Year 6 pupils are the most senior children in the school. Their final year at Broomfield is the culmination of their academic work here and affords them many exciting and important opportunities and challenges.
The Year 6 classroom is located on top floor of the Broomfield House Annexe, above the Years 2 and 3 classrooms and near the Broomfield Room and ICT Studio. The spacious and light classroom was purpose built and newly furnished in 2004. Our special collection of ceramic tiles, made by each leaving Year 6 child with our artist in residence as a reminder of all our senior Broomfield children, can be seen in the dining room.
The year opens with the appointment of the Year 6 prefects and school officers including the Head Boy and Girl, Games Captains and House Captains. The Year 6 children play an important leading role in the life of the school. Each child is part of a prefecting team that helps to support a younger class, some playground prefects sharing a special responsibility with the Head Boy and Girl for helping all children to enjoy play times.
During the year the children take our Harvest gifts to local homes for the elderly, visit a local residential home to sing carols to the elderly, read lessons and sing solos at our annual carol service at St Anne's Church on Kew Green, arrange their House charity raffles and cake sales, compete in school sports teams for internal and external matches, write their own summer assembly for the school, and perform in leading roles in the school senior play. All this is entwined with the children studying very hard for their senior school examinations soon after New Year. In the closing weeks of the Spring term Year 6 go on a residential trip to an adventure centre as a reward for all their academic efforts.
In essence, Year 6 can be divided into two distinct halves. Until the senior school examinations, the focus is on goal setting, concentrated hard work, and strengthening all aspects of the children's knowledge. After the examinations, the children learn how to explore and expand their knowledge through independent research on projects and topics across an extended curriculum, which we find is an excellent preparation for senior school life.
English and maths are taught by the Year 6 teacher, closely supported by the Year 6 teaching assistant. Other subjects are taken by specialist members of staff. Our Head Teacher keeps in close touch with all Year 6 activities. We provide small group work for extension and reinforcement activities as appropriate. Year 6 children take age moderated standardised tests in the Autumn term. These cover mathematics, English, reading, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Parents are offered individual discussions with the Head Teacher and the Year 6 teacher to discuss the results of these tests and to finalise plans for senior school examinations. Homework increases again this year, and the Year 6 teacher aims to ensure every family understands the best ways for the children to benefit from this important activity.
Both the Head Teacher and the Year 6 teacher are available for parents to discuss their children’s future schooling throughout the year and to support all families planning for the children’s secondary education.
English and Mathematics
In English and maths, the Autumn term is spent revising and extending the children's knowledge up to the equivalent of levels 4 and 5 of the national curriculum as well as studying additional topics as required by specific requirements of common entrance or London day schools. By half term the pupils are regularly practising past examination papers and they sit their standardised tests. After the external examinations in January, the curriculum extends their knowledge in maths and English with investigation and topic work.
To help the children's development, we ask parents to read at home regularly with the children, particularly supporting them in reading from the school recommended list of literature. With reading, we hope parents will spend time discussing the content of the books being read by their children to stretch their comprehension of the text. In the words of our Year 6 class teacher read, read, read!!!
In English the year's activity covers writing skills, literature, grammar, punctuation, spelling (in line with the 2014 National Curiculum) and reading comprehension, all to a high standard. In maths, also aligned with the 2014 National Curriculum, the children cover all relevant aspects of work in numeracy and the number system, space and shape, measurement, data handling and investigation work. History is a focus for the class in the Autumn and Spring terms, with a study of the political and social history of the Victorians, using the school’s archive of its Victorian foundation where appropriate, followed by a study of Britain post-1948.
In French, the children progress onto the next stage of their textbook, continuing to combine an oral immersion in the language with a clear grammatical progression. The pupils use the books, CDs and exercises to develop a more advanced vocabulary and an enhanced confidence in speaking and aural comprehension.
Year 6 science develops the children’s theoretical understanding and practical skills in our fully equipped science lab, the Green Room. The syllabus focuses on interdependence and adaptation; chemical changes; electricity including varying current in circuits; gravity and upthrust; reflection of light and states of matter.
Music and Drama
Music and drama are taught by our specialist staff. In music, the children develop their confidence and ability to sing part songs, and to sing with a good tone with excellent intonation and diction. The children sing solos and in small groups to parents at the Carol Service and in the Senior Play. Many Year 6 pupils play one or more of a large variety of musical instruments available to learn in school, are encouraged to play in groups during the Carol Service and take Trinity College London music examinations for which the school is an examination centre. In addition, our head teacher regularly develops the Year 6 pupils into a performing group to perform at the Carol Service and other school events with specially arranged pieces. Our drama activities build the children's confidence in voice production, public speaking and performance, with many plays and poems learned for school assembly as well as school productions. In addition, many senior pupils take English Speaking Board examinations at school which prepare them well for their senior school interviews as well as their general ability to present talks and discussions on a wide range of topics. The Year 6 children write their own assembly for performance to the school in the summer term. In addition they read a lesson at the annual school Carol Service at St Anne’s Church on Kew Green and take the leading roles in the senior school summer play which is a highlight of the year.
