The English curriculum at Key Stage 3 seeks to give pupils a solid foundation and broad overview in some of the most important periods, texts and authors in British history. Additionally, the curriculum focuses on several selected domains of English such as characterisation, context, plot, form, grammar, and expressive or transactional writing. All students study both British literary heritage and also master grammatical forms of writing each week in Key Stage 3. Students are selected and guided through this curriculum in two strands of learning: traditional and foundation. Despite the differentiated foundation pathway, all students will leave Key Stage 3 with a solid knowledge of life within the 19th century and Shakespearean times.
The curriculum gives pupils a strong grounding in British literature, taught in selective epochs dependent on each selected text and author. Within each year group (7-9), students study a Shakespearean play ranging between the Elizabethan and Jacobean era, and a 19th century text written by either Dickens, Doyle, or Bronte to prepare students for the kinds of texts studied in their GCSE Literature Paper 1 Exam. The curriculum also gives students the opportunity to study two modern texts from the 20th century. Alongside this, students will study collections of poems in Years 7 & 9, whilst a unit in Year 8 focuses on allegory, which builds on prior learning from the modern text Animal Farm. While studying these units, students explore key concepts such literal and figurative language, essay and paragraphing structure, word-level analysis, how authorial and societal context impacts literature, and the self-assessment of their own grammar.
Each unit has been designed to not only provide students with knowledge about each respective epoch, but also to ensure they practise necessary disciplinary content within each unit that builds towards the greater composite of composing an academic essay. In Year 7, the unit on Oliver Twist introduces students to the topic sentence and overall essay format, A Midsummer Night’s Dream gives insight into selecting appropriate evidence, and then understanding metaphor gives students access to analysing language. Skills build cumulatively into Year 8, where the unit on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes gives pupils an overview of how to link paragraphs together when looking at a variety of ways a character is presented, whilst the unit afterwards ensures that students can effectively engage in a balanced argument when looking at Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the final units of year 8, students focus on authorial intent and writer’s choice to allow them to understand the reasoning behind the creation of characters and plot. Finally, in year 9, students will study Jane Eyre at the beginning of the year, which introduces students to writing thesis statements for their essays. Romeo and Juliet builds on the thesis statements, ensuring students can effectively build a thesis argument within their essays. Lastly, at the end of Year 9 students study a short poetry anthology based around the theme of journeys which embeds the skills of thesis statements alongside writing a comparative essay.
We have chosen to focus our curriculum on scaffolding the ability to write in an academic way to enable students over these 3 years to have the confidence and familiarity to write in extended periods of time on unseen extracts and mature and perceptive ways. Students are assessed after each unit to monitor progression across the build-up of disciplinary skills taught within the schemes.
By bringing pupils up to the present day – in the case of units like The Tempest which provide students with current academic theories around colonialism or units like The Daydreamer which enable students to build their cultural capital in areas like Philosophy – the curriculum demonstrates the importance of literary texts in shaping the world of today. Throughout the curriculum, pupils are taught substantive content which defines each epoch and each author’s intent in writing. This knowledge is meticulously planned and regularly revisited and elaborated upon through multiple choice quizzes every few weeks. All of these quizzes are embedded into the units of work and give teachers the opportunity to live mark and give instant feedback on student misconceptions.
High Level Plan
|Term||Year 7||Year 8||Year 9|
|1 & 2||Oliver Twist |
What type of character is Bill Sikes?
|The Adventures of Sherlock Homes|
What kind of character is Sherlock Homes?
Explore the way Brontë presents Jane’s childhood experiences.
|3 & 4||A Midsummer Night’s Dream |
Is the love potion good or bad?
How is Caliban presented in this extract?
|Romeo and Juliet
Starting with this moment in the play, explore how Shakespeare presents Juliet as a tragic character.
|5 & 6||Poetry Anthology |
How does the poet describe the tom cat in this poem?
The Daydreamer or Danny the Champion of the World
How and why does the farm fail?
How does the poet present ideas of _____?
|All terms||Mastery Writing 1 or 2||Mastery Writing 2 or 3||Mastery Writing 3 or 4|