Year 7-9: Our New English Curriculum

The English department is pleased to announce that, from September, we will be launching a new curriculum for Years 7, 8 and 9.  These schemes have been developed by staff in the team, to provide:

-          A relevant curriculum to engage students

-          A focus on key literacy skills that prepare students for life after education

-          A curriculum that challenges students of all abilities, preparing them for the rigour of the new GCSE specifications

How often will students have English?

Across Years 7, 8 and 9, students will have four lessons of English each week.  These will be split across reading and writing skills (2 lessons each week of each, with a separate teacher for each) so that students are constantly improving both skill sets. This allows each teacher to focus solely on these skills that will prepare students both for their GCSE exams and later life.

How will students be assessed?

Students will study a different topic each term, with regular assessments used to track each student’s progress.  Years 7 and 8 will be assessed against our updated reading and writing skills criteria- with assessment results sent home termly on their whole-school reports.  Year 9 will be assessed against the criteria for the new GCSEs, which will inform the teacher estimates given on students’ whole-school reports.  All assessments are being adapted to reflect the changes to the GCSE students will take at the end of Year 11, again preparing them for qualifications that are assessed solely on exams.

What will students study in Year 7?

In Year 7, students will be learning by exploring six ‘big questions’ across the year.  Through these, students will experience a range of texts- including a range of poetry, different Shakespeare plays and a modern play.  We are also excited to be exploring a shortlist of new novels to introduce to Year 7- this will be announced in the next academic year.  Furthermore, students will use their reading skills to develop their writing, both for non-fiction and fiction.  This will include exploring how they present and promote their own views as well as looking at how to create their own Gothic stories, based on the exploration of Gothic writers.

Autumn Term Why do we use poetry to describe the natural world?
How can we sell an idea?
Spring Term How do we create a picture with words?
What makes someone a Shakespearean villain?
Summer Term Are novels just stories?
Can real life be staged?

What will students study in Year 8?

In Year 8, students will get the opportunity to explore even more inspirational and challenging texts by looking at how different poets have presented war across the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  Furthermore, they will explore Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in order to discuss and debate to what extent Shakespeare is relevant to us today.  Again, we will be studying a new novel for Year 8 too; this will be announced alongside the Year 7 choice next academic year.  Students will also study other writers when looking at the dystopian genre, before creating their own dystopian piece.  With regards to non-fiction writing, students will also be looking at how to make their writing more original and entertaining.  Lastly, we will be launching a new unit where students analyse the features of spoken language to decide to what extent we are defined by the language we use.

Autumn Term Why does great literature stem from terrible situations?
Should writing follow rules?
Spring Term How can a world be truly perfect?
How is Shakespeare relevant to our lives?
Summer Term TBC: Novel to be announced
How does our language define us?

What will students study in Year 9?

One of the most significant changes to our curriculum plans is that the GCSEs for English Language and English Literature will now be taught from Year 9, rather than Year 10.  This is to give students of all abilities both the support and the confidence to achieve their best in these core qualifications.  As a result, students will start Year 9 by studying Of Mice and Men as a practice text, before moving on to study Shakespeare’s Macbeth (this will be a text that they are examined on in Year 11).  In addition to preparing for the Literature exams, students will also spend half of their lessons each week focusing on the skills for the Language exams where students will need to demonstrate their reading and writing skills across a range of situations and genres.