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English - Key Stage 3

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Curriculum Year 7 / Year 8 / Year 9


Supporting your child

Extended learning




What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Journey to The Underworld

Students will study a range of Greek myths, including the stories of Persephone and Orpheus. Using these texts for inspiration, students will write their own journey to the underworld.

This unit offers students an opportunity to develop their understanding of narrative writing, building on skills acquired at primary school. It will also lay the foundations for further study of literature texts by introducing them to some of the stories alluded to in texts studied throughout their schooling.  

Novel: Analytical Response

Students will begin to read and study a novel as a class, developing close reading, inference and analytical skills. Students will then be assessed on these skills through the close study of an extract from the novel.

(Note: the novel to be studied may vary according to teacher and group).

This unit offers students an opportunity to develop their inferential and language analysis skills, building on skills acquired in Key Stage 2. It will also lay the foundations for literary analysis which underpins all reading assessments in secondary school.  

Novel: Creative Response

Students will finish reading the novel from Autumn Term 2, examining how an author has created a particular character, atmosphere or setting. This unit will culminate in students producing a piece of creative writing in which they seek to recreate the author’s techniques.

This unit builds on students’ learning from the first half term and applies narrative writing skills with a tighter focus, this time stemming from the ‘model’ of the author’s own style.

Non-Fiction. Technology: Friend or Foe?

Students will be immersed in reading and writing a range of non-fiction texts, exploring their structural and grammatical conventions. The theme of the unit is the use of Artificial Intelligence in modern life and its impact on the human race.


This unit develops students’ knowledge of non-fiction texts from Key Stage 2 and begins to make finer distinctions between these text types, considering the purpose, audience and format of texts and how these function in context.

Introduction to KS3 Poetry

Students study a range of poems and will be taught how to identify and analyse key features and forms of poetry. Students will then transform a poem they have read into an original piece of creative writing.


This unit builds on the poetry that students will have encountered in primary school and introduces more advanced aspects of form and structure.

Shakespeare Smorgasbord

Students will study various famous speeches and key scenes from Shakespeare’s plays as well as being taught to identify common features of Shakespearean language and stagecraft. By the end of the unit, students will understand Shakespeare’s place and importance in the English Literature canon and have applied their technical knowledge to a close analysis of a famous scene from one of the Tragedies.

This unit builds on students’ knowledge of Shakespeare from Year 6 and develops a more technical appreciation of the construction of Shakespeare’s plays. 


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Dystopian Fiction: Reading

Students will study three dystopian short stories in detail: ‘The Pedestrian’ and ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Ray Bradbury, and

‘Harrison Bergeron’ by Kurt Vonnegut. Through the study of these stories, students will develop an understanding of the key features of the dystopian genre and be able to write analytically about how these are developed through the authors’ use of language and structure.

This unit offers an opportunity for students to revisit their basic analysis skills built in Year 7 and hone their precision of evidence selection to support their contentions about a text.

Dystopian Fiction: Writing

Building on their knowledge from the previous half term, students will write their own short story (or the opening of a short story) in the dystopian genre, recreating the key genre features and coming up with their own dystopian narrative concept.

This unit retains the genre focus of the previous half term but requires students to develop their creative writing skills from Year 7. They will, additionally, be encouraged to focus on whole-text structure as well as sentence-level variation.

Global Poetry

Students study a range of different poems from cultures around the world, considering the contextual influences and social purposes of these texts as well as their linguistic and structural features. Students will then complete an in-depth thematic analysis of a single poem, including evaluative comment on how the poet’s viewpoint is influenced by context.


In this unit, students build on their poetry analysis skills developed in Year 7 and start to consider in more detail how contextual circumstances influence authors’ viewpoints.

19th Century Prose: Sherlock Holmes

Students will study ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, alongside independent study of other stories from ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’. At the end of the unit, students will complete a reading assessment in which they analyse how Doyle creates mystery and suspense.


This unit builds on students’ extract analysis skills, developed in the Novel unit in Year 7 as well as the Dystopian Fiction: Reading unit earlier in the year.

Campaigns and Causes

Students will study a range of different campaign resources, looking in detail at persuasive rhetoric. They will learn how to create a coherent campaign for a particular cause, with a focus on writing rhetorically for impact.

This unit builds on the Year 7 Technology: Friend or Foe? Unit and encourages students to take a more personal stance in their own writing.

20th Century Drama

Students will study ‘Our Day Out’ by Willy Russell, with a focus on evaluating their own views on the opposing philosophies of education presented in the play. Students will then write a persuasive formal letter in role, espousing these views.


