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English - Year 8

Mathematics - Year 7

Click here to return to our English curriculum overview

Below you will find more specific information about the curriculum in English for Year 8 students, explaining to you what students will learn, when, why and how. There is also information about how parents/carers are able to support students in their learning, extra-curricular opportunities in this subject and how it links to other subjects and the wider world.

While this information covers a broad range of areas, please do get in touch with the Subject Leader Mrs Weston if you have any questions.

Please click on the questions below to find out more.

How are groups organised?

Classes are set according to ability.

Students have 6 one hour lessons per fortnight.

What characteristics does a successful student have in this subject?

The most successful students in English are avid readers and writers who enjoy writing creatively and are able to interpret and analyse the work of writers from a range of backgrounds. They are insightful and can recognise and appreciate the ways in which writers craft their work to create meaning. They are able to use literary devices and linguistic features with confidence within their own writing and appreciate the importance of effective communication in all aspects of life.

What are the key concepts students will study at this level?

  • Reading for meaning
  • Analysis and evaluation of language use by a range of writers
  • Crafting and effective planning of creative writing
  • Writing to engage an audience
  • Confidence in both verbal and written communication.

What will students learn at this level?

In Year 8, pupils build on their learning in primary  school and Year 7, studying a series of  units which have been designed to continue their meaningful journey through English Language and Literature.

Pupils continue to learn about their own literary heritage and that of other cultures and traditions. They develop their knowledge and understanding of different genres of writing, including fiction and non fiction texts. They learn to analyse the ways in which writers use language to create meaning and develop an awareness of the importance of the writer’s craft through studying the language of advertising.

Creativity remains a key focus as pupils write imaginatively in response to a range of exemplar texts, developing  their writing skills, so that they become increasingly effective writers. They learn to plan and create characters, settings, plots and themes which engage the reader and reflect on the quality of their own writing, editing and   redrafting to improve their work.

Reading skills are at the heart of the curriculum as pupils learn to read for meaning. Pupils are also encouraged to read widely and read for pleasure through the inclusion of a wide range of texts and extracts, in dedicated reading time at the start of lessons and in their regular library lessons.

Speaking and listening skills are developed throughout Year 8 as pupils are encouraged to work collaboratively,  discussing their ideas and responding to the ideas of others. The focus remains on building confidence in reading aloud, reading in role and responding to questions in class. The aims are to ensure all pupils feel comfortable when contributing in class and to improve the clarity of their verbal responses in a range of situations.

Autumn term 1

Reading for Meaning

This unit is designed to introduce pupils to the reading skills examined in GCSE English Language and Literature  examinations and to develop their reading of fiction and non fiction texts.  Pupils will be taught scanning, skimming, inference, empathy, close reading and prediction and will respond to a diverse collection of texts. They will learn how to recognise implicit ideas in texts and will consider the ways in which writers shape meanings.

End of unit assessment task: is  an extended response showing  detailed understanding of two texts.

Creative Writing: Short Stories

Pupils will build upon the skills learnt in the Year 7 Narrative Writing unit with a focus on creating, planning and writing complete short stories. They will study at least two short stories in depth and will be taught how to       structure their ideas through careful planning and the use of cohesive devices when writing. They will be              encouraged to read short stories for pleasure and will be expected to write at length and in detail. This unit focuses on the skills they will need to do well in the writing components of the GCSE English Language examinations.

End of unit assessment task: planning, drafting, editing and transcription of a complete short story.

Writing Skills Task 1: Writing imaginatively  using one of four titles as the inspiration for a story.

Assessment task:  write a short story entitled A Cry for Help,  Fear,  Identity Theft,  or  Out of Time.

Autumn term 2

Author Study

One novel to be studied from:  The Tulip Touch, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Ruby in the Smoke, Stone Cold.

Pupils will  develop the skills they learnt in their author study in Year 7, in order to become more sophisticated and perceptive readers. They will analyse and evaluate the presentation of character and setting and will be taught to identify key themes, tracing their development through the novel. Pupils will analyse short sections of the text and discuss the writer’s use of language to  create particular effects. They will evaluate the impact of language choices and discuss their views of the novel, giving evidence for their views. 

