Planning a new Key Stage 3 curriculum

Many people have started to blog about their approach to the new Key Stage 3 curriculum.  Mine is still being developed and my thinking does change quite often.  Here is the third draft of my year 7 curriculum.

Instead of starting a new unit every six weeks, I have decided to offer students a deeper learning experience over a longer period of time.  This means students can really engage with texts and respond to them in the depth that will really enhance their learning experience.  It also means that we aren’t constantly rushing to complete an assessment for a data deadline but instead are giving the assessments the time they deserve.

Each year we will have three areas.  In year 7 these are – Language through time, a contemporary novel and Shakespeare.  Within each unit we will complete a reading and writing assessment and a speaking and listening as an additional if appropriate.  We are currently working on a revised version of the APP criteria in which we are reducing 6-7 assessment objectives to 3-4 against which we will assess students.

When thinking about tasks – we have three main reading tasks: a comparative (a skill useful for GCSE), a formal essay and then a series of questions.  The responses to these questions are written down but students are tested orally.  This is such a time saver when you find yourself confronted by a large number of assessments.  The writing tasks fall into three main categories: argue/persuade, describe and inform/explain which is roughly in line with the forms used at IGCSE level.

Writing is, for our students, the hardest skill to master.  Our Assistant Head, Paul Blake has been quoting Didau at me for a while and the idea of re-visiting prior learning to ensure that learning is not lost.  Therefore we will introduce independent learning projects that are focused on the writing skills taught in the previous term to ensure that they put what they have learnt into action once more which means we can really check they have understood key skills.

For each unit, I have also introduced a fertile question which I am also seeking to ensure is addressed during the teaching of the unit but also I would like it to become the main focal point for the independent learning project as well.

Although we teach grammar in context, we also have a separate literacy lesson and I am following a structure presented to many schools by Daisy C.

In addition, whilst I provide the unit overview – Language through time, a novel and Shakespeare, staff can choose their texts, their themes and their assessment questions.  Whilst I have opted for Heroes as a thematic approach to language through time, some of my team have opted for villains, some for survival texts, some for female characters and in doing so I think this allows staff to have a greater ownership of the curriculum they wish to deliver.  We are making baby steps towards Edutronic’s amazing curriculum programme.

Y7 Curriculum Map 2014-2015

Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Language through time – Heroes ( to include: Beowulf, The Knight, Macbeth, Dick Turpin, Batman, Harry Potter)


To what extent is our understanding of what a hero is constructed by the literature we have read?


Reading: A comparative essay exploring the presentation of three literary heroes from different time periods.

Writing: An informative magazine article: What makes a great literary hero?

NovelSet ½ – The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket

Set ¾ – Once

To what extent does literature help us explore the lives of others so that we can construct a more empathetic world in the future?

 Reading: Answering assessment focused questions on an extract from within the novel.

Writing: Use a line from the novel as the opening to an additional chapter.


( to include: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

To what extent are soliloquies the only form of communication which expresses truth?

Reading: An essay exploring one of Shakespeare’s soliloquies.

Writing: A soliloquy in which an inner conflict is presented.

Independent learning project: A leaflet explaining how literary heroes have developed over time. Independent learning project: A descriptive piece, from a particular character’s point of view, reflecting on how an event from within the novel helped them to develop their empathy for others.
Stage one: How words workThe parts of speech: verbs, nouns, articles, adjectives, prepositions, subject-verb agreement, tense Stage two: Clear sentencesThe elements of a sentence: simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, Listening and bracketing commas. Stage Three: Coherent textsTopic sentences, paragraphs, introductions and conclusions

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