Key Stage 3 Curriculum

Key Stage 3 allows students and teachers to address their subject in more depth and detail. In Years 7, 8 and 9 (Key stage 3) pupils take the following subjects:

Art; Computing; Design and Technology; English; French; Geography; German; History; Mathematics; Performing Arts; Philosophy, Beliefs and Ethics; Physical Education; Science and Spanish.

In the current Year 7, students are organised into equal ability classes, using Primary School data. Mathematics uses Sets from Year 7 with Science setting in Year 9. These Sets are frequently reviewed and further Year 7 testing can result in some pupils moving classes

Many students study two Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and then go on to study at least one Modern Foreign Language at GCSE. A few students will study just one MFL in Years 7 and 8 and then drop languages completely in Year 9 in preference for extra Literacy and Numeracy work.

Year 9 students are now discussing and selecting their GCSE study options. Have a look at the booklet below for more information.

Year 9 GCSE Options booklet 2020

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Art and Design is a vibrant and successful department. Throughout year 7-9, students are introduced to a range of skills and materials in 2D and 3D from drawing, painting, print making, photography and mixed media.

Projects are designed to be enjoyable but also challenge and offer pupils at all levels opportunities to succeed and excel. We also aim to develop an awareness of careers in the creative sector and its importance in the world around us. The emphasis is on developing confidence and nurturing personal expression.

Students use a sketchbook to research and study artists, express personal thoughts and ideas, draw in a variety of ways and experiment and refine. We encourage all to be ambitious in their final pieces out of their sketchbook too. Ultimately we want our students to become independent, happy and confident young artists!

Art and Design is a popular choice at GCSE and A Level and we are proud of achievements at all levels.

Design and Technology is an area of study that focusses on planning, designing and creating products, which people use in their everyday lives. Our pupils are provided with the opportunity to discover the ability to design, make and evaluate products using a variety of materials and resources. These material areas include Systems & Control, Resistant Materials, Product Design, Textiles Technology and Food Preparation & Nutrition.

Projects include:
Yr 7 – Mechanical Toy, Pewter Key Ring, Pop Up Book, Day of the Dead Mask, Healthy Eating and Basic Food Skills.
Yr 8 – Electronic Night Light, Ear Phone Tidy, Soft Sculpture, Food provenance and Bread/Pasta products
Yr 9 – Memphis Clock, Camera Modelling, Metal Candleholder, Electronic Amplifier, Abstract Cushion Covers, Food Science, Vegetarianism and Pastry Making.

At Key Stage 3, Drama is taught as part of the Performing Arts curriculum, alongside Music. The main focus of the subject is to have fun, improve confidence and teamwork skills as well as gaining more of an understanding of theatre and performance. Topics cover key Drama skills and play texts in each year. Practical activities range from character development, to physical theatre and mask work- something for everyone! Our most popular units at KS3 are probably ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’. Practical work is completed in groups so it’s important to work on listening and communicating skills too. In Year 9 we run the Bronze Arts Award, providing an opportunity for every student to gain an external qualification in the Arts.
A Key Stage 3 Drama club runs at points during the year and students can also get involved in productions and the inter-house Performing Arts Cup.

In Years 7 and 8 pupils have the opportunity to study a wide range of texts including The Hunger Games, An Inspector Calls, The Tempest and a wide selection of poetry, to name but a few. Pupils will also learn how to craft their own writing, developing strategies to engage their reader. Pupils also have the opportunity to study a wide variety of non-fiction texts and examples of Travel Writing as well as learning about writing from other cultures and developing their own nonfiction communication skills.
In Year 9 pupils are developing a range of key skills in various sways, including studying a range of texts such as The Woman in Black and Romeo and Juliet. We also prioritise development of oracy and critical thinking so debate and discussion are valuable components of all Key Stage 3 lessons.

Key Stage 3 Geography covers a wide range of exciting and dynamic human and physical topics, including Development, Population, Earthquakes and Volcanoes and Rainforests. There is also an emphasis on Environmental Geographies and sustainability, especially when studying Climate Change, Coral Reefs, Antarctica and our use of Plastics, but also as a theme running through all topics. Throughout the Key Stage there is a strong emphasis on learning not just content but important Geographical skills, such as analysing photos, using OS maps and interpreting different sources. This helps to build literacy and numeracy skills, as well as preparing students for study at GCSE. There are numerous opportunities for school trips throughout Key Stage 3, such as to Cheddar Gorge and Lulworth Cove, which opens pupil’s eyes to the importance of Geography in the real world and beyond the classroom. From Year 7 to 9 Geography helps to prepare students to understand  our ever-changing world and how it can impact on people both locally and internationally. 

