Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, CA17 4HA

017683 71693

Kirkby Stephen Grammar School

A Co-operative Academy

Year 8 English

Students are encouraged to build on the knowledge acquired in Year 7, strengthening their appreciation of literary and non-literary texts. Pupils are also supported in the progression of their writing skills, revisiting core skills such as paragraphing and punctuation but developing their ability to construct detailed narratives. They also continue to experience a range of writing from authors around the world and from time periods spanning centuries.

All pupils continue to take part in our personalised spelling programme throughout KS3 and we work closely with the SEND department to support pupils with additional needs.

Teaching takes place through a wide variety range of challenging and engaging classroom activities and we believe in showing pupils how to structure responses through shared writing, modelling and scaffolding. Formal assessments take the form of end of unit discursive essays and written non-fiction and fiction texts. Depending upon the size of the intake, English classes will be set using Y7 assessment data as a guideline or in smaller year groups, pupils are set in mixed ability classes. Where classes are set, there is scope for movement up or down throughout the year.   

We encourage participation in national writing competitions, the Poetry by Heart initiative and celebrations of both National Poetry Day and World Book Day in order to support and develop classroom learning. We are developing connections with the University of Lancaster, allowing pupils the opportunity to experience perspectives on literary texts from Professors and PHD students. Our enrichment calendar also includes theatre trips, community speakers and poetry workshops.

Areas Covered

  • Language skills – pupils continue to explore ideas, opinions and information in a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. We aim to equip pupils with the knowledge of contemporary issues facing young people in today’s world through exploration of news articles and features. We also encourage deeper knowledge of the power of language in shaping opinions, bias and perspectives. Non-fiction texts produced across the year include informal letters and articles, continuing to enable pupils to acquire ‘real world’ literacy skills. Underpinning this work is a continuation of the study of grammar, punctuation and cohesive devices, building on the knowledge pupils have developed at KS2 and in Year 7.
  • Novel studies – we read and explore the contemporary text, The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, encouraging empathetic responses to the characters and situations of the novel. Pupils explore social, historical, geographic and cultural context, examining prior knowledge and challenging assumptions about ways of life.
  • Prose – pupils explore extracts and short stories from a range of fiction texts including Ray Bradbury’s The Whole Town’s Sleeping, Wilkie Collins’ Woman in White and Penelope Lively’s The Darkness Out There, further developing their ability to construct academic responses and show understanding of how a writer uses language to create tension, a sense of place and atmosphere and the relationship between these elements of fiction. Pupils use this study as a springboard to create their own narrative fiction.
  • Poetry – a range of poetry from around the world is explored, including the work of Imtiaz Dharker, adding breadth to pupils’ cultural capital through an understanding of contexts. Pupils are able to build on Y7 skills of analysis and knowledge of poetic features and carry out research into the lives of authors of contemporary poetry.
  • Shakespeare – pupils focus on the Shakespearian tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, learning how to comment on characterisation in drama by focusing on the imposing Lord Capulet. Pupils study key scenes in close detail, further developing the language analysis skills learned in Y7 and revisit their knowledge of how to structure formal essay responses.   
  • Speaking and Listening - talk forms the basis of our approach to learning in English. Whole class, small group and paired discussion and debate takes place regularly to help pupils articulate ideas and shape responses to texts before writing. Y8 pupils further their skills in oracy by participating in a formalised group debate about issues facing young people in the 21st century.

For more information, please contact Ms Newstead