• Year 5 Curriculum

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Welcome to Year 5

Autumn 1: A Victorian Education

Within this topic, children carry out an historical enquiry into the experience of children at Highgate Primary during the Victorian era. The topic places the children’s knowledge of the period within the context of the significant social and economic changes of the Industrial Revolution. The topic considers the similarities and differences between their experiences of education with that of children in the late 19th Century.

 Highgate Board School moved to the new building in North Hill on 20th December 1877. The school building, and a rich archive of primary historical source materials, provides numerous clues with regard to the school’s past. Children start the topic familiar with aspects of Victorian life through previous topics including Toys, Transport and Holidays and go on to explore the Industrial Revolution later in the term within the topic ‘What Price Progress?’


Autumn 2: What Price Progress?

This unit considers the impact of developments in technology on society and the environment. It takes as a starting point the impact of 19th Century industrialisation of the British economy, focusing on the impact of mechanisation and urbanisation on the lives of men, women and children. It also considers the environmental impact of coal powered factories and the combustion engine. It looks at issues relating to climate change today, including deforestation and the impact of carbon emissions. The unit addresses issues of sustainability and what measures can be taken to minimise, and indeed reverse, the impact of technology on the environment.

 Children have studied the education and lives of Victorian children through the unit ‘A Victorian Education’. In KS1 they are introduced to the idea of habitats and they will have studied in more detail the rainforest ecosystem within the topic ‘Chocolate’, including an understanding of the impact of deforestation. Children have a developing awareness of climate change and the work of environmental pressure groups, including through viewing school assemblies and experiencing the work of the school’s Green Council.


Spring 1: Our Place in Space

This science-based topic investigates the Earth’s place within the solar system, exploring the relationships between the earth, sun and moon. The science theme is continued through exploration of a range of science fiction texts, from which children write their own science fiction story.

Although children will not have formally studied the relationships between earth, sun and moon, many children already have a fascination with the solar system and an understanding of the relationships at play. Children have a good understanding of the composition of the Earth, gained through the topic ‘Active Planet’ taught in Year 4. Their study of seasonal changes in KS1, and of light sources and shadows in Year 4 will have prepared them for key aspects of this topic. Children’s knowledge of Earth, Sun and Moon will be built upon in KS3 within the strand Space. Here children will develop their understanding of gravity, stars in our galaxy, the seasons and the Earth’s tilt and the light year as a unit of astronomical distance.


Spring 2: Highgate N6

This topic is planned to give children a good understanding of the village area of Highgate, its history and how it has changed over time. The topic incorporates geographical skills including mapping and fieldwork through a geographical enquiry into the changing land use of the locality. The topic takes Highgate Cemetery as its starting point to investigate the history of the local area and uses Alfred Noyes’ poem ‘The Highwayman’ as inspiration for performance poetry and creative writing.

Through travelling to school; Forest School; a range of local trips and the topics ‘Amazing Architects’ in Year 1 and Transport in Year 2, the great majority of children will have a good knowledge of their local area, which is built upon throughout the topic.


Summer 1: Benin – an African Kingdom

When people refer to Benin Kingdom they do not mean the modern day country of Benin in West Africa. Instead, they are talking about an area of land that was known in the past as ‘Benin Kingdom’ but is now a part of modern day Nigeria. The kingdom began as a group of small villages that joined together and rose to become a wealthy and powerful empire in the 16th Century. Benin Kingdom was destroyed when British forces invaded in 1897.

With few written sources, what we know about Benin Kingdom comes mostly from either artefacts or monuments that archaeologists have discovered; or the rich heritage of oral tradition that still exists among the people of Nigeria today.

This topic considers:

  • How the Kingdom of Benin was established
  • ​How the Kingdom was ruled by a dynasty of kings called Ogisos
  • The daily life of the Igodomigodo, including farming and crafts, that ensured that the kingdom had high quality goods to trade with foreigners
  • The exile of Ogiso and his family, civil war and the rise of the Obas Dynasty
  • Benin’s role in the transatlantic slave trade
  • The Colonisation of Africa​ and the British invasion of Benin City.

Children start the topic with some knowledge of the African continent, however many children’s perception of Africa will have been influenced by negative portrayals within the media. Children will have limited knowledge of Benin Kingdom, however they will have studied other civilisations (Egyptian, Greek and Roman) from which they will be able to draw comparisons, and will have some understanding of the role of archaeology in finding out about these civilizations. Children will have limited knowledge of the sophistication of African society in the middle ages.


Sumer 2: A Village School

This topic provides an opportunity for children to learn about the Suffolk village of Stoke-by-Nayland. The unit follows a geographical enquiry into the village and draws comparisons between the children’s lives in London and those of children who live in a contrasting village setting. Children make links with pupils attending Stoke-by-Nayland CEVC Primary School. The topic provides an opportunity for children from both schools to visit their partner schools and experience life in the contrasting setting.

Stoke-by-Nayland is located in the English county of Suffolk, close to the border with Essex in what is sometimes referred to as Constable Country. The village comprises a historic church, a range of historic buildings, many of which are timber framed dating back to the Tudor period and the village school. The population of the Stoke-by-Nayland civil parish at the 2001 census was 703.

The topic builds on the children’s experience of location studies in Year 3’s topic ‘Chocolate’ and, earlier in Year 5 of the local area here in Highgate. The fieldwork skills developed during the local area study are here applied to a contrasting setting, preparing the children for Year 6’s examination of Pendarren, in the Brecon Beacons. The historical study of Stoke-by-Nayland further develops the children’s work on the history of place, begun in the Autumn Term of Year 5 in the unit ‘A Victorian Education’.


Year 5 Curriculum by Subject

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