Spring Term 1 2023

Welcome back and happy new year to you all. I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas break and you’re ready to dive back into the spring term with lots of energy. We are going to have lots of fun and learn loads too, so get ready and brace yourself for a super busy and exciting half term!

The theme for this half term will continue with War and Justice due to the great interest taken in it last half term by the children; we still have lots of things to learn about in this area so it will be great to continue it for a little longer. We are also learning lots about different cultures so watch out in each subject section to see what we learn.

To find out more about what’s happening in Year 6 this half term, please read the curriculum newsletter and keep checking out this page which will be updated regularly. Let’s get started…


In worship this week, we have been learning about Pope Benedict XVI who sadly passed away on New Year’s Eve. On the day of his funeral, we had a whole school assembly with reflections, prayers, reading and songs to remember this inspirational Christian. Miss Milivojevic taught us lots of interesting facts about him, and reminisced about how she took a group of pupils from St Joseph’s school back in 2010 to see Pope Benedict when he visited England. We watched real footage of the event in Twickenham and Miss Milivojevic shared fondly of how this experience impacted on her.

Miss Milovojevic taught is many key messages from the Bible that Pope Benedict XVI shared during his time as Pope and how he put this into practice. We then listened to readings from Corinthians, Ephesians, Isaiah and Proverbs. We gave thanks to God for Pope Benedict XVI.

Our school song ‘Siyahamba’ came as a result of this visit which is the first time that Miss Milivojevic heard it as a choir performed to Pope Benedict. We enjoyed singing the song together and finished with prayers for Pope Benedict XVI. May he rest in peace.

During class worship this half term, we have focused on the virtues of friendship, love of thy neighbours and compassion.

We remember that Jesus is our friend and that we can count on God to be there when we are in need. We just need to take time for prayer to be close to God and always remember to look around us every single day and see that we are surrounded by love, and Canon Nunan taught us so well that wherever there is love, there is God!


In RE, Year 6 have been learning more about Dorothy Day. We learnt about her challenging life and how she developed her faith overtime to the point where she founded the Catholic Worker movement which is still going strong 43 years after her death. Her life story was interesting with some challenging ideas to discuss but she is still an inspirational Christian to learn from despite her mistakes. We linked this to Corinthians which we heard in assembly this week which says ‘love keeps no record of wrongs’. It’s important that we put this message into practice in our own lives now.

Year 6 went on to compare and contrast the lives of the three inspirational Christians using Venn diagrams to sort statements given, as well as adding their own statements. This was a great way to bring together learning across a period of time. We ended this work by reflecting on how our lives might mirror what we’ve learnt by really putting our faith into practice and putting others before ourselves.

We then spent several lessons looking in depth at what Bible scripture and other religious texts says about justice. It was such a valuable activity reading about other faiths including Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam, and what they all say about justice. The commonalities were incredible, reminding us that justice isn’t just something that Christians work to achieve.

Year 6 learnt about the Parable of the Final Judgement which was a new parable to all the children. We spent time reflecting on how our beliefs must inspire our actions to achieve justice like the message in the Last Judgement. Here is the parable to share at home together:

Later in the half term, we moved onto studying Judaism in more depth. Year 6 recalled prior learning from Year 5 as they had learnt about Judaism and had a visitor to school to talk to them as well. We wanted to look in more detail now at the Passover and how/why Jewish people celebrate this festival. Year 6 learnt about the symbolic meaning of the Sedar plate. Here is a lovely illustration of Passover which we looked at in school and you can share at home too:

Year 6 moved onto looking at the The Last Supper and stated to make links between the Passover meal: perfect male lamb sacrificed; bread and wine; body and blood of Christ; freedom from slavery; freedom from sin, etc.

We listened to the most beautiful story called Badger’s Parting Gift by Susan Varley and considered what our parting gifts would be and why, and what was Jesus’ parting gift. We reflected on what this gift revealed about Jesus and why the fit is so important even to followers of Jesus today. To listen to the story again, please enjoy the video below:



Y6 have been using skills learnt earlier in the year to ask really good delving questions. They have been getting to know the characters in the Christmas Truce. They loved planning questions to hot-seat their partners to orally practise what they would later be writing.

