English - Secondary
The English curriculum for the Primary School is currently under review and will be updated for 2017-18 by Wednesday 6th September.
At KSA, we aim for every pupil to become an articulate and confident communicator (both in spoken and written contexts), a critical and resourceful reader and empathetic and passionate individuals. Through our varied curriculum, we develop pupils’ academic and social skills and provide them with a range of opportunities that broaden their horizons and empower them to become active citizens.
|Year group||Allocated hours|
|Year 7||6 hours per week, plus 2.5 hours of independent reading within the school day|
|Year 8||6 hours per week, plus 2.5 hours of independent reading within the school day|
|Year 9||5 hours per week, plus 2.5 hours of independent reading within the school day|
|10||5- 6 hours per week|
|11||5- 6 hours per week|
|12||6 hours per week|
|13||6 hours per week|
Long term overview
In English, we have a spiral curriculum which means we visit similar skills each term and gradually build up pupils’ skill and proficiency. However, this focus on the development of the transferable skills of reading and communicating is underpinned by a knowledge-based syllabus that exposes pupils to range of different stimulating contexts, past and present, near and far, in order to develop their cultural capital and emotional intelligence. Although each unit is centred on a fictional text (either a play, novel or collection of poems), each one is supported by non-fiction reading which enriches pupils’ understanding and application of ideas to different contexts.
In KS3, each year is designed around a big question that pupils reflect on throughout the course and spend time exploring synoptically in the final half term.
|Year group||Big Question||Curriculum Content|
|7||What does it mean to belong?||‘Refugee Boy’ by Benjamin Zephaniah and media texts about refugees
‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens
A Shakespeare play (different each year) which we perform as a whole year group
‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry
Poems about Belonging
|8||What makes a hero?||Sherlock Holmes and other short stories from the mystery genre
A Shakespeare play (different each year) which we perform as a whole year group
World War I Poetry
‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
|9||What does it mean to ‘grow up’?||‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
Extracts from different Shakespeare plays about Representation of Youth
Poems about Growing Up
The Representation of Youth in the Media
In KS4, we prepare pupils for their GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature examinations, ensure that they are building towards A Level study and maintain a consistent focus on reading for pleasure, spoken communication and independent revision skills.
|Year||English Language||English Literature||Beyond the GCSE syllabus|
|10 and 11||
For those students who continue to study English Literature to KS5, the curriculum offers opportunities to study more rich and controversial texts in more detail and with greater engagement with critical perspectives. Recurrent themes across the course include gender, power and relationships. Students also, in their coursework, have the opportunity to study and compare two texts of their own choosing.
|12||‘The Taming of the Shrew’ by William Shakespeare
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood
‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams
‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley
‘Poems from the Decade’
Coursework – two novels chosen by students
In all Key Stages, pupils will read a non-fiction text, part of a fiction text (prose, drama or poetry), develop their understanding of themes within both these texts through a speaking and listening activity, and have an opportunity for extended writing each week.
We know that pupils need a solid knowledge base in order to develop their creative and analytical skills, so they have regular quizzes to embed key knowledge throughout each unit.
We also know that pupils become effective readers and communicators if they have a rich vocabulary, so pupils are explicitly taught at least 30 ambitious words each half term. These words relate to the topic and can therefore be used frequently within their class work. We work through a cycle of activities to ensure mastery of each word. Pupils keep a Vocabulary Book where they record new words they are taught and words that they discover while reading, so that they can revise and utilise new vocabulary in their own work. They are tested on vocabulary acquisition at the end of each half term.
Pupils in KS3 are set homework every day, and will usually mark or respond to feedback on their homework as their Do Now activity. Students in KS4 are set slightly longer pieces of homework 3-4 times a week, which is also marked in class. Most of their homework is pre-learning (reading non-fiction texts to prepare for discussions) or consolidation (embedding vocabulary, practicing analytical or creative writing). In KS5, students are set pre-work which is usually reading-based that needs to be completed prior to each lesson, and a weekly homework task which develops their essay writing skills.
All our units end with a ‘real’ outcome, whether it is writing to the Prime Minister, presenting to other year groups or producing an anthology of great work. This helps pupils to see how meaningful their learning is. In year 7 and 8, pupils also put on a whole year group production of a Shakespeare play, which is performed, designed and marketed entirely by the pupils themselves.
Pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure across the school. In KS3, pupils spend 30 minutes every day reading. For 3 days of the week, they read from a book of their own choice. Given that pupils need to be as confident with non-fiction as fiction in order to be successful in University study and beyond, once a week the whole class reads a topical non-fiction text and discusses the issues it raises. On the final day, the class reads a novel together, led by the teacher. Pupils read independently for 30 minutes every evening and record their response in a DEAR journal. In KS4, pupils read a class novel with their form tutors. They also have a ‘Book Club’ week each term where they can share their thoughts on the books they have read that term in groups of 4. Sixth form students read two books from a historical period (Victorians, Early 21st century, Post-modern) each term and engage in challenging discussions about the distinctive features and themes of this period in half-termly Book Clubs.
We aim for each key stage to have the opportunity to visit the theatre every year. Other trips include visiting the Imperial War Museum, the British Library, seeing authors speak and, for KS5, academic debates on issues relating to literature or the themes within the texts we study.
Pupils across all key stages are invited to apply for our year-long creative writing programme. Successful applicants attend weekly sessions which involve writing, discussing and reviewing creative writing. Towards the end of the year, they revisit all their work to choose the best pieces which are then edited ready to include in a published anthology of writing.
The King’s Speech
Pupils across all key stages are invited to apply to become part of the creative team behind ‘The King’s Speech’, our termly magazine. The magazine includes a range of fictional and non-fiction contributions as well as showcasing art work and profiling important events in the KSA calendar. The magazine is published online and in print.
Pupils in KS3 are invited to become part of our Drama Society, where they work each week to produce, direct, rehearse and even write plays. One play will be performed each term to a paying audience!
Working with the Humanities department and professionals from top businesses, students in KS5 are invited to attend a debating workshop which helps them to refine their argumentative and reasoning skills. The Sixth Form ‘experts’ then run a debate club for pupils in KS3 which culminates in entry into national competitions.
KSA English Alumni
Many students who have studied English at KSA Sixth Form have gone on to study English at University, but many others have used it as a foundation for a new subject:
Daniel Akerele - English and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway Univeristy
Wafaa Farhat – English Literature at SOAS University
Najwa Aarab – English Literature at Goldsmiths University
Khadijah Rahman – English Literature and Creative Writing at Queen Mary’s University
Isabel Salli – Politics at Kent University
Nora Benhalima – Law at Brunel University
Key contacts and how to get involved
If you would like to find out more about how science at KSA works please contact Abbie Williams (Head of English) at email@example.com.
We are always looking for support, so get in touch if you would like to:
- Help the Set, Costume, Marketing, Acting or Music team in one of our Shakespeare productions
- Share book recommendations with pupils
- Have contacts who pupils can interview for The King’s Speech
- Have contacts who are writers, work in publishing, work in the media or similar
- Want to attend theatre visits with our pupils.