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KS3 Curriculum Overview

Our Curriculum aims to make the child’s learning stimulating, creative, fun and successful whilst setting high expectations for every child. It will be delivered by high quality teaching based on sound knowledge and understanding of each child’s needs

This will mean shaping teaching around the way different pupils learn and taking care to nurture the unique talents of every pupil. We will endeavour to develop a coherent curriculum based on a range of compelling learning experiences, which excite and inspire our learners.

We aim to develop in each pupil, aspirations to succeed and achieve their best, while providing a foundation for lifelong learning. We believe that children learn best when they are happy and secure so we strive to foster fun and an enjoyment of learning

Learning approaches

The curriculum experiences offered at Saxon Mount school are based on National Curriculum principles adapted to individual need. Our approach allows for variation in, pace, content, level and the method of presentation to ensure that learning experiences are appropriate for all children.

Strong emphasis is placed on the development of life and independence skills to enable pupils to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and be well prepared for life after school. Our core curriculum focuses on developing communication, independence, and emotional wellbeing.

This is enhanced by the teaching and consolidation of key skills within English, maths, creativity, physical health and wellbeing and knowledge and understanding of the world around us. The principles of fundamental British Values are focused on across all curriculum areas.

English

Our Key Stage 3 English curriculum explores a range of literature to develop and capture the creative imagination of our children. Each year pupils build upon the skills they have learnt and then apply them in their reading, writing and spoken word presentations.

Texts explored in KS3:

Year 7:

Auto-biography (including the study of various extracts from texts such as Boy by Roald Dahl). Class novel - The Twits By Roald Dahl. Poetry (reading, responding to, and writing poems in various forms). Class novel - The Wreck of the Zanzibar (by Michael Morpurgo). Story Writing (using picture stimuli to tell a simple story)

Year 8:

The Suitcase Kid (by Jacqueline Wilson). Journey to Jo’burg (by Beverley Naidoo). Narrative Poetry – reading a range of narrative poetry (such as: The Highwayman, The Lady of Shallot) looking to develop a personal and critical response or work around The Diary of Anne Frank

Year 9:

Class novels: Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (by John Boyne), Holes (by Louis Sacher) and either Narrative Writing or the class novel Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)

Mathematics

The development of mathematical skills for our pupils is essential so that they can independently use these in their every day lives. We believe that every child can learn Maths and has the capacity to continue to expand their mathematical intelligence regardless of their starting point. We aim to support and provide positive outcomes for all children.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Number and Calculation:

Counting, place value, addition and subtraction, multiplication and division

Measurement

Money, time, temperature, mass, length, area and perimeter

Geometry:

Properties of 2D shapes/symmetry, Angles/3D shapes, Position/direction/movement, Venn and Carroll diagrams, Identifying types of lines

Statistics:

Pictograms, bar charts, tally charts, tables, frequency and simple tables

Fractions:

Decimal fractions , tenths, simple unitary fractions, fractions of a set and equivalent fractions

Science

Science is everywhere and plays a role in everything we do. A sound knowledge of science can enhance an individual's ability to make decisions essential for healthy living and to participate constructively in society. Science provides our pupils with the opportunity to explore the amazing world around them and to develop an enquiring mind.

KS3 Topics

Throughout KS3 we use a spiral curriculum, so each year we revisit the same themes and build upon pupils’ knowledge and skills.

The themes are;
Biology - Organisms, Genes and Ecosystems
Chemistry - Matter, Reactions and Earth
Physics - Forces, Energy, Waves, Electricity and Magnetism

For example, the organisms topic involves the following;
Year 7 – Human skeleton, muscles, and cells
Year 8 – Human digestive system and comparing human and plant cells
Year 9 – Human gas exchange, respiration, and unicellular organisms.

Art

The KS3 curriculum encourages our pupils to explore different techniques, artists and their processes. This enables pupils to develop an understanding of the fundamental skills of art and confidence in reflection and development of a project.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

Pupils are introduced to the elements of art at the beginning of the year. They take part in an illustration project and start developing their 2d art skills by exploring art processes by artists Eric Carle and Quentin Blake. Later on in the year students begin working in 3d during a 'Bugs Life' project, they draw real life bugs, looking at mixed media artists and design and make a 3d bug developed from their drawings.

Year 8:

Pupils take part in a series of workshop style projects including textiles, printing, 3d model making and clay techniques. These projects introduce pupils to a range of processes in order to develop their design and 3d model making skills.

Year 9:

Pupils work towards an Arts Award qualification. This level 1 qualification and includes a series of practical art projects, reviewing an arts experience, researching their arts inspirations and delivering a workshop to younger pupils.

