Fareham Academy's curriculum in English is rich with texts that enable students to explore, celebrate and unlock the diverse nature of our world. During their time at the Academy, students will study a broad and balanced range of novels, poetry, non-fiction and plays from the most esteemed canonical authors to newer emerging voices. They will also be given many opportunities to create texts of their own across a range of forms and contexts. Our aim is to equip students with the skills needed to be successful in the subject, whilst also inspiring them to engage with and respond to the ever-changing world around them with flair, imagination and creativity. In doing so, the English department not only aspires to develop students who have the necessary oracy and literacy skills to succeed in their future career paths, but also to create literary critics and writers who are engaged and challenged throughout their programme of study.
At Fareham Academy, we believe that our Key Stage 3 curriculum in English should give students the knowledge to unlock complex texts and the world around them. Therefore, our curriculum is structured thematically, allowing students to build up a repertoire of vocabulary and ideas which will enable them to unlock and discuss a range of challenging reading material spanning different time periods, forms and locations. Each half term, students will be given a ‘Key 3’ set of questions they should be able to answer and apply to the texts they have studied and to new texts they will encounter. The ‘Key 3’ from each half term will be revisited regularly throughout the Key Stage to ensure they are embedded in their long-term memory. By exploring the bigger ideas and themes that underpin great literature, we hope to enhance student comprehension: the more they know, the more they can understand, comprehend and interpret when faced with new reading material. Therefore, enhancing student knowledge simultaneously leads to the enhancement of students’ reading and writing skills. In Year 7, students begin by exploring ideas of identity, characterisation, heroism and what it means to be human. Alongside this, they will develop an understanding of different literary periods which will be referred to throughout their time at the Academy. Our Year 8 course develops these ideas, focusing on how individuals form meaningful relationships and create a sense of belonging. We will explore how their identities fit into larger contexts such as families, culture(s) and society, reading texts from around the world. Year 9 expands further on these ideas of relationships within society, focusing on the conflict that arises when these relationships and feelings of belonging fall apart and when society’s expectations are challenged. Here, students will use different texts to explore the themes of violence, class and gender, before bringing all these strands together with the study of Lord of the Flies, which begins their GCSE course in the summer term of Year 9.
Moreover, our Key Stage 3 curriculum builds upon the comprehension and inference skills developed in Key Stage 2. To ensure progression in reading skills, Year 7 places a focus on transitioning from short-answer responses to longer and more detailed inferences and explanations. There is an emphasis on developing and illustrating a personal response using ‘because’, relevant evidence and multiple sentences. Students will develop their ability to make comparisons across a text, such as tracking how a character changes in a modern novel, building towards making comparisons across two different texts (The Tempest and Treasure Island) at the end of the year. Building on the foundations of grammatical terminology studied in Key Stage 2, students will also be introduced to the analysis of language. Year 8 includes a greater focus on mastering the analysis of a writer’s language, techniques and methods, introducing the analysis of structural features, beginning with sequencing and building towards juxtaposition later in the year, and poetic devices. There will continue to be a focus on enabling students to develop a formal and academic style in speech and writing. Students will also start to explore how contextual factors influence a piece of writing through the study of an American novel focused on relationships in the summer term. Finally, in Year 9, students will evaluate how the different skills studied throughout Key Stage 3 so far, such as characterisation, language, structure and context, work together to create meaning. They will explore the interplay between different skills previously studied in isolation, focusing on the authorial intention and message that drives the writer’s work as they develop and sustain an argument or hypothesis on a text. Students will also have a half-termly library lesson where they can read for pleasure or in small groups as directed by the class teacher.
Similarly, our Key Stage 3 curriculum ensures progression in writing skills. In Year 7, we hope to build on their enthusiasm for writing developed at Key Stage 2 by using rich texts to stimulate their writing and to provide a platform for collaborative discussion and planning, such as using excerpts from literary non-fiction Drawn Across Borders in the first weeks of the autumn term. Year 7 will largely focus on imaginative writing, encouraging creativity in their characterisation, setting and storylines. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their language choices and use of techniques, with regular opportunities to redraft and refine their work. They will write a range of different imaginative forms such as an informative description of an Ancient Greek monster for an encyclopaedia and a letter home from a stranded islander. Year 8 includes a greater focus on developing a personal voice whilst writing for different audiences and purposes. They will continue to vary their vocabulary choice and language devices to create effective characterisation, this time applying their understanding alongside the conventions of the gothic genre. In Year 8, students will create a wider range of text types such as speeches, poetry and a script for an informative news broadcast. They will also consider how the structure and cohesion of their work impacts their audience in both fiction and non-fiction. In Year 9, students will continue to perfect their own personal voices in the development of their argument and persuasive writing applying the Aristotelean triad, whilst also experimenting with imitating existing authors through pastiche. Alongside this, students will have a fortnightly literacy lesson that aims to build automaticity in literacy skills practised at Key Stage 2 in Year 7, whilst introducing a sentence curriculum in Year 8 and Year 9. In Year 8, there is a focus on using different sentence styles for effect, and in Year 9, there is a greater emphasis on crafting beautiful sentences using grammar and punctuation. As of September 2021, we have introduced Bedrock Learning as a homework platform to enhance student vocabulary.
Overall, our KS3 curriculum is rich in itself through its diversity, challenge, SMSC and development of cultural capital, but also lays the foundations for future success at GCSE. Throughout the course, students will complete regular writing bursts which are marked by teachers and followed by feedback lessons that address student weaknesses through a re-teach and re-drafting process.
Our Key Stage 4 curriculum is also structured thematically so students can be exposed to the widest range of texts possible to prepare them for their GCSEs in English Language and English Literature. This approach again aims to provide students with a larger conceptual framework of knowledge and vocabulary that can be transferred between topics, whilst also introducing students to a wide range of texts in order to foster a love of literature. The course aims to provide a strong foundation for further study of English Language and English Literature at college and university. More information on the course can be found by watching the course summary video.