English KS3




Through the study of English, we aim to develop an understanding of the importance of language as an essential tool for all areas of the curriculum, as well as a necessary and vital means of communication. By inspiring pupils to become passionate and engaged readers and motivated writers we hope to develop enthused and ambitious young people.

At key stage 3, skills in reading, writing and speaking and listening are developed in preparation for our GCSE course and beyond.


Students are organised into mixed ability groups from entry at the start of the academic year. During the first half-term, all students are assessed on reading, writing and spelling so that any necessary interventions can be made early on.

We continue to build on the skills taught at key stage 2 through the teaching of reading, writing and speaking and listening. At least one novel is studied with an emphasis on the importance of reading for pleasure and the development of ‘active’ reading skills. We also teach autobiographical and biographical writing, poetry, drama, a play, analytical and narrative writing, persuasive speaking, research skills and non-fiction.

Within each unit, several short assessments will take place and these will be used to build a profile of progress made by each individual student.

Students will work through the following units:
• Biography and Autobiography
• Poetry skills and analysis
• Narrative writing and short fiction extracts: The Gothic Genre
• The complete novel: Refugee Boy.
• Study of Shakespeare’s world with a focus on one of Shakespeare’s plays: Twelfth Night, The Tempest, Much ado about Nothing
• Study of the History of the English Language

The above is complemented with:
• A study of language and spelling strategies
• A course of comprehension/reading skills
• The study of at least one whole text


In year 8 more demanding skills of analysis are taught and developed. In addition students are taught genre and narratives, analytical writing, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, non-fiction texts, war poetry and a novel.

The Year 8 course is designed to consolidate the skills learned in year 7 as well as providing a transition into year 9 where work is more geared to the skills and practice required of the GCSE course.

A variety of assessments will take place in Year 8, ranging from discrete, short tasks to more formal controlled assessments. All assessments will be used to build a profile of progress for each student.

Students will work through the following units:
• Genres of Fiction: reading extracts and writing
• Non-fiction: analysis of non-fiction texts and writing
• Shakespeare’s Macbeth: drama and close textual analysis
• War Poetry
• The modern novel: a significant modern novel chosen at the discretion of the teacher


In year 9 students are first and foremost prepared for the challenges of key stage 4 and GCSE. We study one novel, a short poetry anthology and one modern play-script. Half-termly units cover all aspects of the English curriculum. Students continue to develop skills in the conventions of journalism and short story writing, analysis and non-fiction texts. They will also take two formal GCSE style exams; one English language and one English literature, to prepare them for the rigours of the linear GCSE course. These results together with discrete class assessments will be used to build a profile of progress for each student and will be used to establish students end of key-stage grades.

Students will work through the following units:
• The novel – Of Mice and Men
• Poetry anthology – preparation for comparative analysis
• Introduction to GCSE English language paper 1
• Descriptive and narrative writing
• Play scripts – study of a modern play
• Non-fiction and literary non-fiction
• Summer reading – An Inspector Calls


In key stage 3, students work towards at least one formal assessment each half-term unit. These assessments are based on reading and writing skills and are linked to the unit studied. Assessments may take the form of summative assessment, verbal dialogue, written feedback and peer or self-assessment.

Target setting is based on a dialogue between teacher and student. The targets will reflect the individual’s pathway through the key skills necessary for success in English. The targets will be shared frequently with the pupils, both orally and in writing. Parents will be informed of the student’s progress through the targets each term via the AF reports.

At all key stages we are committed to a high level of intervention and monitoring of pupil’s progress.


We run clubs at different times during the academic year. They include a Book Club for Gifted and Talented readers and Graphic Novel Club. We also organise theatre and cinema trips when they become available and we invite a Shakespeare group into school to work with year 8 and 9 students on their understanding and appreciation of Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. When possible, we also look to invite an author into school to inspire and motivate our young people to read for pleasure. English teachers regularly attend the school homework club on a Tuesday and Thursday evening. Each year group is provided with a reading list and extra-curricular activities that they can work on independently. We also have occasional writing competitions throughout the academic year. On occasions we offer evening workshops which focus on skills from a specific unit.


At key stage 3, every student is expected to read at home for at least 45 minutes every week to encourage private reading and reading for pleasure. We know from experience that regular reading, particularly fiction, has a significant impact on a student’s progress in all areas of the curriculum, improving as it does their vocabulary, imagination, comprehension and writing skills.

Specific homework tasks are set regularly. These tasks can include online research, completing work done in class, language consolidation and rehearsing for drama and speaking and listening class work.


More able students are encouraged to lead learning in the class room and lessons are planned to extend and challenge all individuals. Students are offered opportunities to develop in English through gifted and talented workshops and initiatives, examples of this would be university experiences, visiting authors running workshops and our reading challenge activities. The ethos of the department is to facilitate independent learning and a passion for the subject.


In year 7 students with specific learning difficulties and/or very low reading ages follow a separate curriculum designed to build on basic literacy skills. Less able students are offered a teaching and learning programme called Fresh Start which teaches basic phonetics and addresses areas of weakness. These students are taught in small groups with the help of support to ensure that they are provided with the best opportunity to fulfil their potential and develop their self-confidence. From the beginning of year 8 these pupils are introduced back into mainstream study where we are committed to the teaching of mixed ability classes.


All students are encouraged to develop their leadership abilities both through teamwork and independent study. Throughout the year they are also expected to give presentations for which they are formally assessed on their speaking and listening skills.

Peer assessment is an integral part of our curriculum where students assess one another’s work giving supportive and constructive feedback based on set criteria often developed by the students themselves.