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Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

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.  

Year 8 

In Year 8, learners are reminded of the importance of social and historical context when reading and interpreting texts. Learners study Small Island a play written by Andrea Levy who was a British Caribbean writer. She commissioned the playwright Helen Edmunson to adapt the novel Small Island into a play. Learners are taught how to comment on modern drama and will explore a range of dramatic conventions like stage directions, acts and scenes, how to analyse the structure of a play and how to evaluate the language characters use. They will explore a range of themes like ambition, adversity, political influence, prejudice, classism and learn how relate them to specific events and characters from their study of the play. 

In the spring term learners study another Shakespeare play The Tempest where students will explore a text which has multiple plots, they will be exposed to the conventions of comedy, tragedy and tragicomedy. They will complete a closed book assessment for the first time and learn how to compose a balanced argument. They will explore literary themes like magic, nature vs nurture, power, monarchy and treason, colonialism and love. 

Finally, in the summer term, learners study the origins of gothic literature and draw on prior knowledge of the Shakespearean era and Victorian eras to understand the way in which the origins of the gothic were a reaction to the changes in society at the time. Learners revisit the concept of genre and develop their understanding of how figurative language contributes to generic conventions. Learners continue to develop their repertoire of terminology and practise refining their analytical writing to explore character and setting. As in Year 7, learners use their knowledge of generic and stylistic conventions to create a piece of writing in the style of the gothic genre. 

 At the end of Year 8, learners revisit the short story form with a focus on narrative perspective through their study of a range of contemporary short stories. Learners draw on their understanding of the ways in which contemporaneous contexts influence writer’s choices about narrative voice and perspective, linking this to authorial intention and the responsibility of the writer. 


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.