Careers

Careers education information and guidance is an essential part of a young persons journey to adulthood. The aim of the careers programme in key stage 3 is to encourage pupils to develop their selfawareness, self-determination and self-improvement as a learner. They will be supported with their transition into Year 7. They will learn about careers and the world of work in relation to themselves. They will begin to develop career management and employability skills. These skills will include listening, speaking, problem solving, creativity, staying positive, aiming high, leadership and teamwork.

Pupils complete a programme of activities that allows them to:

  • describe themselves, their strengths, their preferences
  • focus on their positive achievements
  • explain how they benefit from activities and experiences
  • understand the idea of a career journey
  • be aware of labour market information and how it can be useful
  • understand how to challenge stereotyping and discrimination
  • be aware of safe working practices and environments
  • learn to manage a personal budget
  • know how to make plans and decisions carefully
  • know how to present themselves well in a selection process
  • show they can be positive, flexible and well prepared

Computing

During Key Stage 3 in Computing, there is a focus on developing digital skills and knowledge essential for every pupils’ future.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

The pupils learn computational thinking by using programming techniques and understanding how to problem solve. They begin investigate computer hardware, software and computer terminology. Pupils also start to develop essential digital literacy skills, such as e-safety and using appropriate software packages for a specific task.

Year 8:

Pupils continue to use programming to support key problem solving skills and move into programming their own games. Throughout the year, they gradually move into deepening their digital literacy skills by exploring how data is represented by computers and using technology safely.

Year 9:

The emphasis of learning moves toward broadening pupils’ skills and knowledge of how to communicate effective using technology; staying safe and legal online; computing crime; cyber security and online transactions.

Design and technology

Design Technology at Saxon Mount School is an inspiring, rigorous and practical subject. Using creativity and imagination, pupils design and make products that solve real and relevant problems, within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values. Design Technology provides our pupils with an exciting opportunity to express their practical abilities.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

Pupils start by learning about structures and how they can be designed for strength. They move on to a project which develops their practical making skills and allows then to explore mechanisms. In the final project, pupils design and make a wooden product, widening their knowledge of hand tools and materials.

Year 8:

Pupils design and make products using a wider range of materials, hand and machine tools. They develop their ability to work with accuracy and improve the quality of finish. They deepen their knowledge of mechanisms and start to think about planning the stages of making, resolving problems through discussion.

Year 9:

Pupils further develop their design skills in the context of pewter casting and consider the restrictions of this more complex process. The next making activity introduces traditional but demanding woodwork joints to produce a given product. Pupils then use their skills to create a product which incorporates electronic components, which they solder.

Food and cookery

Food & Cookery at Saxon Mount School is very well placed in the curriculum to allow all our pupils the opportunities to gain practical experiences related to food, regardless of ability. The curriculum introduces our learners to a range of practical skills that will allow them greater ‘independence’ for themselves and provides ‘knowledge’ that will encourage ‘healthy eating’, in addition providing them with ‘lifelong’ skills. The broad and differentiated curriculum allows all pupils to succeed in a variety of practical and subject theory tasks. From such achievements our pupils gain great personal rewards and an enjoyment for the subject.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

Safety in the kitchen, an introduction to nutrition, where food comes from, arable and livestock farming, wise food shopping and food storage and personal hygiene in the kitchen.

Year 8:

Developing independence in practical lessons, healthy eating, rethink your drink investigation, Fairtrade, food packaging and recycling, seasonal foods, animal welfare in the UK and the dangers of working in the kitchen.

Year 9:

Nutrition labelling and understanding traffic light labelling, how food is grown, caught, reared and processed, food allergens, factors affecting food choices such as cultural, religious and medical, keeping food safe, bacterial development, food poisoning and safe food storage.

Geography

Geography teaching at Saxon Mount is about developing an understanding of our world, through experience, investigation and learning from secondary sources. Geography helps students to gain a greater understanding of the ways of life and cultures of people in other places. This will help to enable the students to take responsibility for their role in society and to develop a caring attitude towards others, animals and plants in our environment.

Geography is concerned with the study of places, the human and physical processes which shape them and the people who live in them. Students study their local area and contrasting places in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

Where on Earth Am I?: (Human and Physical Geography of the UK, How the UK is formed, Climate of the UK,
Rivers: Water cycle, Upper Middle Lower Course, Waterfalls, Meanders and Floodplains.
Africa and South America: Where are they? What is their climate? What are their animals, plants and environment like? Major cities and countries.

