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Year 5 takes off

Wishford Schools’ new Director of Strategy and Education, Jenny Burrett, visited Heywood Prep and discovered that Year 5 have their sights set on Mars!

Heywood Prep’s Year 5 pupils are extremely excited! They are working on a new learning project that they hope will take them to outer space. Each child wants to be selected as part of one of the two space crews to go to Mars in twenty years. There is a great deal of preparation to do and they are very keen to get on with it and be observed by their teachers, especially Mrs Evans, who is heading up this great venture.

Mrs Evans is enormously enthusiastic about all things space related: rockets, technology, exploring and explorers, and the magical but scary world of space. She wants to share her fascination with these would-be astronaut cadets. They have seen the NASA recruitment video and now know that they are under scrutiny. They might be selected as Captain, Commander, Science Officer, Engineer, Doctor or Counsellor.

It’s no surprise that a good grasp of science and maths will stand them in good stead for this project. There will be plenty of problems and any number of sums with which to grapple, working out distances, temperatures and angles. Less expected, perhaps, is that English, the Arts, Physical Education and Sports, PHSE and problem solving all come into play. They will write diaries and prepare speeches for the Graduation Ceremony. They will learn about space history and through Computer Science will make space invader games. There will be opportunities for creativity, independence, innovation and teamwork. This cross-curricular STEM project has really caught their imagination and they cannot wait for their next lesson.

‘I’m super-excited because it’s amazing that our teacher would invite us to be candidates to get picked to go on a spaceship to Mars,’ said one burgeoning astronaut.

Interestingly, the other message that comes out clearly when talking to these young space cadets is what a very happy group of children they are. Indeed, they speak with clarity about their understanding of ‘happiness’ both in terms of personal relationships - ‘Friends at school are your family.’ ‘You’re friends with everyone.’ - and as pupils - ‘We are pushed to do the best we can do.’ ‘The teachers are firm, but fair to us, they are helpful and listen; lessons are fun, but we have to work hard.’

The Year 5s understand the pressure of this year. Lots of them will be taking senior school entrance exams early in Year 6, and Year 5 is key to being prepared for these. Again they are bright and positive about this preparation and their futures: ‘I feel ready for it.’ I was told. ‘They make sure we know what we need to know, which makes us strong and helps us believe we can do it.’

There is no doubt that Year 5 is one to look forward to, full of fun, friendship and launching new learning in a culture of care and challenge. It clearly results in lots of personal and academic growth and plenty of opportunity to get involved in all sorts of different activities. It’s going to be very difficult to select those spaceship teams!