Parents of Pupils in Year 8

08 September 2016

Dear Parents

Welcome back to another school year. I thought that you might like to know some details about what your child will be studying during the autumn term. A brief summary follows:


In preparation for our biennial fashion show pupils will begin the year researching and creating a digital sketchbook on the theme of “Carnivals”. They will study a range of fashion designers including Alexander McQueen and Jeremy Scott alongside festivals such as the Mardi Gras, Day of the Dead festival etc. Pupils will experiment with materials and techniques to design and make a costume for the fashion show.


This term pupils will study sexual and asexual reproduction in plants. They will then move on to look at sexual reproduction in animals. This will include reproductive systems, fertilisation and development of a foetus as well as changes during puberty and methods of contraception.


In the first half of the term pupils will become familiar with atoms, elements and compounds and will use this knowledge, in the second half of the term, to describe the makeup of the periodic table. Pupils will develop their ability to collect data in the first half of the term and use a range of graphs to represent this data in the second half.


In the first half term pupils will explore stories about great detectives and baffling mysteries. They will develop their skills as readers, learning from some of the masters of the genre. Pupils will write their own mystery story to ‘publish and sell online’. In the second half term pupils will find out how poems, particularly First World War poetry, create impact, rouse different emotions and make people reflect on human behaviour in wartime. Both units of work will culminate in formal end of unit written assessments. In addition, pupils will study a class reader to reflect the composition of the group.


Pupils will learn to discuss television programmes, films, articles and books that have been read, the internet and what they do in different types of weather.  Pupils will revise the present tense and how to express opinions. They will also learn how to use new irregular verbs.


Pupils will study an overview of the geography of the continent of Asia. They will then focus on a country study of China, in particular the Southwest region.  They will learn about the rapid development of the country and the growth of the economy.  They will investigate the impact this continued development is having on the natural world in this region, and the effects of this globally.


During the first term the topics ‘House and home’, ‘Holidays’ and ‘Media’ will be covered.  As well as consolidating and extending their use of the present tense; pupils will be introduced to the imperfect and perfect tenses.  In addition qualifiers, prepositions and adjectives will be revised.


We start the term by looking at the Reformation and religious changes in Tudor England, including the ʺReligious Roller Coasterʺ, the reign of ʺBloodyʺ Mary, and the Elizabethan settlement.  We also spend time on other aspects of Elizabeth’s reign such as the armada and the relationship with Mary Queen of Scots.  The Stuarts follow and we study the gunpowder plot and the causes and course of the English civil war. A detailed look at Cromwell’s rule follows, including the Irish campaigns. Alongside a study of these events we aim to further develop the writing and source skills that have been looked at in previous years.


This term year pupils will begin with a project involving Internet research and manipulating data in spreadsheets. The latter part of the term will examine how networks work including learning about how data is transmitted and the devices that allow data to move around.


Pupils will study three distinct areas of mathematics this term. Their number skills focus on negatives, factors, multiples and percentages. In the geometry section the focus will be on angles, transformations of shapes, constructions, volume and surface area. They will also learn to apply probability to a range of real life situations.


Pupils compare arrangements of a minuet in classical, jazz and pop styles. They listen to‘The Skater’s Waltz’, focusing on its structure and instruments. Pupils compose their own minuet and waltz melodies and learn how to add an accompaniment using basic chords. They sing songs in a

variety of popular styles, including some appropriate for our Christmas events.


Pupils will compare light with sound waves and will draw ray diagrams for mirrors and lenses and compare the images formed. They go on to compare the eye with the camera and discover why objects appear coloured. Pupils will then look at fluids, comparing the particulate differences between solids, liquids and gases and use this information to describe change of state.   They will perform calculations to determine the density of materials. Pupils will move onto how pressure changes with height and depth and finish the topic by studying drag and its effects.


During the autumn term pupils will study the history of the Church. They will explore the development of the early Church, the Great Schism and Reformation. Pupils will also examine the different denominations beliefs and practices.


This term pupils will cover the following topics: family and friends, physical and character description, describing where your house, describing your town or village, telling the time and ordering in a café. Pupils will consolidate the use of the present tense of regular and irregular verbs, expressing opinions and justifying them and will also be introduced to the near future tense.

Design Technology

As in previous years, pupils in Year 8 will be taught design technology in two groups which will rotate mid-way through the year.

Initially, half the year group will develop their 3D drawing skills, using a range of different techniques. They will also consolidate the skills learnt in Year 7 and continue to work with wood, metal and plastic. Pupils will develop their computer aided design and manufacturing skills by using and incorporating new technologies into their work.

As the school broadens its design technology provision in line with new national expectations, the other half of the year group will study mechanical systems and control technology. This will allow pupils to investigate mechanical systems such as cams, gears, pulleys and linkages.

Pupils will change technology classes at February half term.

Boys Physical Education

A range of sporting activities will be covered. In the team games such as rugby and hockey, the aim will be to refine skills taught in the previous academic year and to gain confidence within the competitive environment. During single P.E. lessons, pupils will be involved in smaller units of work involving indoor hockey and health related fitness.

Girls Physical Education

A range of sporting activities will be covered. In the team games such as netball and hockey, the aim will be to refine skills taught in the previous academic year and to gain confidence within the competitive environment. During single P.E. lessons, pupils will be involved in smaller units of work involving indoor hockey and health related fitness.


The pupils will cover 6 topics: ‘You and other people’, focusing on friendships; ‘You and your family’, exploring coping with change, divorce and divided families; ‘You and older people’, with a focus on changing attitudes in society; ‘You and your time’, in which pupils will look at effective ways to manage their leisure time and ways to beat boredom; ‘You and your achievements’, which assesses progress and reviews achievements; ‘You and your money’, which explores gambling.

I hope that this information will be useful to you so that you might support your child in their studies.

Yours sincerely

M A Makin

Director of Studies

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