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English department website click here - AYLSHAM HIGH ENGLISH - Home

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Key Stage 3 Core Knowledge

Key Stage 4 Revision Documents

Public Speaking

The Importance of Reading

Key Stage 3 Curriculum

For more detailed information on our key stage 3 English curriculum, please view the KS3 booklet PDF at the bottom of this page. In this booklet you will find information on the key themes, vocabulary and activities that students will complete in years 7, 8 and 9. 

Year 7

in year 7 students study language and literature change in Britain, from the earliest settlers who put words in our mouths to the Modernist writers who captured the essence of a fractured 20th century Britain. By studying this timeline and understanding the linguistic, literary, social and political changes that took place, students are able to draw on this knowledge in their future studies and understand the world they inhabit. Authors, books, poems and plays can be situated in time and place. Students in year 7 also read two full texts (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Boy Overboard) and study a variety of poetry. 

"Boy Overboard is the most memorable book I have read; I've never forgotten it!" Callum, year 11

Year 8

In year 8 students study four full texts including a Shakespeare play, a dystopian novel, an American 20th century classic and a 19th century English classic, as well as a selection of poetry from around the world. The emphasis in year 8 is on developing students' rhetorical writing - sharing their opinions in writing with articulation and skill. We draw on Greek expertise to teach rhetoric; more information can be found in the booklet at the bottom of the page. The texts we read highlight important and complex themes such as liberty, restriction, segregation, friendship, honesty and autonomy.

Year 9

In year 9 students have the opportunity to consolidate and develop the skills they learnt in years 7 and 8 in terms of literary analysis and rhetorical writing. They develop their understanding of different types of restriction and alternative meanings of autonomy through the texts we study. They begin with Animal Farm, covering the historical and allegorical context and writing a speech; next they study the poems of four war poets including Wilfred Owen and compare the language used to create visceral responses in the reader; after war poetry they continue with the tragic theme by reading Macbeth, but identify the difference in his tragic hero status in comparison to traditional heroes at war. We draw on Greek theatre when studying his fascinating character. We believe that the work completed in year 9 prepares students for their GCSE course as it exposes them to more complex texts which challenge and equip them with the creative and analytical skills that are required to succeed at the highest level.

Non fiction

Non fiction texts are sourced and used regularly at key stage 3 and 4 to supplement the fiction studied and to provide context. The British Library has excellent resources grouped by theme and era; we often delve into this site to find fascinating articles or artefacts

We take opportunities to make links to the wider world and explore contemporary issues by encouraging students to read newspapers in lessons. Students share stories, debate contentious headlines, or write response articles to ones they have read. This is particularly powerful at key stage 4. 

Public Speaking

We are very proud of our tradition of developing students' public speaking skills. Every year since 2009 the school has held a competition for all year groups which challenges them to speak on a specified topic for three minutes in front of a public audience. The competition typically attracts one in ten of our students; applications from years 7 and 8 in particular are always high. Students compete in heats and the enthusiasm and camaraderie shown is always spectacular. We believe strongly in creating an environment in which students feel confident and comfortable in sharing their viewpoints; to this end it is not unusual to find an impromptu parliamentary-style debate taking place of an afternoon in our building. Our debate squad is flourishing and we are about to host an inter-school debate competition with four other schools from North Norfolk. 

"Before public speaking I didn't enjoy hearing my own voice; now I can be heard at the back of the hall and I am comfortable in front of a lectern." Emma, year 9


The Importance of Reading

We are proud of the variety of literature texts we share with students across key stage 3. Many are our own favourite texts chosen from our own experiences at school, university or later in life; it is exciting to be able to share these worlds with the students. An essential requirement for success in English is the development of positive reading habits, and by sharing our own passions with students we hope to foster those habits.  

Students across years 7, 8 and 9 are encouraged to read widely and independently for enjoyment. Reading time is a core part of English lessons and is celebrated in the department as a time in which students are engaged in stories. 

"I don't read as often as I would like to at home because I have a lot of clubs and commitments, but I know I will have silent time in English to read a book I enjoy." Will, year 9

We run a very successful Summer reading Challenge every year which encourages students to push themselves to read outside their usual genres and be discriminating in their choices. We are very lucky to have a fantastic librarian, Mrs. Lester, who engages with students in her very busy library and is able to turn around even the most reluctant reader. Mrs. Lester regularly organises author visits and workshops, and most recently has organised reading buddy groups whereby AHS students visited primary schools in the Aylsham cluster. 

"I know if I can't find a book I like, I can ask the librarian for help. She knows what sort of book I like to read." Harry, year 8


Key Stage 4 - Revision Documents

In year 10 and 11 students complete two GCSEs - AQA English language and AQA English literature. For more information, study guides, and revision documents, please see the links below. 

English literature revision: unseen poetry practise tasks

English literature revision: unseen poetry placemat

English literature revision: diagrams


English language revision: descriptive and narrative writing

English language revision: language analysis placemat

English language revision: point of view writing

Core Knowledge for Key Stage 3

KS3 core knowledge: terminology for poetry and rhetoric

KS3 core knowledge: spelling, punctuation and grammar

For core knowledge linked to vocabulary and texts studied please see the KS3 pdf below. A letter explaining how this booklet can be used can be found here: KS3 home/school booklet letter

End of year assessment practise tasks - Year 8

End of year assessment practise tasks - Year 7

Social Media

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