School year > What to expect in Year 5

What to expect in Year 5

Year 5

A year of calm study

Year 5 can be a calm and studious year; a year to embed all of the knowledge learnt in lower Key Stage 2; a year to start the preparations for transition to secondary school. This is often a year when children grow in maturity — sometimes even more so than in their final year in primary. They gain a greater independence and confidence from being given more responsibility in their learning.

Children in Year 5 are increasingly encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning: to do their homework, to pack their school bag, to remember their PE kits. And they develop and grow as a result. It is about encouraging independence in preparation for bigger things to come.

Here is an all-you-need-to-know guide to life as a parent of a Year 5 child!

What will my child do in Year 5?

As with every other year, the government have set out statutory schemes of learning that must be taught in Year 5. There is an expected standard to reach by the end of the year and most teachers will make assessments throughout the year to judge how your child is performing, and whether they are on track to achieve the ‘expected standards’ for maths and English.


In maths, there is definitely an emphasis on fractions, decimals and percentages in this year. There is also an expectation that they will know all of the written methods for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


For English, new punctuation is introduced such as hyphens, semi-colons and colons. There is a greater emphasis on grammar features too, for example using modal verbs (these are words like would, could, might and must).

New topics

There are some fantastic topics this year. A favourite science topic in Year 5 is often space as the children find it so engaging. With lots of space travel in the news, it is also very easy to incorporate science into all areas of the curriculum, especially English and maths.

This is the year when your child will probably have their first sex and relationship lesson in school as it combines neatly with the science unit on reproduction, puberty and changes in the human body as they develop. Often a school will organise parent letters and meetings to let you know just what you will need to discuss over the dinner table.

Trips away

Another first experience for many children in Year 4, Year 5 or Year 6 is their first residential visit — a couple of nights away from home, learning lots of new things, mostly outdoors. Some children are over-excited, some are nervous, some are laid-back and some are homesick. Don’t worry if your child has never slept away from home before. Often, it is the parents who miss the children more than the other way around.

How can I help my child in Year 5?

Obviously, keep doing all of the usual things that schools say. Continue to hear them read, practise times tables, help them with homework, talk to them about their day and encourage them to read by visiting the local library, bookshops or using eBooks from the free Oxford Owl eBook library.

Encourage them to take responsibility

But just like in school, give them some independence and responsibility for their learning at home. Here are a couple of ways you can start giving them some responsibility at home:

  1. Make them pack their own bag for school so that they get into the habit of thinking for themselves about what they need and what they will be doing that day.
  2. Allow them to make mistakes. If they forget their homework, make them tell the teacher themselves (they learn more quickly from their mistake and they are taking responsibility for it too).
  3. Get into the routine of doing homework at a set time each week if possible. By all means help them, but make sure they make their own decisions about presentation, for example.

If your child is not very organised, then taping a list by the door or to a lunch box works well, as does getting equipment ready the night before.

Be encouraging

Another simple thing that you can do as a parent is to be a good example. Never say: 'I was no good at spelling at school!' Never tell your child: 'Go to Dad and let him help you with your maths because he is better than me.' Children need adults to show them that learning is fun, relevant and enjoyable — and difficult sometimes. Does it matter if you don’t know the answer? Of course, it doesn’t. Instead, look it up together and show that you want to find things out too.

Take it easy

Finally, remember that even in Year 5 your child will still need some down-time playing outside or reading a much-loved book. Let them be silly. Let them dress up. Play board games together.

Useful resources on the Oxford Owl website

National Curriculum for England, Scotland and Wales

All information on Oxford Owl for Home is aligned with the National Curriculum for England. Much of this information is also relevant for children in Scotland and Wales, but do refer to the following curriculum links for more detail.
National curriculum in England: primary
Education in Scotland
School curriculum in Wales

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