Of course, we had to go out and act out the Christmas Truce and Y6 thoroughly enjoyed this. We tried to keep it as factually accurate as possible whilst having fun.

Using their history knowledge of trench warfare, they then planned and wrote a letter as a soldier in WW1 to their loved one at home. They had to ensure that it was historically accurate and fitting for the era. They were so engrossed in this after having the hot-seating and drama experience. The results are amazing! Here is a taste of what they wrote!

Y6 moved onto looking at the key features of non-chronological reports and have written their own about the Women’s Land Army. This was a good chance to apply their newly acquired skills of semi-colons, colons and passive voice. We will continue to work on these skills next half term.  Y6 enjoyed presenting these like the contents of a non-fiction book and are very proud of the end results. 

Here is a handy tutorial which helps you to understand passive voice. 


We continue to read War Horse by Michael Morporgo as our class text which is providing a wonderful stimulus linked to our theme of War and Peace as we learn about WW1. Our classroom reading area is bursting with fantastic texts, both fiction and non-fiction, by Morporgo or stories about war.

In guided reading, Y6 have been working on summarising the key plots and themes in text. The understand now that plot is what happens during the story, but themes are messages learnt from the text. They have been working on their summarising skills too which means not putting all the details in but just the main key points needed.

We are looking forward to meeting Michael Morporgo soon by Zoom for a live chat – how exciting!!


Y6 are doing so well even after only a few days of being back to school. We are thrashing fractions at the moment! We have revised converting improper to proper and vice versa, and simplifying fractions to the lowest term. We have also practised converting fractions so that we can work out the decimal and percentage equivalents. Great progress already Y6!

Year 6 enjoyed a Tagtiv8 lesson where they used the tags from the session to make their own fractions to covert. It’s great to be active in maths and make fractions so much fun too!

Here are some basic videos to support with homework and revision if needed at home.

Y6 have worked hard all term learning even more about calculating with fractions. We started off with multiplying fractions which is really easy to do. To help the children remember, we had a class v teacher rap off so the rap gets stuck in your head! Simply multiply the numerator by the numerator and the denominator by the denominator, check your answer and simplify to the lowest term. Easy!

We then moved onto adding and subtracting fractions which is simple if the denominators are the same, but a bit trickier if they aren’t. Finding common denominators and then converting the fractions to have the same denominator needed some practise so we played lots of games to keep this skill bubbling.

Y6 have also been ordering fractions, decimals and percentages by converting them to then order. Most of the children preferred to convert to percentages to then compare but it’s what ever you find the most efficient method for you that’s important.  Here is another handy tutorial to support you at home when you’re completing homework or revision:

Y6 are also working hard to keep mental arithmetic bubbling every day with quick arithmetic and KIRF time. The more quick practise we do, the better we are able to switch between choosing to do it mentally or with a written method. We start our day, every day with early work on this so get to school early and boost your maths power!


This half term, Year 6 have been studying the topic of Light in Science lessons. This includes learning about shadows, reflection and refraction. We will also be looking at how the human eye works to help us to see and of course, conducting lots of experiments to improve our investigatory skills.

We started the topic by trying to prove two hypotheses with equipment in the classroom. The first hypothesis that children wanted to prove was that shadows are created when an object blocks the path of light. The second hypothesis was that light travels in straight lines.

The children worked hard to set up their own investigations and then discussed how they had proved the two statements to be correct. We also got to grips with the terms opaque, translucent and transparent. We were surprised to find that many objects we predicted would be opaque, were actually translucent. Some of the objects that we thought would be transparent actually blocked a small portion of light and created faint shadows too.

This was a great start to our Science learning journey.



We waited for a sunny afternoon to go out into the school grounds in order to investigate shadows. The children carefully observed where the shadows were formed. We worked in groups to observe our own shadows and those of objects naturally occurring in the playground. After having some fun guessing the different animal shadows we could make on the school wall, we discussed how the shadows might look different at certain times of the day and why we couldn’t change the direction of the shadows. This task really made the children consider the sun as a light source and how we create shadows by blocking the path of the sun’s rays.

Position of Shadows

Year 6 continued their investigations into light and shadows with an experiment to predict and record how the position of a light source affects the size of a shadow. The children first discussed whether shadows ever change size of shape and agreed that they did. They then made predictions about what would happen to the size of a shadow went a light source was moved further away from it.

