KS3 Subjects


English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach our pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum and therefore in school is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.



Mathematics is a creative and highly inter-connected discipline that has been developed over centuries, providing the solution to some of history’s most intriguing problems. It is essential to everyday life, critical to science, technology and engineering, and necessary for financial literacy and most forms of employment. A high-quality mathematics education therefore provides a foundation for understanding the world, the ability to reason mathematically, an appreciation of the beauty and power of mathematics, and a sense of enjoyment and curiosity about the subject.


The national curriculum for mathematics aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • become fluent in the fundamentals of mathematics, including through varied and frequent practice with increasingly complex problems over time, so that pupils develop conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge rapidly and accurately.
  • reason mathematically by following a line of enquiry, conjecturing relationships and generalisations, and developing an argument, justification or proof using mathematical language
  • can solve problems by applying their mathematics to a variety of routine and non-routine problems with increasing sophistication, including breaking down problems into a series of simpler steps and persevering in seeking solutions.


Mathematics is an interconnected subject in which pupils need to be able to move fluently between representations of mathematical ideas. The programme of study for key stage 3 is organised into apparently distinct domains, but pupils should build on key stage 2 and connections across mathematical ideas to develop fluency, mathematical reasoning and competence in solving increasingly sophisticated problems. They should also apply their mathematical knowledge in science, geography, computing and other subjects.

Decisions about progression should be based on the security of pupils’ understanding and their readiness to progress to the next stage. Pupils who grasp concepts rapidly should be challenged through being offered rich and sophisticated problems before any acceleration through new content in preparation for key stage 4. Those who are not sufficiently fluent should consolidate their understanding, including through additional practice, before moving on.



In KS3 we teach an innovative themed and practically based curriculum in Y7 and Y8 which our students are thoroughly enjoying and which builds well on the Science students have experienced at primary school. Biology, Chemistry and Physics topics are taught within a familiar context such as cooking, forensic science or a trip to A&E. Our focus is to engage Year 7 & Year 8 students in all aspects of Science and to provide secure learning they can build on in future years. In Year 9 students begin KS4 work with the most able beginning GCSE Triple Science, while other cohorts commence GCSE Core Science or BTEC vocational courses to prepare them for KS4 study.

Literacy & numeracy are important and integral aspects of Science and we encourage students to identify and develop these in their work. Homework projects in Year 7 and Year 8 use literacy or numeracy themes and class work will also develop these skills. As GCSE courses have reverted to ‘end of course’ rather than modular assessment we are also looking at how we can encourage students to retain key knowledge over long periods; we have recently introduced end of year exams for Year 7 and Year 8 classes and encourage all KS3 students to invest in a revision guide.

For Parents - How to help your Son/Daughter make the most of Science study

  • Ensure your son/daughter has the right revision guide early in their course – your student's class teacher can provide this information and all revision guides are available from school at cost price!
  • Help your child remain organised with their homework and encourage them to view homework as an integral and important part of their study.
  • Encourage children of all ages to watch ‘science’ programmes on TV and to read science related articles in magazine and on line
  • Get familiar with good revision sites and encourage your son/daughter to use them to prepare for class tests and exams.  We suggest BBC Bitesize, SAM Learning and our Toodle VLE


ICT and Computer Science

Students in year 7 and 8 follow an accelerated course in ICT.  The programme of study includes, multimedia presentation, digital image manipulation, editing of sound and video files, spreadsheet modelling, databases, searching effectively using the internet, reliability and bias of information, and desk top publishing. The students will be introduced to programming and website authoring.

For all of the units the students apply their knowledge and learning to achieve a solution to a given scenario that is both fit for purpose and the audience. The course provides the students with a sound foundation for further study in the every changing world of IT and computing.

Beckfoot Thornton will endeavour to deliver a high-quality computing education that equips pupils to use computational thinking and creativity to understand and change the world. Computing has deep links with mathematics, science, and design and technology, and provides insights into both natural and artificial systems. The core of computing is computer science, in which pupils are taught the principles of information and computation, how digital systems work, and how to put this knowledge to use through programming. Building on this knowledge and understanding, pupils are equipped to use information technology to create programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate – able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology – at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world.

The national curriculum for computing aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • can understand and apply the fundamental principles and concepts of computer science, including abstraction, logic, algorithms and data representation
  • can analyse problems in computational terms, and have repeated practical experience of writing computer programs in order to solve such problems
  • can evaluate and apply information technology, including new or unfamiliar technologies, analytically to solve problems
  • are responsible, competent, confident and creative users of information and communication technology.