This unit offers immediate opportunity to build on the persuasive rhetoric writing learnt in the previous half term, as well as providing students with the framework for formal letter writing, which is one of the potential GCSE writing formats. Additionally, it introduces students to modern drama texts and develops the vocabulary needed to analyse these.


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning



Students study a Shakespeare play with a focus on the portrayal of an individual character, studying in-depth the methods used and developing an understanding of the context that shaped Shakespeare’s portrayal.

This unit gives students the chance to revisit Shakespeare, this time from a whole-text perspective, and requires them to construct an argument-led essay in response.

Voices for Equality

Students study a range of fiction and non-fiction foregrounding the experiences of voices from minority groups. Using these texts as a stimulus, students will produce a written speech from an adopted viewpoint.

This unit builds on the Campaigns and Causes unit from Year 8 and offers students an opportunity to explore more provocative and sensitive issues, encouraging them to formulate their own responses in a more considered and crafted manner.

20th Century Novel

Students will begin to study a provocative 20th century novel as a class, with a focus on the presentation of prejudice and characters’ reaction to it. Students will then produce a viewpoint article in response to a chosen area of prejudice or oppression presented in the text, for example, the treatment of women.

(Note: the novel to be studied may vary according to teacher and group).

This unit offers immediate opportunity to build on the exploration of controversial issues undertaken in the previous half term, and to examining how prejudice and oppression are presented in challenging literature.

20th Century Novel

Students will finish reading the novel from Spring Term 1, evaluating how overarching themes and issues are presented, in preparation for responding to a GCSE-style literature essay question.


This unit continues from last half term, with a shift in focus to the literary analysis skills practised throughout Key Stage 3 and fine tuned here.

Spoken Language and Power

Students study attitudes to spoken language. They will understand how spoken language differs from the written word and be able to comment on power, gender and social attitudes towards spoken language.

This unit serves as a brief introduction to Spoken Language Study, building on students’ text-analysis skills but reframing these to focus on spoken-word transcripts. This unit offers a basic introduction to the esoteric skills needed for A Level English Language.

Power and Conflict Poetry

Students study a range of poems based on the themes of Power and Conflict (not from the exam anthology, but rather ranging across different voices, contexts and interpretations of the themes). At the end of the unit, students will produce a comparative essay focusing on literary and historic contexts as well as the authors’ methods.

This unit builds on students’ prior knowledge of poetry analysis but also introduces the skill of analytic comparison.


Students will be assessed formally once per half term but will receive formative feedback at least once during each unit prior to this final assessment. This formative feedback will provide meaningful, specific information about the strengths and weaknesses of a student’s work and offer guidance to help them prepare for their final assessment. Each final assessment task will be given a band, and will be returned to students with a feedback sheet on which teachers will highlight the success criteria achieved and targets for improvement. All formal assessments will be kept in students’ Key Stage 3 assessment folders which will be kept in school from Years 7-9.

Supporting your child

What you can do at home:

Read with your child and encourage them to read! Discuss books or articles together and encourage your child to share their opinions on what they read. Reading doesn’t have to be fiction; biographies or even magazines can provide an engaging and informative reading experience. If your child is a reluctant reader, suggest books on topics in which they are interested and encourage them to use the school Library catalogue search to help them find something that appeals to them. Many examples of young-adult fiction have accompanying films or TV series – these can provide a great starting point for reading engagement.


Other than standard (pencil case, HB pencils, pencil sharpener, rubber, coloured pencils, black or blue biros, or ink pen and cartridges, green pen for corrections, short ruler, reading book and charged iPad)

Exercise book.

Library booklet.

Private reading book.  

Extended learning

Homework policy:

Homework will be set according to the unit being taught. This will average between 30 minutes to 1 hour per week for most pupils. It is also expected that students will read for at least 20 minutes five times a week.

Clubs/ Enrichment opportunities:

Creative Writing Club and competitions

Reading Club (with the possibility of shadowing the Carnegie shortlist)

Author visits

Extended study suggestions and reading lists:

Private reading: pupils should try to read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction. Reading ladders are available on different genres and are provided in the Key Stage 3 Library Booklet which will be issued to each Key Stage 3 student at the start of the academic year. If you would like further suggestions for your child, please contact the College and ask to talk to the Librarian.

Independent reading study: the Key Stage 3 Library Booklet contains three homework projects that span the course of the year and encourage students to read a range of fiction and non-fiction texts in more depth.

Possible trips and visits:

Globe Theatre trip (subject to availability).

Shakespeare in the Gardens, Summer Term.