Keeping you informed in Year 7
As part of our aim to keep you informed, we outline here the content of the curriculum studied by students in Year 7. We hope this will help you keep track of what is being taught and assist you in understanding the school curriculum.
In Term 1 students are introduced to the autobiography of Roald Dahl, in which they study key events regarding starting at secondary school. As well as this, students explore a range of persuasive techniques to help them to write a speech.
- Analysis of language used within an extract from 'Boy' by Roald Dahl.
- Write a speech to persuade primary school students to come to Willingdon School using a range of persuasive techniques.
In Term 2 students read a novel as a class. They study the writer’s use of language and development of characters, in addition to reflecting on the writer’s themes and ideas. Students also produce written responses, which are thematically linked to the text.
- Analyse an extract which is linked to the novel's main themes/ideas.
- Descriptive diary entry from the perspective of a character which includes emphatic writing.
During Term 3 students study a range of poetry and explore themes and language used by writers to create effects. They produce a collection of their own poetry.
- Write analytical paragraphs explaining the effect of the poet's language on the reader.
- Write a descriptive piece of writing about a place using language techniques.
In Term 4 students study a Shakespeare play, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. Students study the characters, themes and plot.
- Analyse a character from an extract of a key scene focusing on Shakespeare's use of language.
- Write a newspaper review for the Athenian Times
In Term 5 students read a play as a class, allowing them to explore issues of characterisation and theme. Students analyse the author’s use of language and develop their own ability to empathise with situations.
- Analyse how two main characters have been presented in the play.
- Write a letter to the Head of the school in the play
In Term 6 students study a range of adverts. They explore how writers craft adverts to persuade and they create their own marketing package for a product.
- Analyse the effect of slogans on a target audience
- Produce an article discussing the advantages of Fair Trade products.
Students are taught Drama as part of the Design and Technology Carousel and are taught in groups of maximum 22, (mixed gender and ability), for a period of 8 weeks with 4 lessons a fortnight. We begin Year 7 by looking at key drama techniques and group working skills. We then use these skills in a project based on ‘The Pied Piper’.
For the rest of the Drama rotation we work on developing students’ physical performance skills and developing their use of drama techniques using the story of ‘Matilda’, finishing in an assessed performance of their work.
Students are set in Mathematics, on entry to the school, according to achievement at Primary School in the year six National Tests and Cognitive Ability Tests. In year 7 we focus particularly on oral and mental skills.
We use the MathsLinks course in years 7 to 9. The textbook is available in three levels and provides extension work for more able students. In all groups there is time set aside to develop mental arithmetic skills. For the least able we like to focus on basic knowledge and encourage the use of practical equipment. All students have access to computer packages and online resources. The Mathematics Department subscribes to MyMaths (www.mymaths.co.uk), an interactive Mathematics website. MyMaths allows students to select the level of work they are doing and therefore choose their own learning pathway through the material. Students can work on lessons at home which they have been taught in class, and choose appropriate material for their level, thus encouraging independent learning. This is further complemented by the addition of MathsWatch (www.mathswatchvle.com) to our available resources. MathsWatch provides visual and audio lessons for Year 7 Mathematics topics and all students will be provided with access to the site.
Terms 1 & 2
Students cover work on all four attainment target areas. The topics are number, sequences, angles, negative numbers, area, decimals, percentages and fractions.
Terms 3 & 4
Here we look at displaying data, algebraic expressions, accuracy, everyday measure, probability, construction, coordinates, factors, primes and square and cube numbers.
Terms 5 & 6
During these terms we extend the ideas of algebra to equations, graphs, measures, flow-diagrams and number patterns. We also look at transformations, ratio and proportion and interpreting data.
We revisit and extend work on fractions, decimals and percentages. There is also some work on 3-dimensional solids.
Students are required to be equipped with a scientific calculator and geometry set for every Maths
lesson. These can be purchased from the mathematics department at a combined cost of £7.00.
Each term there is a formal assessment, which assesses the cumulative topics covered throughout the term. Marks are recorded as National Curriculum levels. Teaching sets are reviewed at the end of each term.
Homework is set once a week for up to 30 minutes and will be taken from various sources including online using MyMaths.
