Overview of KS3: English
From years 7 to 9 pupils cover all of the skills they will need for both reading and writing, preparing them for the requirements of their GCSEs at KS4.
Each year group studies a novel in depth, extracts from a variety of poems, Shakespeare plays and other creative literature. Using these texts, pupils develop analytical skills to consider the purpose and effects that the writers of these texts were trying to create, looking at specific language and structural choices.
For writing, students in each year group practise producing both creative and non-fiction texts for different purposes and audiences, using language devices and sentence structures to create effects.
Throughout all of the topics and skills studied, the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar is always an important focus. Students undertake a reading and writing assessment on the topic studied each half term which helps to inform their overall levels and progression.
Year 7 will begin the year by studying a novel. Our selection ranges from Hole by Louis Sachar to Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. They will then explore the world of Shakespeare, learning about the context in which he wrote his plays and having some fun exploring his language.
The second term will allow our pupils to develop their writing skills as they focus on descriptive writing and how to choose language for different effects, before moving on to explore the conventions of Victorian Literature.
Year 7 will go on to study a range of poems from other cultures, exploring their contexts and the poets’ messages about the world we live in. They will then end the end studying media texts across the ages and creating their own media texts.
Year 8 will recap their analysis skills by beginning the year studying a novel in detail, this time ranging from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. They will then go on to apply these skills to an anthology of poem based on the themes of power and conflict.
The second term will see our pupils explore the effects of social media on the modern world before developing their creative writing skills further by exploring different purposes and audiences and how best to meet their different needs.
Year 8 will go on to study a range of Shakespeare plays, which will allow them to delve into Shakespeare’s use of language and effect on the modern world. They will then end the year learning how to write persuasively using different language and structural features.
In Year 9, students begin to study towards GCSE standards and engage with the specific requirements for the Literature and Language exams. They will explore either Romeo and Juliet or The Tempest in detail, practise their analysis and evaluation skills of extracts from different texts and develop their descriptive, narrative and persuasive writing skills.
All students in KS3 at the moment will go on to complete the recently reformed GCSE specification for English meaning that they will be assessed entirely by exam with no coursework.
Overview of KS4: English
The new specification English Language course consists of two examinations that will be taken at the end of Year 11. Pupils will be tested on their ability to understand a range of different fiction and non- fiction texts from across different time periods. They will demonstrate their skills in inference, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Both examinations will also have a writing element in which pupils will be asked to write for a number of different purposes and to different audiences. There is a major emphasis on spelling, grammar and punctuation on this course as these skills are weighted heavily on both exams.
The new specification English Literature course also consists of two examinations which are essentially a study of a range of literary texts, including drama by Shakespeare, novels from different time periods including Jekyll and Hyde and Lord of the Flies, and a collection of poetry. The examinations are all closed book, therefore pupils learn skills in analysing extracts and linking these to the writer’s messages and the context in which the text was written. Emphasis on spelling, punctuation and grammar is maintained throughout this course.
SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, and Cultural)
Throughout both Key Stages, students study a variety of texts from different cultures. Students study the contexts in which the authors are writing and exploring the lives of people from different countries. Students consider what makes up a person’s culture and how it can be influenced by different beliefs, religions and moral codes.
They explore what they believe makes up their culture and write poems and stories which reflect this. Students study a wide range of books which encourages students to consider morality and values, including books such as The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies.
In Year 7 students study a novel set during The Holocaust; The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Students explore the context of the Holocaust during WW2 and examine the innocence of children against the horrific events that happened.
They learn about how the events and moral codes children are exposed to affect their views on life. Students also study Private Peaceful; a novel set during WW1 and again explores how our ideas about freedom and morality can be shaped by the events that happen during our lives. They learn about sacrificing yourself for somebody else and the extremes people go to for love.
Homework in English will be set at least twice each half term and will be linked to the topics each year group is studying in lessons, enabling them to embed the skills they are learning in a fun and creative way. Homework may take a variety of different forms depending on the topic being studied.
Key Stage 3
Our Key Stage 3 pupils may be asked to step back in time and gather research on the lives of people from days gone by, create pieces of writing from the point of view of characters they have studied, showcase their knowledge through quizzes or by creating revision posters, practice spellings of sophisticated vocabulary or use technology to take photographs or create videos using lots of different techniques. This homework will be marked for both effort and for demonstrating a range of skills so that it can help our pupils make even more progress in lessons.
Key Stage 4
Our Key Stage 4 pupils will be working hard towards their GCSE exams at the end of the year and will be given a range of different tasks to help them be as prepared as possible. They may be asked to complete practise exam questions, research social context for the texts they are studying, practise using sophisticated vocabulary and punctuation or create revision posters on different themes and ideas they have studied in lessons.