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Key Stage 3

Subject: English

Aims of the subject: To deliver a KS3 curriculum that is both academically rigorous and culturally enriching in order to prepare students for the challenges of GCSE and beyond. We aim to foster a love of reading and literature through the study and appreciation of a range of increasingly challenging material and encourage all students to read widely and often.  In KS3, the programme of study consists of five units of work per year group, each of which consists of a thematically linked, challenging curriculum: Y7 ‘The Magic and Mystery of Storytelling’; Y8 ‘Conflict’, Y9 ‘Relationships’.

Our KS3 curriculum allows students to become confident and creative, curious and analytical, empathetic and empowered as they develop the skills to communicate effectively through the spoken and written word. We challenge our pupils to think sensitively and carefully about issues in their own lives, in the world around them and in the books we read.  English at The Deanery allows pupils to explore and debate, to escape into unfamiliar and fictional worlds and to recognise the power of language. We encourage our students to explore their ideas in a variety of forms: spoken and written, creative and analytical, fictional and transactional. We want our pupils to enjoy exploring language through creativity, performance and analysis and aim to encourage sensitive listening, fluent speech, discerning reading, independent thought, and for pupils to express themselves in writing with clarity and precision.

Year What will I learn? What will I do?
7 Term 1:

Telling Stories

You will learn about the ancient art of storytelling and explore the functions of stories and mythology. You will study a range of influential stories from the past, considering the ideas and function behind them. You will be taught about the changes in English language over time and develop a sense of English as a living language.


Short Stories

You will study a range of short stories; pupils will develop knowledge and understanding of plot, characters, ideas and the writer’s craft.



Term 2:

 Poetic Forms

You will explore the art of poetry, beginning with story-telling, leading to poetry that expresses feelings and ideas. You will study a range of poetic forms and will be taught to explore and discuss the effect of conventions, language and imagery.  You will analyse language, form and structure in a range of forms and will explore Ballad, Narrative, Ode, Sonnet and free verse.




You will learn about William Shakespeare’s life, his theatre and his work. You will also learn about some of his most famous poems and plays, including ‘The Tempest’.






Term 3:

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

You will learn about life in Victorian England and read and study extracts from the novel ‘Oliver Twist’. You will explore the plot, key characters and Dickens’ use of descriptive language.  You will also learn how to write about literature.





Read, explore and analyse influential historical stories and descriptions.

Write your own descriptions and stories.



Read a range of short stories for enjoyment.

Class discussion of narrative devices – structure and perspective, imagery, setting.

Creative writing – dialogue, descriptive writing.

Write a short mystery story.



Read and explore a range of different poetic forms that express feelings and ideas.

Write your own poetry.

Creative/dramatic tasks that further explore some ideas within poetry, e.g. write a newspaper article, drama activity.


Research William Shakespeare and The Globe theatre.

Read and compare sonnets.

Examine famous speeches from some of Shakespeare’s plays.

Read a modern version of a Shakespeare play and extracts from the original.

Create an informative guide to Shakespeare’s life and works.



Read key extracts from the novel by Charles Dickens.

Creative responses to the novel.

Research Victorian England.

Analytical work that explores how Dickens presents the characters.

8 Term 1:

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

You will study this Shakespearean comedy and learn about the plot and characters, themes and about aspects of life in Elizabethan times (e.g. gender) through studying key scenes.  You will also learn about the language of Shakespeare, in particular the ‘Merry War’ between Beatrice and Benedick.





Conflict Poetry

You will learn about the way poets have experienced war and conflict. You will study a range of poems and develop an understanding of the way they have used language, structure and form to express their ideas.




Term 2:

The Power of Rhetoric

You will learn about the language devices writers use to persuade their audience and how to write a convincing and compelling argument.  You will study some famous speeches from history and learn how to give a speech on a topic you feel strongly about.



The Modern Novel: Animal Farm

You will read and study ‘Animal Farm’. You will learn about the characters and themes and explore the ideas in the text.


You will also study the conventions of newspaper writing before writing a fictional news article relating to the novel.







Term 3:


You will develop your understanding of the gothic genre by reading the playscript ‘Frankenstein’ by Philip Pullman, and by studying key extracts from the original text.  You will study narrative structure, language techniques, key themes and ideas, and how writers create effects.





