Key Stage 3
In KS3 English the curriculum is designed to prepare all students for the communication skills they will need for success in life. This builds on the work undertaken in our primary schools, including the transition work with the High School.
They could be learning to manipulate words in order to create an estate agent’s brochure for a house featured in a 19th century novel.
They could be learning to shape words in order to solve a murder mystery.
They could be learning to structure words in order to build a shrewd analysis of a character from Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men.
Through all these means it is our intention that students will experience a sense of excitement as they learn just how powerful it is to be able to control their words effectively in the modern world. Added to this, we hope that along the way they will also gain a sense of insight and understanding about the means that other people have used to powerfully control their words in generations gone by.
Through a variety of teaching methods and resources students can enjoy lessons where they explore the techniques that can be used to create engaging writing for a range of different purposes and audiences. In response to the changing academic demands of the GCSE course, our KS3 schemes include a range of 19th and 20th century texts to prepare them for such rigours. Students follow a carefully designed and comprehensive thematic programme of study which gives opportunities for them to build communication and reading skills in written and spoken forms in every term of their Key Stage 3 English education. In every year at KS3 students follow thematic units of study which give them an opportunity to develop writing skills, reading and inference skills and experience a wide range of English literature. experience. A summary of the units are below and further detail can be found in the Learning Journey at the bottom of the page.
In Year 7, after a technical skills ‘Literacy Bootcamp’ at the start of the year, in order to consolidate learning from Key Stage Two, students then study three thematic units: ‘Family’, ‘Place’ and ‘Myths and Legends’.
Within these units students read a rich variety of prose and poetry. These include texts from the literary heritage such as Beowulf, Wuthering Heights and Huckleberry Finn; texts from different cultures such as Laughter Beneath the Bridge, Half of a Yellow Sun and Island Man; and more contemporary texts by writers such as Frank Cottrell Boyce, Carol Ann Duffy and Roald Dahl.
Students will develop their writing skills as they create letters, essays, brochures, descriptions and respond to comprehensions during the year.
In Year 8, a second technical skills ‘Literacy Bootcamp’ begins the year before students study three genre based units of study: ‘Mystery’, ‘Gothic’ and ‘Magic’.
Our aim is for students to begin to deepen their understanding of how writers’ methods create a sense of character, setting and mood specific to particular genres. We look at the writer’s craft as exemplified by luminaries such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Daphne Du Maurier, J.K. Rowling and, of course, William Shakespeare, through extended study of The Tempest.
Through their reading of great writers, our students are encouraged to develop their ability to craft great writing of their own, across a variety of fiction and non-fiction assignments.
Having broadened our students' awareness of a range of writers, forms and genres in Years 7 and 8, we use Year 9 to allow our students a more sustained literary focus upon one author and one text at the outset of Year 9, before shifting our attention to an in-depth exploration of reading and writing skills, with regard to fiction and non-fiction texts, in the latter stages of the year.
We use John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in order to give students the opportunity to explore not only the way in which a writer shapes plot, character and theme but also to encourage students to appreciate the significance of texts in their cultural contexts. Students write creatively and analytically in response to this text and they also use it as a catalyst for speaking and listening presentations.
In the second-half of the year, texts by, amongst others, Susan Hill, Sebastian Faulks, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell and Charles Dickens afford students the opportunity to hone their reading and inference skills. Once they are skilled in identifying how writers manipulate language and structure to achieve an impact upon a reader, our students create increasingly sophisticated fiction and non-fiction texts of their own, for a variety of audiences and purposes, and in a range of formats.
Reading is a large focus for both students and staff in our department. Staff and students read together regularly at the start of lessons and we challenge each student to read a range of genres as part of our Reading Challenge; these are just some of the ways that a love of reading is promoted. An ongoing enthusiasm for reading is shared through personal recommendations and displays. The Librarian leads a reading group for students. We also hold workshops with established authors; past visitors include Rose Edwards and Briony Pearce.
It is also very important to us, of course, that our students are academically successful. The level of achievement of each student is closely tracked and monitored through regular assessment. These assessments vary in type and formality but students receive detailed written feedback and are given time respond to their personalised targets, in line with whole-school policy.
Our hope is that students will very much enjoy the engaging content of our thematic curriculum. The skills that they will acquire at Key Stage 3 English in Poynton High School will enable them to secure a brighter future, both academically and personally.
In line with National Curriculum guidelines, Key Stage Three students at Poynton High School encounter a wide, varied and challenging range of reading. Alongside their reading in class, they are encouraged and supported in completing an individual reading challenge in each year which introduces them to a variety of literary genres.
Students continue to develop their knowledge of and skills in writing, refining their drafting skills and developing resilience to write at length. They are taught to write formal and academic essays as well as being afforded numerous opportunities to write imaginatively.
Our aim is for all of our students to become skilled in writing for a variety of purposes and audiences across a range of contexts; for all of our students to develop the ability to read with understanding and confident inference; for all of our students to be able to express themselves assuredly in debate and presentation.
We aim to equip students with the communication skills that will set them up for successful future lives.