11th March 2022

Save Vinehall!
The Year 5s were presented with quite the dilemma in Geography last week as they learned an ‘Intergalactic Planning Committee’ intends to flatten Vinehall to build the first-ever intergalactic supermarket. Apparently, our grounds are ideal for said project. Determined to save their school, the Fantastic Fives used their mapping skills and went on a walk to survey their local area. They had to identify a range of physical and human features and rank them as follows: 1) vital; 2) useful; 3) expendable. Next, they will prepare their formal presentation and justify why some (or all) features on our school grounds must be preserved.


In Life Skills, the Year 5 pupils are learning the topic ‘Healthy Me’. Last week, we worked collaboratively like Billy Bee as we undertook a quiz about smoking where they shared their knowledge and learnt some new facts. This week we played a game called ‘Cool or Uncool’ and there was a resounding agreement that smoking is ‘uncool’ (so too was bullying and peer pressure). This week, we worked as teams to put together a puzzle about alcohol and its effects. The Year 5s were quite knowledgeable on the harm that these substances have on the human body. Very reflective, like Ollie Owl!

4th March 2022


Year 5 started a new unit in English: Reports and Journalism. We’ve enjoyed using the fictional text Tuesday by David Wiesner to act as detectives and solve the mystery of the lily pads discovered all over a local neighbourhood. We’ve written questions based on interview priorities and learned about open-ended questions which yield more information when solving an investigation. We loved ‘hot-seating’ and imaging we were ‘the man-eating the sandwich’ who discovered frogs flying by his window late one night.


In Geography, the Fantastic Fives have worked hard for several weeks in designing their own treasure map! With strict success criteria to follow, they had to ensure their maps contained relief contours, at least 8 Ordinance Survey symbols, including all 8 compass points. They had to provide clues, leading them to collect letters in spelling a secret code that revealed the location of the treasure.

As promised, when the treasure was discovered on one another’s maps, a treasure was provided (goodies from Canada that is!). Wonderful effort, persevering like Terry Tortoise in completing this mapping skills project, Year 5s!



11th February 2022

The Year 5s have been developing their mapping skills this half term.  We have learnt to use 4-figure grid references on a map, as well as refined our understanding and practical use of the 8-point compass.  Last week, we took our learning outdoors in 5P (sadly, 5L was rained out on Friday so we headed to the dance room and put our adaptability skills into action). We learnt how to use a compass by finding north and from there we followed directions on a grid.

A couple of weeks ago, Ms Linney popped into Carpentry and was inspired by the craftsmanship modelled in the work room.  5P was working towards their sawing licence.

21st January 2022

The Year 5 Geographers have launched into their new unit Geographical Skills: Marvellous Maps.  Last week, we watched a video clip that was filled with useful information and we learnt all about maps!  From there, we explored compass points and symbols.  This week, we had a carousel of activities where we had fun learning in teams.  At each station, we had different map-based activities: we completed a map symbols interactive quiz; put our grid reference coordinates to the test with a game of ‘Battleships’; used a map to work out compass direction points; and we worked on our title page.  We certainly love hands-on learning!

We also returned to our Amazing Islands unit one more time as our brilliant ‘TOP TRUMPS: Amazing Islands’ edition have been completed and were ready for ranking.  We enjoyed going around the room and learning interesting geographical facts about islands around the world.  We then cast our votes based on which islands had the most fascinating facts.  We are looking forward to playing TOP TRUMPS in our lessons when we complete our Marvellous Maps learning activities.

We enjoyed the glorious sun this week! Have a look at some of our playtime photos.

14th January 2022

Welcome to Lent Term!

We are back in the classroom and thriving with our ‘in the Green Zone’ mentality in Year 5.  Feeling well rested after a much deserved break with our families, the Year 5 pupils have collaborated like Billy Bee, been Reflective like Ollie Owl, and persevered like Terry Tortoise.

In English, we have our spelling programme under way and the children know that they must be diligent this term in learning their spellings with greater independence.  We have returned to our novel study, Kensuke’s Kingdom – both in English and in Drama –  and we cannot wait to find out what will happen next for Michael on the island.

In Geography, we took a couple of lessons to wrap up our Amazing Islands unit and we have focused on thinking of ways in which humans can make a change for the greater good after learning about climate change and global warming.  We understand how these issues affect islands (extreme weather, rising water levels) and the Year 5 pupils have written very convincing persuasive writing pieces explaining the importance of making every day changes for the betterment of our planet Earth.