In groups, the children decided how to set up their investigations: what equipment they would need, what the variables would be, what they would keep the same and how they would take measurements and make it a fair test.

Initially, the children recorded their results in a table. After that, some children chose to use their maths skills to create line graphs showing what happened to the size of the shadow created as the distance from the light source increased.

Here are some of the children’s results.


In art, Y6 loved developing their art skills by experimenting with different techniques, inspired by watching our current class artist at work (Brian Clarke) painting poppies which he became obsessed with during lockdown 2020. To see Brian Clarke’s Vespers work, see the clip below:


It was a messy but fun lesson as flicks with watery paint were needed. We practised the technique for the poppy heads to start with, followed by the stalks which were harder than they looked. The children discovered that changing brushes was essential as the largest brushes worked well for the poppy heads but finer/thinner brushes were best for the stalks. Y6 also looked to mix colours to add tone to their.

After experimenting with making the flower heads and the stalks, the children moved onto starting to think about placement of the flower heads for a final piece they are building up to.

The children will now choose if their final piece of artwork is using the skills they practised today with paint effects, or whether they will use their drawing skills previously practised.

Y6 spent some time experimenting with charcoal which got mixed reviews from the children. Some didn’t like the feel of it while others enjoyed getting messing. Her is a super tutorial which shows you what amazing pictures you can achieve with just charcoal and a lot of practise! The children will now decide if charcoal is something they would like to add to their final pieces to create more tone values and a different mood.


Y6 have been working on their computing projects over many sessions. They started by making a non-chronological report in English and then using the content of this as a starting point for a historical documentary. We looked at the features of a documentary and then planned what their own would be like. They needed to include images, music, voice overs, transitions, effects, titles, and film themselves in the documentary too. 

They carefully selected images which would be appropriate for the documentary and planned/created the text or commentary to go with this. Many of the children also used green screen and I was really impressed with how they used prior learning from previous years to bring these skills together.

One of the challenges of computing is making sure that work is saved correctly so they shared it on Showbie so that it could be watched and then next step advice given online. Improving the sound quality was the main area for most children to include which is hard in a busy school environment!

Y6 absolutely loved this project and worked very hard over many sessions. They enjoyed sharing their documentaries on the big screen in the classroom so their classmates could watch it, and somehow seeing it on a large screen made them feel more realistic! We have some talent in the class with documentary making so who knows, we could have some future directors, camera operators, etc. amongst us!


Safer Internet Day

This half term we took part in activities for Safer Internet Day. The children started by adding post its to the board containing everything they might use the internet for at school or at home. We were surprised by just how many answers there were!

The children went on to discuss many age appropriate scenarios and were asked to decide what they would do in the circumstances. In some cases, they used the school’s STOP, BLOCK, TELL message if they felt that something in one of the scenarios would make them feel uncomfortable or could be dangerous. The children were also able to give some good advice about how to protect themselves online by never giving out their personal information or location data. The children told me about some of their personal experiences where people they di not know had sent unkind messages when they were playing online games. All the children agreed that the STOP. BLOCK, TELL approach was the best course of action in these circumstances.

For more information about Safer Internet Day, you can watch the video below.


Wood Workshop Making Bird Tables

As part of our whole school ecology project Year 6 had the fantastic opportunity to make large wooden bird tables to be used within the school grounds and the local community. Zoe Phillips of Deckle and Hide ran the workshop where Year 6 children had an amazing practical hands-on project, working with pre-cut pieces of wood and up-cycled materials, which fits with our Live Simply mission. They made bird tables linked to our Eco schools mission as one of our goals in helping the planet is to protect our local wildlife and habitats. The children learnt how important it is to help local birds because they are key pollinators of plants, they disperse seeds and also keep insect populations under control.

The DT skills which the children have developed to be able to achieve this task included using a drill, changing drill bits, making a pilot hole, accurate sawing, screwing and counter-sinking screws. Learning how to strengthen a structure and follow instructions were other key skills. The children also got the chance to paint their bird tables in order to make them weatherproof.

The children also learnt about what kinds of birds might visit their bird tables in the local area and what sorts of food we should put out for them at different times of the year.