End of unit assessment task: an analysis of how the writer presents a particular aspect of the novel.

Spring term 1

Introduction to Greek Mythology

This unit focuses on the study of  Greek Mythology . Pupils will read a range of myths including Creation myths and will learn about the context in which these myths were created. They will look at the influence they have had on modern literature and will read extracts from modern texts which reference myths. They will create their own            version of a Greek myth and will be encouraged to read myths independently for pleasure.

End of unit assessment task: a test of knowledge and understanding and pupils’ own version of a Greek myth.

Library Reading Project: Fiction and Non Fiction

To develop pupils’ independent reading skills  and promote regular reading and reading for pleasure, pupils will study both fiction and non fiction texts. They will complete a series of activities designed to  broaden  their          experience of reading works of fiction  and non-fiction from a range of genres. They will consider the ways in which writers craft their work and will begin to completing a Reading Log. When studying non-fiction they will consider a range of genres including biographies, magazines and newspapers.

End of unit assessment task: short written responses to fiction and non-fiction texts.

Spring term 2

Poet Study and Poetry Analysis

This unit will introduce pupils to poetry by a range of writers to broaden their understanding of the different forms, structures and methods used by poets. They will develop their analytical skills when writing about a poet’s choices. Pupils will be encouraged  to reflect on the ways in which writers create meaning, to identify themes in works of poetry and show understanding of the ways in which writers develop these within their work. Pupils will also      develop the skills necessary for writing longer responses to poetry questions in preparation for GCSE study.

End of unit assessment task: an extended essay on at least two poems written by one poet.

Writing Skills Task 2: Expressing Your Point of View

‘Young people spend too much time on games, social media and the internet’.

‘Parents, carers and teachers should prepare children for their lives and careers by focusing on traditional skills such as reading, writing and talking, and by encouraging more outside play.’

Assessment task:

Do you agree with the points made in these statements?  What do you think about these issues?

Write a short speech that you could deliver to your class to present your point of view.

Summer term 1

Persuasion in Advertising

 In this unit pupils will learn to identify and evaluate the use of language and presentational devices in advertising campaigns. Pupils will study a range of different types of advertisement including products, services and charity  advertising  and will learn how to analyse the effectiveness of the writer’s choice of language, use of persuasive     techniques and presentational devices.

End of unit assessment task: an advertising campaign for a product or charity with an accompanying evaluation of their own ideas.

Travel Writing

Pupils will be introduced to a range of non-fiction texts relating to the theme of travel. They will consider the main  features of the genre and compare the styles, language use and content of texts. They will learn about the           importance of audience and purpose and comment on how different texts achieve their purposes. They will also   create their own travel writing in a variety of styles.

End of unit assessment task: an extended piece of travel writing.

Summer term 2

Drama Study

One play to be studied from: The Hound of the Baskervilles or Sherlock Holmes and the Limehouse Horror.

Pupils will read a playscript and respond to characters, themes, setting, stagecraft and language choice.  They will build upon their understanding of  the  conventions of playscripts and consider the contexts of the play they are studying.  They will write their own script individually and will collaborate with others to produce and perform short scenes, using dramatic conventions to shape their work.

End of unit assessment task: a script with a commentary evaluating their  own use of language, setting,          characterisation, use of stage directions and conventions of the genre such as monologue, acts and scenes.

Writing Skills Task 3: Imaginative Writing about Character and Place

Assessment task:  Write an imaginative and descriptive piece of writing inspired by the scene in the picture. Your writing must bring at least one of the characters in the picture to life - describe them and tell  a little of their  story. 

What skills will students develop at this level?

  • Reading skills
  • Analytical and evaluative skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking

How will students learn at this level?

  • Reading a wide range of texts
  • Reading  examples of good creative writing
  • Experimenting with different forms of creative writing
  • Working collaboratively with texts
  • Researching contexts and backgrounds
  • Debating and expressing points of view
  • Practising written responses and creative writing

How will students’ learning be assessed at this level?

