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Curriculum Overview - Year 7


Our year 7 English curriculum at John O'Gaunt School aims to empower students in their ability to communicate effectively and decipher the world around them. Throughout year 7, students will study a demanding and broad range of texts, alongside reading inspiring novels such as Darkside, Wonder, Boy and The Edge. Our English education priorities creativity and critical thinking, and it results in accomplished skills in reading, writing and oracy. All students will take part in the Accelerated Reader Programme to foster a love of reading and as an engaging online platform for students to apply taught reading strategies independently.


When you arrive at John O’ Gaunt School in September, your first term will focus on number and the number system. This will include a variety of skills that will enhance and extend the work that you will have completed in year 5.  This will include some revision of work that you have learned previously but also will extend your knowledge of other topics by introducing new work. Some of this work will include:

Some of this work may be familiar to you and some will be completely new. Your maths teacher will always be able to support you with this new learning and homework will be set every week to enable you to practise your skills. We hope you will enjoy working with us in the mathematics department.


Science is taught in specialist science laboratories by 4 specialist science teachers. We follow the AQA key stage 3 (KS3) specification.

Our KS3 (years 7-9) science intent is:

  • To deliver an engaging curriculum which inspires students and promotes teaching for understanding;
  • To develop an appreciation and understanding of the technical, social, moral and economic impact of science;
  • To develop capable well rounded literate, numerate and thoughtful scientists through a logical order of objectives using ‘big ideas’ and mastery goals to equip students for life and KS4;
  • To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills within the 10 big ideas of forces, electromagnets, energy, waves, matter, reactions, earth, organisms, ecosystems and genes to be successful scientists;
  • To develop the 4 key areas of scientific working:
  • Analysis (analyse patterns, discuss limitations, draw conclusions and present data)
  • Communication (communicate ideas, construct explanations, critique claims and justify opinions)
  • Enquiry (collect data, devise questions, plan variables and test hypothesises)

Solve (estimate risks, examine consequences, review theories and interrogate sources)


In history, students will undertake a range of historical enquiries focused upon the Middle Ages. This will include – but is not limited to – life in Medieval England, the Norman Conquest of 1066, Norman control of England and the development of castles, King John and the Magna Carta & the Black Death. To provide continuous challenge for students, these enquiries cover a range of historical concepts. Students will explore similarities and differences between time periods, the causes and consequences of particular events, as well as analysing change and continuity. As a result, students will greatly enhance their historical skills in year 7 by developing their knowledge, vocabulary and chronological understanding of the Middle Ages. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their investigative skills, including analysis of primary and secondary sources and comparing different interpretations of the past.


In geography, students begin year 7 by developing their practical skills in map reading. Students will then embark on a range of exciting investigations related to both human and physical geography. These include the study of deserts, energy, coasts, poverty and the environment. These topics are broken down into a series of sub-questions that students will further explore in their lessons. In the study of coasts for example, students will be exploring questions related to coastal erosion, how coasts have changed over time and finally, how people have adapted to living in coastal areas. Similarly, in the study of energy, students explore questions relating to energy use and consumption, as well as sustainable energy. In the process of investigating these topics, students will develop their geographical skills in analysing data, examining case-studies, cartography, and producing and analysing graphs.

Religious Studies

In religious studies, students will begin their year with an introduction that considers the features that religions have in common. As the year progresses, students will undertake units focused on Christianity and Islam. They will thoroughly explore Christian and Islamic beliefs, practices and how both religions have developed the worldwide presence they have today. In year 7, students will not only greatly enhance their knowledge of the two most widely practiced religions in the world, but also develop their analytical skills through making comparisons, identifying themes, and evaluating arguments through exploring different points of view. Religious studies in year 7 provides all students with an accessible, yet challenging foundation necessary for the study of other religions and faiths in years 8 and 9.


In French, we recognise that pupils come to us having had very different experiences of MFL in their primary schools, so we start again from the beginning. This gives equal opportunity to all and by Christmas, you cannot tell who had/had not done French before joining us. This means that we start with the basics: greetings, numbers, colours, alphabet before moving on to look at things like family, where you live, school and hobbies. We focus on speaking, listening, reading and writing and use a variety of teaching styles to engage the pupils. These include online platforms such as Kahoot, Memrise and Seneca learning. Below is an overview of the course.


