Back Monday 5 Feb 2018 5:03 pm

A KS3 Curriculum of Substance

The EMC is currently hard at work developing the EMC KS3 Curriculum Package. Drawing on existing resources and others that are in development, this package is in line with recent noises being made by Ofsted about providing a content-rich curriculum for 11-14 year olds. But we think it goes even further than what Ofsted is calling for, prioritising, alongside superb content, pedagogical approaches that lie at the heart of English: creativity, discussion, personal response, exploratory work, and so much more.
main image for blog post 'A KS3 Curriculum of Substance'

At the English and Media Centre we have always placed the curriculum at the heart of what we do. Be it an introduction to short stories in Year 7, or high-level textual analysis at A Level, our resources focus relentlessly on working with the nitty-gritty of the subject – stimulating literary texts and rich language resources.

It seems that Ofsted is finally catching up. The national inspectorate recently carried out research into the primary and secondary curriculum in England. It concluded that there is too much of a focus on teaching to the test across both sectors. At its worst, this has resulted in some schools reducing KS3 to two years, and requiring students to start their GCSEs in Year 9. Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, is fairly damning in her opinion of such a practice:

The GCSE tests are designed to cover 2 years’ worth of content. It is hard to see how taking longer than 2 years could expose pupils to more knowledge and not more test preparation. 

This situation has made us think at EMC about what we can do to help. It occurs to us that the resources we have developed for KS3 in recent years (and continue to develop) are now substantial enough to cover a large part of an entire 11-14 curriculum. Consequently we are combining some of our existing publications with material due out this summer to create an EMC KS3 Curriculum Package.

It doesn’t contain everything required for teaching at KS3 because we’d always want schools to include material they have developed themselves in a curriculum, based on their own interests and their students’ needs. But if you are looking for a brilliant way to reinvigorate or develop further a rich, content-driven curriculum of real substance then we think that we have a fantastic package.

The specific benefits of the EMC KS3 Curriculum Package are:

  • Quality books for all students, rich in text content
  • Material to cover all three years at KS3
  • Pedagogically challenging resources, expertly designed
  • Creativity and criticality to the fore
  • Curriculum map for all of KS3
  • Suggested sequence of lessons for all units
  • Resources to dip into or to use for bulk of KS3 offer
  • Resources which are easy to adapt
  • Assessment tasks included
  • CPD available as part of the package

A draft preview of the EMC KS3 Curriculum Package's content is available here.

To register your interest about the EMC KS3 Curriculum package email 


I am a student teacher with a background in teaching in FE. When I was doing my MEd researching progression routes into Horticulture, I became aware of the importance of level 1 (equivalent to KS3). I found providing a rich curriculum at this level really prepared my students who went on to achieve very good results at Level 2 and level 3 (equivalent to GCSE and A level.)
Imagine my disquiet when I discovered the current situation at KS3 in English. My impression after spending 6 months teaching (I am on my second placement now) is that there is far too much emphasis on GCSE to the detriment of KS3 pupils who are at risk of being switched off by overzealous teachers intent on preparing them for exams. There is obviously excellent work going on in primary schools and as teachers we need to really inspire our students with a rich grounding tp prepare them for the challenges they will meet at KS4. This is such an important task!
By on 12th Feb 2018

Add your comment