08 September 2016

Parents of Pupils in Year 9

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 “Science fiction”. They will study a range of fashion designers and movements including the Futurists, Iris Van Harpen , Steampunk alongside film, television and literary references. Pupils will experiment with materials and techniques to design and make a costume for the show based on the set theme.


The pupils will follow topics from the new GCSE specification. They start by studying plant and animal cells and looking at the similarities and differences, they will then move on to look at specialised cells.  Following on from this we will look at diffusion and osmosis.


The pupils will use their knowledge of atoms and electrons to predict the type of bonding in compounds and try to explain how these compounds would react with each other. Pupils then develop their ability to form and balance chemical equations. In the second half of the term pupils focus on the use of limestone as a building material. They will also develop their practical skills to independently test the properties of materials.


In the first half term pupils will begin their GCSE English literature studies by studying the play Macbeth. Pupils will study the whole text  and complete a 45 minute written assessment before the half term.  In the second half term pupils will begin their GCSE English language studies by studying Paper One (section a) which is a comprehension exercise. Assessment will be in the form of a one hour comprehension paper.


The pupils will study the following topics: learning how to talk about Facebook; expressing opinions about other people; arranging to go out; and describing a date and a musical event.  Pupils will also be introduced to direct object pronouns and will revise all three tenses.


Pupils will study topics that form part of the GCSE course and will introduce them to the level of knowledge and skills required at key stage 4.  Starting with The Challenge of Natural Hazards, they will begin by studying the causes, effects and responses to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Following on from this, the focus will change to weather hazards (tropical storms and extreme weather) and climate change.


Pupils will follow topics from the new GCSE specification.  During the autumn term we will look at identity and culture.  In this unit we will focus on relationships with family and friends, marriage and partnerships.  Through these themes pupils will be encouraged to use a variety of tenses and more complex structures to talk about their own personal views and experiences.  Opportunities will be given to read more challenging texts with the aim of developing comprehension skills.


We will start by looking at the suffragette campaign in Britain, including the life and death of Emily Wilding Davison. We then move onto the causes of the First World War and look at the early stages of the war.  We will study trench warfare on the Western Front.  We also look at life on the home front, conscientious objectors and the role of women in the war. We aim to be studying the end of the war by the end of the term.  There will be further emphasis on history skills such as source analysis and communication.


This term pupils will be learning about web development. We will learn about the HTML language that makes web pages and will produce our own web sites. In the second half of the term year 9 will be learning about networking devices like switches and routers and real world use of IT in business and shops.


Pupils begin their GCSE course this term.  The year will begin with a review of key skills in both number and algebra, ensuring pupils have the secure base on which to develop new learning.  Pupils will study bearings, maps and scales, and equations of parallel and perpendicular graphs.  Within the statistics module pupils will look at more complex methods for displaying data, including box plots, cumulative frequency diagrams and histograms.


Pupils will learn how to vary a melody by changing aspects of its rhythm, pitch and accompaniment. They will listen to military band music by Gustav Holst that is composed making use of these techniques. An Oscar-winning film theme will be used as another way of structuring a longer melody.  Pupils will sing in a variety of popular styles and also learn some musical pieces in preparation for our Christmas events.


The focus this term will be on energy stores and transfers with the main emphasis on understanding the principle of conservation of energy. Pupils will be involved in investigations which are part of the GCSE specification. In the latter part of the term pupils will study energy resources and their uses.


Pupils in Year 9 will study the problem of evil and suffering, they will look at how religion responds to this issue and the how it might influence a person’s belief in God


This term pupils will cover the following topics: talking about likes and dislikes; expressing opinions and giving more detailed reasons; describing friends using multiple adjectives and connectives; use of comparatives and superlatives within descriptive speech and writing; use of reflexive verbs and sequencers; talking about places in town; invitations and making excuses; saying what someone else likes and dislikes; use phrases with infinitives. These themes will allow for further consolidation of prior knowledge and a review of grammatical concepts.

Design Technology

As in previous years, pupils in Year 9 will be taught design technology in two groups which will rotate mid-way through the year.

Initially, half the year group will develop their design technology-specific ICT skills by using and experimenting with a range of technologies. The emphasis in Year 9 moves away from working with hard materials and into the area of promotion and packaging in readiness for Year 10. Pupils will be encouraged to use their creativity as well as taught skills, to repackage and promote a range of products, where creativity and quality will be highly valued. Pupils will also investigate the work of a range of designers and graphic artists.

As the school broadens its design technology provision in line with new national expectations, the other half of the year group will study electronics. This will allow pupils to investigate electronic systems and circuits, as well as understanding the properties and uses of a range of components.

Pupils will change technology classes at February half term.

Boys Physical Education

Pupils will be given the opportunity to play hockey, rugby and badminton. The aim within these games lessons will be to refine skills taught in the previous academic year and to engage in activities with an enhanced level of understanding. During single PE lessons, pupils will be involved in smaller units of work involving indoor hockey and health related fitness.

Girls Physical Education

Pupils will be given the opportunity to play hockey, netball and football. The aim within these games lessons will be to refine skills taught in the previous academic year and to engage in activities with an enhanced level of understanding. During single PE 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 being assertive, ‘You and your family’ exploring what it means to become an adult, ”You and your decisions’ pupils will look at how to make decisions and the consequences of decision making, ‘You and your achievements’ reviewing progress and setting targets and finally ‘You and your money’ pupils will explore banking, ways of saving and being a consumer.
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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