Design & Technology (DT)

DT is about problem solving. Students will explore a range of creative ‘design and make’ tasks, learn how to research a problem, design and test solutions whilst linking their learning to science and maths. Students will develop their understanding of technical vocabulary related to design and making activities. Throughout the year, students will build their understanding of materials, techniques and design principles through rotations in graphics, product design, textiles, graphics and food technology. Students will design and make a variety of products within lessons such as juggling balls and a mechanical grabber.


The aim of art education at John O’Gaunt School is to create independent learners and equip them with a broad range of experiences and skills with the ability to apply them thoughtfully and to grow into reflective and critical thinkers. Pupils will be exposed to a large range of artists, styles and movements from historical and contemporary contexts and will be able to apply prior knowledge to realise the potential for a broad range of careers in the art industry. Pupils will develop skills and grow in confidence through the use of experimentation in drawing and painting techniques and explore different media and the different properties they offer. We will begin to explore and understand the formal elements of art, putting all skills they have learnt into practice, gaining inspiration from everyday objects and artist work. Research into a range of historical and contemporary artists to gain inspiration for their own artwork will be carried out throughout the year. Artists work such as, Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Chuck Close and Yayoi Kusama will be discussed and analysed to gain a greater understanding of technique, concept and context. Different techniques, styles and movements will be explored, such as, a large variety of drawing techniques, the grid method, photorealism, still life, first-hand observational drawings, abstract art and Scraffito. Below is an overview of the year ahead.


Physical Education (PE)

You will develop a number of skills in PE through a number of different activities and a range of sports. You will start to develop your skills when leading others by learning about sport leadership. Put in maximum performance and effort through gaining a basic awareness of how to control your body in sports such as athletics when throwing, jumping and running. Developing your creativity and problem solving through communication and trust. Learn about and develop a healthy Lifestyle - be active in lessons that focus on getting the best you can out of each and every lesson. Represent the school and your house in sport events and fixtures.


In music, students will develop their skills in composing, performing, listening and discussing music using the key elements of music; pitch, tempo, dynamics, duration, texture, timbre/sonority and articulation. Students will begin to examine how music is structured through composing and performing activities. They will listen to and explore different styles of music from various time periods, cultures and countries. Year 7 will develop their knowledge of traditional music notation and learn keyboard skills. Further opportunities are available through extra-curricular activities.


To begin with, we will understand how to work effectively in groups by establishing a safe environment for sessions using "The 6Cs in Drama" and some drama games. We will learn what "tools" an actor needs to use and apply (vocal and physical skills) in order to create any character. We will explore how to approach devised work (plays you create from scratch yourself) as well as script work (a published play script written by a playwright). You will begin to understand how different people in theatre have different roles/jobs of expertise (producers, playwrights, directors, set, lighting, sound and costume designers as well as props and stage management). You will begin to take on these responsibilities for yourself. As you watch each other’s work in progress, as well as the polished performance, we will begin to learn the art of delivering constructive feedback so that we can develop our evaluation skills and make effective improvements to our own and others' work. By the end of the year, you will be able to deliver a performance which you have arranged independently from start to finish!

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)

The SEND department is led by Mrs Sarah Cardy (SENDCo) who is also the SEND lead for Excalibur Trust. She is supported by Miss Amanda Burrow, who is the Lead Teaching Assistant (HLTA). We have 4 further teaching assistants to support the teaching and learning of our SEND students. The staff are highly qualified and passionate about their work.

We work closely with both West Berkshire and Wiltshire local authorities to support our students in transition (both from primary to secondary and from secondary to post 16) and with their academic and social and emotional development. We also work with a team of specialists from outside of the academy including the Cognition and Learning Team (CALT), the Educational Psychology (EP) service and Speech and Language (S&L).

The SEND department is located in the Woodlands block with science. It has a teaching base as well as rooms for the students to be in before school, at break and lunchtime and after school. It has computers as well as a wide range of books and games. Some students eat their lunch in the SEND department.

The department run a teaching assistant supported homework club from Monday to Thursday from 3.15pm to 4.15pm.