Keeping You Informed in Year 8
As part of our aim to keep you informed, we outline here the content of the curriculum studied by students in Year 8. We hope this will help you keep track of what is being taught and assist you in understanding the school curriculum.
In Term 1 of Year 8 students study imaginative writing by exploring a variety of children’s fiction. Students then practise different styles of writing themselves, focussing on how to engage the audience and develop their writing skills.
- Analyse the language used in a character description
- Produce a children’s story
In Term 2 students read a novel as a class to develop a deeper understanding of literary techniques. Students study the way characters are presented, the development of setting and how suspense in created. Key chapters will be analysed in detail to develop the students' ability to comment on language and other features of writing.
- Analyse the meaning in an extract from the text.
- Write a description of a setting within the novel.
During Term 3 students look at news in different forms.
- Compare how the same story is presented in a tabloid and broadsheet newspaper.
- Write a newspaper report about a topical issue
Term 4 begins with exploring a range of different non-fiction stories centred on survival leading to students producing their own survival stories.
- Compare two non-fiction survival texts.
- Write your own survival short story or an extract from a survival experience.
In Term 5 students study David Calcutt's The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty. During this project, students develop their analytical skills when interpreting language and character.
- Analyse the writer's methods in keeping the audience's attention throughout the play.
- Write a monologue from a character's perspective.
In Term 6 students explore poetry. During this project, students study a variety of poems.
- Analyse a poet’s use of structure, narrative and language and the effect it creates on the reader.
- Write a descriptive response based pm a theme from one of the poems studied.
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. The Year 8 programme of study builds on the performing and group working skills developed in Year 7 – with a focus on Stage Technique and Characterisation. In Year 8 we begin exploring different performance genres, looking at developing performance from text using ‘Private Peaceful’ and devising a Murder Mystery Performance.
Students are encouraged to develop their own work in groups using their creativity and drama skills. They then develop their evaluative skills through peer and self-assessment.
The Year 8 scheme of work is part of our own bespoke 5 year curriculum, which aims to prepare all students for the rigour of the new GCSE specification. All students have an opportunity to develop their mental arithmetic skills. 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 units in pattern spotting; number systems; calculation; exploring shape; generalising arithmetic to algebra; and reasoning using measure.
Terms 3 & 4
Students cover units in the equivalence of fractions, decimals and percentages; statistics; solving equations; calculating with fractions; and properties of shape.
Terms 5 & 6
Students cover units in graphical representations of algebra; ratio and proportion; transformations; and measures and estimation.
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 £8.50.
Students’ work is regularly assessed by teachers, allowing students to compile a checklist of key skills on which they may need to do further independent work. There are also several more formal assessments, which assesses the cumulative topics covered throughout the term, informing the n track to achieve GCSE grade that appears in individual student reports. Teaching sets are regularly reviewed.
Homework is set once a week for up to 60 minutes and will be taken from various sources including online using MyMaths.
During year 8, students will study eleven 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 during year 8 and start their triple GCSE course in year 9. This gives them the opportunity to achieve three GCSEs in separate sciences.
Year 8 areas of study
- Compounds and the Periodic Table
- Chemical Reactions
- Describing Reactions
- Heat Transfer
Modern Languages - French
In Year 8, students will learn to recognise and produce phrases in tenses other than the present. This will include talking about what they did in the past tense and their ambitions using the near future. They will extend work from Year 7 to give opinions about a variety of topics. Students will also learn to talk about eating out and travel. All sets follow the Studio course (Foundation for sets 3 and Higher for sets 1&2). Students will also develop an understanding of grammar as well as an insight into French culture.
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 a website directly linked to the textbook used in class 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.
Assessments will be in the form of regular vocabulary tests, where spelling will matter, and more formal tests based on reading, writing, speaking and listening. They will be assessed on two skills per term: speaking/ reading and writing/ listening.
MODULE 1: Youth culture: TV, cinema, the internet and reading.
