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English - Key Stage 3

English – the subject at the heart of the National Curriculum – is taught by our passionate teachers with dynamic enthusiasm. Our aim is to develop knowledgeable readers and writers that are inquisitive, full of confidence and overflowing with creativity. We have high standards and expectations for all pupils.

Our flexible curriculum is based around the needs of the children and our pupils are grouped into ability-based sets. After investigating a text, pupils have opportunities to develop their reading comprehension skills and glean effective techniques for their own writing. Interwoven to the curriculum are grammar, punctuation and spelling lessons, which support pupils’ reading comprehension and writing. Alongside English lessons, we also offer all pupils twenty minutes of additional shared class reading time each day with their form class. In addition, pupils are encouraged to read at home and complete a reading record, whilst at school they are guided towards selecting appropriate texts from our school library that both challenge and inspire them

In Key Stage 3 English we encourage pupils to make sense of experiences; communicating them in speech and in the written word. We inspire them to read fluently to acquire and understand knowledge; building on what they already know as well as reading for pleasure. We promote high standards of language, taught through a series of units, ensuring that work is enjoyable and accessible to all abilities. In lessons pupils read, write, act and interact to develop and enhance skills taught in KS2 as well as learning how language can be used ‘in the real world’. Spelling, punctuation and grammar skills are consolidated and built upon. Classes are set in ability groups to ensure that we can meet the needs of all pupils.

Our aim is to prepare pupils for the next stage in their academic career, making certain that:

  • pupils can write clearly, accurately and coherently for the right purpose and audience
  • pupils are competent in speaking and listening during class discussions, debates and formal presentations
  • pupils read with understanding, to inform and for enjoyment

Pupils are discreetly monitored to ensure that progress is being made. Writing is assessed regularly when pupils complete specific key pieces within English lessons and a formal reading test takes place every term. Additionally, pupils are given STAR reader reading age quizzes which enable us to match them with suitable books to read. We aim to respond quickly if a pupil is not making expected progress and offer them suitable opportunities to consolidate their learning. Children are encouraged to develop their self-assessment skills by using comparative judgement to assess their own writing at least once per unit.


We offer many opportunities for enrichment throughout the year. For those that have an interest in performing, there is a weekly drama club that takes place after school. Many of these pupils will be involved in the school’s annual play which is always incredibly popular. Pupils relish the chance to dress up as their favourite book characters as they participate in literary-themed activities in celebration of World Book Day. In a drive to promote reading for pleasure, we offer pupils reading points for regular reading at home, as well as rewards such as gaining extra playtime for regular reading. Each year, we participate in the middle schools Poetry Slam competition and we have also enjoyed success at the mock trial, both of which help pupils develop their oracy skills and self-confidence.

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Year 7

Pre 20th Century Mystery Stories

Pupils read a series of short mystery stories and extracts by pre 20th century authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle. They comment on the historical and social contexts that they were written in and the language used to create suspense. Pupils look for clues in texts and back up their ideas with evidence from the text. They are also given the opportunity to act in role, question suspects as well as predict endings to stories. Pupils use the techniques identified to plan and write their own mystery story as well as writing atmospheric descriptive pieces and diary entries from the perspective of characters.

Non-Fiction Writing

Pupils will revise the non-fiction text types they were exposed to during KS2, alongside some new text types. They will explore the use of features such as formal and informal language, the active and passive voice and bias, and consider the effect these have on the reader. They will select a topic of their choice from an extensive list and research it using a variety of sources. Pupils will make this topic the focus of various text types, of which they will compose a selection of their own. Additionally, pupils will explore First News resources such as their Big Debate.

The Other Side of Truth by Beverley Naidoo

Pupils study how people from different countries and cultures live. They comment on political oppression, immigration and the implications of freedom of choice. Pupils empathise with characters and consider how they would react in the same situation. They act in role, produce speeches, write diary entries and make predictions. Pupils end the module with a discussion piece ‘The truth’ using quotes from the text and the PEEL technique to support.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

This unit looks at Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Pupils think about the theme of conflict and how characters develop and change during the play. They look at the part played by different characters in the final outcome of the story through a courtroom drama where they hot seat as different characters and use the text as evidence to support their ideas. Pupils plan and write an alternative ending, using the writing milestones alongside their understanding of the play to guide them.

AQA Poetry Anthology: Love and Relationships

This unit aims to introduce pupils to the skills required to study poetry, in preparation for their GCSE English poetry units. The unit explores the multi-faceted theme of ‘love and relationships’ from the AQA GCSE Poetry Anthology. The weekly structure allows pupils the opportunity to explore the poem through annotation and discussion, before producing a creative response to the poem. Towards the end of the unit, they answer a GCSE-style essay question based on a poem they have studied, using the SMILE and PETAL techniques to support them.

Year 8

Wonder by RJ Palacio

This unit looks at the novel Wonder by R.J.Palacio. During the module, pupils read the novel and explore the key themes within it, thinking about how society treats people who are ‘different’. They discuss and explore life mottos or ‘precepts’ and debate their accuracy and relevance in our society. In addition, they compare and contrast this contemporary novel with the gothic horror classics Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. They use the text as evidence to support their ideas and views and structure written responses to essay-style questions using the PEEL and PETAL approaches. Their final assessment task is to write a piece of extended writing discussing a chosen ‘precept’ in depth.

Heroes and Villains

This unit is designed to introduce pupils to a wide variety of heroes and villains - mythical, fictional and real-life. The unit asks pupils to justify what makes a hero or villain, and why. Each week has a different focus and exposes pupils to a wide range of English skills with a focus on both reading and writing and with many opportunities for speaking and listening. There is a focus on analysing language through close interpretations of quotes and pupils explore poetry, fiction, non-fiction and media throughout the unit. Pupils continue to develop their confidence in using PEEL and PETAL to structure their responses.

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Pupils explore the novel by reading and discussing the text, retrieving specific information to answer questions and making predictions. They use clues from the text and Internet research to consolidate their understanding of the Auschwitz camp. Pupils make distinctions between the writer’s point of view and that of the characters. They recognise the narrative voice and understand the effect ‘Bruno’s’ voice has on the story. They are given the opportunity to debate whether they feel the novel addresses the issues it covers in a sensitive way or not and finish the unit with an in-depth book review, using evidence from the text to justify their views.

Poetry Anthology: Youth and Age

This unit builds upon the skills introduced during Year Seven to study poetry in preparation for their GCSE English poetry units. The unit explores the theme of ‘youth and age’ from the OCR GCSE Poetry Anthology. The weekly structure allows pupils the opportunity to explore the poem through annotation and discussion, before producing a creative response to the poem. Towards the end of the unit, they answer a GCSE-style essay question based on a poem they have studied, using the SMILE and PETAL techniques to support them.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Pupils research the poverty, cruelty and class system of Victorian Britain. They study the story of Oliver Twist and empathise with his and other characters. They act and evaluate scenes. Pupils understand why Dickens made the language choices he did in a series of tasks to consolidate their understanding. Pupils review the book, considering an alternative ending that they will produce as a graphic novel.

Knowledge Organisers

Year 7

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Year 8

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Key Performance Indicators