This half term, we have continued our work leading up to write more detailed sentences in French, including nouns and matching adjectives to their masculine, feminine and plural forms when writing descriptions. We have been using clothing as a stimulus. Our work began with a great Burn2Learn activity. See the pictures below.

The children raced outside to find a pictures of celebrities somewhere in the playground outside. They had to form a mental picture of what the person was wearing and then come in to work with the resources in their French books to write down what items of clothing the people shown were wearing and the colours. Although the activity was fast paced, there were extra points on offer for making sure that the adjectival colour words, which have masculine and feminine versions in French, agreed with the gender of the nouns that they were linked to. This concept of masculine and feminine nouns is challenging so we are making sure that the children get lots of practise and feel confident about having a go and expressing themselves in French.

Clothing Description

As part of our French learning journey, Year 6 have been learning how to describe what people are wearing in French, This really builds on our French grammar work as many of the colour words for the items of clothing change their endings depending on whether the item of clothing is masculine, feminine or plural. Children started by recapping the colour words vocabulary and then used games and matching activities to learn new clothing vocabulary.

To start with, we wrote simple sentences describing the clothes and their colours, making sure to check that the colour adjective endings agreed with the nouns. When children felt confident saying and writing these sentences, we moved on to add vocabulary about which materials the clothes might be made out of and even whether the clothing had patterns such as checks or stripes on it.

Some children were able to extend their sentences further by adding words such as ‘et’ for ‘and’ and ‘aussi’ for ‘as well’. Year 6 are becoming increasingly competent at writing more complex sentences in French.

To practise pronunciation of the clothing words in French, we watched the video below.


Y6 continue to learn about WW1 to be able to answer the historical enquiry questions. They have been busy already learning more about WW1 with a focus on trench warfare and have been using sources of information to learn more about life in the trenches. They enjoyed Burn2Learn included in this lesson. The children were shocked to hear some facts like soldiers had rum every day or that boredom often set in as soldiers spent a lot of time in the trenches but not actually fighting. Also, some soldiers self-inflicted injuries to get out of trenches. The lesson was bursting with information and Year 6 have been soaking up as much as they can.

They also learnt about what the trenches were actually like, how they were constructed and what life was like living in them. They learnt lots of new vocabulary about sumps, duckboards, bayonet, parados, etc. Here are some videos to share at home and discuss to deepen the children’s knowledge.

Y6 had a WW1 themed day. Information to follow, but for now, please enjoy the photographs below:

Year 6 watched a video of the Christmas Truce and then enjoyed acting out the truce on our school land. This was a great experience for the children to consider the human side of war, and how enemies can come together, share experiences and have so much in common, yet moments later, be back in trenches defending themselves from attack.

The children went back into class and wrote letters home to loved ones. It was important that the focus of the letter was the content about life/conditions in the trenches and then the Christmas Truce experience, so it had to be historically accurate and fitting with the period in time. Of course, Y6 did a great job with this, drawing on prior learning from sources studied to include lots of historically accurate details.

Y6 have moved onto learning about the experiences of women and their changing roles in society during WW1. We have looked particularly at the Women’s Land Army, and how attitudes changed from initially negative by the older male farmers to more accepting as women proved they could do the work previously dominated by men. Y6 discussed how the changing roles over 100 years ago impacted on women in British society and our own locality today.

Y6 learnt about propaganda and the purpose of it. They looked at a variety of posters and by the end of the lesson, were able to say that propaganda was used to persuade or mislead the audience. They enjoyed drawing their own propaganda posters to mislead the enemy.

Y6 ended their WW1 topic with a den building day which was a chance to spend the full day outside, working together in teams, building shelters and trying to make them storm proof. Lots of planning, problem solving and strong communication was needed to ensure that the whole team were involved to make the best possible den. The children got the chance to try and start a fire. They set up water filter stations using only the materials that they could find including moss and stones. It was a fantastic day!


Y6 have continued their music lessons with Miss Crowley every week with a focus on Samba.

Samba is a type of music from North East Brazil and is played a lot at carnivals. The task for Year 6 was to create Samba patterns. The pattern is often called a groove. Samba music has no set structure and follows a series of signals from the lead player. The signals are often played on a whistle called the apito. Each group had a lead player and Miss Crowley played the apito.