- Assessment 1: Speaking and reading
MODULE 2: Paris: saying what you can do there/ what students like doing and what they did when they visited different places.
- Assessment 2: Listening and writing
MODULE 3: My identity: talking about relationships, music/ clothes and last weekend.
- Assessment 3: speaking and reading.
MODULE 4: Home life: where you live, meals, food and describing a family event
- Assessment 4: Listening and writing
MODULE 5: Talent and ambition: encouraging and persuading people.
Information & Communication Technology
During Year 8, students will continue to develop their awareness of e-safety, use higher order data handling skills, update their multimedia website, unpick the architecture of a PC, develop their understanding of images as binery and develop their coding skills.
- How well their website suits purpose and audience
- Use of css and html
- Online mini-tests
- Programming and coding skills
- Testing their work against success criteria
Design & Technology
Design & Technology is taught to all Key Stage 3 students. Years 7, 8 and 9 experience three main focus areas of Resistant Materials Technology, Product Design and Food Skills. ICT is used in all of the modules.
In Year 8 we continue to develop Design and Technology capability and we build upon the skills, knowledge and understanding from Year 7. 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:
Examining levers and linkage mechanisms and studying their application in everyday use. Designing and making a simple mechanism toy with use of ICT, CD Rom and specialised kits to model commonly found items.
Students learn about prototypes, the importance of good quality and packaging. They develop their CAD/CAM skills by designing jewellery, for which a mould is made and a prototype cast in pewter. The project will involve designing and making. Students will work on practical tasks to produce a quality item.
Developing skills associated with Product Design and production. Research and investigation into existing products. Designing and making a Travel Game using CAD/CAM.
Understanding special dietary needs. Cooking and designing dishes suitable for these specific needs. Focus on dairy and protein ingredients using mainly savoury dishes.
For each of the four modules, the final National Curriculum level will be based on:
- Technical knowledge
The Year 8 syllabus is split into three main units:
- Firstly, factors affecting weather and our global climate are studied. This gives the students the grounding they need in core concepts to move on to understanding some of the complexities of different world biomes and the ecosystems that live within them. We focus on two diverse environments; the Arctic polar environment and the Amazon rainforest through which the students will complete a detailed case study.
- Secondly, we will study the topic of energy and resource management and its impact both locally and globally. The students will develop their own understanding of sustainability and social responsibility. The topic will stretch and challenge their thinking to question real-life issues and policies around the world.
- Finally, coastal erosion and protection is studied. This will include field work involving a compulsory trip to Eastbourne seafront where we discuss the natural processes operating on our coast and the reasons why Eastbourne has so many sea defences. This will be followed by a unit looking at the impacts of sea level rise on contrasting countries around the world.
Students will be assessed through a variety of formats; these will be given a grade in line with the changes to the changes to the GCSE grading system. Some of the assessments follow the same format and design as GCSE exams and are designed to develop the students memory, geographical understanding and exam techniques. These will include:
Climate graphs assessment: This assessment requires the students to demonstrate accurate graphical skills and an ability to interpret them. It will further develop the students’ ability to apply mathematical skills in a geographical context – a key requirement in the new GCSE specifications.
Ecosystems assessment: This tests recall, application skills and the ability to use case studies effectively in answering longer style GCSE questions.
Polar environment and climate change assessment: This is a blended exam which develops the students capacity to use concepts across units and develop their understanding of more complex command words.
Wind Farm Decision Making Exercise: This assessment gives the students a real-life choice on where to build a proposed wind farm. It is highly topical in our local area and develops their ability to make and justify their decisions.
Resources assessment: This assessment focusses on graphical, mathematical and language skills in a range of contexts relating to resource management and food security
Coastal Environment Project: Using the fieldwork as a staring point students will combine their map skills and fieldwork write-up to produce a written project. Literacy and confident use of geographical terminology are the focus of the assessment.
