English at Key Stage 3
Our vision at Wales is to encourage a passion for learning and a love for reading, and this starts in the very first lesson in Year 7. Year 7 English is all about exploring literature throughout the ages and how literature adapts and changes. Throughout Year 7, students will explore 5 different units with opportunities to explore Shakespeare, whole class novels and poetry with plenty of opportunities to write creatively and imaginatively.
We see Year 7 as the foundation of building a student’s knowledge from primary school to give them a springboard to respond to others texts throughout their career at Wales, and beyond. We aim to help students broaden their horizons to help them develop their own critical opinions and thoughts on texts, not only those that are studied in lesson but which are also read for pleasure.
Within Year 8, our aim is for students to explore the power of language across various works of literature and to help them develop a love of writing. This builds on the ‘Literature Throughout the Ages’ theme from Year 7, as students now begin to see how literary traditions are manipulated for a specific purpose.
Building on foundations in Year 7, students start the term by exploring the history of rhetoric and the art of persuasion. This element of the curriculum is embedded throughout the course and culminates in students writing a newspaper article on a topical issue they feel strongly about, towards the end of Year 8.
In addition to this, students will also study a Shakespeare play – Romeo and Juliet – and begin to explore Shakespeare’s use of tragedy and the contexts in which his plays were written.
Finally, students study at length the novel Noughts and Crosses, exploring and evaluating the novel’s key messages and Malorie Blackman’s intentions behind the story. Here we explore how an author might use writing to deliver a powerful, political message, developing the literary genres that have been explored so far.
In Year 9, the curriculum is again designed to build on the previous year, this time not only exploring how writing will be crafted for a particular purpose, but to explore how marginalised voices use their – often unheard – voice in literature from a range of different time periods. We explore the notions of outsiders, disaffection and censorship in texts such as Fahrenheit 451 and A View from the Bridge and conclude the Year 9 course with a transition unit to GCSE. This transition unit explores the notion of the ‘Underrepresented Voices’, looking at a range of unseen poems and also inviting students to build on the range of writing they have done so far, exploring a variety of forms and purposes.
Although Year 9 begins the transition to GCSE, it is, more importantly to us, a celebration of learning so far. We explore many of the key concepts and ideas relevant to GCSE (the presentation of poverty in Victorian writing, Shakespearean tragedy and quality extended writing to name a few) but it also builds very much on the ‘big ideas’ and concepts from previous years.