Key Stage 3 History involves a mixture of depth studies, overviews and thematic topics.  From 1066 to 9/11, students get to improve both their knowledge of the past and understanding of historical skills and concepts.  We visit the Norman Conquest, Black Death, Elizabethan England, English Civil War, Industrial Revolution, British Empire, Titanic and First and Second World Wars.  Our thematic topics look at crime punishment, terrorism, propaganda and media, war and black history through time.  We run a number of trips.  Highlights include our trips to Goodrich Castle in Year 7 and the First World War battlefields in Year 9.  There is a Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 History Film Club.

The constituents of modern computer systems, binary numbers and the art of the programming together with the consolidation of ICT skills provide the backbone of the curriculum at Key Stage 3. Students are provided with the necessary skills to use ICT across the curriculum.   They are encouraged to understand more about the functions of the key components of a computer system as well as the fundamentals of bit patterns and binary numbers. The concepts of abstraction and computation thinking are practised and the vast variety of technologies and coding opportunities including gaming, robotic control and webpage design are provided. By the end of Key Stage 3 we aim to have provided students with the skills, knowledge and confidence to study Computer Science or ICT at Key Stage 4.

In year 7, students will have the opportunity to study two languages, Spanish with French or German. At the end of year 8, students will choose which language (or languages) they would like to continue to study for GCSE. The GCSE course is a three year course, beginning in year 9. Throughout Key Stage 3, students will learn how to talk about themselves, their family, hobbies, where they live, holidays and their school. The key grammar concepts covered in Key Stage 3 will form a good basis for them to be able to advance successfully to the more complex grammatical structures required for GCSE.

The Cotswold School believes that mathematics plays a huge role in everyday life and can open a vast array of career pathways. We are proud to offer many exciting opportunities for pupils to fulfil their potential and to broaden / extend their knowledge and enjoyment of mathematics. We also feel it is vital for our students to see how mathematics relates to, and in fact underpins, many other curriculum subjects. The department is housed in a suite of classrooms that all have interactive whiteboards and we have access to a class set of laptops. The use of new technology is seen as important; we look to use ICT whenever it is appropriate to do so and we subscribe to the excellent MyMaths site (this offers pupils a great virtual learning environment for use in and out of lessons) to encourage independent learning. Mathematics is compulsory for all students from year 7 through to year 11. The department operates a setting policy based on ability, prior attainment and understanding within the first half term. Students will be taught in their band initially and then set as of October half term. We believe this accurate setting helps our students learn at a pace best suited to their ability and helps promote confidence. These sets are reviewed each term and changes are made to ensure individual students are in the correct group to allow them to make their best progress. In year 7 and 8 students will complete a very wide variety of study encompassing topics from all sections of the new Key Stage 3 curriculum including number, algebra, shape and space and statistics. Pupils are encouraged to work independently and collaboratively in order to improve their problem solving skills and their ability to communicate their knowledge to others. These skills are vital in the new GCSE syllabus. The students are assessed on a regular basis to monitor their progress. If a student is struggling, additional support will be put in place to help.

Music comprises 50% of the Performing arts curriculum.

In year 7 we cover confidence and technique in singing, reading and writing musical notion, using Mixcraft and Sibelius software packages and learn to play the keyboard. We have a go on and learn about the instruments of the orchestra.

In year 8 we look at the Blues, bass lines and ensemble performance.

In year 9 we cover film music, popular music styles and look in more depth at music composition techniques and theory.

Pupils will participate in 2 lessons per week. Each lesson lasts approximately 1hour and 10 minutes and students will cover a range of activities (please refer to attached Curriculum_Map_2017-18).

Students explore a range of faith views and non-faith views on topics such as:

Year 7 – ‘Is there a God? What and why do we believe?’, ‘should Christians be greener than others?’ and ‘Are the teachings of Buddha relevant today?’

Year 8 – ‘Being a Muslim in Britain today’, ‘Was Jesus really that radical?’ and ‘Death; is it the end?’

Year 9 – ‘Whose body is it anyway’, ‘Good, bad, right or wrong, how do I decide?’ and ‘Suffering, poverty and happiness’.

Students explore different responses to these topics and develop critical thinking and analysis skills.

At the Cotswold School, we follow our own bespoke Key Stage 3 Curriculum designed in-house to maximise enjoyment of, and achievement in, Science. Topics such as ‘CSI Bourton’, ‘Cafeteria Bacteria’ and ‘Rocket Science’ capture students’ imaginations and give them the best possible platform from which to tackle the GCSE Syllabus, which we begin at the start of Year 9.
Practical work forms an important element of the course with students learning how to work safely with a wide range of equipment as soon as they start. Understanding the Scientific Method and how to control variables are taught throughout all topics, along with presenting information in a variety of forms. We aim to enthuse students in Science and prepare them for the challenges ahead of them.


Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural


British Values


International Status