KS3 English

English at The Malling School offers pupils the opportunity to study a wide and diverse range of texts.  In Key Stage Three, pupils will study a 19th century novel, non-fiction unit, Shakespeare play and a selection of themed poetry each year.  Our programme is designed to foster an enjoyment of language and literature but also encourage our pupils to develop a critical mind set and to make inferences and deductions as they are reading.  Each pupil will also have a designated library lesson every fortnight to give them to opportunity to read for pleasure.  Lower ability pupils follow a curriculum adapted to their needs so this will involve different text choices.

Year 7 begin their time at The Malling School by studying Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This unit gives them the opportunity to: understand life in Victorian England; analyse a novella; map the progression of characters across the text; write a persuasive speech; and experiment with narrative voice; as well as offering pupils the chance to enjoy role-play and drama.  After their novel study, year 7 move on to studying a suspense and sentence structure unit.  This encourages the pupils to improve the accuracy of their writing and it introduces a variety of techniques to vary sentence structure.  Pupils also have the opportunity to try their hand at some ‘spy fiction’ during this unit.  After Christmas, they will begin a narrative writing unit where they will write their own short story.  They will read a selection of contemporary and pre-twentieth century short stories for inspiration and explore the various styles of short stories.  Our Shakespeare unit follows this with the pupils exploring extracts of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Tempest’.  Pupils are introduced to the rigours of understanding Shakespearean language and study some archetypal Shakespearean characters.  In the summer term, year 7 begin work on their survival unit.  This unit combines both fiction and non-fiction texts and offers them opportunities to work on a group presentation.  The survival unit is a firm favourite every year and allows pupils to unleash their inner Bear Grylls!  To complete their first year of Key Stage Three, the pupils study a selection of poetry written by poets from a variety of cultures.  Here we encourage our pupils to be internationally minded and consider the value of literature from all around the world.

In year 8, we introduce Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous character, Sherlock Holmes, by studying his novella, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  The study of mystery detective fiction encourages the pupils to use their inference skills to look for those subtle clues in the text.  A ‘literary shorts’ unit where pupils analyse and compare two 19th century short stories closely follows this.  This is designed to introduce year 8 to the GCSE skill of close comparison as well as strengthening their understanding of short stories.  After Christmas, year 8 study a selection of ‘conflict’ poetry written by various poets. This prepares them for the poetry analysis at GCSE and encourages the pupils to explore their independence when analysing poetry and exploring interpretations.  Our Shakespeare unit in year 8 sees the pupils studying extracts from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Macbeth’.  Here pupils consider the importance of thematic motifs and the unit ensures they understand the basic plot and characters of ‘Macbeth’ before they revisit the play at GCSE.  In the summer term, a study of fiction and non-fiction texts surrounding the topic of ‘war and conflict’ introduces the pupils to political and military speeches.  It also encourages the pupils to consider life in a war torn country and to understand the world from the perspective of other countries, lifestyles and cultures.  Year 8 finish the year by exploring the many techniques of news writing.  This allows the pupils to explore their transactional writing skills and consider the language of reporting.

In the September of year 9, our pupils study a variety of gothic literature.  This sees the pupils analysing extracts from Dracula, Frankenstein, The Woman in Black and A Picture of Dorian Gray.  Pupils also try their hand at writing their own gothic horror story and focus on using language devices to terrify their readers.  This is closely followed by their novel study of either George Orwell’s Animal Farm or the American classic Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.  This unit encourages the pupils to critically explore their text and consider the writer’s intentions when analysing the language and structure of the novels.  After Christmas, the pupils visit many countries and cultures in their travel-writing unit.  Here, a 6 week homework project sees them planning their own ‘grand tour of the world’ and exploring the writing and culture of each of their chosen countries.  At the end of the spring term, year 9 complete their final key stage three unit before starting their GCSE studies.  Our dystopian fiction unit introduces them to many different dystopian worlds and they explore the scary mixture of reality and fiction in The Hunger Games, 1984 and Brave New World.

Our diverse and interesting curriculum is designed to support and stretch the pupils in both English Language and Literature.  All of our units have links to skills and topics they will study at GCSE level and this ensures that when they reach year 10, our pupils are ready to begin their further studies and are well prepared to do so.  Our pupils find the curriculum interesting and engaging and benefit from a well-rounded exploration of literature, non-fiction, grammatical studies and creative writing.