Key Stage 3:  English

Curriculum Intent

English Department curriculum intent

The progressive curriculum journey we have created builds on the experiences of students at Key Stage 1 and 2. Students will be introduced to a variety of classical fiction as well as more modern fictional texts and a wide variety of poetry and non-fiction. A key part of the English curriculum at Murray Park is to introduce students to literature which takes them on a journey through different lives and cultures. It is a love of literature and learning which has influenced our curriculum plan which gives staff the opportunity to teach texts they are passionate about, whether this is in the format of studying a whole text or a short extract. A love and passion for reading is further embedded into our curriculum through weekly library lessons for Key Stage 3 and fortnightly sessions for Key Stage 4.

Building on their learning from Key Stage 2, our students will deepen their understanding of writer’s craft and technical accuracy at Key Stage 3 in order to appreciate and emulate successful writing. This will then be regularly tested through both formative and summative assessment with students’ responding to the feedback they are given to bridge any gaps in knowledge and continually develop their skills.

As our students enter Key Stage 4, they will begin their GCSE journey through studying classic literature in preparation for their GCSE examinations. Students will study ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, ‘An Inspector Calls’ and an Anthology of Power and Conflict poetry. The wider world will continue to be embedded within this curriculum through the study of extracts in preparation for the English Language examinations.

Key Stage 3

In English at Murray Park, students cover a wide range of inspiring topics all designed to promote high standards of language and literacy, whilst developing in them a love of literature and an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage, as well as focusing their attention on the reasons why writers write and the different contexts behind the texts being examined. From creative writing to Shakespeare to poetry to grammar, students are exposed to different texts, contexts, viewpoints and writers across the five years, starting with Key Stage 3.

The national curriculum for English at Key Stage 3 aims to ensure that students:

  • Develop an appreciation and love of reading, increasingly engaging with challenging material
  • Understand increasingly challenging texts, from novels to plays to poetry
  • Read critically, being able to examine them in such ways as by analysing the language choices made or by comparing how different texts present ideas
  • Write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and for information
  • Plan and edit their work through considering who they are writing for and how they are using vocabulary, spelling and grammar effectively and accurately to achieve this
  • Use Standard English confidently in their own writing and speech.

Our curriculum is designed with National Curriculum requirements embedded, but also with our students in mind. We aim to intrigue them, to amaze them; we choose our topics very carefully so that students enjoy their learning and are also challenged. Core skills in writing, reading and spoken language are developed so that students feel confident with different types of text and are able to express themselves with imagination and accuracy. We want students to understand the writer’s craft in both their reading and their language, relating ideas to a text’s context and understanding the influence of these factors. When studying a novel, we focus on plot, character and key themes.

When devising the English curriculum, we look to augment students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development: topics and texts are chosen with a view on developing these, from Romantic poetry up to pre-1914 texts all the way to the latest fiction and non-fiction. In addition, we are able to welcome visitors such as the Young Shakespeare Company and professional writers on a regular basis to build upon our work in school.

Every year seeks to build on the last; every topic seeks to develop but also recap skills learnt previously. From initially building on knowledge and skills taught at Key Stage 2, we seek to develop pupils’ linguistic knowledge, skills and understanding and offer opportunities for breadth and depth in reading and writing.

 

Curriculum Overview

Year 7

In Year 7, students examine a range of topics that mainly link to literary fiction. Students begin by looking at characterisation in the form of our ‘Heroes and Villains’ scheme of learning. Students then read their class reader for the year. Staff choose challenging novels, which include ‘The Tulip Touch,’ ‘Private Peaceful’ and ‘War Horse,’ carefully to fully engage their classes. As well as reading the novels critically together as a class, students examine how writers structure and use language within the texts to affect their reader. They are then introduced to analysing poetry and the works of Shakespeare, with a visit from the Young Shakespeare Company thrown in for good measure. Towards the end of the year, Year 7 read and compare several texts around the themes of ‘identity’ in order to make them consider who exactly they are and how they see the world. The year is completed by examining authorial intent in the ‘Narrative Writing’ topic, where students study texts from different contexts as well as concepts such as allegory.

Every week, Year 7 students also visit the library to have a reading lesson: the school has invested heavily in the Accelerated Reader scheme, designed to promote reading for pleasure and help students to do so.

