Keeping You Informed in Year 9
As part of our aim to keep you informed, we outline here the content of the curriculum studied by students in Year 9. 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 read a novel as a class to develop a deeper understanding of literary techniques. Students study the way characters are presented, development of setting and how suspense is created. Key chapters will be analysed in detail to develop the student’s ability to comment on language and other features of writing. They will also produce their own writing responses.
- Analyse the effectiveness of language during a dramatic moment in the text
Write a series of diary entries for a character in the novel.
In Term 2 students study a range of texts from the Gothic genre and identify their main features, themes and study the language and techniques used by the writer to create a specific effect on the reader.
- Analyse the writer's purpose within an extract taken from a Gothic novel.
- Write the text for a website which persuades a specific target audience to visit a haunted location.
In Term 3 students are introduced to a range of thematic poetry and descriptive writing.
- Compare the narrative, language techniques and structure used in two of the poems studied.
- Write a letter of protect about a topical issue.
In Term 4 students study a range of nineteen century, including Sherlock Holmes novels. This is designed to prepare them for a GCSE approach to studying texts.
- Analyse purpose, viewpoint and language choices in extract
- Writing in the style of the detective genre.
In Term 5 students study a Shakespeare play (Macbeth). Students complete an essay response in which they demonstrate their analytical skills by commenting on the language used as well as the structure. They will produce writing responses linked to the themes of the play.
- Analytical essay about the play.
- Write a letter from Macbeth to his wife.
In Term 6 students study a range of non-fiction from the twentieth and twenty first century. This unit gives them a taste of the GCSE language exam.
- Compare the structure of two non-fiction extracts.
- Own literary non-fiction piece based on texts 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 9 programme of study continues to build on the performance and devising skills developed in Year 8.
In Year 9 we begin exploring different performance styles; working with Physical Theatre and Abstract Drama and introducing Modern Script. We explore the text of ‘Blood Brothers’ using a GCSE style approach ending in an assessed performance.
Students will continue to develop their evaluation skills through extended peer and self-assessment.
The Year 9 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 90 minutes and will be taken from various sources including online using MyMaths.
During year 9, students will study ten 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 sets 2, 3 and 4 will complete the KS3 course, and start their GCSE course in May. This gives them the opportunity to achieve two GCSEs in science.
Set 1 student’s start their triple science GCSE course in year 9. This gives them the opportunity to gain 3 GCSEs in the separate sciences.
Year 9 Areas of Study
- Extracting Metals
- Reacting Acids
- Innovative Materials
- Domestic Electricity
- Application of Forces
Modern Languages - French
In Year 9 students will continue to develop and extend work on topics from years 7 and 8, as well as preparing new topic areas. All sets follow the Studio Course (Foundation and Higher), sets 1&2 work with the higher course whereas set 3 follow the foundation course.
Grammar work will concentrate on the development of the use of tenses. Students of all sets will also develop their learning skills in preparation for the new GCSE requirement.
Sets 1 and 2 especially will be expected to present work orally in front of the class, as well as developing their written skills in order to produce essays in French in Year 10 and 11.
Homework will be set once a week. There will be a variety of tasks from 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 : My social life (discussing Facebook/ music events/ going out/ music festivals around the world)
- * Assessment 1: writing (Say how often you go on the internet, how long you spend on it and what you are going to do on the internet in the future) and listening.
Module 2 : Being healthy (parts of the body/ sport/ healthy eating/ making plans to get fit)
- * Assessment 2: speaking (Say what you must do to get fit, what you think about sport, what you do to keep fit, what you eat and drink which is healthy/ unhealthy, and what you will do in the future to keep fit) and reading
Module 3 : My future (jobs/ learning languages/ using the future and the past)
- * Assessment 3: writing (mention two things that interest you, say what kind of student you are, say what kind of work interests you and mention what two of your friends want to do, mention three things you will do when you leave school) and listening.
Modern Languages - Spanish
Year 9 students will be the first cohort to take Spanish. The 1-lesson-a-week programme will follow a new programme of study focussing on communication, sentence building and basic grammar to help them discover a passion for languages and giving them the basic skills in the language to be able to take it for GCSE. Students will be encouraged to use online resources to support their learning and become more independent learners. There will also be opportunities for students to do project work and to learn about Spanish and Latin American culture.
