English - Key Stage 3
English – the subject at the heart of the National Curriculum – is taught by our specialist teachers with dynamic enthusiasm. Our aim is to develop knowledgeable readers and writers that are inquisitive, full of confidence and overflowing with creativity. We have high standards and expectations for all pupils.
Our flexible curriculum is based around the needs of the children. After investigating a text, pupils have opportunities to develop their reading comprehension skills and glean effective techniques for their own writing. Teacher demonstration follows – a process that the class are very much involved with – and then supported and independent writing. Interwoven to the curriculum are grammar, punctuation and spelling lessons, which support pupils’ reading comprehension and writing.
In Key Stage 3 English we encourage pupils to make sense of experiences; communicating them in speech and in the written word. We inspire them to read fluently to acquire and understand knowledge; building on what they already know as well as reading for pleasure.
Alongside our English lessons, we also offer pupils in both Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three thirty minutes of additional reading time each day: this alternates daily between guided ‘Reciprocal Reading’ sessions, which give them the opportunity to discuss a range of texts with their peers, and independent reading, which allows them to select a book from home or the library. Our school library is well-stocked to accommodate all reading abilities and genres and is staffed during lunchtimes and PM registration periods daily.
We promote high standards of language, taught through a series of units, ensuring that work is enjoyable and accessible to all abilities. The English team works closely with the S.E.N department to ensure all pupils can succeed. In lessons pupils read, write, act and interact to develop and enhance skills taught in KS2 as well as learning how language can be used ‘in the real world’. Spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are consolidated and built upon. Classes are set in ability groups to ensure that we can meet the needs of all pupils.
Our aim is to prepare pupils for the next stage in their academic career, making certain that
- they can write clearly, accurately and coherently for the right purpose and audience
- they are competent in speaking and listening during class discussions, debates and formal presentations.
- they read with understanding to inform and for enjoyment.
We offer many opportunities for enrichment throughout the year. For those that have an interest in performing, there is a weekly drama club that takes place after school. Many of these pupils will be involved in the school’s annual play which is always incredibly popular. Pupils relish the chance to dress up as their favourite book characters as they participate in literary-themed activities in celebration of World Book Day, raising money for Book Aid in the process. In a drive to promote reading for pleasure, we offer pupils reading points for successfully completing challenges linked to the books they read at home and those with the highest totals are rewarded a place on a reward trip at the end of the year – this year, they enjoyed a visit to Harry Potter World. For our avid readers we run a book club, where pupils explore the books kindly gifted to us by The Book Trust. Pupils also enjoy the opportunity to watch a theatre production in London. In addition, we ensure we link literacy to other areas of the curriculum, such as enrichment days and collaboration with the talented artists at Ingestre Hall. Pupils also contribute towards our school website, gaining valuable journalistic skills in the process. Each year, we participate in the middle schools Poetry Slam competition and we have also enjoyed success at the mock trial, both of which help pupils develop their oral skills and self-confidence.
English Curriculum - Year 7
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
This unit looks at Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Pupils think about the theme of conflict and how characters develop and change during the play. They look at the part played by different characters in the final outcome of the story through a courtroom drama to hot seat characters using the text as evidence to support their ideas. Pupils plan and write an alternative ending, using the writing milestones alongside their understanding of the play to guide them.
Pupils will revise the non-fiction text types they were exposed to during KS2, alongside some new text types. They will explore the use of features such as formal and informal language, the active and passive voice and bias, and consider the effect these have on the reader. They will select a topic of their choice from an extensive list and research it using a variety of sources. Pupils will make this topic the focus of various text types, of which they will compose a selection of their own. Towards the end of the unit, pupils will compose a non-chronological report in the style of First News’s ‘Big Debate’.
Pre 20th Century Mystery Stories
Pupils read a series of short mystery stories and extracts by pre 20th century authors. They comment on the historical and social contexts that they were written in and the language used to create suspense. Pupils look for clues in texts and back up their ideas with evidence from the text. They are also given the opportunity to act in role, question suspects as well as predict endings to stories. Finally, pupils use the techniques identified to plan, write and level their own mystery story.
