What will my child do in Year 6?
As in all other year groups, Year 6 follow statutory schemes of learning set down by the government. Children are assessed at the end of the year as to whether they have met the ‘expected’ national standard. All teachers will do their best to follow these schemes whilst also making their teaching personalised, exciting, creative, and thematic.
Firstly, no guide to Year 6 would be complete without some mention of the SATs – the assessment tasks that all Year 6 pupils sit in May of each year. The results of these will determine whether your child has met the ‘expected’ level in English and maths.
In both maths and English, there are a wide range of expectations for the children. Some of the content previously covered in Year 7 in secondary school has now been moved to Year 6.
For maths, this includes things like simple algebra, missing angles in a range of shapes, and pie charts using percentages. In English, the children are now expected to understand how to use a full range of punctuation, to write with a wide variety of sentence structures, use powerful vocabulary, and have generally accurate spelling. There are many more ‘expected’ aspects to both English and maths but these are some of the newer ones.
There is no doubt that that the testing will become a focus during the year and in most schools a great deal of work will be carried out to prepare for this time. Hopefully, your child’s teacher will help your child prepare for the tests without them even realising it. Every school is obviously different, but your child’s teacher will probably aim to keep the stress levels down with plenty of fun and valuable learning.
There are many other valuable subjects that are not assessed in the tests which many children excel in – and these are equally as important. In Year 6, the children always love the history topics. History schemes vary from school to school but many Year 6 classes will look at World War 2. It makes for some amazing cross-curricular learning involving art, drama, DT, music, geography, and fabulous English writing activities. Some schools explore the Ancient Maya and South American cultures and others will look at Islamic civilisations or other aspects of ancient history instead.
The science topics in Year 6 have recently changed. In evolution and inheritance, your child will get to look at dinosaurs, fossils, genetics, Darwin, and so much more. Other topics include the circulatory system, microorganisms, and light and electricity. Where possible, your child will carry out a variety of scientific investigations during all of these topics, building on the skills they have already acquired. Most children love practical lessons and the opportunity to use scientific equipment.
Of course, a big part of your child’s summer term in Year 6 will be preparing for the move to secondary school – a huge milestone in their lives. This may involve going to their new schools, a visit from some of their new teachers, or shared classroom activities. Hopefully these should help with any concerns or questions they have.
Your child is likely to have lots of fun in in their last year of primary school.
For parents in Year 6, the most important thing is to continue to help where possible with reading, homework, times tables, and projects whilst stepping back just a little more than in previous years.
Your child will learn during this year possibly more than any other that it is their own hard work and effort that matters, not someone else’s. Their teacher will be aiming to help them develop their independence, organisation, and self-motivation in time for the increased demands of secondary school. This stepping back can be tricky for both parents and teachers!
As ever, it is still important that your child continues to read, both alone and to you, as much as possible. It is never too late to develop a love of reading. Spend time finding the best books for your child – speak to their teacher too, or a librarian, if this is proving a challenge.
You will probably want to support your child in the lead up to the SATs. Working with your child, when needed, will help you see where they need the most support. It is often a surprise to some parents just how much the children are expected to know and just how clever they have become – they may now know more than you!
Be sure to speak to your child’s teacher at various (non-parent evening) times during the year when you need to. They will be keen to help with any areas of concern you might have.