IRIS Learning Trust was formed in June 2018 and is based in the North East of England. We are proud to serve our communities and aim to offer outstanding educational provision.
The Trust believes that to be successful and promote a culture of excellence and aspiration, we need to place improving the lives and outcomes of children at the heart of everything we do.


create a culture of high expectation and commitment to success


through our daily work secure excellent academies for our local communities

grow and learn together

work with children and families to create great places of learning for all

IRIS Learning Trust

Corporation Road





Fordfield Road, Sunderland, Tyne And Wear, SR4 0DA

01915 537655

Highfield Academy

Year 6 (classes 16, 17 & 18)


Have you ever wondered what is would be like to explore Antarctica?  Have you ever thought about what it would be like to live in a land of ice?  Well today, Year 6 from Highfield and Valley Road found out the highs and the lows of an Arctic expedition from Al Sylvester: adventurer, explorer and an inspiration to us all.   We now know how to survive, what training we need to do, how to go to the toilet and how to remain very, very patient.

We are off on an exploration!

Our topic for the Spring Term will take us on an adventure round the frozen kingdoms as we explore the polar regions of the world.

We started our adventure by getting changed into the correct kit to make sure that we survive the harsh and very cold climate.  As you can see, we needed to wear a lot of layers to trap in the warm air.  We discovered very quickly that the kit and equipment was very heavy and difficult to walk in.  We can’t wait to see what exciting adventures and interesting sights we will find as we continue to explore these frozen kingdoms.

Culinary exploration

Food is vital for survival when exploring the Polar regions of the world. High–calorie and food high in protein means that we will have enough energy to maintain our body temperature and ski across the icy, frozen landscape. 

The chefs have been introducing us to some and weird and wonderful foods that are often eaten in these cold climates including pickled eggs, chocolate brownies and steak.  We are being taught the vital skills of using a knife safely (you do not want to be injured in the Arctic) and how to preserve and cook our food so that it also tastes delicious.  We can’t wait to see what we will be eating next week!

Celebrating World Children’s Day

On Wednesday 20th November  we  enjoyed celebrating World Children’s day by making bunting of the articles we think are very important.  Two of our Year 6 Rights Respecting Champions even led a whole year group assembly – well done Toby and Emily!

WW2 in computing

Over the past few weeks we have been researching information about different areas of WW2 and putting it all together in power-points.  We have learned a lot about how to present information, how to include slide transitions, animations and using hyper-links.  Then we have used them to teach the rest of our class what we have found out.  It has been great to ‘be the teacher.’

Brilliant biographies

In English we have been researching and finding out about Anne Frank’s tragic story.  We have really enjoyed learning new facts and finding out how hard life was for Jewish people during WW2.  Some fantastic biographies have been produced…

Class 17 Remembers

Class 17 were the final group to visit two local war memorials this week and we got a lovely day for it! First, we travelled to Seaham to pay our respects at the decorated ‘Tommy’ statue. As we stood there, a few of us decided it felt right to hold our own moment of silence. The whole class joined in, making Mrs Anderson and Mrs Beaton extremely proud of our respect. Following that, we took the time to look at all of the metal poppies lining the fence overlooking the sea. It brought it home to us why it’s so important to remember the fallen heroes of the various wars: each name was a real person, some sharing our surnames.

After another short minibus journey (thanks to Mr Hibbert!) we arrived at the cenotaph in Mowbray Park. The wall surrounding it has the details of all of the wars where people have Sunderland have given their lives to protect and serve. It was both sad and interesting to read.

Toby commented, “I can’t believe that I have never properly understood the symbol of the poppy and why we celebrate Remembrance Day.”

It has been a special week, so closely linked with our topic. Well done class 17!

Step Back in Time - Beamish

We had a great day as we travelled back in time to the 1940s and experienced life as an evacuee.  At Home Farm, we were kindly taken in by George and Stephanie, who showed us the many tasks we would have to complete if we were evacuees (including cleaning up after the animals!)  We all enjoyed sitting inside a real Anderson shelter, blacking out the windows and making carrot cookies.  We even managed to squeeze in a trip to the sweet shop to see if sweets have changed over time!



World War 2

Year 6 have made a fantastic start to their new World War 2 topic.  We have been enjoying finding out when and why it all began. We have been ordering the main events in the lead up to WW2, listening to the moment war was announced by Neville Chamberlain and doing pencil sketches of the leaders. 

Watch this space for our very own version of Neville Chamberlain’s announcement speech (because we know we could have done a better job)…

We have also been taking inspiration from the artist Clarice Cliff to design postcards that evacuees would have sent home to their parents.


We have been on the edge of our seats in Year 6 reading the page-turner ‘Once’ by Morris Gleitzman.  Chapter after chapter, we have been left on cliff-hangers awaiting the fate of Felix and Zelda in war-torn Poland during World War 2.  This book has been published all over the world and each time with a new and exciting front cover.  In our art lessons, we designed our own version of the front cover for one of our favourite books.  We can’t wait for the next instalment!