Exciting times in Year 5

Over the past few weeks, Year 5 have been doing some exciting activities both inside and outside of school. So far we have been on the following adventures: a trip to Sevenoaks School Theatre to watch Blue Planet III, a visit to Knole House to learn about the Tudors and a presentation of our special service for Harvest Festival at the church today.

Firstly (last week), we walked to Sevenoaks School to watch the interesting Blue Planet III. It was a long walk and, although the play was silly in places, it was definitely worth it.

On Tuesday 24th, Year 5 went to Knole House in the pouring rain! We visited 4 out of the 365 rooms in the house investigating how different people lived and worked during Tudor times. We were excited to see the portrait of Henry VIII and dress up in Tudor costumes.

Our biggest focus this week has been our work on the damage that single-use plastics are doing to our world and their effects on the lives of people living in poorer countries. We wrote to the 4 main plastic producing companies to ask them to stop using single-use plastics for their products. We suggested that they look for other more easily recyclable materials, help clean up the waste mountains that they have helped to create in poorer countries and perhaps use their scientists to find a solution to the problem of plastic waste that takes a colossal amount of time to degrade! We want them to stop destroying our planet!

Today’s Harvest Festival was the highlight of our week when we got to share everything that we have learned about plastic pollution and hopefully persuade more people to take a planet pledge and help save our planet. Please think about signing Tearfund’s petition to encourage these big companies to take responsibility for the plastic waste they produce. Remember, everything we do to help, however small, will make a huge difference.

This blog was written on behalf of Year 5 by Megan and Andrew.



Year 6 – here we come!

This has been an incredibly busy term and luckily the sun has come out too!

In English, we have continued our journey through ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar. We have discussed the issue of discrimination which appears in the text and written some fabulous news reports about the incident. These are on display outside our classroom so take a look as you pass by.

Recently, we have taken part in a mock trial to decide the innocence of one of the characters in the book. Some children were judges and they had the difficult task of writing questions to ask each witness and then deciding on the outcome of the trial after hearing all the evidence. The remaining children took the parts of various characters from the book and wrote witness statements as their character. During the trial, each character had to justify their opinions and answer tough questions from the judges. As a class, some of us felt challenged by speaking aloud to the class but we agreed that we all enjoyed the experience and felt it was a skill we would like to develop further. Well done everyone.

Last week was Healthy Body;Healthy Mind week and as well as our incredible sports day which we all enjoyed, we made healthy salads, investigated sun safety and took part in  mindfulness activities. These we have continued this week as we felt they helped us feel more relaxed and connected to the world around us.

Our science lessons have shown what independent thinkers we have become. During our topic on Living Things, we chose to become experts in a particular animal class and then after much research we presented our results to each other. Each presentation was clear, accurate and presented in different innovative ways.

This week, we have enjoyed using our UV beads to think of our own science questions that we wish to investigate and then undertaken the practical experiment, before writing up the experiment in our own way.

A highlight of this week has been meeting our new Reception buddies. Everyone was caring and kind to them on their afternoon in school and I know that they are excited to build on this relationship with them in September. Here are some of the lovely cards the children have written to their buddies telling them about themselves and our school. I know the new Reception children will be delighted to receive them through the post.

The class met their new teachers yesterday and are now enthusiastic to apply for the roles Year 6 undertake to benefit our school.

Swing Low!

After a late night, we all slept well in our brand new beds. This morning we woke to glorious sunshine again.

We have had a fabulous day. The children have all worked well together supporting, encouraging each other and using fantastic team work skills.

At the moment we are enjoying an archery session after conquering the giant swing.



Here we are learning essential survival skills for living in the wild!

Ships ahoy!

We arrived to glorious sunshine and to find ourselves the first guests in the brand new accommodation here at PGL. Lucky us!

Our first day at PGL and all three groups competed to create a raft that would stay afloat the longest! For this task, Mrs Hobson’s group were the winners (as their raft managed to stay together for longer) but only by a very small margin. In fact each group’s raft eventually fell apart or became unbalanced and everyone (to their great delight) became wet. The area surrounding the lake rang with our laughter.


