Key Stage 3

Every pupil at Sir Thomas Boughey High School studies English at Key Stage Three, during three lessons per week. The Department intends to provide pupils with a very broad, rigorous and challenging academic experience. Furthermore, the Department recognises its pastoral responsibilities and values individual needs as well as the significance of pupils’ interests and opinions.

Pupils are organised into coloured sets based on their ability. This allows teachers of the subject to differentiate work so that pupils can access the curriculum at a suitable level and make good progress. The Key Stage Three curriculum is three-dimensional, based on the topics in the table below.

Autumn 1st Genre Introduction to Shakespeare Other Cultures
Autumn 2nd Skellig Holes Writing Skills
Spring 1st Poetry Creative Writing ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’
Spring 2nd Understanding Language Text and Performance Assessment
Summer 1st Advertising Persuasive Writing Film
Summer 2nd Travel Writing Reporting the News Shakespeare
  YEAR 7
Autumn 1st Genre
Autumn 2nd Skellig
Spring 1st Poetry
Spring 2nd Understanding Language
Summer 1st Advertising
Summer 2nd Travel Writing
  YEAR 8
Autumn 1st Introduction to Shakespeare
Autumn 2nd Holes
Spring 1st Creative Writing
Spring 2nd Text and Performance
Summer 1st Persuasive Writing
Summer 2nd Reporting the News
  YEAR 9
Autumn 1st Other Cultures
Autumn 2nd Writing Skills
Spring 1st ‘Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’
Spring 2nd Assessment
Summer 1st Film
Summer 2nd Shakespeare

Year Seven

During Year Seven, pupils build on their Primary school Literacy work. The English Department aims to develop pupils’ spoken and written communication skills as well as their enthusiasm for reading. Regular assessment takes place through the marking of exercise books, including bespoke Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) tasks. Attainment is reviewed twice a year to ensure pupils are making good progress.

Pupils start Year Seven looking at Genre. During this unit, they become more familiar with a range of texts and discover new insights into how language is used to create meaning in both fiction and non-fiction.

Pupils then read ‘Skellig’, a novel by David Almond. This gives them an opportunity to engage with a full text, again exploring the writer’s style. In the spring term, pupils are introduced to another form of writing: poetry. Creativity is inspired in this unit, with pupils reading and writing a range of original, personal and increasingly complex texts.

Following this, pupils study language more closely, particularly in relation to their own writing skills. To achieve a balance between fiction and non-fiction, pupils study travel writing in the summer term; they learn about the conventions of holiday brochures and travel guides before writing their own.

This leads into a media unit – advertising – which again is designed to promote creativity and enthusiasm for writing and presenting to others.

Year Eight

When pupils move into Year Eight, they begin with an introduction to the life and work of one of the world’s most famous and enduring writers: William Shakespeare. This unit gives pupil the opportunity to explore language change as well as express their opinions on the huge range of themes Shakespeare explores in his plays (and poems).

Continuing to explore fictional texts, pupils move on to read a novel after the half-term break. ‘Holes’ was chosen because of its enormous appeal to young people. It is a story about friendship, loyalty and the miscarriage of justice.

After Christmas, the focus changes from reading to writing. Through a unit on creative writing skills, pupils develop technical aspects of their writing as well as understanding the need to produce engaging, original texts. It is this topic on which the annual examination is based. The ‘text and performance’ unit offers a range of interesting challenges and experiences for pupils. Part of this unit is based on dramatic techniques that pupils can evaluate and explore themselves, working in conjunction with the Drama Department.

To assist in the transition to their studies in the upper school, pupils also will also study an entire drama text. In the summer, attention turns to non-fiction via the study of persuasive writing. This unit assesses reading and writing skills as pupils make use of effective persuasive leaflets/posters etc. to inspire their own writing. To increase confidence and presentation skills, pupils also deliver a speech to their classmates on a topic that has a meaning to them.

Finally, the year is completed with a media unit. Studying the presentation of news on television and in the press gives pupils the chance to explore bias as opposed to objectivity. In addition to looking at the technical aspects of still and moving texts, pupils are also encouraged to express their opinions on the issues presented in these texts.

Year Nine

Year Nine is the time for pupils to reflect on their learning and consolidate their reading and writing skills. Much attention is given to the transition to GCSE study. Firstly, pupils learn about life as part of other cultures by studying a range of literary texts by writers from traditions different to their own. Furthermore, pupils reflect on their own unique cultures and, in this year of choice, reflect on what makes them valued members of our society.

Writing skills are revisited in the second half-term. More advanced skills are studied in order to make pupils’ writing judicious and entirely appropriate for a given target audience. By this stage, pupils are well aware of their writing targets and are given a great deal of support in order to achieve them. ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ is an incredibly moving novel, based on events during the Holocaust endured by millions of innocent people during the Second World War. As well as evaluating the writer’s style, pupils reflect on the events explained in the book. This unit gives pupils an experience of studying GCSE English Literature. It gives a flavour of what to expect when they move into Year Ten.

The Department’s period of assessment allows pupils to fully exhibit their reading and writing skills to their classroom teachers. Bespoke tasks are designed, based on the academic needs of the pupils. The ability to access some of the more advanced aspects of Key Stage Three success criteria is developed during this intensive learning period. Something new follows, with the study of film. This is a technical unit in which pupils consider the impact of camera angles, sound, lighting and other aspects of film production on the audience.

Finally, pupils end their Key Stage Three experience by studying a complete play by Shakespeare. The choice of play is chosen by individual teachers based on the interests of pupils in their classes. The aim of this final unit is to ensure pupils are engaged with the work of Shakespeare (in preparation for Key Stage Four study) but also to add rigour to the close of Year Nine, in the light of the Department’s intention to provide on-going challenge for pupils.