In Maths with Ms Tripp, the Fives investigated what happened if they added consecutive triangle numbers together and they found that it always made a square!

In 5L’s Life Skills, we have worked to complete our unit Celebrating Differences and we looked at different criteria that make us happy.  We learnt about two different boys, from different walks of life, who live in Ghana.  We used the ‘happiness criteria’ and considered what would make them the happiest – an iPhone, money, shelter, family etc.  We found that the things that make us happiest (family, friends, safety, pets) are also the things that are likely to make children from other cultures happy.

In Science Year 5 were finishing off their Forces topic this week.  Their first challenge was to make a ball of Plasticine float.  James H was the winner of this challenge.  Next, they were investigating the difference between salty water and fresh water.  They had to see how many marbles or coins their tin foil boats could hold in each of the water types.

10th December 2021


Year 5 used the Newton metre on Tuesday after their ice skating session.  We had a good chat about ice skating and friction as they were giving in their friction homework!

26th November 2021


It was very exciting indeed when I received an email from Ms Emily Bidwell, a former Vinehall teacher, a few weeks ago. When Ms Bidwell left Vinehall, she took on an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to teach in a school on the remote Isle of Muck, Scotland. Ms Bidwell learnt from her former colleagues that our Year 5 children have been learning all about ‘Amazing Islands’ in Geography this term.

Last week, the Fantastic Fives thought of meaningful and interesting questions we could ask the children about their life on a remote island.  On Thursday and Friday, both classes had the opportunity to interview Ms Bidwell’s five pupils about their hobbies, their daily life, their school day, their shopping (as they have no shops, no post box and only one road on the island!).

The children were amazed to learn that two of the boys (age five and ten) go out in their boat on their own to catch lobsters and sell them for five pounds each.  Last year, they earned themselves $750! That explains the jaw-dropping in the photo of 5P.

We are very grateful that Ms Bidwell got in touch and we learnt so much about life on a small, remote island.  Please ask your child to teach you a few things they learnt.  You may want to ask about:

  • The population;
  • The school day;
  • Their after school activities and hobbies;
  • How food arrives on the island;
  • The geographical layout and which of the other Small Isles they can see.


Religious Studies

Year 5 had a ‘tasty’ RS lesson today; they have been learning about Judaism. The Seder is a Jewish meal that has been eaten for thousands of years during the Passover festival, reminding Jews of the Exodus from Egypt, led by Moses.

The children were given the opportunity to taste parsley dipped in salty water, bitter horseradish (too much so for some!), lamb, crackers (like Matzah), charoset (stewed apple and cinnamon) and egg. Red wine was off the menu but there was red Ribena instead! Hopefully, Year 5 can now explain why each of these foods is chosen for this special meal.

Thanks to Chef Susie and her catering team for preparing the food for us.

Ally Linney

15th October 2021

What a wonderfully engaging half term it has been for our Fantastic Fives. We are happily settled into our new role as the ‘Upper Juniors.’  From having locker keys, to keeping our things in the Dungeons, to being table leaders at Junior lunch – it has been a half term of growth and the teachers are very proud of how the Year 5 children have risen to the added responsibilities.

We have had an exciting week with the Poetry by Heart finals and we were proudly represented in the ‘Middles’ category by 5L’s Cecily G. Her performance was inspiring. Congratulations Cecily on your amazing effort!

In Geography this week, we have wrapped up our learning of the plate tectonics and really enjoyed watching videos of Pangaea splitting into the seven continents we know today. We have moved on to learning about the geographical features of the UK and we have furthered our skills in using the index in an atlas to find what we are looking for.  Researching to find famous landmarks, cities, mountains and rivers/lakes found throughout the UK was a highlight. Test our knowledge (and working memory!) to see if we remember the difference between the British Isles, Great Britain and the UK.

In Ms Linney’s Maths group, we enjoyed using place value charts and number discus, alongside column edition. We like the practical aspect of using the number discs when there is an exchange and we use the rhyme, ‘Got some more? Give it next door!’

In Life Skills this term, we have focused on the rights and responsibilities of children and we have shared some respectful and empathetic conversations about refugee children. This week we shared our views on to what we believe every child has the right. We built upon this by discussing the ways in which individuals and communities have certain responsibilities in upholding those rights.

We hope the hardworking and dedicated Maisie Monkeys, Terry Tortoises, Cassie Cats, Billy Bees and Ollie Owls (that are our Fantastic Fives) have a wonderful half term break!