Our wet clothes adorn the front of our accommodation which I hope will dry before our return!

Tonight, we all enjoyed the camp fire where we toasted marshmallows on the fire to create smores, sang songs, shared stories, jokes and other talents!

Day 2 – here we come!


Let My People Go!

This has been an extraordinarily busy term. We have had many highlights. The children really enjoyed learning about Lent and Shrove Tuesday with Mrs Clark, in her informative assembly,  followed by an exciting inter-house pancake race in the playground. Well done to green house the worthy winners and expert pancake flippers.

Book week began with a launch assembly where all the teachers dressed up as crayons and presented the story ‘The day the crayons quit’, much to the delight of the whole school. This inspired some lovely writing later in the day which can be seen on the board outside Year 5. We enjoyed our daily poem and the visit by the author Catherine Doyle. Many of us (including me) are now reading the book ‘The Storm Keeper’s Island’ and thoroughly enjoying it. We hope she remembers to send us some chapters of her next novel to read (which is yet to be published).

For homework last week, we explained that we were entering the Primary Leaders Award by inventing something to help solve an everyday problem. Using their many impressive ideas,  we wrote persuasive pitch letters to accompany our designs. Mrs Casewell will now send our superb letters to the engineering team at the University of London and we will wait to see if they wish to take any of our designs further. So many of the solutions were useful ideas to solve every day problems or to help our environment. I particularly liked the design to stop you eating when you were full!

We have been incredibly lucky to be treated to two science related visits. The first a science show at Sevenoaks School – It’s only water or is it? The second this week, when we took part in experiments to discover the amount of vitamin C in the foods we eat. Thank you to the Walthamstow Hall lower sixth chemists who prepared and guided us through the various experiments in their laboratories.

Prom Praise for Schools telling the story of ‘The Exodus’ through music, song and dance has to be the highlight of the term for Year 5. How lucky we were to be invited to the Royal Albert Hall to participate as part of the massed choir. The experience was both intimate and unforgettable. We returned to school after the event with some very happy and very tired children! Thank you Mrs Clark for organising this and Mrs Hughes for teaching us the songs.

Finally, it was lovely to see you and discuss your children at parents evening. I would like to say a big thank you to you all for all the support and encouragement you always give your children, especially during our recent Book Week, invention homework and Prom Praise.

Sumdog competition – Get playing!

Welcome Maths Enthusiasts. I have entered the whole school into a Sumdog competition against other schools.

All you need to do is log onto Sumdog with your usual username and password then enter the school code sjs3 to help us gain as many points as possible. The competition started today and ends next Friday 14th February at 8am.

How do you earn St John’s some points? Simply play! The more you play the more we earn.


Good Luck children!


Mrs Gillhouley

May the battle commence.

Welcome to term 3 where the weather has got noticeably colder!

We are currently nearing the end of our work in Literacy on the old English poem Beowulf (although we are reading Michael Morpurgo’s version). Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. This week we have written prayers to keep us safe as we battle the monster; wrote home to our loved ones and begun planning our narrative of the fight scene and conclusion to the story. Beware next week, you may well be hearing lots of description of the destruction of this death-dealing monster!

Here is a photo of our decorated prayers and an example of the prayers we wrote.


In maths we have been exploring geometry, particularly the calculation of the perimeter and area of rectangles, composite and irregular shapes. We began by creating the shapes and then drawing them and finally, this week, changing the scale.


