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KS3 English

The Curriculum Vision for English

The aim of our English Key Stage 3 curriculum is to develop students’ understanding and ability in the three central strands of the subject: Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening.

In English, as an academic subject:

  • Reading is not only the ability to comprehend a text, to but also be able to infer the implicit meanings in it, and to analyse how a writer has crafted that piece of writing and used language deliberately to create an intended effect on the reader.
  • Writing is the ability to craft a piece of writing for specific audiences and purposes, using structure, vocabulary and punctuation to create intended effects in a range of forms, including both creative and transactional (letters, marketing text, and so on).
  • Speaking and Listening is the process of developing the ability to listen carefully for meanings and implications, and of developing the skills required to clearly articulate ideas and information in tones that are contextually appropriate.

Not only are these three areas of focus the ingredients of future success at Key Stage 4 in English and many other subjects, they are core skills needed to flourish and prosper in adult life, and our English team is passionate about equipping our students for their futures. Key Stage 3 is the time for students to be clearly taught, to practice and to master reading and writing skills and, crucially, to begin to think of themselves as confident, competent, and insightful readers and writers.

It is essential that students continue to read consistently and widely in both their in-school and their out-of-school lives: for that reason, all Year 7 and Year 8 pupils are now enrolled into the Accelerated Reader programme. This supports young people to continue reading library books, and to progressively move upwards through more stretching texts. Some of our feeder schools also use this programme, but it is in no way just a “primary” scheme: it is designed to support ongoing development until pupils are able to access a wide variety of books and genres without such help. There are post-reading quizzes which students enjoy, and which keep us informed of progress, reading ability and pace. Our aim is that all of our pupils should become word millionaires or even multi-millionaires by the end of Year 8.

All of the schemes of work we study during Years 7, 8 and 9 are designed to target one or more of our three foci (reading, writing, speaking and listening). A formal assessment in either Reading or Writing is undertaken for every topic. Moreover, in each half term, the speaking and listening skills of the students are developed through a range of activities designed to promote oral literacy. Our “Teacher Talk” carefully models the tones and range of vocabulary students need to develop, and whole class questioning as well as pair and group tasks are designed to build essential listening and communication skills.

During Key Stage 3 we aim to introduce a wide variety of writers and writing. We develop students who are literate in both classic and modern texts, including Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Shelley, Stoker, Stevenson, Hardy and the War Poets. We aim to nurture young people who can see the relevance and importance of reading and writing as a way of both enriching their lives and furthering their education.

Year 7

Year group Topic Content Formal Assessment Subject specific vocabulary
Year 7 Modern Novel

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief


Students read a modern novel in full. They analyse central characters, themes and context as well as the way the writer employs language.


This unit introduces pupils to many of the analytical skills and techniques they will need as they progress through the KS3 and the KS4 curricula.

In particular, students are encouraged to think about the writer’s choices and intentions, and also to begin to think of themselves as writers.

Creative Writing:

creating a modern mythical creature.

Critical Writing:

Analysing the author’s portrayal of a character

cultural context themes

literary devices

literary techniques







implicit meanings




The Tempest


Students are introduced to Shakespearean Theatre, and are encouraged to think about performance in a world without pre-recorded sound, electricity etc. What is the purpose of theatre? How has this changed since Shakespeare’s time?

We begin to work on the skills needed to analyse Shakespearean language.

Critical Writing: How does Shakespeare present a character or a theme?


Creative Writing:

A story set during a storm












Students are introduced to a wide variety of poetry from different eras. Pupils are encouraged to write creatively to understand how poets think, and to develop their vocabulary particularly understanding the nuances of words.

Critical Writing:

Comparing how poets present an idea in two different poems



imagery, symbolism, juxtaposition





End of year exam  

Student progress over the year is reviewed in the form of an end of year exam. This provides important early preparation for the routines of public examinations at the end of Year 11. The exam is age-appropriate and reviews skills and knowledge gained during the academic year.

Throughout the Year  

·         Students have a fortnightly library lesson

·         Students have a fortnightly off-topic writing lesson, to ensure that they continue to write in a wide variety of non-fiction and creative styles.


Year 8-9

Please note the Scheme of Work for Year 8 & 9 will be added in due course…