In Key Stage 3 students develop a range of reading-and writing based skills through studying novels, poetry, non-fiction and drama. Students learn how to structure an essay in preparation for GCSE and beyond as well as how to enhance their creative writing skills for a variety of purposes.
Year 7 is created around interactive units of work that aim to build students’ skills through speaking and listening, reading and writing. Through the exploration of fertile questions, students are encouraged to use English as a pathway to their understanding of the world around them. The course starts with: ‘Monsters, fear and adventure: what entertains a reader?’ allowing students to understand what elements make a story engaging. Using the novel Darkside as a backdrop, students will create their own gothic narratives, with emphasis on descriptive writing skills. In addition to this, students will reflect on their understanding of the text by producing analytical paragraphs on key parts of the text. Later in the course, students will also read and analyse texts such as Two Weeks with the Queen, a collection of Greek myths and Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Students will gain an insight to the progression of English over time, as well as develop interpretation skills necessary for exams and assessments. Assessments will consist of written analysis, dramatic and formal presentations and exam style tasks.
Year 8 begins with the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, where students are able to explore the themes of love, innocence, courage and cowardice. Alongside the study of the novel, students explore war, patriotism and the notion of power through war poetry. Further in the year, students focus on the theme of crime and punishment, where students explore the fertile question: ‘Is punitive punishment the only option for criminals?’ While studying the novel Holes, students will engage in dynamic discussions as a means to build their presentation and debate skills. Alongside Holes, students will analyse similar characters and themes in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. This unit will assist students in developing their formal writing skills, with emphasis on writing to inform and explain. Moreover, students are given an array of opportunities to learn and apply a range of grammar and punctuation which will then assist them in writing tasks. The rest of the year consists of analysing, interpreting and engaging in texts such as Roald Dahl short stories, poetry and Blood Brothers. Such variations in texts, authors and time periods, will force students to challenge their ability to make links within the English classroom and the world they live in. Assessments will consist of written analysis, writing to inform/explain, formal presentations, creating poetry and exam style tasks.
Year 9 is a very significant year for students, as we further enhance the skills they require for success at GCSE. Year 9 begins with the classic Of Mice and Men, where students are challenged by analysing key extracts in light of language and structure. Additionally, students begin to think more critically about the significance of social and historical context to a text and its purpose. Students then continue their study of classical texts with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Here students work on their reading and writing skills, with the focus being their ability to write creatively and with flair. The rest of the course explores ‘Victorian Murders’ through texts such as Sherlock Holmes, a collection of GCSE poems and An Inspector Calls. Each unit of study provides students with the opportunity to build upon their analytical skills, their writing skills and their knowledge and application of grammar and punctuation. Assessments will consist of GCSE style questions, formal presentations and a blogging project. Year 9 students will develop their analytical skills as well as building their understanding and interpretation of various texts, through formal exam style assessments.