During year 7, students will study twelve topics in three key areas of study. Our science curriculum follows the Hodder Education, “Science Progress” Scheme. In each unit students will learn about science ideas and develop their science key skills. Student progress is determined using core and summative assessment tasks. The core assessment will take place about half way through the teaching of the unit. Summative assessments are completed at the end of the unit.
Students who are in set 1 will complete the KS3 course in two years and start their triple GCSE course in year 9. This gives them the opportunity to achieve three GCSEs in separate sciences. Students in sets 2, 3 and 4 will complete a traditional three year KS3 and start their GCSE’s in year 10.
- Animal Reproduction
- Plant Reproduction
- Pure materials
- Energy Transfer and Energy resources
Modern Languages - French
In year 7 students will be following a new programme of study focussing on communication, sentence building and grammar to help them become more independent learners. Students will be encouraged to use bilingual dictionaries to look up new words and check spellings and we strongly recommend that students have a French / English dictionary for use for homework.
During Year 7, studies include the following topic areas:
Term 1: learning phonics and how to pronounce words.
Talking about countries, nationalities and languages
Term 2: Talking about where you live. Describing places, including a photo.
Term 3: Animals and families. Students will also learn how to describe a painting.
Term 4 and 5: School and opinions. Timetable. Food and drink.
Term 6: Sports and free time. Future plans.
Homework will be set once a week. There will be a variety of tasks ranging from vocabulary learning on a vocabulary learning website called vocabexpress.com, and 2 websites where they will be able to access reading tasks, and listening tasks. They will also be set speaking and written tasks to prepare for their assessments.
Assessment will be in the form of regular vocabulary tests, where spelling will matter, and more formal tests based on reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students will learn to develop their understanding using self-assessment and peer-assessment during the year.
Information & Communication Technology
In their lessons during the first year, students are introduced to the use of the school network, cloud services and a broad range of software.
- An introduction to the safe use of Internet and a thorough course on E-safety
- Programming with Python using BBC micro:bit
- Computer control and coding a game in Scratch and Python
- A superhero’s database!
- A website about themselves and awareness about images represented in binary
- Computer model for an automatic greenhouse and online computer coding exercises
- Skills assessment in data handling
- Online mini-tests
- Annotation of their game code to explain their understanding and extended literacy tasks
Design & Technology
Design & Technology is taught to all Key Stage 3 students. Years 7, 8 and 9 experience three main focus areas: Resistant Materials Technology, Product Design and Food Skills. ICT is used in all of the modules.
In Year 7 we aim to give students a broad range of projects across the focus areas. Whilst the projects may appear to result in very different outcomes, the essential core element of designing and making is evident, whatever the product. This enables students to realise that behind every product lies a common ‘design process’. It teaches students to understand, appreciate, make and evaluate products, and gives them an insight into methods of design and production.
Students are taught in groups of maximum 20, (mixed gender and ability), for a period of 8 weeks in one focus area by one teacher. They then move on to the next teacher for a different focus for a similar period until four modules have been completed across the year. Each module will have homework set each week. Typical homework will include research and investigation into existing products related to the topic, identifying and carrying out customer interviews and recording feedback; learning key vocabulary and appropriate, innovative designing tasks. Design and Technology capability will be built upon over the year to give a final National Curriculum Level.
For 2014/15 we offer the following range of modules and projects:
Working with materials, tools, equipment and workshop processes. Designing and making an acrylic clock with CAD/CAM numerals.
Learning basic workshop practice and the working characteristics of metal, through the use of a range of hand and machine tools, to make a candle holder of their own design.
Introduction to Product Design, modelling and ICT. Importance of computer aided design and computer aided manufacture in ‘real’ world production. Designing and making drink packaging and free gift using CAD/CAM.
Understanding the nutritional qualities of food, making food choices and producing a variety of dishes in our food skills room. Focus on fruit and vegetables.
For each of the four modules, the final National Curriculum level will be based on:
- Technical knowledge
Year 7 Geography starts the exciting Key stage 3 course by investigating the dynamic topic of tectonics, which looks at volcanoes and earthquakes and their causes and effects on people that live with them. We will then move on to looking at map skills, including grid references and OS maps. This will also involve practical activities. We follow this with the topic of rivers and look at their formations and effects on people who live near them. We have also included a topic on contemporary issues which we will teach at some point during the year when a significant geographical event occurs, in order that we can increase the students’ understanding of the dynamic geographical world they live in.