Year 6 worked super hard on creating a wonderful Samba performance based on everything they have learnt this half term. They had to work together in small groups to create their own rhythm, using one of each of the instruments that they have become familiar with over the past few weeks.

Every member of the small group or ensemble had a specific role as the music often involves the layering of different rhythms over each other. Their prior learning from baton work earlier in the year was put to good use. This was a tricky skill to learn as it meant that, rather than playing alongside each other with the same rhythm, you have to play your own instrument and rhythm to compliment others in your group. This requires a lot of concentration!

As always, Year 6 took on the challenge and were excited to perform their final work to an audience! Well done Y6.



As part of this half term’s PE lessons, the children have now all had a turn at being the referee for their classmates during a short game. This is not an easy task and has taught all the children valuable lessons about what a hard job referees do.

Here is what some of Year 6 had to say about their experiences of being a referee:

Being a referee is a very hard job because some people playing shout at you. There are always players disagreeing with your decisions and trying to get their own way.”

“There was some shouting in my game but it went well and I felt good.”

I felt really good about being a referee. I felt like everyone listened to me well and I looked after the game.”

I thought refereeing was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was quite surprising that I didn’t get as much arguing as I thought.”

I really enjoyed being a referee. My game was played well and people treated me with respect.”


Year 6 took part in some gymnastics lessons over the past half term, where we used a range of equipment. Part of our learning was how to safely move and store the larger equipment such as the tables, connecting bench and large blue mats. Some of this equipment is quite high and the children learnt rules in order to use it safely and connect it together.

The children groups in groups to create gymnastics routines with specific parts, using their choreography skills. The children had to include key elements such as jumps, high and low travels and balances. The children tried to link the movements smoothly and work together as a group so that the movements were synchronised.

Some of the groups even managed to incorporate a WWI theme in their routines. Take a look at the some of the work we did.

Year 6 have been exploring creative ways to move across gymnastics equipment. Once they decided how they could safely set up the pieces of equipment, they created several sequences involving a variety of ways to travel across their equipment. They peer reviewed each other and were encouraged to practise and refine the sequences using the feedback they had received.

Leadership and teamwork were the cognitive focus in these lessons where each pupil had a chance to decide what the next part of the routine was and how those elements were going to fit together.
Strength, flexibility, coordination, and balance were the physical skills being developed through the holds, jumps and landings, rolls and climbing. The pupils took great pride in demonstrating their sequences to one another and it was a pleasure to see their how creative each group had been so no two routines were the same.


Children’s Mental Health Week

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, Year 6 have been doing some activities to help them understand the meaning of mental health and ways that they can support good mental health.

The class discussed what mental health means to them. Here are some of our suggestions:

  • make positive choices in your lifestyle and avoid negative choices
  • Mental health is how you feel inside and that can be different for every person
  • How you cope with things that happen to you depends on your mental health

We looked at some scenario cards where children of a similar age were feeling low or worried and worked in groups to think of ideas of how they could support their mental health.

Year 6 went on to choose some colours that represented positive and negative feelings for them. These were different for each child. Each group made a poster of ideas of things that could support their mental health. Again, some of these were different for different members of the class. Some people thought that playing football with their friends would keep them feeling positive, whereas others valued spending time with animals and having days out or nice food with their families. The top three things that the children felt affected their mood for the day were: getting a bad night’s sleep, having argued with somebody and rainy weather.

The children also discussed what they should do if they felt that they were struggling with their mental health. Most of the children knew that they can access support in school and that they should talk to a trusted adult about how they were feeling.

Year 6 were given some reading wellbeing time where they enjoyed choosing a book to read for pleasure in a calm environment.

Y6 this half term have also had PSHE lessons exploring two more of our British Values: individual liberty and the rule of law. We explored the term discrimination, what this means and how we can ensure our own behaviour does not discriminate against others. We will continue to work on this explore and challenge common stereotypes.

Here is a handy video to explore at home if you wish to discuss this further at home:

Y6 have also been learning about what manipulation means, how to spot the signs of manipulation, and what to do if they feel they are being manipulated in some way. We will follow on this work later in summer term when they will complete lessons in their RSE (Relationship and Sex Education) about grooming. Here is a useful video to watch at home together to help support this message.