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The Key Stage 3 curriculum introduces learners to a range of fiction and non-fiction forms, aspects of narrative and rhetorical devices. Learners are introduced to fundamental concepts in English including context, form, language and structure and explore these through a range of texts and authors.  Learners are also introduced to different narrative forms including plays, poems, novels and short stories and explore the aspects of narrative specific to each form. Learners explore texts from a range of literary periods, which are informed by diverse historical and social contexts and are taught to consider the idea of the literary canon, alongside authorial intention and responsibility. They revisit these substantive and disciplinary concepts across Key Stage 3, encountering them through more complex texts and learning to master understanding and application of key concepts in English.  

Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

Year 9 

In autumn term, learners study an example of 20th century dystopian fiction (Animal Farm). Learners once again revisit the concepts of context - exploring social, historical, political and literary contexts of the time and compare the ways in which writers in the 20th century communicate their attitudes and beliefs. They will learn how the events of a story can represent historical events and how characters can represent particular people or sections of society. They will analyse the structure of a novel and understand extended metaphor. Learners will encounter themes like corruption and tyranny, communism/animalism, education and illiteracy, propaganda, violence, dreams/hope and relate new examples of these themes to specific events and characters through the study of this unit. 

Learners spend fourteen weeks studying a full-length Shakespeare play (Macbeth). Learners revisit the context of Shakespeare and the form of a play and look at the conventions of tragedy in preparation for their study of Romeo & Juliet at key stage 4. Learners revisit the concepts of characterisation and theme, and are also introduced to methods unique to the dramatic form (stage directions, asides, soliloquies). Learners revisit and practise key analytical skills needed for key stage four (annotation, inference, interpretation) and practise honing their ability to write critically about both character and theme. 

In the final 8 weeks of Year 9, learners study the art of rhetoric, exploring its history and being taught the key concepts of rhetoric. Learners identify and analyse the use of these concepts in a range of 20th and 21st century speeches from Michelle Obama to Greta Thunberg. Learners make inferences about writer’s viewpoints and perspectives in preparation for their study of non-fiction texts at key stage four. Informed by this knowledge of rhetoric, learners plan, write and deliver their own speeches about a contemporary issue of their choice, as part of their spoken language component of their English language GCSE. 

Knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.