“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”
― Maya Angelou
In Year 7 students begin the year by studying the evolution of English as a language, and the origins of English Literature, we start with a short project, where the class is encouraged to work in groups, learning about teamwork and friendship as well as the history of English. This then evolves into a study of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Once a week all students in Year t have an English Literacy lesson, where they work on the core skills of reading and writing for different purposes. The year begins with these skills being put into use as students create their own story “The Jewel of Elderor” in which they are the hero. Each week students develop a new chapter, learning the skills in class and writing their chapters at home. By the time it gets to Christmas everyone in year 7 has written their own short story!
In year 8 we focus on the skill set that will develop into analysis and understanding ability at GCSE. The curriculum is designed to cover both language and literature skills, and encourage wider reading to gain that ‘sense of myself’ that Maya Angelou talks about above. Students study a whole Shakespeare play and read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. The students start off the year with Media skills and learn about how the news and TV broadcasters develop stories, they also look at story telling in film, and analyse plots, character and action from several different sources. This unit has proven very popular with the students and gives them a good grounding in the type of English essential for communication and understanding in today’s digital world. This then evolves into an understanding of writing styles and purpose, which we work to develop throughout the year.
As you can see there’s a lot of different skills built into KS3, and by the end of two years we aim to have students who have read a wide range of texts, engaged with them both critically and for entertainment, and have the ability to express themselves, on paper or verbally, with considered application of knowledge.