During Year 9, studies include the following topic areas:
• Learning the numbers, alphabet, pronunciation
• Understanding teachers’ instructions
• Knowing how to say the items in the classroom and school equipment
Module 1: Mi Vida/My Life
• Introducing yourself (name, age, how you are feeling)
• Describing your personality
• Talking about animals and pets
• Understanding dates
• Writing skills
Module 2: Mi Tiempo Libre/My Free Time
• Giving your opinion
• Describing the weather
• Talking about sports and leisure activities
• Using the Present Tense to talk about hobbies
• Speaking Skills
Module 3: Mi Instituto/My School
• Giving your opinion on school subjects
• Describing your school
• Present Tense (-er and –ir verbs)
Information Technology & Communication
During Year 9, students will continue to develop their presentation skills, with the emphasis on presenting information for different audiences and developing technical computing skills.
They will concentrate on three extended pieces of coursework in preparation for Year 10. They will work on more sophisticated computer control systems when creating a theme park ride. The second project is an adventure game coded in Python. They will then develop a database which will centre around a topical hypothesis on e-safety.
Within each project students are taught the computation skills relevant to that unit.
- Detailed project documentation for each unit
- Their ability to interrogate a database and present findings
- Production of a tested and refined flowchart for their ride
- Online mini-tests
- Working, tested and debugged code for their coded games
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 and Nutrition. ICT is used in all of the modules.
In Year 9 we continue to develop Design and Technology capability and we build upon the skills, knowledge and understanding from Years 7 and 8. This course is also preparation for GCSE D&T courses and GCSE Hospitality and Catering. 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 undertaking appropriate, innovative designing tasks. Design and Technology capability will be built upon over the year to give a final National Curriculum Level. The student will often be using GCSE criteria and grading to support them with their tasks.
For 2014/15 we offer the following range of modules and projects:
Investigating structures, understanding materials, their properties and uses and the forces which act upon them. Applying knowledge to designing, constructing and testing out models. Designing and making a slotted structure, with a traditional wood joint, to be used as a container.
Students learn about ‘control systems’ and how plastic products are processed in industry, through the design and manufacture of an electronic audio amplifier.
Developing skills associated with communicating ideas. Particular emphasis on sketching and illustration and the use of ICT for 2D and 3D modelling.
Developing confidence and effective cooks using high skill levels. Focus on carbohydrates using mainly savoury dishes
For each of the four modules, the final level will be based on:
- Technical knowledge
The Year 9 syllabus is split into three units that are designed to prepare students for their GCSE studies.
- Firstly, we look at ‘UK Urban Studies’. To supplement their understanding students will participate in a compulsory local fieldwork in order to model the requirements of the GCSE specifications. This is linked to the opportunities and challenges in urban settlements in other countries and a look at sustainable living in cities around the world.
- Secondly we will study ‘Population and Migration’, looking at the changing nature of where people live and the reasons behind it. Students are encouraged to engage in geographical discussions and complete a detailed study of the changes to China’s One Child Policy.
- Thirdly, the students will study the processes of ‘Globalisation and Development’ to foster their geographical understanding of the interconnected world that we are living in. They will look and the positives and negatives associated with these topics and further develop their ability to discuss conflicts of interest.
We use the final few weeks to really focus on skills required for GCSE Geography.
Students will be assessed primarily through GCSE style questions; these will be given a grade in line with the GCSE grading system. These will include:
Fieldwork Evaluation Assessment: This directly follows the fieldwork and comprises specimen GCSE questions which focus on the students abilities to interpret unseen graphical data as well as to describe, explain and justify field work techniques used.
Pre-Released Assessment: As at GCSE, students will receive a resource booklet in advance to study. The question paper then relates to the resources that they have had access to. This form of assessment tests the students on their ability to plan and to think through potential questions.
Population assessment: This tests recall, application skills and the ability to use a case study effectively in answering longer style GCSE questions.
Migration assessment: This will assess the students ability to compare and contrast migration case studies and tests the understanding of the higher order command words
Development 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.
There will be short low stakes testing throughout these weeks to check the students’ graphical, numerical and geographical skills in preparation for the GCSE courses.
We use an online Geography homework system which will be used to extend learning at certain points in the year.
History in Year 9 focusses for the most part on 20th century British History in order to lay the best possible foundation for the GCSE course.
- ‘Britain and the world at the start of the 20Th Century’:
- The campaign for female suffrage
- The state of the British Empire in 1900
- The Causes of WW1
- The events of WW1 – the development of trench warfare and the Battle of the Somme
- WW1 the Home Front.
- Why did Women win the vote in 1918?
