Throughout Key Stage 3, we challenge our students to become critical readers, creative writers and confident speakers. As a result, we study a variety of novels, plays and poems spanning different eras and genres whereby we examine how language and structure have been used to craft meaning, the writer’s intentions and how the reader may subsequently respond. Through the study of our set texts, our students refine the quality and sophistication of their imaginative writing skills.
In English, we have three separate progress ladders for the following aspects of the subject: reading, writing and speaking & listening. Each progress ladder contains the key skills that students need to develop if they are to be successful in their study of English. We encourage our students to frequently assess the quality of their work so they have a clear and self-assured understanding of the progress they are making in their lessons throughout each academic year.
Furthermore, students acquire independent learning skills through the school’s Building Better Learners (BBL) scheme, something that will play a large role in their study as they progress to Key Stages 4 and 5. In English, we have designed individual task menus and logs for each of our units across Key Stage 3, which provide our students with the freedom to select and complete tasks that align with their personal interests and needs.
At the start of the academic year, Year 7 students will initially complete a short induction unit; this will introduce them to the various skills on the English progress ladders. Throughout the remainder of Term 1, Year 7 students will move on to study a poetry unit focusing on different characters and poetic voices.
In Terms 2 and 3, students will study Madeline L-Engle’s dystopian novel A Wrinkle in Time whereby they will develop their ability to analyse characters, context and key themes. This will then lead them onto their study of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream during Terms 4 and 5.
Year 7 students will complete the academic year studying a unit about character monologues in an effort to improve both their writing plus speaking and listening skills.
During Term 1, Year 8 students will explore a variety of poems revolving around the theme of love and relationships; through this unit, we challenge our students to compare and contrast these poems in a variety of ways. This will then be succeeded by Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective novel The Sign of Four (taken from the Sherlock Holmes series) during Terms 2 and 3.
In Terms 4 and 5, Year 8 students will be taught Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet in order to refine their ability to critically explore and analyse the works of Shakespeare. To end the academic year, students will complete a transactional writing unit whereby they will learn about how to construct and deliver persuasive speeches for dramatic impact.
At the beginning of Year 9, our students study Romanticism by examining an array of poems from the Romantic era and exploring in more detail how context shapes the meanings and messages presented in literature. During Term 2, Year 9 students will complete a modern drama unit where they will either study Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge or Willy Russell’s Educating Rita. This exposes our students to the key conventions of modern plays.
They will then be taught John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men during Terms 3 and 4 where they will focus on analysing characters, themes and context in a perceptive and detailed manner. In the last two terms of the academic year, our Year 9 students begin their study of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which serves as one of their set texts for the GCSE English Literature course.