The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo
Pupils study how people from different countries and cultures live. They comment on political oppression, immigration and the implications of freedom of choice. Pupils empathise with characters and consider how they would react in the same situation. They act in role, produce speeches, write diary entries and make predictions. Pupils end the module with a discussion piece ‘The truth’ using quotes from the text and the PEEL technique to support.
AQA Poetry Anthology: Love and Relationships
This unit aims to introduce pupils to the skills required to study poetry, in preparation for their GCSE English poetry units. The unit explores the multi-faceted theme of ‘love and relationships’ from the AQA GCSE Poetry Anthology. The weekly structure allows pupils the opportunity to explore the poem through annotation and discussion, before producing a creative response to the poem. Towards the end of the unit, they answer a GCSE-style essay question based on a poem they have studied, using the SMILE and PETAL techniques to support them.
Pupils read and explore a wide variety of fairy tales. They discuss the common features of fairy tales and compare different versions of the same traditional story from authors such as Angela Carter, Phillip Pullman and The Brothers Grimm. They consider the stories from different perspectives and re-write them as different characters. Towards the end of the unit, they plan, draft and write up their own fairy tale, focussing on structure, characterisation and the use of V.C.O.P within their work.
During 2-3 sessions of Reciprocal Reading per week, pupils read and discuss the following texts: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz; Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian; Harry Potter by JK Rowling; The Demon Headmaster by Dick King Smith; The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis; Boy by Roald Dahl. These texts will be rotated around the classes.
English Curriculum - Year 8
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Pupils research the poverty, cruelty and class system of Victorian Britain. They study the story of Oliver Twist and empathise with his and other characters. They act and evaluate scenes. Pupils understand why Dickens made the language choices he did in a series of tasks to consolidate their understanding. Pupils review the book considering an alternative ending that they will produce as a graphic novel.
Heroes and Villains
This unit is designed to introduce pupils to a wide variety of heroes and villains - mythical, fictional and real life. The unit asks pupils to justify what makes a hero or villain, and why. Each week has a different focus and exposes pupils to a wide range of English skills with a focus on both reading and writing and with many opportunities for speaking and listening. There is a focus on analysing language through close interpretations of quotes and pupils explore poetry, fiction, non-fiction and media throughout the unit.
Wonder by RJ Palacio
This unit looks at the novel Wonder by R.J.Palacio. During the module, pupils read the novel and explore the key themes within it, thinking about how society treats people who are ‘different’. They discuss and explore life mottos or ‘precepts’ and debate their accuracy and relevance in our society. They use the text as evidence to support their ideas and views. Their final assessment task is to write a piece of extended writing discussing a chosen ‘precept’ in depth. They will also produce a creative response inspired by their chosen precept.
OCR Poetry Anthology: Youth and Age:
This unit builds upon the skills introduced during Year Seven to study poetry in preparation for their GCSE English poetry units. The unit explores the theme of ‘youth and age’ from the OCR GCSE Poetry Anthology. The weekly structure allows pupils the opportunity to explore the poem through annotation and discussion, before producing a creative response to the poem. Towards the end of the unit, they answer a GCSE-style essay question based on a poem they have studied, using the SMILE and PETAL techniques to support them.
‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’:
Pupils make notes on and discuss the text, retrieving specific information to answer questions and make predictions. They use clues from the text and Internet research to consolidate their understanding of the Auschwitz camp. Pupils make distinctions between the writer’s point of view and that of the characters. They recognise the narrative voice and understand the effect ‘Bruno’s’ voice has on the story.
During this unit, pupils investigate different types of text on a chosen theme. They develop their research and note-taking skills, critically compare texts and then channel all they have learnt into their own presentation on their chosen topic. Finally, they deliver their presentation to an audience as well as take in the presentations of their peers, which they critically analyse.
During 2-3 sessions of Reciprocal Reading per week, pupils read and discuss the following texts: Holes by Louis Sachar; Skellig by David Almond; Flour Babies by Anne Fine; selected articles from the latest edition of First News. These texts will be rotated around the classes.