Children from Y5 & Y6 have taken part in a record number of amazing outreach programmes provided by some of the very best secondary schools in the UK. Many have seen a number of our Upper KS2 pupils attending after school and even at the weekends to really make the very most of these incredible opportunities. Here’s a flavour of what they have been learning.
In the Autumn term, eight Y5 children made their way to the historic headquarters of the Royal Institution in central London to take part in its six week Maths Masterclass programme. Led by leading academics, the Saturday morning sessions covered some fairly advanced maths and science, as one might expect. “We learned about many number systems and patterns like squared, cubed and triangular numbers as well as π. My favourite lesson was when we learned about the Fibonacci Sequence where you add the previous two numbers – 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13….” The children also studied ‘medicine’ in the world famous labs carrying out scientific investigations in to plant and also experimenting with wires and lemons to measure the conductivity of different metals. Opening up their minds and exposing the children to the excitement of STEM subjects was what it was all about – “I enjoyed looking at the different DNA in animals through a microscope, the first time I had ever used one!”
Not to be outdone by a younger cohort, on Wednesday afternoons in the Spring term, eight top Y6 mathematicians made their way to Bute House to take part in a slightly more maths focused incarnation of the Ri Maths Masterclass programme, which also ran for six weeks. Hosted at Bute House and taught by different visiting specialists each week, the children were really engaged and inspired by the very challenging problems, puzzles and games they were presented with. Many were taken by the more practical or physical pattern type tasks, but a particular favourite was, “When we worked out the chances of winning the National Lottery – very, very small!” Learning alongside peers from others local schools added to the children’s overall enthusiasm for this great programme.
The Maths Challenge at Latymer Upper School has become a staple in our calendar, when after Easter, a mixed squad of six Y5s and Y6s attend after school on Tuesday evenings for six weeks. Led by Sixth-Formers, the children use UK Mathematics Trust Primary Team Maths Resources to prepare for the end of course competition, which involves lots of different exciting rounds including Crossnumber, Logic, Shuttle, Relay, Speed Test and Primary Kangaroo! It is a real team event where speed and accuracy are vitally important. For the record, this year we were runners-up.
Finally, we finish the year this Summer term with more Ri Maths Masterclasses this time hosted by St Paul’s Girls School. Four more Y5 mathematicians are taking part in this four week course on Friday afternoons, so while everyone else is on Art or practising for the end of year Performance, these children are learning more about algorithms and how to follow a set of instructions that form a pattern. “We’ve learned that some patterns would always end up with the same answer, and the only way we found a different answer to the algebraic equation, was to answer the question using a different ‘base’. I loved learning about different bases because it was something totally new and really interesting.”
“Saturday School was actually very fun and enjoyable,” according to one of the eight Y6 children who attended in the autumn term, “We learned so many new things that are very interesting.” A few favourite subjects were Biology, Chemistry, History, Mandarin, German, Spanish, French & English, Art & Design as well as philosophy, where the children looked at ‘deep and meaningful’ philosophical questions, discussing them and sharing their opinions. “I liked French and Art, which the teachers made very interesting, as well as German which was a laugh because we played games that mainly used German numbers.” Design was a top favourite; which had the children creating metal key rings out of pewter – an alloy consisting mostly of tin. They really seem to have loved the wide range of lessons mostly different types of subjects to what they normally study at primary school – a real taster as they prepare to move on to study at secondary school.
The Primary Professors Saturday School Programme at St Paul’s Boys School followed three themes beginning in the autumn term with Maths & Science. Two Y5 children had fun with geometry focused puzzles amongst other things, but it appears dabbling in a spot of GCSE Chemistry, investigating PH values of acids and alkalis by turning litmus paper different colours proved most memorable. Two different children enjoyed Geography and Philosophy sessions during the Spring term when they learned more about climate change, recording variations in temperature as well as ‘the scale of Ethiopia’. They made hexaflexagons, “I got the hang of it and it was really cool,” and also enjoyed “answering questions and making up our own,” in Philosophy. This term two more children are getting expert advice on Writing, Art and Entrepreneurship. There is no doubt that The Primary Professors is a fantastic programme for St Stephen’s to be a part of, a wonderful opportunity for our children to experience different teachers for different subjects, while being able to ask their advice and hear their opinions. “I loved it all and really felt proud and excited to have been given an opportunity to open my mind to further learning.”
Ten lucky Y5 children joined the Bute House Explore Saturday School in the autumn and spring terms this year, where they took part in a variety of different activities including Film Club, Spanish Language And Culture, Library Activities, Visual Thinking, Drama Workshop, Philosophy, Music, Art & Design, Computing, Science and Sports including Hockey. In Art, creating abstract pieces of work with textiles and painting leaves fashioned from clay were very popular as was the Movie Making, “I loved it when we speeded up the people walking – it was very funny and entertaining.” With the addition of Oreos and Apple juice, another favourite activity was using the library, which is really super cool at Bute House and, “you are even allowed to take your shoes off!” In Philosophy, the children discussed and debated various topics and thoughts, listening intently to the views of others, which some found challenging. “Taking part in this Saturday School taught me to come out of my comfort zone and try new things.”
The Latymer Debating course was a great insight to the world of debating. Throughout the 15 week programme, we four Y6s learned valuable skills to help us to speak confidently in public. Each week, along with all of the pupils from the other schools attending, we were divided into smaller groups, which were led by two sixth formers, who had already had experience leading this programme. Within these groups, we took part in various types of debate, for example a balloon debates and popcorn debates. All of these after school sessions had been preparing us for a Grand Debate to be held on the last day. This competition, which included teams from all 16 of the schools that had been taking part, set us a series of motions debating issues from nuclear weapons and tax on sweets to the Roma community. We were delighted to talk our way into the final, which we won! We all agree that the whole programme was a huge success.
Y5 mum, Emma K, has been leading our school’s debating team for the last few years building a brilliant relationship with SHHS and its debating advocate, Mr Hepburn, consequently lots of children from Y5 and Y6 this year took their first tentative steps in to the world of debating. “I was very nervous when I had to give my first speech, but because we planned PPE (point, evidence, explain) and I knew what to do, it got easier.” The children really enjoyed the fact that they were in a contest against other children their age from other schools, and the fact they there were lots of mini debates, so if you lost one, you might win the next.
New this year, participation in The Cicero Cup saw the Y6 debaters move up a league, which kicked off with a qualifying round at Ibstock Place. A slightly different ‘house’ style meant the children had to be on their toes to adapt, thinking quickly on their feet. Winning one house vote, but losing another meant that going through to Finals Day was in the balance.
They made it, and pitched up to Linklaters HQ for the finals on St Patrick’s Day. The team, with their supporting squad, made it through to the final, but alas were pipped to the top slot. Scarlett’s outstanding oratory won her the accolade of best speaker of the day and received her award from head judge, Baroness Blower.
Mr Schumm says, “Huge thanks to Emma for training the children in the dark arts of debating; for sourcing such wonderful opportunities and then organising the logistics and managing the teams/squad so very successfully.”
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