English Year 8
The aim of the Key Stage 3 course is to consolidate the learning of students from Key Stage 2 and develop the skills required for Key Stage 4. The English Faculty uses a variety of teaching styles and methods to motivate our students in the study of English and foster an enthusiasm for the subject.
The units of work covered in Year 8 English are:
- A novel (e.g. Holes, Chinese Cinderella, Skellig, Pirates)
- A play (e.g. Dracula, Frankenstein)
- Aspects of the media (e.g. soap operas)
- A Christmas Carol
- A variety of writing purposes (e.g argue, persuade, advise)
The skills learnt in English are linked to the Assessment Focuses that students are tested on at the end of the key stage. For reading they will develop skills to do with information retrieval, inference and deduction, analysis of language, structural and presentational features of texts. For writing they will develop skills to do with writing a range of different text types, organising texts effectively, varying sentence structures for effect, technical accuracy, spelling and vocabulary.
Students are taught in their tutor group.
Class sizes are usually between 25 and 30 students.
Homework is set once weekly and varies greatly; it could be some research, a final draft of a piece of writing, preparation of a speech, a play scene, silent reading and so on. Homework is vital to the progress of the student and must be done to the best of the student’s ability and done on time. It enables the teacher to check and monitor the understanding of each student.
Assessment and reporting
Students are monitored and assessed through the work they do in class and the homework handed in. Assessment Focuses are used to review our pupils’ individual strengths and weaknesses. Work will be given a National Curriculum level at least once a half-term and the completed, marked work stored in a folder in school as evidence for the end of year KS3 teacher assessment. The work in folders also informs reports to parents. At the end of the year, the students sit English exams, one for writing and one for reading. The marks are combined to give a National Curriculum level which is reported to parents.
What is progress in English about?
At all levels, learning English is about learning to use language to express, explore and communicate our thoughts, ideas and feelings with others. We do this through speaking, listening, reading and writing and getting better at English means making progress in each of these areas.
How do I know my child is progressing?
Children develop at different rates, but National Curriculum levels can give you an idea of how your child’s progress compares to what is typical for their age.
Level judgements can be broken down into three sub-levels which can help discussion about progress. For example:
- high 4 or 4a means that the pupil is working at the top of level 4 and is almost into level 5.
- secure 4 or 4b means that the pupil is working securely in level 4.
- low 4 or 4c means that the pupil’s work is just into level 4, but aspects of their knowledge and understanding may not be secure.
What is teacher assessment?
Teacher assessment is an important part of everyday teaching and learning in the classroom. Your child’s teacher will be able to explain the range of formal and informal ways they use assessment to support your child’s progress. At the end of Key Stage 3, performance is judged by teacher assessment.
Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP)
In KS3 our students’ work is assessed using the APP approach. This personalised learning approach helps teachers and students know where they are, where they need to be and how to get there.
Every half term, students’ work is assessed against specific criteria which is shared with our students (Assessment Focuses – AFs). An example of an AF is Writing AF5, “Vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect.”
On a termly basis, teachers will review individual and whole group strengths and weaknesses so that future lessons can be adapted to our students’ learning needs.
How parents/carers can help
Read with your daughter on a regular basis and encourage them to experience a range of genres and authors. Allow them to make use of library facilities in their area and to use the internet to develop research and reading skills. Encourage them to read a range of non-fiction material, including a newspaper. Help your daughter with spellings by keeping a log of difficult words and then test them at the end of the week. Encourage them to use a thesaurus when doing written work in order to expand their vocabulary. Above all else we ask that you continue to encourage and motivate your daughter in her study of English.