Getting to Know the Key Stage 3 Curriculum – English & Maths

Our Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) curriculum is based on the English National Curriculum, supplemented by exciting elements from the International Primary Curriculum. Lessons are taught by a series of subject specialists with the class tutor having the important pastoral role of coordinating all aspects of the pupils’ academic and social development as well as delivering the Wellington Wellbeing Programme.

The Wellington curriculum is rigorous and challenging, having been designed to meet the needs of each individual by giving a breadth of educational experience and academic depth. Learning will inspire curiosity, creativity and compassion in all our pupils. We will empower pupils to become independent, self-aware and confident, laying the foundations for academic success at IGCSE and beyond, and make them effective and responsible leaders of the future.

In this article, Mr. Tucker, Year 7 tutor and English Teacher; together with Mr. Dennon, Year 8 tutor and Maths teacher, will give a brief overview of the subjects covered in Key Stage 3.

English

We all go through set stages in education. In English, this is a process of learning how to read phonetically, decoding symbols, and comprehending complex meanings within increasingly challenging texts. This third element is the aim of the Key Stage 3, upper-prep curriculum: support pupils in comprehending challenging texts and introduce the best practices for writing in a sophisticated way. It is a curriculum that builds on the work of primary and lower prep in developing pupils’ reading skills and their aptitude in writing. It seeks to provide pupils with a varied textual experience; one that allows them to access texts independently outside of school as well as the IGCSE.

Throughout the course, pupils are constantly challenged to understand and respond to sophisticated ideas. Each year, for example, pupils will focus on a novel that will challenge their thinking. They will need to combine their knowledge of the English language, as well as their knowledge of history and geography specific to the novel, in order to fully understand what the writer was trying to achieve. They will also have the opportunity to study a selection of works written by Shakespeare, a truly classic English playwright, and later focus their attention on various famous poets throughout the ages.

These challenging texts will be tempered and supported by pupils’ writing through which they will develop and display their understanding. Each week, pupils will write in different genres, responding to things they have read or developing their own personal ideas on a topic. This curriculum is one that seeks to develop pupils’ independence and ability to make fully informed decisions for themselves. By the end of the Key Stage 3 curriculum in English, pupils will have read widely, be able to write on varied topics in various mediums and be able to debate their ideas on challenging subjects.

In terms of preparation for the course, pupils will need to become more independent with their learning as they build an awareness of the areas in which they are strong and the areas in which they feel they need additional support. They will need to be organised and keep to strict deadlines – especially as we move to formal coursework. However, they will also have the opportunity to pursue their own areas of interest throughout the entire course by reading, researching and writing about topics that fascinate them.

Mr. Tucker is an English teacher from Britain. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Cardiff University with a particular focus on Medieval Literature, including Arthurian Legends and Robin Hood, and Romantic Poets, such as Wordsworth, Shelley and Coleridge.

Mr. Tucker first started teaching after working with Salisbury Cathedral School. He then began his teaching career in his hometown of Exeter where he received ‘Outstanding’ in PGCE English. This subsequently led him to work around the Devonshire area in various schools. As part of his teaching career and his Master’s degree, he worked with Exeter University in researching how language and literacy has a place within schools, allowing him to gain a thorough understanding of how pupils develop their linguistic prowess.

Alongside teaching, Mr. Tucker has often led pupils with their Duke of Edinburgh Award and their Ten Tor’s training schemes. He has a long-established background in many outdoor pursuits, ranging from hiking and climbing to kayaking and archery. He has worked as an Assistant Director for a summer school and an activities leader for United World Colleges. He has also spent time as a Choral Scholar, singing around Britain, Europe and the US.
In his free time, Mr. Tucker can be found motorcycling, reading or hiking.

Maths

The Key Stage 3 curriculum will introduce the pupils to many new ideas in mathematics. Maths will be divided into four main areas: number topics, algebra, data and shapes, with algebra being the most prominent among them.

The first few weeks will involve easing the pupils back into school with some number topics, ranging from using negative numbers in calculations to simplifying indices including squares and square roots. When we then move into the start of algebra, we will introduce new language that many pupils may have never heard of before in a mathematical setting, such as factorising, expanding and substitution. This algebra topic will prepare the pupils for the more difficult sections of algebra to follow later in the year and in the coming years leading up to IGCSE.

We will continue with number topics throughout the first term; as these form the foundation of most of the future topics we will cover, it is important that pupils feel confident in these basics before we move on. This means that fractions, decimals, percentages, compound measures and bounds will all be covered in the lead up to Christmas.

For the remainder of the year, we will mostly focus on algebra topics as these are widely used in tandem with other areas of mathematics. Simultaneous equations, as well as expanding and factorising quadratic expressions and equations, will be covered throughout the year, both of which are regarded as some of the more difficult topics in Key Stage 3.

The main shape topics built into this year’s curriculum focus on Pythagoras and trigonometry. It is imperative that pupils have a solid understanding of number topics and algebra as they form the basis of what they will learn when exploring shapes.

Data topics will be covered later in the year and will be useful when collecting and analysing data. It is crucial that pupils know how to properly collect and read data, including graphs and charts often used in media communications. This will hopefully allow pupils to gain a better understanding of the world around them as they put into regular practice their skills in distinguishing and deciphering reliable data.

All of the topics this year are, of course, leading pupils towards the IGCSE and should prepare them well for when this comes. Pupils can expect to be faced with some tough questions throughout the year as this is the best way for them to be prepared for their exams in the future. Since so many of our pupils enjoy knowing what is ahead of them, it would be my advice that they should help themselves by becoming familiar with the content of the IGCSE (easily found online). Pupils should also have their own tools necessary for accessing our Maths curriculum, including scientific calculators, rulers, protractors, and compasses, so they feel comfortable using them daily.

About Mr. Dennon


Mr. Dennon is a Mathematics teacher from Manchester, England. He has been working as a teacher in a high school in Greater Manchester for the last three years and has been teaching the GCSE curriculum during this time with expertise from ages 11-16. Mr. Dennon has enjoyed Mathematics from a young age and has always strived to understand this area more deeply. It is this passion for the subject that he is passing on to pupils in his lessons so they feel inspired to learn more and grasp different mathematical concepts. In the classroom, Mr. Dennon aims to create a safe and creative working environment that gives pupils the opportunity to work alone or in groups depending on the situation, a strategy that seeks to build pupils’ courage in answering questions and not worrying about being right or wrong.

In his spare time, Mr. Dennon has a great passion for football and follows Manchester City FC. He has been following football from a young age and plays most weeks with friends. Along with football, Mr. Dennon enjoys staying active with walks and most racquet sports, which he hopes he can start to become involved in again whilst at Wellington. He is incredibly proud to be working at Wellington and is focused on instilling the values in the pupils. Having settled into life in Hangzhou, Mr. Dennon is fully committed to ensuring that before anything else, pupils make outstanding progress; he is looking forward to working with some of the brightest pupils of the generation.