Students will be assessed through a variety of assessments; these will be given a National Curriculum level. These will include:
Volcano Assessment where students will have to choose and justify what to take with them in the event of a volcanic eruption evacuation.
Kobe Earthquake Assessment where students will need to decide why this earthquake killed so many people by examining the evidence.
Unit Test on Volcanoes and Earthquakes which is an exam based test which tests factual knowledge and understanding.
Unit Test on Ordnance Survey Maps. This is a short exam which tests their ability to use various map skills learnt in lessons.
Rivers and Mapping Question. This is a GCSE style question which will introduce the style of questions asked at GCSE and also test the students’ knowledge of river features.
Flooding in Bangladesh Assessment. This is an assessment where students write a report for the Bangladeshi government advising them on the causes, effects and suggested responses to their flooding problem.
The scheme of work has been adapted for use with our ‘Nurture Groups’. We also use an online Geography homework system which will be used to extend learning at certain points in the year.
In Term 1 students will look at Historical Skills and Concepts including ‘What is History’ and Chronology, Change and Cause & Consequence. This enables all students to begin Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum in History with similar skills, whatever their experience of History at primary school.
The major study of year 7 is Medieval England. Starting with The Battle of Hastings 1066, students will study the social, political, religious and economic history of this period on a local, regional and national level. Topics include: The importance of the Church, Thomas Beckett, England and its neighbours, King John and the Magna Carta, The Black Death and the Peasants Revolt. In term six students will look at The Renaissance, the European Reformation and the War of the Roses.
During the year, students will experience a variety of teaching and learning activities, from 'questions & answers' to extended writing and role-play. The department encourages students to carry out extended research to increase their depth of knowledge.
Homework is used to consolidate the work carried out in the lessons. Students are set a variety of tasks appropriate to their ability and progress, including project work and descriptive writing.
Students will be given a number of key assessments, which will each be awarded a National Curriculum level.
Term 1 The Battle of Hastings
Term 2 How did the Normans keep control?
Term 3 The struggle for power in Medieval England
Term 6 Year 7 Exam
Ethics & Philosophy
In Ethics and Philosophy we explore themes that emphasise concepts across and between religions (and other belief systems such as humanism) and that often relate directly to students’ own experiences. In year 7 these themes are Inspirational People and Creation.
We also undertake a systematic study which emphasises the content of a particular religion and leads to an understanding of what it means to belong to that religion. In year 7 we study Christianity and introduce the other five main world religions.
We investigate contemporary ethical issues and fundamental questions of human existence, relevant to the individual in his or her personal development. In year 7 such questions include- What is truth? Is there a God? What do I believe?
Students will be set key assessments which will be awarded a National Curriculum level. These will include:
- Philosophy- Is there a God?
- Origins and Creation
Students will be divided into mixed-sex groups and are set on ability. All students will cover the following areas of activity:
- Gifted and Talented setting
- Table Tennis
- Striking and fielding
- Outdoor & Adventurous Activities
For each unit of work, students will be assessed on their ability to:
- Develop skills in physical activity
- Make and apply decisions
- Develop physical and mental capacity
- Evaluate and improve
- Make informed choices about healthy, active lifestyles.
Students in year 7 will learn to develop the following skills, knowledge and understanding through an investigation of different observational stimuli such as shoes, still-life and natural forms. Students are taught skills of drawing and recording, learning about composition, proportion and scale (how to effectively plan a drawing). Students go on to learn skills in shading and working with a range of media. Throughout the year, projects are linked to key artists and art movements so that students can develop their research and writing skills. Literacy is also focused on during the year and students learn how to analyse art works and be confident writers in expressing their observations and ideas in writing as well as analysing and evaluating their own work and that of their peers. Homework is set weekly or fortnightly; students are expected to spend a minimum of 30 minutes on homework tasks. Often the homework tasks may be ongoing as students develop a long term drawing or project will may be extended over a number of weeks but will be monitored each week. Students are also required to collect research images and information about an artist or movement to support their class work project. Students will require a drawing pencil (to be stored in their art book at school) an A4 poly-pocket and will need to purchase an A4 art book (available from the department for £1). These pieces of equipment will be discussed with students at the start of the year.
