Skip to content ↓


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, rich and challenging curriculum. 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.


Year 7 - People and Beliefs

The Year 7 English curriculum at Thornleigh focuses on people and their beliefs, and how these are communicated. These stories may be from those with similar experiences to them, or from different backgrounds entirely as the students begin to examine the world in which they live. 

  • All About Me
    Students begin the year by looking at different experiences of school. They study some autobiographies, like that of Roald Dahl, as well as poetry, with poets like Carol Ann Duffy and William Blake, to help them engage fully with the emotions that they may be experiencing. At the end of their first half term, the students write a section of their own autobiography, and create a ‘Museum of my Life’ to present to their peers as they develop their writing and oracy skills.

  • Myths and Legends
    Within this unit, students explore myths and legends from around the world to see how they influence the society they live in and the stories they know. Initially, students focus on Ancient Greek myths and legends that have influenced European society, considering the stories of Medusa, Pandora’s Box and Persephone. Students then cast their gaze to other parts of the world, looking at myths and legends from England to as far away as Polynesia to better understand the world in which they live.

  • Fairy Tales
    Fairy tales are the foundation of so many stories that our students will go on to read and study in their lives, and here students have the opportunity to look in more depth at texts like Hansel and Gretel, or learn a new way of looking at an old favourite, such as Cinderella. Our students really begin to develop their critical lens here too, as they start to consider how gender influences the stories that shape our society.

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    Students start their journey of studying Shakespeare by looking at this magical comedy by the great bard. Looking at the conventions of a comedy and the role that fairies have to play in the plot, students think about how these plays could be staged in the Globe Theatre, past and present.

  • Iconic Speeches
    Through some of the most famous speeches in the English language, students look at how history affects society and how their own voices can cause change as they create their own influential speech on something important to them.

  • Poetry from Cultures Beyond the UK
    Students look into more depth at poetry in this unit, exploring the lives of those beyond the UK and revealing the stories that shape people around the world. While revisiting poetic techniques from KS2, our students study poetry from key contemporary poets, such as Imtiaz Dharker and Grace Nichols to help form their own views. 


Year 8 - Right and Wrong 

In Year 8, our students continue to develop their belief systems as they consider what is right and wrong. Students look at a range of texts from different eras to consider how morality has evolved and how our reasonings have along with it.

  • Gothic & Crime Literature
    Students will study a collection of extracts from famous gothic texts including Frankenstein, The Woman in Black and Dracula to establish conventions of the genre and apply a gothic style to their own creative writing. They will then move on to the murky underworld of crime, looking at some famous literary villains, in poetry and other text types.

  • Marketing Project
    Within this unit, students will explore language in different forms of transactional writing. Through analysis of reviews, advertisements and pitches, students will consider how to use language to persuade different groups of people. Students will be creating their own Gothic-inspired theme park ride to pitch to their classmates.

  • Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
    Building on their understanding of Shakespeare and the conventions of comedy from ‘A Midsummer Night's Dream’, students will read Romeo and Juliet and study the drastic change that play takes into the realm of tragedy. By looking at the issues that Romeo and Juliet face, our students will be able to read empathetically and increasingly consider what is right and wrong in emotional situations. .

  • Dramatic Voices
    After reading Romeo and Juliet and understanding the divide of the families, students here will look at how the twins are separated in Blood Brothers and how they decide what is right and wrong for different people and their beliefs. Through reading Blood Brothers, students will develop their skills for analysing drama and will consider dramatic techniques such as dramatic irony and symbolism.

  • Noughts and Crosses
    Often referred to as a modern classic of our time, one which The Guardian claims will ‘will make you cry, laugh and cry some more’,  Noughts and Crosses is our Year 8 novel which will take students on an emotional rollercoaster. As students read the novel, they will deepen their understanding of what is considered wrong and right within society, as well as monopolising on their reading and writing skills throughout this year to develop a more evaluative approach to Literature.

Year 9 - Individual and Society

Our Year 9 curriculum builds upon the themes of our Year 7 and Year 8 curriculum by bringing together people and their beliefs, including their ideas about right and wrong, and considering how those beliefs can be manipulated, changed or reinforced when part of a larger society. 

· Dystopian Fiction - Students will study an assortment of extracts from across the genre of dystopia, identifying key conventions and searching for inspiration for their own creative writing. Taking in all types of dystopian fiction from the classic 1984 by George Orwell, to more contemporary blockbuster dystopian worlds like ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Ready Player One’ and ‘I Am Legend’. 

·  Animal Farm – With a greater focus on socio-historical knowledge and how this impacts our understanding of a text, students explore authorial intent and allegory in Orwell’s classic novel.

· A View from the Bridge – Students complete a full read through of this modern drama. 

· Write like a… - Grounded in ‘real world’ application, students explore up to four different disciplines of writing: Journalism, Screenwriting, Poetry Writing and Comedy Writing. Students will create their own portfolios of written work in response to ‘real world’ briefs and style guides preparing them for future careers as writers. 

· KS4 Transition - War and Words - Students will study and analyse a range of war poems, letters, diary entries and experiences from both historic and modern-day wars. This unit includes some poetry from the Eduqas GCSE Poetry Anthology and a range of contemporary poems and articles about conflict.

· KS4 Transition  Unit - An Inspector Calls: Social Responsibility and Drama. - Students explore Priestley’s play in full, building their understanding of characters, plot and themes and applying contextual knowledge to support this.