Pupils should be taught to:

  • design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems
  • understand several key algorithms that reflect computational thinking; use logical reasoning to compare the utility of alternative algorithms for the same problem
  • use two or more programming languages, at least one of which is textual, to solve a variety of computational problems; make appropriate use of data structures; design and develop modular programs that use procedures or functions
  • understand simple Boolean logic and some of its uses in circuits and programming; understand how numbers can be represented in binary, and be able to carry out simple operations on binary numbers
  • understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems, and how they communicate with one another and with other systems
  • understand how instructions are stored and executed within a computer system; understand how data of various types (including text, sounds and pictures) can be represented and manipulated digitally, in the form of binary digits
  • undertake creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications, preferably across a range of devices, to achieve challenging goals, including collecting and analysing data and meeting the needs of known users
  • create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience, with attention to trustworthiness, design and usability
  • understand a range of ways to use technology safely, respectfully, responsibly and securely, including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, contact and conduct and know how to report concerns.
Creative and Technology

Students at Beckfoot Thornton enjoy experiencing and learning skills and techniques in a wide range of media.  Students will be taught to analyse and interpret a range of artists work from across a range of cultures, times and places. Students are taught the skills to sculpt, paint and print make and will pursue a range of themes and starting points in their work.

Teachers plan and prepare enjoyable fast paced and thought provoking lessons that  best meet the needs of their pupils, in preparation for the introduction of the new national curriculum from September 2014.

Art and design has a statutory programme of study at Key Stage 3. The statutory programmes of study are an important element of the wider curriculum and establish the core entitlement for all pupils.

Pupils are set six week extension tasks for homework and will be given a separate sketchbook to take home to complete this in.

All KS3 students receive two hours of lessons in Design Technology per fortnight.  The areas studied are as follows:

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Pop up Card Graphics Green Packaging Engineering with metal
Wooden Boats Bird Houses Wooden Moneyboxes
Blockheads Pop Art Clocks Graphics Party Pack

All KS3 students receive two hours per fortnight.  Each lesson takes into account the differences of gender, cultural background and ability.  The lessons allow each student to express their own personality and preferences.  Details regarding the music curriculum at KS3 can be found here.

The areas studied are as follows:

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9


Elements of Music

Graphic Music


Indian Raga



Sea Shanties

African Music


Film Music

Duets and Trios

The Blues



Aleatoric Music



The study of geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places. It helps young people make sense of a complex and dynamically changing world. It explains where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, how people and their environment interact, and how a diverse range of economies, societies and environments are interconnected. It builds on pupils’ own experiences to investigate places at all scales, from the personal to the global.

Geographical enquiry encourages questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues affecting the world and people’s lives, now and in the future. Fieldwork is an essential element of this. Pupils learn to think spatially and use maps, visual images and new technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), to obtain, present and analyse information. Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

The study of geography should include:

  1. a variety of scales, from personal, local, regional, national, international and continental, to global
  2. a range of investigations, focusing on places, themes or issues
  3. the location of places and environments
  4. key aspects of the UK, including its changing human and physical geography, current issues and its place in the world today
  5. different parts of the world in their wider settings and contexts, including the European Union and regions or countries in different states of development
  6. physical geography, physical processes and natural landscapes
  7. human geography, built and managed environments and human processes
  8. interactions between people and their environments, including causes and consequences of these interactions, and how to plan for and manage their future impact.



History provides opportunities for students to develop an understanding of the world in which they live by helping them to develop an identity and an affinity with others. Through learning about the lives of those who came before them, students also develop an understanding of the actions and views of others and gain the ability to think for themselves.

We focus on helping all students to develop an understanding of the past; of how events have created change and development over time and how different events can be seen differently by different people. We also seek to develop the core skills of analytical thought and communication that are not only central to the study of History, but also essential in the wider world.

As a department we firmly believe that History should be the most engaging and enjoyable subject on the school curriculum.

History: Key Stage 3

Students are taught the following study units: Students in year 7 study the Romans and Medieval Realms; in Year 8 the Tudors and Stuarts, Britain 1750-1900 and Crime and Punishment through time; in Year 9 Slavery, Jack the Ripper and major events of the Twentieth century. Students learn how to frame an historical enquiry by developing the skills of chronology, causation, consequence, significance, interpretation, communication, and the evaluation of evidence.

Homework is set on a regular basis in all years and can take a variety of forms.  At Key Stage 3 homework may include the use of sources, essays, imaginative and empathetic exercises, diagrams, posters, speeches, preparation for group work and research.

Policy for marking follows the criteria laid down by the School. A series of agreed National Curriculum assessment tasks are undertaken by all pupils.  Students participate fully in the assessment of work and in the setting and recording of personal targets.

