – Stargazers Ge SF1 Hi 6

The children will be looking at the globe in the wider sense and develop their general knowledge (country/continent names, ocean names and other distinguishable areas) and locate them on a map.

In History, we will start looking at how scientists such as Galileo and Newton shaped modern scientific and mathematical thinking. The children will be debating whether or not their studies were controversial and whether they, and other thinkers of that time, deserved the treatment they were given. We will also be looking at the history of the Space Race in 1955 and Tim Peake’s recent mission to the International Space Station in 2013.

Spring 2 – Allotment Ge SF 2 Ge SF 3 Ge HP2 Ge LK2 Ge PK1

To begin with, the children will start by recapping the 8 compass points, 4/6 figure grid references and other essential map reading skills to develop their knowledge of the UK and wider world including country, continent, region and ocean names. We will be applying these skills to help us decide where to place our allotment. We will later participate in field studies to plan, map and create our allotment which we will then compare to another contrasting locality.

Summer 1 – Pharaohs Ge LK1 GE HP 2 Hi 7

The children will start their topic off with further polishing of their general geographical knowledge but focussing more on the reasons for the key characteristics and features of Egypt such as the proximity to the Equator and the effects that has on the land and population. They will dive into a topic that is new to them, Economical Geography, where they will be studying trade links, transport, settlements and natural resources and how these are all intertwined and reliant upon each other.

We will also be looking into the ancient civilisation and period known as the Egyptians where we will be researching their culture, religion, language, hierarchy and the life of the Boy King, Tutankhamun. The River Nile will also feature heavily here as a cross curricular link to deepen the children’s knowledge about the features and terminology of a river also including how the Nile was essential to the success of the Egyptians and how it has changed since the Egyptian time.

Summer 2 – Scream Machine Ge HP2 Ge PK 1

The children will be looking at the locations of theme parks from around the world and how their positioning has made these parks successful as part of the economical geography development. They will be applying their knowledge of this to choose an ideal location in the UK for their theme park that will apply their knowledge developed across the year including: human, physical and economic to inform their decisions which will culminate in a business pitch at the end of the topic.

Here are links to the National Curriculum website that explains these strands and other expectations of your children in more detail:

Geography: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-geography-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-geography-programmes-of-study

History: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-history-programmes-of-study




The Department for Education, as part of the new Primary National Curriculum (2014), stated that Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education would remain non-statutory. It did, however, guide that ‘All schools should make provision for PSHE education, drawing on good practice.’

At Holdbrook Primary School, we teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education through the comprehensive scheme of learning called ‘Jigsaw’. During the year, all classes from Nursery through to Year 6 benefit from a weekly, engaging PSHE lesson.

The ‘Jigsaw’ approach has children at its heart and helps them to understand and value who they are and how they contribute to the world. Celebration Certificates are awarded in a weekly assembly, to pupils in each year group, to recognise their contribution to a particular aspect of each theme.

Lessons are based on a theme (Jigsaw piece). In Year 5, Jigsaw Jez will help children learn about: Being Me in My World; Celebrating Difference; Dreams and Goals; Being Healthy; Relationships; and Growing Up.



Autumn Term

The lessons in Year 5 in the Autumn term cover this learning:


Spring Term

The lessons in Year 5 in the Spring term cover this learning:

Summer Term

The lessons in Year 5 in the Summer term cover this learning:

Further information about the ‘Jigsaw’ approach in Year 5:






Autumn: Data Matters

Children investigate the concept of “big data” and its use in the world. They review file types and protection. They explore binary form and develop understanding of computer networks. They search more efficiently and investigate their digital footprints (or ‘digital tattoos’), building safe and responsible use of online spaces. They create and search flat-file databases, developing accuracy and efficiency. The children develop their eSafe practice through the use of CEOP resources and a whole school unit on staying safe online both at school and home.

Spring: Robotics and Systems

The children investigate automated systems in the wider world and the use of sensors within them. They consider natural systems and use sprites to represent them. They create, test, debug and refine algorithms, and the related programs using sequence, selection, repetition and variables. Software is used to manipulate what could be real-life situations to find the best system to code instructions to have a given result.

