The Key Stage 3 curriculum is designed to prepare students for the rigours of the GCSE examinations and to support them to develop the resilience needed for all exam qualifications. As a result, each unit of study culminates in an exam style assessment which assesses how students have revised, how they respond in exam conditions and how they meet the exam criteria. There are three key assessment points across each year to ensure that we can measure students’ progress. There is a baseline, interim and summative assessment assessing student’s abilities in both reading and writing.

Year 7

Students begin by developing core literacy and reading skills. Writing for a real audience (a letter to their primary school) sees students recognise the need for accuracy in punctuation and spelling and to develop an interest in the reader through the use of effective vocabulary. Analysis of a full text, leading to creative writing, is assessed through the reading of Rundell’s ‘Roof-toppers’ where students infer character attributes and analyse language.

The relationships in Shakespeare’s comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are studied for students to understand that the themes and ideas in Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant today.

Finally, the summer term is spent reading and writing poetry, culminating in the successful, annual event that is the Year 7 Poetry Reading Competition.

Year 8

In Year 8 we aim to challenge students both in content and ideas. Skills of analysis learnt in Year 7 are now applied to richer and more challenging texts and concepts.

David Grant’s ‘Angels’, a play about the impact of bullying in schools, is used as a stimulus for students to consider the ideas that surround bullying and to use this to write a newspaper article on the subject.

Students are next encouraged to respond personally and to understand the context of WWI by reading Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Private Peaceful’. Analysis of the effectiveness of Morpurgo’s language in conveying this period of history to a modern reader will be the focus of the end of unit assessment.

Political texts and the impact of digital media will be the final written assessment as students will analyse then apply language skills to persuade and influence.

Finally, a literary anthology of extracts and poems from Sophocles to Carol Ann Duffy will see students analyse how writers have written about the theme madness across time.

Year 9

The Year 9 English curriculum is designed to fully prepare students for the demands of the GCSE course that they will undertake in Year 10. Students will develop their reading, inference and analytical skills by reading and responding to challenging ideas surrounding the texts they study. Colonialism in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ and the dystopian fictional elements in ‘1984’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ are studied as well as universal themes in John Steinbeck’s classic ‘Of Mice and Men’. Students develop creative writing skills, by writing in response to picture stimuli, and then progress to writing non-fiction texts where they argue their own viewpoints.

For more information please contact Mrs Spalding by email or on Twitter via @THSEnglishDept