The following explains what will be the key objectives which students will be assessed on throughout the year.
- Contextual research - To develop ideas using research of historical and contemporary artists, designers and craftspeople.
- Media - To use a range of media, materials, techniques and processes to explore and refine your ideas.
- Drawing and recording ideas - To record ideas and use a range of drawing and recording techniques (including pencil, pen, painting, printing and photography and image manipulation)
- Final response - To complete a final, personal response in conclusion to the project in connection with your studies and research.
Projects usually cover 1-2 terms and finish with a final piece which is assessed in class before teacher assessments. Examples of previous projects include:
- Mini-still life (using matchboxes filled with nuts and bolts, students develop a large scale drawing, learning crucial drawing skills.
- Cubism, looking at Juan Gris and Georges Braque
Music is taught as a language, so in the early stages of Year 7 students are given basic vocabulary such as the letter names and values of notes and the elements of music. They are then in a position to use these in their performances and compositions.
For students to be involved in as many musical experiences as possible, they work on a termly rota of activities. These include individual, paired and group work and involve composing and performing activities, listening exercises and technology. Students are given work suitable to their needs, with varying amount of teacher guidance. Groups are mixed ability to enable all students to be part of a successful performance.
Keyboard work gives them the opportunity to work as an individual and as part of an ensemble. The work is structured so that students gain the fundamental requirements of keyboard playing - using correct fingers, learning 'handshapes' on the keyboard and chord progressions.
Students are also able to use a wide variety of percussion instruments, ukuleles and electric and acoustic guitars.
The composing activity involves small groups where a task is set to include several musical techniques, or as a whole class activity involving improvisation. It is also used as a development of social skills. These activities are set either as part of a main project such as Chinese music, or for a specific musical reason such as design, tonality or a rhythm pattern and students use a variety of instruments for this work including their voice.
The listening activity is designed to increase students' ability to listen accurately and develop concentration skills and is a whole class activity.
For technology, the work set is based upon the topic of each individual unit of work. Students are given the opportunity to compose using Garageband and Logic software.
Vocal work is very important as a confidence builder and includes unison and part-singing, often accompanied by instrumentalists in the group and sometimes using a backing track.
Work is assessed each lesson and levels are given for each completed topic. Self/peer assessment is encouraged and students set their own targets.
Additional musical experiences may be gained through the extra-curricular activities offered to students – school band, swing band, keyboard club, Irish folk music, choir, as well as other ensembles. Several concerts/showcases take place throughout the year, both in and out of school, there are opportunities to perform in assembly, and there is an annual talent show - A Star is Bourne.
The opportunity to learn to play an instrument is offered through the County Instrumental Service and lessons are available on flute, clarinet, saxophone, any brass instrument, guitar, electronic keyboard, violin, and percussion. Fees are payable for these lessons and for the majority of lessons students are extracted from main school lessons on a rota system. Any student learning an instrument through this system in the Primary School will automatically be transferred on arrival at Willingdon Community School. Singing lessons are also offered with a private teacher.
Units of Work
There are 6 main units of work throughout the school year, and these are assessed on a termly basis. Each unit aims to develop a variety of skills, such as reflecting on learning and working as a team member, and work is differentiated to suit students of all abilities.
Term 1 Rhythm and Notation
Term 2 Human Voice
Term 3 Music and Image
Term 4 Music of Asia (1)
Term 5 Music of Asia (2)
Term 6 Minimalism
East Sussex Music Services
'Wherever music takes you, start your journey with East Sussex Music'
'If your child is interested in learning an instrument, they can sign up for lessons through East Sussex Music service’ Most students learn in a group with three or four other players so that every student can benefit from learning with others and making music together. If required, we also offer individual lessons. Lessons are held weekly for 30 weeks over the school year.'
Citizenship is taught as part of lesson one and is delivered by the students’ tutors.
