Aims of the curriculum
- To consolidate and enhance skills acquired at Key Stage 2.
- To nurture independence through a variety of Teaching and Learning methods including self and peer assessments and using assessment criteria as a fundamental tool for progression.
- To equip students with the love of learning and appreciation of language and literature.
- To extend reading, writing, grammar and speaking and listening with the view of meeting or exceeding individuals potential at the end of the Key Stage.
- To offer a challenging curriculum which mirrors and prepares the Key Stage 4 experience.
Students study a range of writers who through the ages have been classified as ‘brilliant’. Writers range from Hardy to Bronte and students end with an exploration of the work and life of Charles Dickens.
A Christmas Carol
Students develop their knowledge of Dickens as a social justice writer by exploring the novel ‘A Christmas Carol’. Students develop their ability to write about texts from the social and historical position and develop an ability to comment on extracts from 19th century literature.
An Introduction to Poetry
Students begin to critically analyse poetry with focus on war poets and the way in which poetic form and poetic language are used for effect. Students also get to apply their knowledge of poetic structures to texts they have written.
At GCSE Students are asked to write descriptively or to create a piece of narrative writing. This module ensures students understand the differences between each form of writing and introduces them to methods that enhance imaginative details. Students write independently and in groups to explore the possibilities of imaginative stimuli.
An Introduction to Victorian Literature
Students explore a range of texts from the 19th century with focus on Sherlock Holmes and the work of Bram Stoker. Students consider how language is used in descriptive passages to create an effect on the reader and how texts written in the 19th century often comment on the nature of the England at that time.
Students begin to explore European literature as a genre with focus on the story of Anne Frank. This module affords students the opportunity to both write creatively in the role of historical figures and connect literature to historic events. Students look at different forms of non-fiction text types and explore conventions of diary writing.
Students are introduced to features of genre and use their analysis skills built in earlier modules to consider where detective elements appear in key texts and how they engage their reader. Students are then asked to write creatively using features of the genre and to demonstrate their developed creative writing skills established in Year 7.
Plays and Performance: ‘Blood Brothers’ – introduction to contemporary plays and how characters and conveyed through dialogue and action.
The Gothic Tradition – prose study – students explore a range of fiction from the Gothic genre considering the purpose and place of the tradition in modern society.
Teaching methods and student organisation
Students are seen as individuals and needs are catered for through grouping and colour-coded differentiation strategies from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 5. Students are set on ability and are further supported and challenged through the use of task setting, intervention and opportunities for maximum progression. Regardless of ability all students will receive the same diet and will be frequently assessed encouraging students to become independent and reflective.
Progression after Key Stage 3
The Key Stage 3 curriculum offers a balance of literature and language modules which challenge and inspire a range of learners; equipping them with skills which are essential to the Key Stage 4 experience and moulding transferable literacy skills. Students study a range of canonical writers and learn to write and read a range of fiction and non-fiction. Each module is assessed for reading, writing and speaking and listening skills and supports students to become familiar with the controlled coursework and examination process they will encounter at Key Stage 4 and beyond. Students get a ‘taster’ of genres and writers studied at Key Stage 5 to promote a love of literature at the formative stages of a child’s learning journey.
Additional classes and extra curricular activities
Competitions and extra-curricular groups are held throughout the year; notice of such events is documented in More News! Extra-curricular activities are offered throughout the year, for example;
- Why Shakespeare? Speech Writing Competition.
- Book Ends – Reading group held on a monthly basis in the library.
- Gifted and Able Writing Group.
- Boosting Writers Group.
- Amateur Playwrights group
- Word of the Week
How can you help your child?
To help your child to improve:
- Read a wide variety of texts at home with them, keeping a reading log. Reading of any sort is useful, even special interest magazines. If you read newspapers try to read both broadsheets and tabloids exploring their similarities and differences.
- Pick up an autobiography/ biography of somebody your child is interested in and share reading with them. Ask them to identify the changes that this person has gone through in their lives.
- Complete internet research with your child on the subjects/ authors we are covering during this term e.g. Charles Dickens, Shakespeare etc.
- Encourage your child to practise the key writing skills we cover during the course of the year e.g. letters, stories etc. This can be done in a fun way e.g. write a letter to a favourite character from a film.
- Work with your child to create a list of spellings that they find difficult. Use the suggested links to practise learning them in different ways.
- Key Stage 3 revision books are widely available in bookshops and libraries and give a good general overview of the kinds of skills your child will need to develop. These can be used at home to complement what is being learned at school. If you are in any doubt, please contact your child’s English teacher.
- Visit the theatre – productions of texts we study frequently tour, alternatively hire a DVD of the text studied and consider how characters are presented visually as well as through language.