In ICT the children develop and extend their ICT skills. They produce a number of presentations, designed to reinforce and challenge their knowledge, which include multimedia and animation projects. They progress with their knowledge of Word, are introduced to Excel and to the creation of basic web pages.
During their final year the children continue reinforcing their artistic skills, building up technical abilities and refining design work. In a cross-curricular approach to maths they learn about rotational symmetry and basic tessellation. The children also have the opportunity to practise contemplation of artwork in connection with interviewing techniques. Towards the end of the year all school leavers paint a ceramic tile with their design and name as a contribution to a permanent display in the dining hall.
Year 6 geography broadens children’s knowledge of the world and develops their research skills. ‘Passport to the World’ focuses on European capital cities and the European Union; a South American country and African countries in the news. Year 6’s study of rivers is supplemented by a residential field work and the children also learn about climate change and its effect on our world.
Year 6 children participate in sports three times a week. In PE they enhance their abilities, with many children achieving BAGA awards. In swimming, the children progress in swimming with style both in different strokes and for greater distances, often with appropriate swimming awards as a sign of their excellence. The Year 6 children compete in, and lead, school teams in school house competitions and in external matches. In particular Year 6 children successfully compete in our winning swimming team and school netball teams. In their weekly games sessions, the children are coached in team sports: football and cricket for the boys, netball and rounders for the girls with athletics for everyone in the summer term. Other sports, including rugby, are played.
In the last few months at Broomfield, Year 6 enjoys a full and stimulating programme of events especially designed to help them in their transfer to senior school.
A great excitement, and challenge, following the end of their entrance exams, is the Year 6 residential trip. For some children this is their first trip away without their parents. They enjoy a packed timetable of physical activities often involving problem-solving and decision-making. Some of the activities present a physical challenge for individual children. We have found they all rise to the challenges, learn to work as a team, support one another, coming back with new-found skills and, for some, increased confidence in themselves and their abilities.
Safety is a vital part of our programme as we prepare the children for the next stage in their lives, beginning to become a little more independent. The school organises three related courses. Firstly, the self-defence session encourages the children to take responsibility for their own personal safety. Bullying and internet safety are also discussed. The Richmond Junior Citizen Project then continues to raise children’s awareness of safety issues. Police officers, the Fire Service, Transport for London together with other organisations, provide a number of real-life scenarios to which the children have to react: they learn a great deal about how to cope with unexpected, emergency situations. Safety remains of paramount importance, of course, with the Richmond Cycling Training scheme which provides both theory and practice on the quiet roads around school.
In addition to these courses, our Year 6 children enjoy a number of trips and visits which vary from year to year. These might include the Richmond Young Scientists Event and a visit, usually biennial, to the Houses of Parliament or the Greater London Assembly. Depending on what is available, the class might well visit a number of venues, like the National Archives, a theatre, gallery or Kew Gardens. Broomfield welcomes a range of visitors such as, for example, our local Member of Parliament, a local magistrate, authors, illustrators, and musicians.
As part of our PSHE syllabus, we introduce Year 6 to the subject of puberty. Working in single sex groups but covering exactly the same topics, the sessions are led by our Head and Year 6 teacher. We discuss the following aspects: the main physical and emotional changes that take place; the names and functions of the main sexual and reproductive parts of the body; menstruation; the different rates of change for different people; how to deal positively with concerns or questions about puberty and where to go for help, if needed. A question box is provided, following the lesson, for children to submit questions or concerns anonymously. We hope that, by working in small groups with their friends and led by teachers they know, the children will experience a positive and supportive introduction to this topic.
Broomfield aims to build children’s confidence in speaking and performing in public. Our local theatre, the Orange Tree, runs an annual Shakespeare scheme: an actor comes to workshop a play which the children then see performed professionally later in the week. Year 6 also perform in their major year-end production; plays or musicals are chosen to capitalise on the strengths of each individual class. During rehearsals, children’s input is valued and often implemented. The children take part in two annual Speech and Drama competitions where they have to perform alone in front of an audience. Initiative is encouraged as the class also plans, writes, rehearses and performs their own Leavers’ Assembly.
Year 6 play a major part in helping to organise the annual school fair. They write to, and meet, local traders and companies to request contributions to our raffle, in return for advertising in the programme. They are responsible for responding to any donations made. They devise their own games and competitions to run on the day for the younger children. Latin is introduced following the senior school entrance exams. This provides a new and exciting challenge. The course is designed to introduce the rich cultural, historical and linguistic heritage of the Roman civilisation. The emphasis, at this stage, is on speaking and understanding short stories. The children are introduced to an interesting, and often entertaining, family living in Pompeii. Year 6 children are quick to pick up the spoken and written language, love the role plays, and are fascinated to see the influence of Latin on their own language.
We hope that this programme goes some way to help prepare our Year 6 leavers for the exciting and sometimes challenging changes that lie ahead as they move to their senior schools.