At the end of each term you will be given a writing skills assessment which is marked for content, organisation and technical accuracy.

At the end of each unit you will be given an extended writing task which will be marked against a number of criteria from the reading and writing assessment grids.

You will be given clear and focused feedback on aspects you are doing well and guidelines on what you can do to improve your work.

When do key assessments take place?

End of Units – 2-3 each term

End of term Writing assessments – last two weeks of each term

There is no formal exam at the end of Year 8.

How can parents/carers support students’ learning?

  • By reading together and showing interest in reading as a leisure activity.
  • By encouraging the completion of all homework activities to a good standard.
  • By reading all creative writing exercises and responding positively to ideas, offering constructive criticism where appropriate.

What equipment do students need for this subject?

Writing equipment

Reading book

How does this subject link to other subjects?

  • Literacy – all subjects
  • Analytical skills – most subjects
  • Communication skills – all subjects

What websites or resources may be helpful to support students’ learning?

BBC Bitesize for KS3


What extra-curricular or enrichment opportunities are available for students in this subject at this level?

  • KTS Best Books – write a review for publication on the KTS website

  • Creative Writing competitions

  • Film club

What sort of careers can this subject lead to?

  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Freelance writing
  • Law
  • Any career requiring high level literacy skills

What does student work look like in this subject at this level?


How does this subject support a broad and balanced curriculum, meeting the needs of all students, and developing traditional core skills?

Broad and balanced:

We cover a wide range of literature including pre-1900 texts and texts from other cultures.

We study a range of non-fiction texts, including topics relating to current issues, and encourage critical thinking skills.

Meeting the needs of all students:

We differentiate appropriately in all lessons, adapting unit tasks and all assessments to ensure they are challenging and accessible to all pupils.

Texts are selected according to the ability, strengths and interests of students.

TAs are used effectively to support students and we liaise with relevant agencies/staff to ensure students’ needs are met.

Traditional core skills:

Literacy is at the heart of the English curriculum. We also develop critical thinking skills, encourage the forming and expression of opinion and consider ethics and morality when studying literature in particular.

How does this subject promote creativity, critical thinking, practice, perseverance and resilience, and making links?


We develop thinking skills and encourage students to respond creatively to texts and ideas explored in lessons.

We encourage creative writing throughout the key stage, allowing students the opportunity to think of their own ideas and develop them in the way they wish.

Critical thinking:

We encourage pupils to think about a range of issues, ideas, language use and writers’ intentions throughout the course. They are expected to formulate their own responses and ideas, identifying strengths and weaknesses and expressing their own views clearly and articulately.

Practice, perseverance and resilience:

We encourage drafting and self-editing to enable pupils to identify their own errors and improve the quality of their writing.

We encourage students to complete longer writing tasks on a regular basis to develop writing resilience and read longer, challenging texts and extracts to develop reading resilience. Pupils are encouraged to persevere with challenging tasks and we break down more complex tasks to ensure they are less daunting and more accessible to all students.

Making links:

This subject links with history, geography, ethics and philosophy, art, modern languages, science, through the nature of the texts studied and the ideas explored throughout the course.

How does this subject encourage enrichment and the development of cultural capital, deep learning, and inclusivity?

Enrichment/cultural capital:

We study a range of literary texts from 19th century prose to 21st Century poetry.

We introduce pupils to the literary canon including works by Shakespeare and Dickens. We study modern drama, poetry from across the world and non-fiction from a range of writers.

Substance/deep learning:

We study texts written for adult readers as well as children’s literature. Students are encouraged to think about mature ideas and themes and reflect on a range of issues.

All ideas are fully explored and tested to ensure pupils have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the skills taught throughout the year.

Open and inclusive:

We ensure all literature studied is relatable and accessible to all students. The themes reflect a wide number of concerns and issues, which are always dealt with appropriately and with sensitivity. We actively promote inclusivity in all of our units and within our classroom teaching.