 

Year 8

In Year 8, students study a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including thematically linked extracts by topic and look at how to write more informative, non-fiction-style pieces. Students will start the year by enjoying a class novel, developing the language and structural analysis skills established in Year 7. Novels include options such as ‘The Woman in Black’ and ‘Ghost Boys’ and are chosen for their engaging plots and characters as well as their literary value. Having been introduced to poetry in Year 7, Year 8 students move onto analysing poetry that is centred around a theme of ‘Love, Relationships and Conflict.’ Poems such as ‘Symptoms’ and canonical texts such as ‘Sonnet 18’ are explored in order to expose students to a wide variety of thematically linked poetry. Following this, students will study ‘The Merchant of Venice’, a play which focuses on religion and the cultural differences in society.  Following this, students will touch upon the gothic genre while studying ‘Monsters and Murderers’, a scheme of learning which embeds key skills through analysing both fiction and non-fiction. Towards the end of the year, students consolidate their understanding of how they write their own views and develop a persuasive argument. Towards the end of Year 8, return to non-fiction in the form of our ‘World of Work’ topic, designed to expose them to a range of future possibilities by learning from the past and the present.

Our Accelerated Reader scheme continues for Year 8 students, continuing to help students to read texts suitable for their reading age for pleasure, with staff ready to listen to them read to ensure fluidity and comprehension.

Year 9

In Year 9, the English department look to raise the level of challenge compared to previous years. Students will start the year with studying a novel for a term, a scheme which focuses on challenging students understanding of writers’ craft and how and why characters are constructed. Students will continue to analyse plot, character and theme but focus further on critical evaluation.

After continuing the trend of starting with a novel (options include Noughts & Crosses and Of Mice and Men), students move onto examining a Shakespearean text (normally Romeo and Juliet), with further independent study of the text when compared to year 8. After Christmas, students imagine both a utopian and dystopian future with a creative writing scheme of learning. The following scheme solely focuses on the study of non-fiction. In our ‘Rhetoric’ scheme, we provide students with the tools to write in a variety of styles including: letters, articles and reports.

Towards the end of the year, Year 9 students return to analytical through studying extracts from classic gothic literature.

Our Accelerated Reader scheme continues for Year 9 students, with reading ages tracked and intervention put into place where students have reading ages significantly below expectations.

 

Literacy

Everything that students do in English at Key Stage 3 is designed to develop their core skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening. From their Accelerated Reader lessons that test and then seek to progress reading ages, to formative Whole Class Feedback tasks that are planned with technical writing skills at the forefront, as well as every topic included in our curriculum, students are constantly asked to focus on how literate they are and how they could advance this. This is in addition to the focus we give ‘literacy errors’ when giving feedback: spellings, punctuation and grammar. We want all of our students to be able to communicate their ideas in the most effective ways possible.

 

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Autumn Term
Heroes and Villains (Characterisation)

The Novel

The Novel

Love, Relationships and Conflict Poetry

The Novel

Creative Writing: The Future

Spring Term
Introduction to Shakespeare

Introduction to Poetry

The Themes of Shakespeare

Producing Poetry

Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet

Poetry Across Time

Summer Term
Identity

Writing for a Reason

Writing From a Viewpoint

The World of Work

AQA Year 9 Assessments

Creative Writing: The Gothic

 

Extra-curricular activities

The English department runs the school newspaper, with students of all years making contributions and developing their ability to write interesting, informative pieces. Articles, quizzes and interviews are just three of the features parents find when the newspaper is sent home periodically.

Every day, Mrs Makasis also runs a variety of activities in the library. From meditation to games to exploring new books with students, inspiration can be found every lunchtime.

During form time, intervention sessions take place, mainly for Year 10 and 11 students. The intention of these is to revise and recap GCSE English Literature content, as well as developing their skills in creating revision materials. Revision sessions take place after school also: ‘Commit to Six’ is primarily aimed at Year 11 students and offers students the opportunity to recap and expand on their knowledge of the skills and content covered in their GCSE examinations. Once each term, ‘Twilight’ intervention sessions are offered, where students work intensively on their English studies until around 7pm.