Curriculum overview for year 8

This is a summary of the curriculum in year 8.  More detail for each subject including curriculum journeys and knowledge organisers can be found in the subject pages.  

At the bottom of this page is an overview of the assessment for year 8 you can jump to that here.


Students in year 8 will deepen their sense and understanding of number by identifying and using primes, factors, multiples and indices. They will manipulate shapes on a 2D axis using transformations and even combinations of multiple transformations. They will bring their work to life when looking at compound measures and relationships between different variables. Their understanding of probability will strengthen when looking at independent and dependent events as they move away from labelling probability with words and use fractions, decimals and percentages to calculate them. Students will also be able to apply their coordinate plotting skills to questions involving straight line graphs and equations of straight lines.


Literature through a lens

Building on the work of year 7, this year will focus on how language is used by a wide variety of writers to express attitudes and ideas; beginning with a focus on the history of rhetoric from Aristotle to the modern day.  Students will write and deliver their own rhetoric, communicating their viewpoint and perspective on a topic that is important to them.  We then move to our second Shakespeare study (The Tempest) exploring the theme of power through the ideas of racism, slavery and colonialism, looking closely at how the play has been affected by it’s historical context. An exploration of Gothic literature encourages students to examine how writers presented their fears of the unknown and how interest in this genre has stood the test of time.  We then move to Animal Farm and finish with a range of War Poetry with a strong focus on analysing writer’s intentions; examining the close links between literature and politics.  Throughout the year, students are encouraged to engage with a range of linked reading to explore these ideas further and deepen their knowledge. 


BIOLOGY: Breathing, digestion and looking after your body will take us on a journey of nutrition and drugs. Key biological processes such as respiration and photosynthesis are all around us and we will discover why they are so important.  Inheritance and extinction will conclude biology with a look to the past and to the future.

CHEMISTRY: We will classify elements and look at their chemical and physical properties.   We will find out why chemical reactions are so important to us and how the Earth provides materials for these reactions. We will also discuss our impact on Earth and how to be sustainable.

PHYSICS: Our forces topic will explore motion and pressure; We will model magnetic fields, build electromagnets and discuss their uses. We will take a closer look at energy stores and energy transfer in the world around us and we will find out how waves can be useful and sometimes harmful.

Computer Science

In year 8 Computing we start the year looking at Spreadsheet Modelling using Google Sheets, their studies will move onto understanding Computing Law and Crime. Students will then start to develop their programming skills progressing from year, now using Python, this will lead onto looking at Computing Algorithms and Computational Logic. The year will conclude with understanding sound and graphics through Sound Editing with Audacity and Graphics Editing with Fireworks. 


In the Autumn term students cover the ‘Great War’ its causes, key events, the armistice and the subsequent peace treaties. 

This is followed by the history of Russia through to the establishment of the USSR. 

In the spring term students study the rise of Nazism in Germany and the Holocaust study.

In the spring/Summer term students study the key events and impact of the Second World War.


Students build upon the key concepts developed in year 7, first looking at the physical and human characteristics of Brazil, focusing on the Amazon Rainforest and Rio de Janeiro. We continue this term looking at student’s perceptions of a country’s development in our topic ‘uneven world’, with a key focus upon inequality and the causes and consequences of uneven development. 

Our spring term is focused upon two contrasting places within the world. We look at the big question of ‘who owns the Arctic?’ focusing upon the Arctic’s physical characteristics and development of this unique landscape. We compare and contrast the region of the Middle East. We question the global importance of the Middle East, linking back to economic growth, its association to globalisation and resource management. 

We then continue looking the continent of Asia and what life is like in differing parts of the continent. We look at the physical Geography and how is can influence settlements, globalisation and differing levels of development. Our final topic takes us back to the UK, where the physical theme of coastal processes helps us to make decisions into how we protect the UK coastline. 


Developing Key Language Skills

At the beginning of Year 8, the present tense is revisited through the topics of television, cinemareading and internet. This lays  the foundation for students to be able to use the past tense. This begins with a description of what they did last night, and is developed through an imaginary trip to Paris, where the students will describe what they saw and did, giving and justifying opinions in the past. The Year 7 All About Me topic is extended with an introduction to describing relationships, talking about music tastes and clothes, which includes an introduction to the near future tense. Towards the end of the year, a variety of grammatical structures are introduced, which will be developed further during the transitional Year 9.


