Key Stage 3 Overview
The aim of English at KS3 is to extend students’ knowledge of the world and its literature, and as such we have created a broad and challenging curriculum. In Year 7 and Year 8, students are guided through classic texts from the English literary heritage alongside a range of contemporary poetry, novels and plays. Through regular writing challenges they learn to become expressive, creative and precise in the use of the written word. In addition, we are committed to developing students’ oracy skills through discussion, debate and individual presentations.
- Step Up to Year 7 – Students will step up to Year 7 in the Autumn term through a transition scheme aimed to bridge the gap from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3. We will be building on the reading skills from Year 6 so that pupils are ready to read the different poems, plays, prose and non-fiction which they will explore throughout Year 7. Pupils will also explore autobiographies and then have a go at producing a snippet from their own.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream- As Shakespeare reminded us: “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Pupils are transported back into the time of our favourite bard- William Shakespeare. As pupils journey back through his work, they will explore one of his more iconic plays, drawn into a world of fairies, dreams and misplaced love.
- Iconic Speeches – “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” claimed Roosevelt and this scheme of learning explores some of those iconic speakers who have been anything but afraid to stand up for what they believe. During this scheme, pupils will read and analyse iconic speeches, through different times and places, from Martin Luther King to Malala Yousafzai. After studying speeches, it’s time to speak up as pupils will write their own iconic speech on a current affair that matters to them.
- School Life- Whilst many of our students will love being magically transported to the world of Hogwarts, others will delight in making parallels between school life in David Walliams’ world and their own! This half term aims to develop the pupils’ analytical skills through the analysis of different writers’ techniques and language. Pupils will be encouraged to explore how writers create a sense of place and character.
- Poetry from Other Cultures- Where else can you visit a tropical island, the hustle and bustle of London and vibrant Lahore all in one half term? Our different cultures poetry takes pupils’ learning on a journey as they explore the British culture, changing cultures, conflict in cultures and a celebration of identity. Through a range of poems, our pupils will practise how to refer to poems, including using quotations, to support interpretations. Alongside this, pupils will consider the context to the poems and the different key messages different poets try to portray.
- Class Novel- “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies” and our pupils are given the opportunity to do exactly this with the class reader. This final scheme of learning aims to develop and stretch pupils’ close text analytical skills, as well as the skills which they have been developing all year. Pupils will consider the importance of key themes, narrative viewpoints, structure, characterisation and a range of literary techniques.
- Great British Literature- Students will study a range of works from the canon of English literature such as Nicholas Nickleby and Great Expectations by Dickens, as well as Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Students’ learning will help then to appreciate the influence of context on the literary texts as well as hone their analytical skills.
- Crime Writing- Students will look at the theme of crime and punishment in poetry by Browning, Hardy, Armitage and Duffy. There will be a focus on language and style of newspaper reports in order to influence students’ own writing in the production of their own newspaper report based on Roald Dahl’s short story The Lamb to the Slaughter.
- Dramatic Voices- Through reading plays, students will develop their skills for analysing drama and will consider dramatic techniques such as dramatic irony and symbolism. This will allow them to reflect on the importance of stage directions and setting on meaning and interpretation.
- Marketing Project- Within this unit, students will explore language in different forms of transactional writing. Through analysis of reviews, advertisements and persuasive speeches students will consider how to use language to persuade. Students will be creating their own product to “sell” to the rest of the class in our very own version of ‘Dragon’s Den’.
- Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet- As part of our curriculum obligations to the Bard, students will be immersed in the tragedy of young love in Verona. Our students will explore the expectations of love and marriage as well as the tragedy of love blighted by family conflict.
- Classic American Literature- Students will continue to develop their reading for meaning, language analysis and contextual linking through the study of this genre. We will consider discrimination and the influence of the ‘American Dream’, which will interleave with other units in Year 8 and explore important issues such as culture, race and personal responsibility.
War and Words - We commence with the study and analysis of a range of war poems, letters, diary entries and experiences from both historic and modern-day wars. Students will explore representations of conflict and the role of the soldier, how war affected those left behind and how propaganda and censorship were used to persuade soldiers to fight for their country. Students will synthesise knowledge from their history lessons with language skills and literature analysis to form a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding war.
Dickens, the Victorian Poor and A Christmas Carol - We read and explore the timeless classic that is ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens. Credited with ushering in the modern day concept of Christmas and the festive vision of the holidays that has existed since 1843, students will explore the dark underbelly of the Victorian world that is reflected in this ghostly, gothic novella. By the end of this unit of study, students will be familiar with the plot, characters and wider context of ‘A Christmas Carol’ and hopefully be able to “honour Christmas in their hearts and try to keep it all the year”.
An Inspector Calls, Social Responsibility and Drama. Our literature period and focus changes here from the 19th century to the turn of the 20th century, a period of Edwardian polite society where weddings were business mergers and Inspectors ‘inspected’ more than a crime. Our students enjoy the mystery of the Inspector himself, the challenge of Priestley’s political mantra and beliefs, as well as being given the opportunity to investigate the case themselves- “one person and one line of enquiry at a time.”
Shakespeare, Murder and Macbeth, a tale of castles, conflicts, covens and dastardly murders. Our students are treated to a first reading of this exciting tragedy, while immersing themselves in the bloodthirsty and patriarchal context of Elizabethan society and the nature of the tragic hero himself. They will become familiar with the complex structure of the plot and explore key themes of gender, ambition and the supernatural while also exploring debates about human nature and how far some are willing to go to get ahead…
Nature Rocks – From the supernatural in Macbeth to the naturally super in our final Y9 topic. This scheme of learning focuses on the poetry of the natural world, conveyed through world famous poets and the rose-tinted lens of Romanticism, set against vistas as spectacular as the icy crags of the Lake District and as simple as the granary floor in To Autumn. Students will demonstrate understanding of the unique perspective of the Romantics and consider how poets use the natural world to draw parallels with everyday human experiences, whether stopping by woods on a snowy evening or whiling away afternoons at the park.