KS2 Y5 & Y6 English Overview

English Curriculum Key Stage 2 Long Term Overview (Years 5 and 6)



Year 5

Year 6

Autumn 1


Fiction: Unit 1 – Traditional Stories From Other Cultures

In this unit pupils explore several traditional stories from different cultures, written in a contemporary style. They become more familiar with the different structures of stories and the range of literary devices authors use to involve and engage the reader. Pupils will apply what they learn to further develop their language and writing skills.


Poetry: Unit 1 – Stories For The Telling

This unit focuses on narrative poetry created by significant poets from our literary heritage. The selected poems are rich in composition, language and vocabulary for pupils to enjoy and explore. They cover a range of themes that challenge pupils to interpret character, motive and consequences at a more sophisticated level. Drama is used to support pupils to engage more deeply and thoughtfully with the content of the poems. The wonderful rhythmical qualities make the poems ideal for choral reading and performance.


Autumn 2


Non Fiction: Unit 2 –  Finding The Boy King

This multi genre unit is linked to the study of Ancient Egypt and engages pupils in reading and writing a wide range of on-line and book based texts exploring the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb.  Pupils create an exhibition to inform the school community of this aspect of their work in English which could be displayed as part of a wider exhibition of pupils’ work on Ancient Egypt.


Mixed Genre: Unit 2 – Children Of Conflict

This unit explores ways in which authors portray and communicate the effects of war and conflict on the lives of children and others in the past. A range of literature in varied styles and presentation brings together words and images of key events from the first and second world wars and supports pupils to understand these from a range of perspectives.  The texts are multi-layered, covering a wide range of issues and themes that will make higher order demands on pupils’ comprehension and writing skills.


Spring 1


Poetry: Unit 3 – Poetry With Attitude

This poetry unit helps pupils to appreciate the power of language to communicate feelings, emotions and viewpoints through the written word.  Pupils experience how poetry can be a source of inspiration, imagination and consternation.  The poems selected cover a range of poetry forms and topical themes, providing pupils with ‘food’ for thinking and discussion.


Mixed Genre: Unit 3 – Captain Scott

This unit explores reading and writing for different purposes from the perspective of a cross-curricular project on explorers. The national curriculum states that pupils should have opportunities to learn about significant people, past and present. In this unit, pupils study the life and work of Captain Robert Scott and his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.  Pupils will put themselves in the shoes of those on the expedition to gain an insight into exploration at this time and the hopes and dreams of Captain Scott and his team.


Spring 2


Classic Literature: Unit 4 – The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe

This unit focuses on the study of a classic novel, ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by C.S Lewis.  The book features in many lists of classic literature every primary pupil should read. The novel reflects the categories of the fantasy and adventure genres but there are aspects of fables and myths too. The story of four children, who discovered a new land at the back of a wardrobe, weaves drama, action and imagination for a satisfying read. The novel is multi-layered with many themes for pupils to explore such as friendship, betrayal, sacrifice, forgiveness, justice and loyalty.

Mixed Genre: Unit 4 – Journey To The River Sea

This unit explores the modern classic “Journey To The River Sea”. The novel addresses many issues: growing up; respect for traditions; people and cultures; racism; approaching new experiences. It is rich in colour, language and imagery, inspiring pupils to respond creatively to its many themes. The book links to the region study of South America, and the world’s most significant physical features in the Geography Curriculum. This is an ideal unit for study prior to pupils taking the SATs, as it covers all the main text types and engages pupils in higher levels of reading comprehension.


Summer 1


Legend: Unit 5 – Beowulf

This unit on legend focuses on an adaptation of the Norse legend Beowulf. As well as offering an insight into Anglo-Saxon times, the legend explores typical themes of the text type such as quests, courage and revenge. There have been many adaptations of the story poem over the centuries and the legend has no doubt been embellished with each telling. The pupils are asked to work towards an exhibition about Beowulf to provide an audience for showcasing the Art and writing they produce. The unit links very well with the study of the Anglo-Saxon period in the Key Stage 2 History curriculum.


Fiction:  Unit 5 – An Encounter With Shakespeare

This unit on Shakespeare gives pupils an opportunity to explore the work of a significant writer using a range of approaches. Pupils explore enduring themes such as ambition, power, love and friendship. Familiar scenarios from popular culture are used for comparison, adapted into text and recreated as a performance. This conscious comparison of contemporary culture to Shakespeare’s plays contributes to pupils’ understanding of complex characters and themes. Additionally, pupils will become familiar with Shakespeare’s mastery of language, in both prose and poetry, and perform a very abridged version of one of his plays.

Summer 2


Modern Fiction: Unit 6 – White Dolphin

This modern fiction unit introduces pupils to a range of issues faced by individuals and communities. The focus novel White Dolphin is an action packed adventure story set around the coast of Cornwall. It supports mature readers to engage with multiple themes to stretch and challenge them, and develops their skills of reasoning and summarising as well as empathy. The book also raises pupils’ awareness of eco-issues of wildlife conservation.


Modern Fiction: Unit 6 – Millions

This unit focuses pupils’ attention on the popular modern fiction novel, Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. It is an uplifting, humorous and poignant book about two brothers who learn the true value of what’s important. The central concept of finding a lot of money moves from excitement to opportunity to burden and eventually danger. Pupils will engage with a range of themes including morality, faith, greed, poverty, charity and responsibility. There is a good balance of excitement, suspense and contrasting characters to appeal to upper Key Stage 2 readers.