Year 6 Curriculum Overview

Autumn 1Autumn 2Spring 1Spring 2Summer 1Summer 2
Peace, Love and WarPeace, Love And WarRumble in the JungleRumble in the JungleJourneysJourneys

Love, Peace and War

This is a history topic which focuses on the lead up to, the outbreak and the impact of World War I. Children will apply atlas skills to identify how Europe was different in 1914 compared to the modern map of Europe. Through the study of primary sources, such as original recruitment posters, they will explore the influence of propaganda on the enlistment of soldiers. They will also use first-hand written and verbal accounts to gain a better understanding of this significant period of history. In English, children will read ‘War Games’ by Michael Foreman and use this and their historical research to write their own diary entries to show their understanding of life for civilians and soldiers at this time.

The children will learn about what life was like for a soldier in World War 1: from enlistment and conscription, to arriving at the front line, to life in the trenches. They will investigate why trenches were used and how they were built and research what life in the trenches was like, showing their understanding by writing a non-chronological report. In DT, they will create their own model of the trenches and then use their understanding of electricity to create an electrical circuit to illuminate their models and create a buzzer warning system.

Children will read ‘Walter Tull’s biography’ by Dan Lyndon to support their understanding of the impact of war on a soldier’s life and will write their own version of the local footballer’s fascinating, yet sadly short, career. They will find out about another famous WW1 soldier – the poet, Wilfred Owen. Using some of his poetry as inspiration, as well as visual images of the war, they will create their own war poems which will be shared in a school remembrance service.

Children will learn about why compulsory conscription was introduced and will consider why different rules are needed for different situations. They will look at moral dilemmas: why some men became conscientious objectors and how they were treated as a result of their beliefs.  Children will investigate the changing role of women during WWI, and how this led to their empowerment post-war.

In art, the children will use paint and pencil/charcoal in the style of Paul Nash, to create contrasting landscapes of rural areas before the war and images of the trenches. They will also sculpt poppies out of clay and use them to create a Remembrance Day display. They will gain an understanding of the reason Remembrance Services are held each year on the 11th November; what the significance of the poppy is; and also how a remembrance service works, with the opportunity of attending the local Remembrance Day parade.

In RE, children will learn about the importance of symbolism in the Jewish faith. They will also identify that the war was a world war and involved soldiers from many different religions, thus providing an opportunity to revisit previous learning about Hindu and Muslim faiths and beliefs.

In music, the children have the opportunity to compose instrumental music that soldiers could march to, focusing on tempo, rhythm and timbre, and recording their work on a notation score.

Finally, children will investigate the impact that the end of WW1 had on the rest of Europe economically, politically and geographically.

Rumble in the Jungle

This is a geography and science-based topic in which children learn about the tropical rainforest biome, using the Amazon Rainforest as a case study area.

The children begin by finding out where rainforests are distributed around the world and investigating the physical and biological factors which cause this type of ecosystem to develop. They look at the climate of the rainforest and use data to construct graphs to enable them to make comparisons with the UK climate. The children are taught about the different layers within the rainforest (using the illustrations from the text ‘The Great Kapok Tree’ by Lynne Cherry) and develop their knowledge of the plants and animals that can be found in each layer, creating their own descriptive ‘lift the flap’ booklets. The text ‘Animalium’ by Katie Scott is used to support their understanding of how animals adapt to their habitat in order to survive.  Children will use this knowledge to design their own animal that would be able to live within such a habitat and write a non-chronological report on it. They then use their knowledge of the characteristics of rainforest creatures to write their own versions of Kipling’s Just So Stories.

In art, children conduct a case study of the artist Georgia O’Keefe, and examine how she represented plants within her work. They develop the accuracy of their observational drawing and shading skills by drawing a rainforest plant or flower. They then look at watercolour techniques and create a watercolour painting from their initial drawing.