- Attitudes to Germany at the end of WW1 and the Treaty of Versailles
- Depth Study USA in the 1920s:
- The Boom and the ‘Roaring 20s’
- Intolerance: The Red Scare, KKK and Prohibition
- The Wall St. Crash and the Great Depression
- The Great Depression and the rise of dictators
- Why did German people support the Nazi Party?
- The Causes of World War 2
- The Home Front WW2: evacuation and the Blitz
- The Holocaust
- Turning points of WW2: Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, Pearl Harbour, D Day, the atomic bomb
- What was the Cold War and how did it start?
- Immigration to the UK
- The 1950s and 60s – the emergence of the teenager
- How far did women’s lives change over the 20th Century?
During the year students will experience a variety of teaching and learning activities, from 'questions and answers', to extended writing and role-play. There will be a field trip to the battlefields and war cemeteries of Belgium in term 3. The Department encourages students to carry out extended research to increase their depth of knowledge.
Homework is set fortnightly to consolidate the work carried out in the lessons. Students are set a variety of tasks appropriate to their ability and level of progress.
Assessments in Year 9 are based on GCSE questions that students will experience in year 10 and 11
Term 1 - The causes of WW1
Term 2 - Were the British public misled about conditions in the Trenches?
Term 3 - America in the 1920s
Terms 4&5 - Was the use of the atomic bomb justified?
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 9 these themes are immortality, and right and wrong.
We also undertake systematic study of the content of a particular religion and leads to a coherent understanding of what it means to belong to that religion. In year 9 we study Buddhism.
We investigate contemporary ethical issues and fundamental questions of human existence, relevant to the individual in his or her personal development. In year 9 such questions include- What happens when we die? Do animals have rights? Are some people evil?
Students will be set key assessments which will be awarded a National Curriculum level. These will include:
- Animal rights
- Good and evil
PE will be set in single sex groups.
Year 9 Girls' Curriculum
- Table Tennis
Year 9 Boys' Curriculum
- Gifted and Talented setting
- Table Tennis
For each unit of work, students will be assessed in National Curriculum Levels 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 9 will be building upon and refining their skills developed in year 7 and 8 whilst gaining a strong understanding of the expectations at KS4 in GCSE Art and Design. Drawing and observational skills will continue to feature in the curriculum alongside painting, printing, collage and paper manipulation art. Students will be further developing their research skills, looking at contemporary and historical artists and designers and using the artists’ work to inspire their own responses. Students will be guided more closely on how to present work at GCSE standard in order to prepare those who have the aim of taking art as an option.
Students will continue to learn how to analyse art works and be encouraged to express their own observations and opinions. They will also build upon previous experience by learning how to analyse and evaluate their own work and that of their peers, using the evaluation process to help them to make further progress in their art work. Literacy will be a key focus at times, with the aim of encouraging students to be able to articulate their own ideas in writing. Homework is set weekly to fortnightly; students are expected to spend a minimum of 30-40 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 a brush as well as a set of basic colouring pencils. 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:
- Drawings of natural forms to inspire paper manipulations and monochromatic paintings.
- Printing project inspired by the Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ festival.
- Drawing and collage project inspired by Balinese masks and the contemporary designer, Jonny Wan.
Music is central to daily life at Willingdon. Students study a wide range of different musical styles and genres and everyone has the opportunity to perform live at a variety of events hosted throughout the year. Music plays an important role in a student's life, with all students being encouraged to participate in music-making and fostering musical ability at the highest level. With a Vocal Group, Orchestra, Technology Group, Rock and Pop bands, numerous music projects with outside agencies and a wide range of specialist music staff, the Music Department is one of the busiest and liveliest departments in the school. Our inspiring music department offers the flexibility for every musician to excel in every lesson. We follow the Musical Futures approach closely and ensure every student has constant access to the instruments and technology on offer.
Music is a unique form of communication that can change the way students feel, think and act. Music forms part of an individual's identity and positive interaction with music can develop students' competence as learners and increase their self-esteem. Music brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, music helps students understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world.
In Year 9, students continue their musical journey, focusing predominantly on composition and song-writing. Students also have a chance to establish stronger solo and ensemble performances, having often chosen their main instruments and groupings. Students are also learning to become advanced music technologists, using industry standard tools which prepare them for KS4 and beyond. The units of work are:
- Band Skills
- Composing to a brief
- Dance Music
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. In Year 9 citizenship students look at the UK and its links not only to Europe but also the wider world. They consider the issue of equality, both at a local and a global level. We also consider the justice system both in the UK and the wider world. Students will consider the diversity of the identities of people in the UK and the need for mutual respect and understanding.
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 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.