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English

At City Heights, the English Curriculum aspires to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of some of the key literary movements, while also guiding them towards a love of reading and writing.  Students embark on a carefully sequenced 5-year journey, which empowers them to understand more, write accurately and foster a lifelong enjoyment of reading: a key determiner for future academic success in all subjects.  All of our lessons are built on five core pedagogical elements: positioning in a sequence, decoding of new vocabulary, utilising visuals to aid learning, breaking new knowledge down into small steps with adequate scaffolding, and continuous checking of knowledge and understanding. These principles enable our lessons to be effective and rigorous, and allow our students to feel confident about their learning.

Key Stage Three

The Key Stage Three curriculum is both cumulative and enjoyable; the pupils are exposed to a variety of texts and coached to become masters of these. The curriculum content is centred around three key periods: The Victorian era, Shakespearean texts, and Modern poetry and prose. This addresses a range of time periods and genres and is reflective of the demands of Key Stage Four.  The curriculum is thoughtfully sequenced to ensure that knowledge is cumulatively acquired by spirally returning to knowledge previously covered. This sequencing allows our students to experience the breadth of literary heritage every year, allowing them to gain a rich understanding of the characters, contexts and plots and how literary themes transcend cultures and periods of time, thereby enabling our students to have a rich understanding of the context of their lives, communities and their futures. We hope this will empower and motivate our learners to become responsible and critical thinkers with the determination, knowledge and skills needed to overcome any barriers they may face on their journey towards becoming responsible, self-aware life-long learners.

Year 7 begin the year by studying Oliver Twist before moving on to The Tempest and finally a poetry unit with the title ‘Power of Poetry’. These units underpin the study of texts in year 8, 9, 10 and 11 by securing the foundation knowledge of contexts and themes such as the Victorian and Jacobean era, poverty, injustice and crime.

Year 8 begin with a study of Sherlock Holmes short stories: A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red-Headed League, the Blue Carbuncle and The Speckled Band. These short stories build upon the Victorian knowledge gained in year 7, and also prepare our learners for GCSE study as our Victorian GCSE text is Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four. In Spring term, year 8 mirror year 7 by moving on to a Shakespeare text (Romeo and Juliet) and this play allows a smooth transition from the more light-hearted tragicomedy genre of The Tempest to the more intense genre of the Shakespearean tragedy. Again, this has been carefully selected to prepare the pupils for Key Stage Four study of Macbeth. Finally, in the Summer term, year 8 study Animal Farm- a highly political novel chosen for the use of satire and microcosm which aligns with An Inspector Calls at GCSE.

In autumn, Year 9 read Lord of the Flies, a modern novel with themes such as falling, violence, friendship and betrayal and colonisation. In Spring term, they follow the same sequence as years 7 and 8 and study and Shakespearean text (Othello). Similar to our study of the Victorian novel, the context and themes of these Shakespearean texts link together; Othello bridges the gap between the romantic tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in year 9 and the study of Macbeth in year 11 as it includes themes such as love, violence and Othello as a tragic hero. By the end of Year 9, students are confident in approaching and analysing how Shakespeare presents themes of power and corruption in Macbeth. Finally, in Summer term, the pupils read Things Fall Apart. This modern novella has been chosen as a text to examine colonisation from the point of view of the colonised to provide pupils with a rounded view and offer an experience of a differing culture.

In addition to the Literary Heritage and Reading for Pleasure elements to our curriculum, we also develop creativity and originality through our weekly library lessons and creative writing sessions. In these creative writing sessions, we explicitly teach grammar and apply it to our descriptive and narrative writing, ensuring that our pupils are accurate and diverse in their creation narratives, articles and essays in English and in other subjects. The weekly library lessons are incorporated into English lessons and have a true focus on fostering independent reading skills, as well as exposing the pupils to an even wider range of genres and time periods and celebrating reading.

In terms of Victorian texts, Year 7 read ‘Oliver Twist’, Year 8 ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ in Year 9.  The texts shared similar contexts and themes (orphaned children, poverty, injustice and crime) and the students’ knowledge of Victorian England deepens as they progress through the years. Furthermore, the underlying messages of these texts will support the critical and perceptive understanding required in Key Stage Four.

In the Spring Term all students study a full-length Shakespeare play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Year 7, The Tempest in Year 8 and Romeo & Juliet in Year 9.  Similar to the Victorian novel, the context and themes of these Shakespearean texts link together. By the end of Year 9, students are confident in approaching and analysing how Shakespeare presents themes of power and corruption in Macbeth.

In the Summer Term, all students study either a modern text or poetry, allowing them to experience how ideas and beliefs expressed through writing has changed over time as well as experience a range of literary genres. This sequencing allows our students to experience the breadth of literary heritage every year, allowing them to gain an in depth understanding of the characters, contexts and plots and how literary themes transcend cultures and periods of time.

In addition to the Literary Heritage and Reading for Pleasure elements to our curriculum, we also develop creativity and originality through our weekly library lessons and creative writing sessions. In these creative writing sessions, we explicitly teach grammar and apply it to our descriptive and narrative writing, ensuring that our pupils are accurate and diverse in their creation narratives, articles and essays in English and in other subjects. The weekly library lessons are incorporated into English lessons and have a true focus on fostering independent reading skills, as well as exposing the pupils to an even wider range of genres and time periods and celebrating reading.

Our curriculum at Key Stage Three helps students master the ideas, concepts and stories that have shaped the world and ensures success at Key Stage Four. Both GCSE English Language and Literature are an extension of our Key Stage Three curriculum and incorporates all the skills students have learnt in their English journey so far. GCSE English Language allows students to develop further as creative writers by exposing them to a wider range of genres for them to write in, as well as learning key writing skills. We continue to cultivate critical analysis skills by investigating how language and structure is used across a range of both fiction and non-fiction text from both the present and the past.

 

GCSE English Literature offers students the chance to further their study of Victorian and modern novels, Shakespeare and poetry. The texts they study at Key Stage Four are deliberately chosen to be accessible to our learners because of the foundational knowledge they will have from Key Stage Three. For our Victorian novel, we read ‘The Sign of Four’, a Sherlock Holmes text written by Arthur Conan Doyle. Having previously studied Sherlock Holmes in year 8, our pupils are instantly at an advantage as they will have a robust understanding of the character, structure and themes of the Sherlock Holmes series. For Shakespeare, we study Macbeth, which includes a strong female character, loyalty struggles and a clear moral message, as does Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest in years 8 and 9. The modern text studied is ‘An Inspector Calls’, which includes social and political contextual information relevant to the study of ‘Animal Farm’, and the ‘Power and Conflict’ anthology of poems contains a selection of poems written between 1789 and the present day, mirroring the selection of poems studied in years 7 and 9. By the time they enter Key Stage Four, our students have built up a solid foundation, their breadth of knowledge is wide and varied and they have all the skills required to be successful life-long learners.

 

 For further details on the English Curriculum please click the relevant button below

ENGLISH CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Year GroupCurrent Medium Term Plan
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10Medium Term Plan
Year 11Medium Term Plan

 

 

 

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