Earth and space is our mission for science so we have been investigating the planets in our universe. This week, we used fruit to understand the relative sizes of the planets compared to each other with Mercury as a peppercorn and Jupiter as a melon. We have learned the order of the planets from the sun by creating our own mnemonic such as

My = Mercury  Very = Venus  Energetic = Earth  Mother = Mars  Just = Jupiter   Served = Saturn  Us = Uranus  Nachos = Neptune

Our geography topic is the UK and using our prior knowledge, maps and atlases, we have identified the counties, many cities and discussed the different areas of the UK. Therefore our art topic links with our learning and is about cityscapes. We are working towards creating cityscapes of different cities around the UK. To begin, we are looking at the different techniques that will create a 3D image for our cityscape. This week we looked at the colourful work of pop art, cityscape artist, Charles Fazzino and his layering techniques. Here is one of our examples.

Thank you for reading with your children and continuing to support them to complete their homework and learn their spellings and times tables.



Term 2 – From the past to the present.

With Christmas on the horizon, we continue to enjoy lots of different learning experiences throughout the curriculum. Here are a few of our highlights in year 5. We continue to learn about the Tudors during our history lessons and this week we investigated the reign of Edward VI. After much discussion about this boy-king, we wrote a diary account as Edward expressing how we felt about his illness and his inability to reign as a true king. Please see one the diary accounts below.

The Viewer by Shaun Tan and Gary Crew has been the focus of our English lessons. This is a dark tale of a young boy who discovers ‘a viewer’ which transports him to a world of fascination and dread. As the ending of this book is fairly open-ended, we have written some of our own endings which have been very inventive. Look at the vocabulary we have gained from this book.

In science, we have completed our topic on forces. We thoroughly enjoyed Drastic Plastic day when we wrote persuasive letters to Tesco in Riverhead asking them to reduce their use of plastics. We are still hoping for a reply.  Now, we are learning about the properties and changes of materials. This week we undertook a very important experiment – to discover which type of material kept a cup of tea warmer for longer. Please ask your child to tell you what they discovered during their investigation.

We then took the results that we had recorded during the experiment and used these to draw line graphs and write our conclusions. This was a cross-curricular skill as we have been learning about line graphs in statistics in our maths lessons.


Building on our forces knowledge, Mr Grobel will be undertaking a DT glider project with the children on Fridays until Christmas. I hope to be able to show you the results in our next blog.

Congratulations Table Tennis Squad!

On Wednesday 14th November, the St. John’s tables tennis squad competed in the Kent School Games. We entered two teams and each team played with the usual St. John’s balance of gritty determination and keen sportsmanship. Despite valiant efforts in the group round, the B team played magnificently coming away with a draw and a loss. The A team managed to win all their games in the group stage and went on to the final against Amherst. In the end, Amherst were too strong for St. John’s claiming an 8:0 victory giving us silver medal position. The competition gave the squad an opportunity to play at a higher level and compete against other schools from across Kent. They tell me they have learnt a lot from the experience which is so good to hear. We were complimented several times on our positivity and attitude to sport. Thank you to Georgia who supported us and helped with scoring.

Well done to all. I hope you are inspired to play more table tennis and even consider playing for a club outside school. If you would like to know more details about how to do this, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Jane Gillhouley

Welcome to Year 5.

Thank you very much to everyone who attended the ‘Meet the Teacher’ on Wednesday afternoon, it was lovely to meet you all and place a child to a parent! At the bottom of this blog is a link for you to click on to get a copy of the information I gave out (hopefully you will already have received a copy in your child’s book bag).

Our history topic this term is the Tudors and we  are combining this with our literacy too. So far we have learnt all about the battle of Bosworth and the reign of Henry VII. Look at our amazing newspaper reports of the battle.


On Monday we will be visiting Knole House to dress up in period costume and discover more facts about this period in our history through artefacts and paintings.

In maths we have begun our place value learning journey and have even learnt Roman numerals. Perhaps you could ask your child to show you the date written in Roman numerals!

Forces is our science topic which we have commenced by looking at air resistance and in RE we are asking the question ‘What does it mean if God is holy and loving?’

Please try to ensure that your child reads for 15-20 minutes each day and if possible that you also read to them, even reading and discussing an article in the newspaper is a very valuable exercise in vocabulary, grammar and comprehension.

The link:

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