• Year 6 Curriculum

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Year 6

Autumn 1: Pendarren

This topic gives children the opportunity to investigate the physical and human geography of the area around Pendarren House, Haringey’s residential centre which is visited by all children in Year 6. Pendarren House lies in the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is predominantly a rural mountainous landscape with scattered sheep farms, villages and a couple of small towns (Brecon and Hay on Wye). The Brecon Beacons include Pen y Fan, at 886m the highest mountain in southern Britain. The name Brecon Beacons dates back to a time when a chain of beacons on top of the mountains were lit as a sign of approaching enemy. The unit incorporates a study of some of the most significant mountain ranges around the world, investigating their formation, features and how they are a focus for outward bound and adventurous activities.

Pupils will already be familiar with location studies from their work in Year 5 on ‘Highgate N6’ and ‘A Village School’ and in Year 3 on the Amazonian rain forest. They have studied physical processes and their effect on landforms in the contexts of rivers, in Year 3, and of seismic activity in Year 4’s ‘Active Planet’ topic. The development of geographical skills in this unit builds on the map-making opportunities presented to the children since Key Stage 1, most recently as part of the local area study in Year 5, while their use of compass points links to mathematical work in Year 4. The land use component of this topic prepares children for work on the use of natural resources in Key Stage 3, where the skills of making and interpreting maps will also be further developed.


Autumn 2: Our Island History

This topic explores key aspects of the nature of invasion and settlement within British history. It gives children an understanding of how groups of settlers have fitted into the chronology of Britain, shaping its laws, customs and culture. The topic builds on children’s understanding of the Roman invasion to include settlement of Britain by Anglo-Saxons, Scots and Vikings. Children learn about the resistance by Alfred the Great and Athelstan, first king of England. The unit considers more recent waves of immigration to Britain, with a focus on the experience of the Windrush generation who migrated to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s. Through this unit, children gain an understanding of some of the issues surrounding immigration today. Our Island History has strong links to literacy with a study of Beowulf, writing from the viewpoint of a different character and focusing on developing setting, character and atmosphere.

Children will already be familiar with the key features of both the Stone Age and the Iron Age through the Year 3 topic ‘From Archaeology to Palaeontology.’ They will have studied the Roman Invasion of Britain in Year 4 and have an understanding of the impact of the Roman invasion on the laws, culture and customs of Britain. They will know about the Celtic resistance of Queen Boudicca. By Year 6, children will have studied a range of other periods in history including Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Victorian era, and will know how to place the chronology of each group of settlers within the wider context of the chronology of British history. Previous historical topics will have given children an understanding of both primary and secondary sources and they will be beginning to make judgements as to the reliability of different sources.


Spring 1: The Body in Question

This topic focuses on the human biology strand of science, allowing an in-depth study of the workings of the human body. Introduced through the text ‘Pig Heart Boy’, the topic addresses issues surrounding organ donation. In response, children produce a balanced argument. The topic also considers the science of evolution, considering how humans and other species have evolved and adapted to their environment

Children have been introduced to the workings of the human body, including the five senses, through the topic The World of our Senses in Year 1, and have some understanding of the circulatory system and the importance of diet and exercise through PE and PSHE lessons. They will also have studied: humans’ basic physical needs and the importance of diet and exercise in Year 2, human nutrition in Year 3, the human digestive system and teeth in Year 4 and changes as humans develop to old age in Year 5. Children use the knowledge gained through this topic within KS3 when they study biology, PSHE, PE and sport science.


Spring 2: The Swinging 60s

This topic looks at the 1960s and evaluates the significant social and cultural changes that took place within the decade. It consider why the decade is considered to be a significant turning point in British history. The topic also considers the politics of race, taking an in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement in the USA.

The topic provides many opportunities to explore the creative arts, including music, art and fashion.

Children will be familiar with aspects of the 1960s and have an awareness of the music and fashion. They will also have a good knowledge of the austerity experienced during the war years through the topic ‘Away from Home’. In addition, children will have a good awareness of the politics of race, having studied people’s experience of migration in the topic ‘Our Island History’.


Summer 1: The First Emperor of China

In this topic, children learn about a key period in Chinese history – the reign of the so-called First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who ruled from 221BC to 210BC. By conquering six neighbouring states, Qin Shi Huang is credited with creating a unified China which became the foundation for China as we know it today. His achievements were many, although he is believed to have been an uncompromising and tyrannical ruler. This topic considers:

  • How Qin Shi Huang unified China
  • Qin Shi Huang’s state-building achievements
  • The evolution of Chinese writing from antiquity to modern day
  • The discovery and history of the Tomb of the First Emperor and the Terracotta Warriors and what we can learn about ancient China from this
  • The myths and legends that surround the life of the First Emperor
  • The construction of the Great Wall of China

Children will have limited knowledge of the First Emperor of China. However, they will have studied other civilisations (Egyptian, Greek, Roman and African) 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. They will also already understand the difference between myths and legends and historical knowledge based on evidence from primary sources. In Mandarin lessons, the children will have come across the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Warriors, but in this topic they will understand more deeply the reasons why these monumental construction projects were undertaken.


Summer 2: What a Performance

This unit works as a transition unit, paving the way for the move from primary to secondary school. It gives children the opportunity to reflect on their experience at school to date and gives the opportunity to discuss the main issues relating to the transfer to secondary school.

As a leavers’ celebration, the children work collaboratively to put on a production which is presented to the school community. Children are involved in all aspects of stage production including developing a script; casting and direction and the design and making of costumes, scenery and props.


Year 6 Curriculum by Subject

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