Key Stage 3 Curriculum
Key Stage 3 allows students and teachers to address their subject in more depth and detail. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to complete research. Homework becomes more frequent and demanding and it will be important to meet deadlines. There are often new European Languages to study and students have access to classroom dedicated to practical subjects, such as Art, Design & Technology and Music. However, the Key Stage 3 Curriculum continues to build on the key components of Literacy and Numeracy.
There will be frequent assessment and these will take place either in the classroom or in the Sports Hall as formal end of year examinations. Preparation is key – students will be supported with this in lessons however it is expected that they will also study at home.
The Key Stage culminates in Year 9 when students complete the Options Process. All students will have to continue to study the Key Stage 4 National Curriculum, however they will all be able to modify their timetable by dropping some subjects, and choosing others. This process will take place in the Spring Term and subject teachers and form tutors will be supporting students in their choices.
Art and Design is a vibrant and successful department taught at the heart of the school. It is a popular choice at GCSE and A Level and we are proud of the achievements of our students at all levels. Throughout year 7-9, pupils 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. Pupils 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 pupils to be ambitious in their final pieces out of their sketchbook too. Ultimately we want pupils to become independent, happy and confident young artists!
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.
Yr 7 – Mechanical Monster, Pewter Key Ring, Pop Up Book, Day of the Dead Mask, Healthy Eating and Basic Food Skills.
Yr 8 – Drawer Alarm, Mobile Phone Holder, Soft Sculpture, Food provenance and Bread/Pasta products
Yr 9 – Memphis Mirror, Camera Modelling, Abstract Cushion Covers, 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, Of Mice and Men, The Tempest and a wide selection of poetry, to name but a few. Pupils also have the opportunity to study a wide variety of non-fiction texts including Samuel Pepys’ Diary and examples of Travel Writing as well as learning about writing from other cultures and developing their own nonfiction communication skills.
In Year 9 we have responded creatively to recent educational changes such as the new GCSE course; students are studying a range of texts such as The Woman in Black and Romeo and Juliet and are being well prepared for the new style GCSE.
Key Stage 3 begins with an introduction to geography, explaining the variations with in the subject itself and teaching and developing basic geographical skills such as OS map reading and interpreting graphs. There are numerous opportunities for school trips throughout Key Stage 3, such as Cheddar Gorge, opening pupil’s eyes to the breadth that geography can cover and adventure outside of the classroom. From years 7 to 9 the topics, skills and application of geographical theory and understanding develop and change and involve relevance to the modern, ever-changing world as well as the effect on people on both a local and international scale.
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 history club too.
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 and 8, students in upper band classes will have the opportunity to study two languages (either Spanish and French or German and French). Students in middle band classes will study Spanish. 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 www.mymaths.co.uk (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.