Year 8:

Coasts: formation of coasts, coastal management, erosion landforms, tourism
Climate and Ecosystems: world climate zones, small eco systems and food webs
Russia: location, climate, animals, landscapes, major cities

Year 9:

China: location, development, industry people landscape and major cities.

History

History teaching focuses on enabling pupils to think as historians. We recognise and value the importance of stories in history and we look at historical artifacts and primary sources to encourage a stimulating interest in the past.

Where appropriate, children are given the opportunity to visit sites of historical significance. We encourage visitors to come into the school and talk about their experiences of events in the past. We focus on helping children understand that historical events can be interpreted in different ways and that they are encouraged to ask searching questions.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

Normans: Battle of Hastings, Castles, Domesday book, feudal systems
Elizabethan England: Queen Elizabethan and Elizabethan life, Spanish Armada, Explorers.
American West: Indigenous people of Plains America life and culture, Homesteaders, Cowboys and Gold Rush.

Year 8:

Restoration England: Cromwell and Charles 1, Restoration of Charles II, Great Fire of London and the Great Plague
Industrial Revolution: Explore how the Industrial Revolution began, changes in transport, factories and farming, life of a child during the Industrial Revolution
Slavery: Start of the slave trade, Triangular trade, Slave Culture, emancipation of slaves

Year 9:

World War 1: Start of the war, Trench Warfare, Changing face of war
World War 2: Start of the war, Holocaust, Kristallnacht, D day, end of the war
Dynasties: Qing Dynasty and the Last Emperor Russia and the Romanovs

Music and Performing Arts

Our KS3 curriculum at Saxon Mount ensures that pupils have weekly lessons in year 7 and 8. Pupils enjoy a variety of projects and practical opportunities. Pupils play, perform, sing, improvise and compose in a range of contexts and use music technology. Pupils explore different musical structures, styles, genres and traditions.

In Key stage 3 we provide pupils with the foundation knowledge and experiences to enable pupils to study Performing Arts in Key stage 4. Pupils are given the opportunity to use and develop their skills by taking part in technique classes and performances delivered by their class teacher. They will experience various methods of recording and acting.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Blues & Jazz, Bhangra, Latin Music, Musical Elements and the History of Western Music. There are many opportunities for practical music-making during lesson time including performing and composing on keyboards, percussion instruments and ukuleles.

The development of key skills in Performing Arts such as reproducing repertoire or responding to stimuli; rehearsal and performance, responsibilities, performance disciplines and styles.

Physical Education

Our aim in the Physical Education curriculum is to educate pupils by providing a wide variety of different practical experiences. The department seeks to develop each individual pupils’ opportunity to participate and achieve in a range of different sports and activities, improve and develop their physical competency and skills, general fitness and their understanding of how to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. All pupils are given the opportunity to represent the school at a number of sporting events.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Gymnastics, dance, swimming, athletics, target games, health related fitness, outdoor adventurous activities, invasion games, net games, striking and fielding games, Young Leaders Award.

Personal, Social and Health Education

Personal, social and health education (PSHE) aims to support pupils to become healthy, independent and responsible members of community. We encourage our pupils to play a positive role in contributing to the life of the school. Pupils take part in discussions, investigation and problem solving activities. The children are encouraged to take part in a range of practical activities that promote active citizenship. We organise classes in such a way that pupils are able to participate in discussion to resolve conflicts or set agreed classroom rules of behaviour.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Personal Hygiene, Emotional Wellbeing, Friendship, Risk and Safety (Stranger Danger, Personnel Safety and Gangs) Sex Relationship Education (RSE), Drug Education and CPR.

RE and citizenship

Lessons aim to engage pupils in developing their own beliefs and opinions as well as exploring those of people around the world through an enquiry based syllabus. Developing a positive knowledge and understanding of the faiths, ethics and beliefs of others allows our pupils to have respect for those who are different from ourselves. Each lesson will be focused on gathering knowledge and ideas to be able to answer an over arching question. We teach them how society is organised and governed. We ensure that they experience the process of democracy in school through target meetings, circle time and class forums.

Topics to be covered at KS3:

Year 7:

What does it mean to belong to a community? Why do people have different beliefs? What makes buildings and special places? Why are festivals celebrated by different communities? (Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Samhain, Chinese New Year, Divali, Eid)

Year 8:

Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices
Do rules help people to be good? What makes someone an inspiration? (Rosa Parkes, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Malala, Stephen Hawking) How do people use art to express themselves?

Year 9:

Judaism: Beliefs and Practices
Rights and Responsibilities
How do we know what is right and wrong?
Is charity a choice or a duty?
What is the importance of food around the world?