Parental feedback takes the form of computer generated reports showing pupil progress towards target grades. These are issued during the course of the academic year. Each year group has a Parents Evening to discuss progress and a full academic report is written for each student. The History Department staff also maintain contact through planners, letters and telephone calls to ensure students fulfil their potential.

We encourage high achievement for pupils of all abilities. Regular meetings are held for planning and for discussing assessment and other issues that arise. This enables us to identify problems and helps us to evaluate progress.

We believe that relationships in the classroom should be positive. Students are encouraged to develop enquiring minds, to take initiative and accept responsibility in a variety of practical ways. We adopt a variety of teaching strategies in response to the needs, abilities and interests of the pupils.



The PE Curriculum at KS3 covers years 7, 8 & 9 and pupils undertake a range of activities from at least 4 of the following:

Outwitting opponents, as in games activities; accurate replication of actions, phrases and sequences, as in gymnastic activities; exploring and communicating ideas, concepts and emotions, as in dance activities; performing at maximum levels in relation to speed, height, distance, strength or accuracy, as in athletic activities; identifying and solving problems to overcome challenges of an adventurous nature, as in life saving and personal survival in swimming and outdoor activities; exercising safely and effectively to improve health and wellbeing, as in fitness and health activities.  During the key stage pupils are offered the following opportunities that are integral to their learning and enhance their engagement with the concepts, processes and content of the subject.

The curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to: get involved in a broad range of different activities that, in combination, develop the whole body; experience a range of roles within a physical activity; specialise in specific activities and roles; follow pathways to other activities in and beyond school; perform as an individual, in a group or as part of a team in formal competitions or performances to audiences beyond the class; use ICT as an aid to improving performance and tracking progress; make links between PE and other subjects and areas of the curriculum.  Programmes of study last 6 or 7 weeks and House Competitions are undertaken at the end of these blocks of work.

Pupils are setted into ability groups for PE within Years 7, 8 & 9 and are taught in single gender groups.  Each ability group is reviewed at the end of an academic year.

PE within the National Curriculum

PE has a distinctive contribution to make to the aims of the national curriculum. The PE programme of study provides opportunities to plan sequences of work, learning outcomes and teaching approaches that develop:

Successful learners.  PE helps pupils acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to participate successfully in, and enjoy, physical activities both now and in the future. Pupils develop analytical and evaluation skills by deciding how to improve the quality of their own and others' work. This is essential in developing learners who are creative, resourceful and able to solve problems. It also helps them to understand how they learn and how to set themselves targets based on their mistakes and successes.

Pupils also have the opportunity to evaluate their own and others’ success. They can use ICT to develop their skills in a range of real contexts, recording, analysing and evaluating data to create short reviews and films.

By working in a variety of contexts on their own, in groups and in teams, pupils learn to work both independently and collaboratively. By participating as performers, leaders and officials pupils develop the ability to communicate effectively in a range of ways both verbally and non-verbally. They also learn to listen and act on what they hear, understand and appreciate alternative viewpoints and learn to compromise, particularly when working in pairs or groups to create final products.

Confident individuals.  Competence in physical activity and the sense of enjoyment brought about by being active and successful engenders a sense of confidence and self- esteem in pupils and enables them to become increasingly independent. This confidence encourages them to get involved in physical activity for its own sake and as part of a healthy lifestyle choice.  Experiencing a range of activities, roles and contexts helps pupils gain the confidence to try new things, take managed risks and stay safe, make the most of opportunities, recognise their talents and develop ambitions.

Taking on responsible roles like leading, coaching, choreographing, officiating, managing a team or mentoring and being responsible for their own and others' safety also gives pupils confidence. Working in groups and teams in different activities provides opportunities for pupils to learn to work with others and form good relationships.

In PE pupils engage in competitive, creative, artistic, aesthetic and challenging activities that require them to become self-aware and deal with their emotions, for example when winning or losing or when being supportive of others.

Responsible citizens.  PE encourages learners to be enterprising and work cooperatively and effectively with others. Taking on the roles of leader or official helps develop

  • a sense of respect for others and the ability to apply rules fairly and act with integrity.
  • PE encourages pupils to make regular physical activity part of their lives and to get involved in healthy physical activity, sport and dance regularly both in school and in the community. PE helps pupils consider the impact of their lifestyle choices on the community, environment and sustainability.
  • Learning how to perform, lead, coach and officiate provides pupils with a broad range of skills and attributes that they can use within their local communities, allowing them to contribute positively to make them better places in which to live and work.