Close reading of key scenes.

Creative tasks – letter writing/drama tasks to show your understanding of the characters in the play.

Essay exploring the changing relationship of Beatrice and Benedick.




Close study of a range of poems.

Research WW1 and apply your knowledge of history to the poems you study.

Compare the presentation of war in 2 poems.





Study articles and advertisements on a range of ideas.

Debate issues and compare viewpoints.

Analyse a text.

Write a persuasive argument giving your views.


Read the novel as a class.

Discussion and activities on different parts of the novel.

Creative responses to the novel, including a newspaper article

A formal essay about a character or theme.









Research the Gothic genre.

Read the play version of ‘Frankenstein’ as a class.  Discuss the events, characters and themes.

Learn about generic conventions.

Analyse the language of key extracts from the original novel.

Write descriptions and monologues.

Write an evaluative response.



9 Term 1:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

You will read the novel and explore the characters and themes. You will learn about the Great Depression and the American dream. You will develop your understanding of narrative structure, language techniques and how writers create effects.

You will also study Steinbeck’s descriptions and the techniques he uses to produce your own piece of descriptive writing.





Blood Brothers by Willy Russell

You will read a modern drama text and explore characters, themes, contexts and issues raised through the play. You will also develop your analytical and academic writing skills.






Term 2:

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

You will study the text and learn about the plot and characters, themes and about aspects of life in Elizabethan times through studying key scenes.




You will study a range of different ‘Relationships’ poems and explore the language, structure and form. You will learn how to approach, analyse and write about a poem you have never seen before and how to make comparisons between poems.





Term 3:

Non-Fiction Opinion Writing and Spoken Language

You will learn how to give an effective presentation and how to use spoken English to express ideas and engage an audience.




Read the novel as a class.

Discussion and activities on different parts of the novel.

Creative responses to the novel, including a piece of descriptive writing.

A formal essay about a character or theme.





Read the play as a class.

Discuss the events, characters and themes.

Investigate the importance of key ideas such as class, education and social inequality.

Produce a creative response to the text.

Write an analytical essay.




Close reading of key scenes as a class.

Creative tasks to show your understanding of the play.

Essay exploring how and why Juliet’s relationship with her parents changes throughout the play.


Close discussion and study of the ideas, language and structure in individual poems.

Writing about poems – both analytical and creative (dramatic monologue, letter, police report).

Comparison of writers’ methods in two poems.




Study a range of effective informative speeches.  Research for your speech – current social issues, historical events, hobbies etc.

Plan and deliver your own presentation to the class and answer any questions from the audience.






Extra-curricular opportunities:

  • Theatre trips
  • Author visits
  • Competitions
  • The Big Book Quiz
  • Readathon


How you can support your child’s progress:

  • Encourage your child to read on a daily basis – The importance of daily reading practice cannot be overstated. Research shows that pupils who read regularly for 20 minutes per day are far more likely to be successful at GCSE level and reading for pleasure is a habit that will enhance your child’s life for the rest of their life.
  • Talk to your child about the work they are doing in English. Ask them to tell you about the plot and characters of the books they are studying. Discuss with them their opinions and ideas.
  • In Year 7 and 8, your child will complete a weekly lesson on the Bedrock Vocabulary platform. Use the information provided by the English department to encourage your child to complete 20 minutes work on this at home each week, and monitor their progress using your own parental code.
  • Debate and discuss age-appropriate real-world issues with your child as part of family conversation– perhaps things that arise from the media, TV or current affairs. Encourage your child to develop and express opinions and to support them with detailed reasons so that they become used to formulating arguments and debating ideas.
  • Provide a quiet, distraction free place for reading and homework, or encourage attendance at homework club and the library if this is difficult at home.
  • Encourage your child to proof read their written work, checking for accuracy of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  • Encourage your child to develop their vocabulary by using a thesaurus.
  • Encourage your child to use Standard English and full sentences in everyday conversation as there is a clear link between good oracy and good writing.
  • Encourage your child to use online games and resources to work on vocabulary and technical accuracy – try Seneca, BBC Bitesize, and the many KS3 apps and study guides available.
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