Ally Linney


8th October 2021

This week Year 5 were learning about the moon. They made models showing earth orbiting the sun whilst rotating on its axis. For homework they learnt about the changing moon and the names of its different phases.


The Fantastic Fives: I Like this Poem!


1st October 2021

This week, the Year 5 children have been working collaboratively like Billy Bee to learn their poems off by heart. Many are performing in groups and a few individuals have called upon the help of their friends to rehearse as we prepare for the semi-finals next week. We have also spent some time explaining why we like our chosen poems. The anthology ‘I Like This Poem’ by Kaye Webb has inspired our own writing.

In Maths, we are continuing to develop our place value skills and we also continue to tackle problem-solving with a ‘maths mindset.’ Working with our peers and explaining how we have arrived at the answers develops our reasoning skills.  Our visit to St Andrew’s for the Year 5 Maths Challenge focused on mind-stretching challenges as well.

Our Year 5 Geographers were very pleased to begin their second round of island research as they design our class game: ‘Top Trumps: Amazing Islands Edition.’ Thinking like Cassie Cat, some fantastic questions continue to come up in our lessons. Our goal is to answer the questions by the end of the unit.

Aly Linney

24th September 2021

It has been another week of collaboration, resilience and independence for the Fantastic Fives.

Mrs Platt and Ms Linney saw some wonderfully whoppsy-whiffling English prep come in this week! (That’s Roald Dahl speak for ‘unbelievable’, of course.) The Year 5 children dazzled their peers with dream jars, nightmare jars, 3D models of characters and their homes alike.  Some artistic drawings were pencilled and some interesting and informative PowerPoint presentations were shared.

In Geography, the Year 5 pupils have learnt more about amazing islands around the world and discovered that an archipelago is a chain of islands. We used the atlases to find the islands and labelled them carefully on a world map. Next we will be designing our own ‘Amazing Islands Top Trumps.’  We are looking forward to creating our class game and seeing which island comes up ‘Top Trumps.’

The pupils have also been working collaboratively in their weekly choir session with Mrs Glossop. Ocean Commotion seems to be a favourite so far (Ms Linney cannot help but sing along when she visits the choir sessions too). The children’s efforts were so delightful this week that everyone earned a credit for their House.

Excellent efforts all around this week Year 5!

17th September 2021

In Year 5, we have discussed goal setting as we launched into another school year. This complemented our learning in our Life Skills unit, Being Me. We have learnt how to be SMART and our goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. We have also set targets in our English classes. Goal setting helps our pupils take initiative and encourages skills such as independence, perseverance and self-reflection.

5L was very happy to meet Mrs Borrows in the gardening classroom as each pupil was gifted a succulent from Ms Linney and a member of the Robertsbridge community. Ms Linney was on the search for succulents and pots for planting and Mrs Sue Flanagan, a member of a local gardening society, very generously donated enough succulents for the class. We have been inspired by Mrs Flanagan’s kindness and will be sure to nurture our plants as we get ready to grow in Year 5!

10th September 2021

It may only be Week 2 but that has not stopped the Fabulous Fives from diving straight into their learning with great enthusiasm.

In Maths, we learnt from Miss Tripp this week that having a ‘maths mindset’ means that we can represent our understanding in many different ways and that it is important to be resilient like Terry Tortoise.  Did you know that our brain is a muscle and it actually grows, creating new pathways, when we make mistakes?  We will be working hard this year to learn from mistakes and use them to become even greater mathematicians.

In English, we have launched into our new topic ‘Anthologies: I like this poem.’  We can now explain to you what the word anthology means and we learnt about the editor of our book, Kaye Webb, and found familiar poems that we have read and enjoyed before.  Using the dictionaries and Thesaurus proved useful as we read a synopsis of the introduction to the book.

In Geography, we discovered through an exciting guessing game what our new topic will be.  We asked Ms Linney a range of ‘yes or no’ questions from ‘Is that the Norway Rugby team?’ to ‘Is that a prison?’ and ‘Is that Charles Dickens or is it Charles Darwin?’  Finally, we guessed ‘Is our topic about islands?’

Amazing Islands is the theme and this week we looked at a world map of amazing islands around the world.  We have been busy researching a chosen island to learn more about the food, art and music. We will then feedback to the class and explore Google Earth.

What a great week of learning.

Ally Linney