Bowing out of primary school with MI6 topic as pupils become spies

UNDER COVER From left, Oliver Thompson, 11, Sophie Humphries, 11, Sally Fox, 11, Annie Jenner. 11, and Alfie Turner, 11. Picture: Sarah Standing (131690-8672)
UNDER COVER From left, Oliver Thompson, 11, Sophie Humphries, 11, Sally Fox, 11, Annie Jenner. 11, and Alfie Turner, 11. Picture: Sarah Standing (131690-8672)
Mark Smith leads a group from the Gosport Labour Party as they stage a protest outside Gosport War Memorial Hospital highlighting the need for an A&E department

Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (180190-1)

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This month, Year 6 pupils at Whiteley Primary School became special agents following a week-long project entitled MI6, writes headteacher Lesley Pennington.

The theme was inspired by the youngsters who were challenged to plan a cross-curricular project for the whole year group to enthuse the pupils after they had completed their SATS.

Pupils across the country sit their SATs test in May, and following this week it can be a challenge for Year 6 teachers to ensure that pupils remain focused and engaged as they start thinking about their move to secondary school.

This year, our teachers decided to put the onus on the children. Earlier in the term, all the children in Year 6 worked on a literacy project called Year 6 Decides.

In groups, they had to come up with an idea for a theme to be studied that linked several subject areas and which would interest both boys and girls in the year group.

They also had to consider what learning would come out of the project. The children wrote persuasive letters to the headteacher and had to pitch their idea to governors and members of the senior leadership team who chose the ‘MI6’ idea as the best.

The Year 6 teachers took the children’s ideas and planned for the week-long project.

This was launched with the teachers in role, and pupils were set a number of missions to complete during the week in order to become secret agents.

Missions included forensic science work, looking at finger prints and chromatography, and code-breaking maths tasks.

Orienteering activities within the school grounds saw pupils following maps and searching for clues to solve a mystery, and there was an assault course and fitness test to pass.

Eyewitness memory tasks helped to test their skills of memory and description, and also helped the children to consider how viewpoints can differ.

There were also plenty of opportunities for drama, with pupils devising their own roleplays and writing scripts.

However, the most important aspect of the project was the focus on teamwork, and it was great to see that even those children who sometimes find collaborative working difficult threw themselves into the challenge.

Pupils were fully engaged throughout the week.

An evaluation of the week showed that almost all pupils valued the week, with a number saying that it had been the highlight of the year.