In Year 7 students look at their community in a variety of ways. They consider the diversity of the community and the part they play in it. Students begin to appreciate how local government works and what they can do to affect change in their local community.
Students take part in various citizenship activities including charity fund raising. They will experience a variety of learning activities from art work and role play to debate.
As part of their work during the year, each student will be required to undertake a community based project of their choice.
At Willingdon we attach great importance to the links that exist between home and school, since we believe it is by working together that we can ensure the best possible education for your child.
One important aspect of this joint effort is HOMEWORK.
The school believes that homework is an essential part of learning. It can contribute very effectively to raising achievement, for the following reasons:
- It gives students an opportunity to work independently, and to take responsibility for their own learning;
- It helps students to recognise the link between good study habits and higher standards of achievement;
- It helps teachers check that students have understood class work;
- It can be used to extend work covered in class;
- And it can strengthen liaison between home and school.
We believe that students can best benefit from the work they bring home if they have full parental support, and it is for this reason that we have taken this opportunity to outline the school’s policy on homework and the part you can play in ensuring that your child develops and maintains good homework habits.
Timing & Quantity of Homework
Key Stage 3 - Years 7 – 9
Students should expect to be set homework weekly in the following subjects: English, Mathematics, Science, French and Design Technology, and at least fortnightly in Geography, History, Ethics, Art, Music and ICT. Students should therefore expect to have homework to do in one or two subjects each evening.
A range of homework tasks will be set, as appropriate to individual subject areas, including written and reading tasks, learning, collecting information and objects, conducting simple experiments or making models, sketching or designing, and carrying out surveys and interviews. It is important to note that homework does not always take a written form.
It is difficult to draw up a formal homework timetable with specific evenings allocated to specific subjects, since students in any one tutor group belong to a number of different teaching groups being taught a particular subject at different times of the week. We need, therefore, as teachers and as parents, to help students see the importance of planning their time sensibly, so that work does not accumulate, and deadlines are not missed.
Adequate time will always be allowed for completion of work. Staff will avoid requiring homework to be done for the next day as far as possible, realising that students may have family or extra-curricular commitments on certain nights.
Students in year 7 should be spending approximately one hour per evening on homework. We do not, of course, wish to discourage students from spending more time than this if they are keen to do so, but we would not expect your child to struggle on throughout the evening with a piece of work that he or she found too difficult. If your child has worked conscientiously on the assignment for a reasonable amount of time, a note in the diary to that effect, to the subject teacher or tutor, would be very useful. We encourage students to carry out their homework tasks in a quiet place away from distractions, but recognise that this may not always be possible.
The Student Planner
Every student is issued with a Student Planner at the beginning of the new academic year. This is an important means of communication between the school and home.
Students are responsible for entering details of their homework in the planner.
Subject teachers will ensure that the task is explained clearly, both verbally and in writing on the board, with a date for handing the work in. Assistance will be given to those students who may have difficulty noting down the homework. Where a piece of homework is to extend over a number of weeks, students should make sure that they enter it up appropriately each week. Students should make sure they ask for clarification, if they are not clear about the homework set.
Tutors and subject teachers will check planners regularly to ensure that homework is being noted down and completed, and that you are being asked to sign the diary weekly.
Please use the planner if you wish to communicate quickly with your child’s subject teachers or with the tutor. Similarly, staff will use it to communicate with you. There is a section at the front of the planner which explains how students themselves should best use it as a personal planner, and a section on how you can help your child organise him/herself most effectively. There is also a section on how to record homework in the planner so that the task is clear and the due date not missed.
The diary can be used to inform you of any failure to complete or hand in homework. The new deadline will be stated, and any sanction to be imposed if this is not met.
Students can be given a break-time detention or an after-school departmental detention. If the problem continues, individual departments or your child’s Director of Student Progress will inform you of the situation, and may suggest a meeting to discuss the problem. Where there are problems in a number of subjects, a student may be put on a Homework Monitoring Report until the situation improves.
We hope that the above outline of our policy on homework will help you to support your child and to monitor the work that he/she brings home. If you require clarification on any of the points made above, or wish to discuss any aspect of the policy further, please do not hesitate to contact the school.
D. Cooke- Assistant Headteacher