In science, children learn about inheritance, adaptation and evolution and find out about the contribution of Charles Darwin to this field. This will be supported by the book Charles Darwin’s on the Origin of Species’ by Sabian Radeva. Children will visit Tring Museum to support their understanding and create notes of the animals seen on the trip in the style of Darwin’s notes made about the Galapagos Islands. Children also learn about how the study of fossils contributes to our understanding of evolution and adaptation.

Later on in the unit, children will focus on the human side of the Amazon Rainforest. Children will conduct a case study of Manaus City, Brazil and compare the similarities and differences to life in Milton Keynes. They will use their mathematical skills to compare this data. The children will also learn about the Brazilian Carnival and re-enact some of its celebrations. This will be supported by their learning in music, where children will be taught samba songs and how to play percussion instruments. This learning, along with clips from the film ‘Rio’ will act as a stimulus for story writing. Children will also study how tribes deep within the rainforest live in harmony with their surrounding environment and will also undertake a case study of rites of passage and lifestyles. Children will also get the opportunity to watch and create their own tribal dances.

The topic will conclude with a study of the effects of deforestation in the Amazon, both on a local and on a global scale. Children will read ‘The Vanishing Rainforest’ by Richard Platt and will consider how important the rainforests are to the survival of humans, animals and plants. To support their understanding further, they will learn about convectional rain and the nutrient cycle. Finally, children will carry out a debate about deforestation and use this experience to argue their case by drafting a written balanced argument.


This topic looks at two very different journeys – one that looks to the past and enables the children to further develop their skills as historians; the other looking to the future and the personal journey they are about to take as they move on to secondary school.

During the first half of the term, the children use a range of primary and secondary sources to investigate the ill-fated maiden voyage of the Titanic and the lessons that were learned from its demise. The topic begins with each child taking on the role of an actual passenger and embarking onboard this magnificent ship – some with their families, others with their servants, others on their own. Children use what they have learnt to write persuasive brochures to encourage prospective passengers to buy a ticket for the maiden voyage. They explore the accommodation and facilities available, as well as the infrastructure of the ship. The role of the different classes of passengers are also explored and these are compared and contrasted. Children conduct a case study on the life of Eva Hart, who was just seven years old when she was rescued from the North Atlantic, and was very active in discussing her experiences when she became an adult. The children use this as an opportunity to create some emotive diary writing about the event.

Children then find out about the sequence of events that led up to the fateful evening when the Titanic sank.  They find out about the effects of the freezing cold water of the North Atlantic on passengers and analyse survival statistics using their mathematical skills. Children follow this up by acting in role as news reporters, learning how to take effective notes, how to interview witnesses and how to use the information they have gathered to write a newspaper report on the sinking. Children consider who was to blame for the sinking of the Titanic and take part in a formal class debate, which they record as a balanced argument in English. Science experiments are conducted to investigate why icebergs float, with children developing an understanding of the terms ‘buoyancy’, ‘density’ and ‘displacement’. In art, children learn the technique of pointillism, made famous by the artist Georges Seurat, and use this to create an image of the sinking of the Titanic. In DT they use their knowledge of how the Titanic was built to create a model propeller. In computing they create a stop animation video of the journey the ship made.

In the latter half of the summer term, children move on to reflect on their own personal journey through New Chapter by taking part in a range of self-awareness and reflection activities. Adults from different workplaces are invited into school to explain their jobs to the children and the skills they need to use to carry them out effectively. The children then have an opportunity to discuss and ask questions, thinking about their own aspirations for the future. They learn about the importance of budgeting and saving and carry out a range of activities to support their financial awareness.

In RE the focus will be upon faiths and the journey individuals embark upon as part of the guidelines and expectations of following that religion. Faith and religion can be a support system for individuals and the challenges life can present. The children will investigate the fundamentals of the faith and how a spiritual journey can help to support and uphold people through changes and challenges.

After reflecting on their time at primary school, the children look forward to the next stage of their journey and complete transition activities to prepare them for secondary school. They reflect on their current strengths and areas for development and how they can build on these to support their future studies.

The end of their journey at New Chapter is celebrated with an end of year assembly which the children plan, produce and take part in.