We use an online Geography homework system which will be used to extend learning at certain points in the year.
The Year 8 syllabus will follow the following programme of study
Term 1: 1500 - 1750
- The English Reformation
- The Tudors
- The Counter Reformation (including the Marian Persecutions)
Term 2: 1500 - 1750
- The Elizabethan Religious Settlement
- Life in Elizabethan England
- The Gunpowder Plot
Term 3: 1500 - 1750
- The causes and events of the English Civil War
- Oliver Cromwell – Hero or Villain
Term 4: 1750 – 1900
- The Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions
- The growth of the British Empire and the impact of empire on Britain and its colonies
- The social problems arising from industrialisation and urbanisation
- Attitudes towards the poor and welfare – The Poor Law, Factory Acts and Education Acts
- Power and the People: The Chartists and Reform Acts of the 19th Century
- The extension of the franchise to working men
- Social Reformers
During the year students will experience a variety of teaching and learning activities, including: question and answer, 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, including project work, descriptive writing, research and preparation for assessments.
Students will be given a number of key assessments, which will each be awarded a National Curriculum level.
Term 1 - Bloody Mary: Does she deserve her title?
Term 2 - Is it difficult to find out what Elizabeth really looked like?
Term 3 - Oliver Cromwell – Hero or Villain?
Term 5 - How far did British Society change over the period 1750 – 1900?
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 8 these themes are creativity, and good and evil.
We also undertake systematic study of the content of a particular religion which leads to a coherent understanding of what it means to belong to that religion. In year 8 we study Islam and Christianity.
We investigate contemporary ethical issues and fundamental questions of human existence, relevant to the individual in his or her personal development. In year 8 such questions include- Are there such things as miracles? When is it right to go to war? How do people make ethical decisions?
Students will be set key assessments which will be awarded a National Curriculum level. These will include:
- Christian Ethics
Students will be set in single sex groups.
Students will study the following programme:
- Gifted and Talented setting
- Table Tennis
- Striking & fielding
- Outdoor and Adventurous Activities
- 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 8 will learn to develop confidence and technical skill through a thorough investigation of painting skills in different contexts. Students will also be building upon their skills developed in year 7 and drawing and observational skills will continue to feature in the curriculum alongside painting. They will learn effective painting techniques, focusing on experiments with paint consistencies, colour mixing techniques and brush control. They will learn aspects of colour theory and how to work from observation as well as secondary sources, using their research as an effective tool to inform class work studies.
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 to 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 which may extend 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). For the home work tasks, students will require a basic set of watercolour paints and brushes. 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.
1. Contextual research - To develop ideas using research of historical and contemporary artists, designers and craftspeople.
2. Media - To use a range of media, materials, techniques and processes to explore and refine your ideas.
3. 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)
4. Final response - To complete a final, personal response in conclusion to the project in connection with your studies and research.
Projects usually span from 1-2 terms and finish with a final piece which is assessed in class before teacher assessments. Examples of previous projects include:
- Colour mixing and colour theory, focusing on the watercolour studies of Paul Klee
- Landscape painting inspired by the work of David Hockney
- Print making informed by ‘bugs and butterflies’ and looking at the work of E. Seguy and Damien Hirst
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.
There are also opportunities for students to use various 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 Blues, 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.
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
During Year 8, students learn through a variety of teaching styles including whole class activities and small group work. Activities include keyboard work, composing and performing, general musical knowledge and technology. Groups are organised as mixed ability to give every student the opportunity to be part of a performance, regardless of their ability.
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 - Form and Structure
- Term 2 - Theme and Variations
- Term 3 - The Orchestra
- Term 4 - Advertising
- Term 5 - Blues
- Term 6 - Pop Songs
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 student’s tutors. During year 8, students expand their understanding from local to national democracy and other forms of government are explored with students creating their own campaigns. Students also explore topical issues and consider the role of the law in the lives of young people.
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 and 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.
D. Cooke - Assistant Headteacher