Curriculum Vital

    Key Stage 3 English scheme of learning

    When Dan Brinton's English department began planning for the new English curriculum, they first considered a question from headteacher Tom Sherrington: 'If there was no Ofsted, no league tables, no SLT... just you and your class... what would you choose to do to make it great? Do it anyway.'

    Our scheme certainly fits that criteria, but also respects the requirements of the new KS3 English programme of study by including, amongst other things, two full Shakespeare plays and an in-depth study of one author (George Orwell).

    For many of the topics, you can benefit from the free resources available here on Curriculum Vital.

    Year 7

    Autumn 1

    Creation myths

    Read: variety of creation myths – creation from chaos, earth diver, emergence, ex nihilo, world parent. Examples: Genesis, Metamorphoses, Just So Stories (Kipling), Butterfly Mother: Miao (Hmong) Creation Epics, The Indian Upon God (W.B. Yeats poem)

    Write: a creation myth

    Speak: tell a creation story in the vernacular style of a chosen group (e.g., Miao, Native American Indians)

    Creation myths are a great way to inspire story-telling in your year 7s. Students will enjoy reading and listening to different creation myths from around the world, perhaps adding some from their own culture, before learning how these stories inspired modern writers like Kipling and Yeats.

    Autumn 2

    Ancient Myths and Legends

    Read: Greek mythology, The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Beowulf, Anglo-Saxon poetry

    Write: a myth featuring good/evil, love/betrayal, disguise/mistaken identity, monsters/heroes, voyages

    From creation myths, it's a natural step to Homer, Virgil and beyond. The rich and fantastical world of Greek mythology offers immense scope for reading, writing, speaking and listening.

    Spring (full term)

    The history of the English language

    Read: The Canterbury Tales  Prologue The Wife of Bath's Tale, Beowulf, The Magna Carta, invented words of Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language

    Write: definition of word and an explanation of its origin; predict the future of a word

    Listen: The Prologue and/or Beowulf read in original language

    This is a fascinating unit that challenges students' perceptions of English and the infallibility of language. Students may particularly enjoy J.R.R. Tolkien's newly-published translation of Beowulf and identifying traces of this great story in The Lord of the Rings.     

    Summer (full term)

    I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
    Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
    Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
    With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.

    Read: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare

    Write: dialogue/speeches in iambic pentametre

    Listen/Watch: performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    There are, of course, many other great Shakespeare plays. We've chosen A Midsummer Night's Dream because it offers a clear link to the topics studied in the autumn and spring: magic, myths, superstition, mistaken identity, love, marriage... 

    See alsoShakespeare series for Key Stages 3-4

    Year 8

    Autumn (full term)

    Religion, damnation and theocracy

    But how can I let his Latin poems and his stinging ruler prevail? I want to learn. I deserve to read and write. Thoughts for company, and a pen for a voice. Who is more entitled to those privileges than I?

    Read: All the Truth That's In Me, by Julie Berry

    This fantastic YA novel will provide an exciting link to several of the topics already studied, and also provides a clear link to The Wife of Bath's Tale. Set in colonial New Wngland and narrated by a disfigured young woman, All the Truth That's In Me raises issues of gender equality, misogyny, patriarchy, theocracy and Christianity. It also features Greek mythology, etymology and superstition. And as if that weren't enough, it is also a heartwarming tale of young love.

    Spring (full term)

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

    Totalitarianism and dystopia

    Read: Animal Farm, by George Orwell

    What happens when a leader usurps the role of god? George Orwell's fable about Stalin, Trotsky and the Russian Revolution is short and simple, yet powerful and profound. As well as offering great cross-curricular opportunities, Animal Farm allows students to learn about metaphor, symbolism and satire. Teachers and students can benefit from our free text guide and lesson plans.

    Summer 1

    Wartime speeches

    Read/Listen to: speeches of Franklin D. RooseveltWinston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin

    As well as offering great ways to explore the Second World War, this unit also links well to the previous term's study of Animal Farm - in what ways do the speeches of Hitler and Stalin resemble those of Napoleon? Students will also notice that Roosevelt, Churchill and even Hitler invoke God in their speeches.

    Summer 2

    Civil rights, oppression

    Read/Listen to: speeches of Martin Luther King JuniorPatrice LumumbaBarack ObamaEmmeline PankhurstVladimir Lenin

    Write: speech about freedom - imagine you were the leader of a repressed minority. How would you inspire your people to stand up for their rights?

    We've chosen speeches from different countries, continents and eras in order to show to that, no matter the cause, orators used similar techniques to inspire an audience.

    Year 9

    Autumn (full term)

    She should have died hereafter.
    There would have been a time for such a word.
    Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death.

    Read: Macbeth, by William Shakespeare

    Pre-read: Springboard Shakespeare: Macbeth, by Ben Crystal

    The shortest and bloodiest of Shakespeare's tragedies, Macbeth features witches, superstition, religion, Greek mythology, war, peace, tyranny and great speeches. Ben Crystal's Springboard Shakespeare: Macbeth will provide a perfect overview of the play. 

    Spring 1

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...

    The Great War – poetry

    Read: ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen‘Aftermath’ by Siegfried Sassoon‘Mametz Wood’ by Owen Sheers

    On Curriculum Vital you'll find free lesson plans on the poems recommended above.

    Spring 2

    It was early on in the campaign, no more than a month after the beginning. The days were getting hot, but the nights were still very cold. We were facing the Franks who were called Australian and New Zealander. They were tall and proud men who fought as fierecely as the little men called Gurkhas, and they had fought their way up a steep slope from the beach, and we couldn't dislodge them from the gullies. Later we found that the best way to destroy them was to let them attack. 

    The Great War – prose

    Read: Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernières, chapters 57-60 and 62-67

    Acclaimed and beloved author Louis de Bernières called Birds Without Wings his "masterpiece. It's my attempt at War and Peace: a big book that's about everything." The novel charts the tumultuous history of a fictional Turkish village, from the last days of the Ottoman Empire, through the Great War and the Turkish War of Independence. The chapters selected here describe the Battle of Gallipoli and the rise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. 

    Summer (full term)

    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.

    Option 1

    Read: Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell

    In what ways does Big Brother resemble Napoleon in Animal Farm? What rhetorical devices does the Party use in its speeches and announcements? Does modern political discourse contain elements of 'Newspeak'? Orwell's final masterpiece offers great opportunities for reading and writing activities.

    Option 2

    Read: George Orwell: ‘Politics and the English language’, ‘Notes on Nationalism’ and extract of Nineteen Eighty-Four describing work in the Ministry of Truth; media analysis to examine bias and objectivism in newspapers, tabloids.

    Topic to build on from year 8: Napoleon’s rewriting of history in Animal Farm.