At KS3, students follow a broad and varied curriculum based around ‘The Story of English’ from which they will develop their understanding of how the art of story-telling has evolved through time. The study of key texts from the literary canon will broaden the students’ understanding of different cultures and contexts. The curriculum offered at KS3 is diverse and aims to foster a lifelong love and appreciation of our literary heritage, as well as preparing students with the key skills necessary for the demands of KS4.
The Year 7 In Year 7, students will develop their reading and writing skills through a variety of Language-focused topics such as the creation of Fairy Tales, Travelling Through Texts, and Rhetoric. The Fairy Tales scheme provides students with the opportunity to develop their creative writing skills through the analysis of a range of Grimm’s fairy tales and from learning how to experiment with different narrative structures. There is a clear focus on fostering a sense of independence with students learning how to plan, draft, self-edit and proof-read their written work. Students are also exposed to a range of non-fiction writers such as Bill Bryson in the travel-writing scheme. They are taught how to write for a specific audience and purpose, which is then further developed as they progress to the Rhetoric scheme. High levels of challenge are provided for students as they learn about persuasive devices such as the Aristotelian triad and chiasmus, and how they can use them effectively in their own writing. Students will be exposed to a range of modern and contemporary writers and orators such as Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, and Malala, as they analyse the power of an effective speech.
The Year 8 The Year 8 cohort will build on the skills developed in Year 7 to understand and respond to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, and to develop their descriptive, narrative and transactional writing skills. Students will explore extracts from gothic texts such as Jane Eyre and The Woman in Black, and will analyse the language, form and structure used by writers to create particular meanings and effects. They will then use their knowledge of the conventions of the genre to create their own gothic tale which demonstrates their skills in crafting for effect. Non-fiction articles will also be analysed and explored in the Media scheme as students learn how to present a viewpoint and structure an effective piece of writing using a range of linguistic and structural features.
The Year 9 Year 9 students will continue to build on the development of their language skills with a clear focus on the demands of the transition to GCSE from Year 9 to Year 10. They will develop these skills through the study of the relationship between language and power, culture and gender. They will explore how spoken language is influenced through sociolinguistic factors such as dialect and idiolect, as well as evaluate differing viewpoints on a range of topical issues. Students will continue to develop their writing skills with a greater grammatical focus in Year 9 as they explore the building blocks of effective sentence construction and learn how to craft subtle variations in effect. They will also continue to build on their exposure to challenging texts in order to develop their higher-level reading and writing skills to prepare for the demands of the KS4 curriculum.
Year 7: In Year 7, our students are exposed to a range of rich and diverse literature from the literary canon. The story of English begins with a Myths and Legends unit which explores Homer’s ‘The Iliad.’ The journey through literature continues with the study of the Shakespeare text ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and culminates in the exploration of literature from the Romantic period with particular focus on Blake and Wordsworth. Students will explore the context, themes, language, and characters in a variety of texts. Students will examine and analyse key quotes from the texts and learn how to incorporate these into analytical paragraphs. Assessments will take the form of academic literary essay writing at its early stage – writing detailed, analytical paragraphs. Appropriate support and challenge will be provided throughout the curriculum.
Year 8: The story of literature in Year 8 progresses with the study of Gothic texts including Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ and Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. The literary learning journey moves on to the exploration of poetry from the First World War paying particular attention to the works of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. The theme of war continues with the analysis of a drama text in the more modern context of a ‘Journey’s End’ by R.C Sherriff. Throughout the year, students will explore themes, characterisation and writer’s intention. Students will make links to prior learning on male heroism and courage (e.g. The Iliad) and the effects of conflict. Assessments will build upon prior academic literary essay writing skills with particular focus on an academic style of analytical writing more independently. Appropriate support and challenge will be provided throughout the curriculum.
Year 9: The KS3 story of English concludes in Year 9 with the study of dystopian literature, poetry from other cultures and finally a second Shakespeare text. The dystopian topic encourages students to critically analyse a range of extracts including the allegorical novella ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell. Students are also exposed to a range of poems from different cultures with a view to introducing students to some of the skills eventually needed to access GCSE Unseen Poetry. In order to fully prepare students for the demands of KS4 literature, the literary canon concludes with the study of another Shakespearean text, either ‘The Tempest’ or ‘Othello’. Assessments again take the form of academic literary essays with more of an emphasis on independent quote retention, quote selection and analysis within appropriate context of the text. Appropriate support and challenge will be provided throughout the curriculum.
Speaking and Listening
A plethora of opportunities are provided throughout the KS3 curriculum for students to develop their oracy skills in their English lessons. Students are encouraged to share and discuss their ideas with other students in pairs, groups and through whole class debates and discussions. Students are also explicitly taught how to express their views in a polite, respectful and sophisticated manner in a range of formal settings. In addition, ‘Poetry by Heart’ competitions are held in school every year for students to showcase their passion for literature ,as well as their ability to engage and entertain an audience consisting of both their peers and a panel of judges.
At The Radclyffe School we firmly believe in the transformative power of reading and its ability to unlock new worlds and ideas for our students. With this in mind, we offer a KS3 Accelerated Reader (AR) programme specifically designed to support students’ progress in reading for meaning. Students begin the AR programme at the start of Year 7 and will continue until the end of Year 9. Classes are timetabled into the school library once a fortnight for an AR lesson which comprises of the following: developing comprehension skills; extending vocabulary; learning a range of spelling strategies; and most importantly – reading for pleasure! At the end of every term, we hold celebratory AR assemblies to recognise the progress of our students in their reading (e.g. Top Ten Readers, Millionaire Readers, etc) and award certificates, trophies and prizes to acknowledge their achievements.