Form 5 is the last year pupils spend in the Middle School of St Mary's and in Form 5 we build a culture of being responsible, independent and humble citizens.
In Form 5, the core curricular subjects are taught by specialist teachers and there is a lot of classroom movement which is completely different from Form 4 in which subjects are taught by their Form tutors. Art, Music, Drama, P.E, Latin and Modern Languages are also taught by specialist teachers. Form 5 prepares pupils for the transition to the Upper School and the start of Common Entrance by allowing them to develop a range of key skills. These skills include leadership, teamwork, being responsible, work rate and helping each other.
Pupils work both individually and in groups on different tasks and are encouraged to be creative in their learning. Information Technology is embedded throughout the curriculum and enables pupils to search for information and communicate their ideas and work. Animations in English, photography in Science, videos in Geography and computer programming in IT have all featured in lessons over the past academic year. And with educational excursions, talks and camping in the Summer Term, Form 5 is a year that pupils will find challenging, engaging and most importantly, enjoyable.
Form 5 Core Study Topics:
The main text used in Form 5 will be Scottish Heinemann Maths 6 (SHM6), although worthy ideas from other sources will be introduced where appropriate. For an explanation of how mathematics progresses throughout St Mary’s, see the ‘Helping Your Child with Maths’ document which is available in the parent’s area of the School website.
Form 5 is linked to Form 6, where an established Programme of Study builds on the ISEB 11+ Common Entrance syllabus. To help prepare pupils for the transition to Form 6 we will start to introduce selected problems from ISEB 11+ examination papers throughout Form 5.
A strong emphasis will be placed on the learning of times tables which will help enormously in the daily learning of the concepts. The children will work towards elements covered in the 11+ syllabus.
Form 5 undertake a comprehension exercise most weeks, using materials designed for this year of prep school. The passages used are varied and challenging, and include narrative fiction, descriptions, travel writing, play texts, poetry and non-fiction prose. Questions seek to test basic factual understanding; powers of deduction and inference; ability to empathise with and explain the motivations of characters; and ability to analyse and write about aspects of a writer’s style. As the year progresses, pupils will be expected to offer evidence for their answers – in the form of quotations and examples – with increasing independence.
Composition is another weekly task in Form 5, and encompasses both fiction and non-fiction writing styles. In terms of narrative writing, interesting structure and stylish expressions will be a primary aim, with pupils receiving specific teaching on how to plan, execute and proof-read a good story. Non-fiction ‘directed writing for a purpose’ has become a more central part of the Common Entrance syllabus, and so to help pupils make a strong start in this area, instruction/advice writing and report writing will comprise an important part of the Form 5 syllabus.
Form 5 will read a novel as a class each term. Some reading will be done during class text sessions but in between sessions, reading prep will be set. It is very important that this is completed, so that all can participate in class discussions, character studies, role plays and stylistic analysis. We are very happy for pupils to co-read their class text with their parents if this makes the task more manageable. Reading for the week will be recorded in each pupil’s prep diary, and is always due for the following Wednesday. Reading as a class group will be a different experience for the pupils, as they have read in small groups further down the school, but it is vital preparation for further study, and introducing the idea of a class text in Form 5 has made the ‘step up’ to Form 6 a lot more comfortable for previous year groups. Form 5 will continue to make use of the ‘Reading Detective’ skills they learned in Form 4 with Mrs Runciman. In the Michaelmas Term, pupils will be reading Jenny Nimmo’s “The Snow Spider”.
In Form 5, our poetry study is designed first and foremost to be entertaining, and to allow the children to let their creativity roam. This year, pupils will study a selection of poems from Roger McGough, Robert Frost and Carol Ann Duffy.
Form 5 will begin the year with a revision of the parts of speech, before focusing in detail on sentence structure, namely subject-verb agreement and identifying the subject, verb and object in a sentence. Michaelmas Term will be action-packed, with time dedicated to improving pupils’ understanding of how to select and manipulate verbs, and how to modify them with interesting, stylish adverbs. Apostrophes and homophones will also be on the ‘hitlist’. In the Lent Term, sentence punctuation is the overarching theme, and we will seek to instil a solid understanding of clauses and comma usage. Direct and reported speech also feature. For the past four years, the Summer Term of Form 5 has been given over to the study of poetic techniques such as simile, alliteration and personification, which has proved a fantastic preparation for Common Entrance study.
Form 5 will learn about one spelling rule per week, and will be given a list of 15 words to study for weekly tests. The best way to revise spelling words is through repeated written practice, breaking words down into syllables or letter groups if necessary. It is also highly beneficial to pupils to have at least one ‘practice test’ at home before their actual weekly spelling test. The programme followed will involve some consolidation of previous learning, before stretching out to encompass all of the letter/sound patterns required at this educational stage. Spelling lists are differentiated according to ability, and are designed to improve vocabulary as an additional benefit.
As well as keeping up with the reading of our class text, we ask that every pupil has a ‘personal reading’ novel on the go at all times, brought from home or acquired from the library. At the beginning of the summer holidays, I sent out a document of reading recommendations; if you do not have a copy of this document, it can be found in the Parents log-in section of the school website, along with the previous three ‘editions’.
For Science the children will be studying the following topics; Nutrition, Changing Materials, Variation and Classification, Electricity, Green Plants, Light and Classifying Materials. The children will set up experiments, make predictions, carry out experiments, make observations and record their findings in different ways.
For Geography the children will begin the year by looking at Water in the Landscape, including investigating rivers. The children will go on their annual walk along the River Tweed to explore the local area and make observations. The class will move on to studying Volcanoes and Earthquakes before moving on to look at different environments and global locations.
•Scotland 15000 years ago – what it looked, felt and smelt like.
•The Hunters Arrive – What brought hunters from Europe, what made them stay and how we know when they came.
•What hunters hunted and what hunted them!
•The Founding Tribes of Scotland – Who were they and where did they settle.
•The Romans – Their arrival, efforts to stay and “forced” departure.
•St. Columba and the arrival of Christianity.
•The vicious Viking attacks on Iona.
•The First King of Scotland and why this is debated.
•Malcolm III’s big mistake.
•The story behind The Lion Rampant.
•Alexander III and the Vikings Return.
•The Mystery of Alexander’s Death.
•Scotland Needs a King.
•Scottish Wars of Independence Part I. (Wallace)
•Scottish Wars of Independence Part II (Bruce).
•Revision and build up to assessment.
•Analysis and Evaluation.
Forces and Motion
The Human Body
The Earth and Beyond
The Earth & Beyond (continued)
Rocks and Soil
Materials and Mixtures
Maths, English, Science, Geography and History will be assessed in November and May to check children’s progress and level of understanding.