• Year 2 Curriculum

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Welcome to Year 2

Autumn 1: The Animal Kingdom

This topic investigates the diverse range of animals that live in a range of different habitats within the locality, including the school, the allotment, Highgate Woods and Hampstead Heath. The topic explores the concept of life, discussing the differences between living things, dead things and things that have never lived. Children explore the conditions that are required to enable animals to live: air water, shelter and food, identifying the different plants within each habitat that support life. The topic introduces children to a range of animal stories, including animals in familiar settings and traditional tales. The topic looks specifically at the classic texts of Judith Kerr, including the ‘Mog’ books and ‘The Tiger who came to Tea.’ Finally, children explore the classification of animals, including farm animals and pets.

Children will already know Highgate Woods well, through family life as well as forest school sessions, and have some familiarity with the creatures that live there. The topic also builds on the children’s experience of growing plants on the allotment in Year 1. Year 1’s ‘Flowers and Insects’ topic introduces the skill of scientific observation which is further developed in this unit, as well as the idea that living things can be classified according to their characteristics. Looking forward, these concepts underpin much of the children’s scientific work throughout Key Stage 2, forming the basis of their understanding of the scientific method.


Autumn 2: The Great Fire of London

This topic uses primary and secondary sources to investigate The Great Fire of London. It examines the causes of the fire, the reasons why it was so devastating, and the attempts made to extinguish the fire. It considers the aftermath of the fire and its legacy, including the redesign and rebuilding of London. The topic uses the events of 1666 to investigate the properties of a range of traditional building materials (wood, metal, glass, brick and straw). Children use a range of materials to create models of traditional Tudor houses, which are then used to recreate The Great Fire.

 Children will be familiar with The Great Fire of London and start the topic having encountered traditional Tudor wooden-framed housing within the Year 1 topic, Amazing Architects. They have an understanding of chronology from having studied the Year 1 topics ‘Toys’ and ‘Celebrations’. In subsequent years they further develop their understanding of chronology and be able to place the Great Fire in the context of other events, as well as making more independent use of both primary and secondary sources. Children develop their understanding of materials as they progress through the school, both within the science and DT curriculum. They also encounter traditional Tudor housing during their visit to Stoke-by-Nayland within the Topic ‘A Village School’.


Spring 1: On the Move

Within this topic, children explore the range of transport options available to them in the capital and compare this to other forms of transport around the world. The topic has a strong geographical component in which children investigate a range of transport maps, describing journeys they have taken and plan the ones they may take. Children investigate the technology that allows vehicles to move, exploring the forces at play. The topic considers the environmental impact of transport choices and considers the importance of safety when travelling.

The great majority of children will be familiar with the range of transport options within the locality. Children will have played with a range of transport related toys both at home, in reception and within the Year 1 topic ‘Toys’. Children will use their knowledge of the public transport system on a practical level as they move through school and beyond. They look at transport in other localities within the topics ‘Polar Exploration’ and ‘’From Source to Sea’ in Year 3, and further develop their understanding of transport within ‘the local area study ‘Highgate N6’ in Year 5.


Spring 2: The Circus

This topic takes its inspiration from the circus. Throughout the topic, children learn, practise and refine a range of circus skills, developing confidence and coordination. Children use a range of sources to learn about the workings of a real circus (Gifford’s Circus) and use this knowledge to plan, prepare and perform their own circus. Within English, children study the classic children’s text ‘Cannonball Simp’ by John Burningham, which is used as a starting point for their own circus stories. The topic teaches children that regular practice of a particular skill leads to continued improvement, which if continued over a long period of time leads to expertise and mastery.


Summer 1: Growing Up

This unit explores the process of growth from young to old, within both plants and animals. Using the school’s outside spaces (including the school allotment), children experience growing a range of plants from seed. Children are actively involved in their care including planting, nurturing and harvesting – and use a range of plants from which to cook. Children explore how plants need water, light and warmth to grow – and consider the optimum conditions for plants to thrive. They consider the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival, and learn about what they need to thrive, looking in details at good nutrition, exercise and hygiene. The children learn about the different stages of development of humans from birth to old age and consider the lifecycle of a range animals, noticing that all animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults.

Over time, children will have observed changes in themselves, siblings and friends. They will know older children, young adults and older relatives – and will be familiar with the phrase ‘growing up’. Children will have grown sunflowers from seed in the Reception topic ‘Growing Up’. They will have watered plants and observed them grow. Children will have an understanding of the life-cycle of a range of animals from personal experience, including experiencing ducklings hatch and grow in Reception.


Summer 2: Beside the Seaside

Within this unit, children study the history and geography of Westcliff-on-Sea. Children investigate how Westcliffe has changed over time; learn about the impact of the railway on the town’s development and consider how Westcliff-on-Sea’s geography contrasts with our local area. Children visit Westcliffe-on-Sea in the summer term for a day out at the seaside.

Many children will have travelled to the seaside and will be familiar with the traditions of a bucket and spade holiday. This unit builds much of the geographical vocabulary and many of the geographical concepts which children will need in Key Stage 2, including the idea of comparing different localities. The historical study of a strand through time (holidays) develops further the skills first used when studying toys and transport and helps children acquire understanding of chronological change. In design technology, this unit reinforces the methodology of disassemble-design-make-evaluate first encountered when making fruit and junk model vehicles, preparing the children for all future study of the subject.

Year 2 Curriculum by Subject

Maths – Autumn 1, Autumn 2, Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2














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