Summer: Sound Works

Children review how digital sound is used in the world and how it has developed over time. They create multi-track sound recordings for specific audiences, incorporating different content and demonstrating their understanding of the rules for copyright. They use programming languages to create their own sound clips. The children use a variety of software including free to download and tablet based apps. This means that the children have the opportunity to download these same programs for use at home as well as in school to extend their learning outside the classroom.

Department for Education Computing Program of Study KS1 and 2




The National Curriculum requires children at KS2 to learn a language. At Holdbrook, we have decided that children will learn Latin. Although this is a ‘dead’ language, it forms the basis of many modern European languages (including English) and will therefore support learning of these languages when children move on to secondary school.

National Curriculum: “If an ancient language is chosen, the focus will be to provide a linguistic foundation for reading comprehension and an appreciation of classical civilisation. Pupils studying ancient languages may take part in simple oral exchanges, while discussion of what they read will be conducted in English. A linguistic foundation in ancient languages may support the study of modern languages at key stage 3.”

Further information about the National Curriculum requirements for languages at Key Stage 2 can be found by following this link:

National Curriculum Languages

For the year 2017 – 2018, all KS2 classes are following the Y3 plan for Latin, as it is new to everybody. In subsequent years, children will move on to the Y4, Y5 and Y6 plans. By the year 2020 – 2021, our ‘Minimus’ Latin programme will be fully rolled out.

Our Learning Foci:


Year 5 Subject Matter Grammar Content

The Military Machine

Roman army imperatives (commands)

Clean & Healthy

Roman baths & doctors revision (adverbs & imperatives)

A Soldier’s Life

life in the Roman army prepositions



At Holdbrook, we are now following the ‘Music Express’ program for teaching Music.


 Year 5                                                                                                      
Autumn 1 The topic is ‘Our Community’. The song ‘Jerusalem’ will provide the basis for looking at changes through time’ The children will be given opportunities to compose and perform music inspired by their local community, both past and present.
Autumn 2 The topic is ‘Solar System’. Embark on a musical journey through the solar system, exploring how our universe inspired composers including Claude Debussy, Gustav Holst and George Crumb. The children will learn a song and compose pieces linked to space.
Spring 1 The topic is ‘Life Cycles’. Explore the human life cycle with music by Johannes Brahms, Luciano Berio, Franz Liszt and Claudio Monteverdi. The wide variety of musical moods, styles and genres will inspire singing, performing and composing using new techniques and structures
Spring 2 The topic is ‘Keeping Healthy’. From body-popping and gospel-singing to swimming and cycling, the children will be taken through their paces. They will put together an invigorating performance using new musical techniques.
Summer 1 The topic is ‘At the Movies’. Explore music from 1920’s animated films to present day movies. The children will learn techniques for creating soundtracks and film scores. They will compose their own movie music.
Summer 2 The topic is ‘Celebration’. It will be a lively celebration in song for the children to perform at a class assembly, a school concert or fete. The celebratory, upbeat mood will soon have the audience joining in.



At Holdbrook Primary and Nursery School the children will learn about the six main religions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Sikhism. The children may also learn from other religions and theological ideas to ensure they are exposed to a diversity of faiths and viewpoints so they can begin to appreciate and understand that people around the world may have different beliefs and practices from their own.

This academic year, the RE curriculum will be delivered in a new and exciting way. The children will participate in six curriculum days, meaning they will not follow their usual timetable instead they will spend the whole day learning about Religious education. Each curriculum day will be based on a different ‘theme’ and the children will study a key area of focus set by Hertfordshire for Learning.

The themes for this academic year are:


Curriculum Day



Term 1 – Curriculum Day One Nature and Thankfulness
Term 1 – Curriculum Day Two Creationism
Term 2 – Curriculum Day Three Belonging and Places of Worship
Term 2 – Curriculum Day Four Festivals
Term 3 – Curriculum Day Five Ceremonies
Term 3 – Curriculum Day Six Signs and Symbols


What are the eight key areas of learning that the children will study?

Belief and practices Sources of wisdom Symbols and actions Ultimate Questions
Identity and belonging Prayer, Worship and reflection Human responsibility and values Justice and fairness


Click on the link below to see key information regarding Religious education in English schools (Non-statutory guidance)