Year 8 in Art is all about learning ‘Broadening Skills’- expanding on the core knowledge learnt in year 7 by exploring traditional, contemporary and cultural art as well as printmaking and ceramics.

Students study three projects, one each term. In Chiaroscuro, students explore exaggerated tone in Art and Photography to create a still life drawing and experiment with printmaking to create a background for their still life. In Op Art they develop knowledge of the Op Art movement and the contemporary artist Karan Singh to create an artwork that helps to refine oil pastel skills. Finally, students learn about Animals in Other Cultures, developing skills needed to make a ceramic plate and learn how animals have been used as symbolism in Art from a range of countries around the world. 

Religious Education

Year 8 continues with the Theological and Philosophical lens on trying to understand arguments for God's existence and what 'He' is like. We then look at how belief in God has shaped attitudes to gender, relationships and identity. We continue our Learning Journey with the idea of responsibility, focusing on religious teachings and their interpretation. This takes us onto Human Rights and the conflicts that can arise between them and religious worldviews. Students then look at the religion through a Sociological lens- the rise of non-violence and how the 5 Pillars give purpose and meaning to millions of Muslims. The aim of the first 2 years is to give students a basic understanding of the unique features of the Abrahamic (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) and Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism). 


KS3 study in Citizenship continues in year 8 with students debating and discussing crime and punishment with a focus on the age of criminal responsibility and youth justice. The focus then moves to global issues where students spend time analysing the causes of poverty and the methods used to help reduce the issue such as international aid and debt relief. Finally, students are introduced to government and politics and research the differing types of government as well as the role of Members of Parliament.


Autumn Term

Year 8 have been examining positive and respectful online relationships, online bullying, internet safety, family disputes, connecting with others, anxiety and depression, mental health stigma, being positive, taking responsibility for physical health, and will go on to look at healthy ways to manage relationships feelings, positive romantic relationships, and finally perceptions and expectations in romantic relationships.   The lesson from our specialist teacher for year 8 this term will be on mental health and resilience 


The term starts with link of genres; murder mystery, comedy, and soap operas. Students engage beautifully with this concept and transpire an air of confidence, expressions and a sense of humour in their performances. In the middle of the year students meet 6 characters for a murder mystery. Each lesson we reveal a drama skill and “who done it?” moment. The mystery, fun and creativity is adored by all. We finish the year by looking at the play The Boy In The Striped P'js by Angus Jackson. We cover sensitive topics and explore the role of director and performer. 

Physical Education

In Year 8 PE, students will become more competent and confident in their skills and techniques and will continue to participate in a broad range of indoor and outdoor sports (including athletics, dance, games and gymnastics).  They will build upon their understanding of tactics and strategies and will apply these in a range of competitive situations.  Students will learn how to evaluate their own and others performances and will develop leadership attributes through developing their own practices.  Students will begin to appreciate the short and long term benefits of exercise. 

Food Technology

Building on skills from year 7

Nutrition from the Eat Well Guide.  Topics include, carbohydrates, nutrition program and cooking skills.

Skills include: The reaction of yeast in pizza dough; how flour and fat gelatinises to produce a sauce; the chemical reaction of raising agents.

Students will make, scones, pizza, pasta and sauces. 

Design & Technology, Engineering & Textiles

Projects: Students will learn skills to produce a high quality, handmade aluminium keyring and Textile project.  

Health and Safety: Students study Health and Safety in the workshop before using any new tools for practical activities.

Tools and Equipment: Pillar drill, scribe, punch, saws, files, LED’s, batteries, sewing needles. 

Design: Drawing conventions and technical design is used to accurately measure out with links made to Engineering and Maths. 2D designs are created into 3D. 

Knowledge and Understanding: Working with metal whilst learning about the properties and finish. Wearable electronics are introduced by producing an electronics circuit. 


In Year 8 we look at the musical element of form and structure; introducing Binary, Ternary and Rondo form. Pupils use their developing composing skills to write a section of music and play as part of an ensemble. We then revisit Musical Contexts and go back to the Classical period to find out about composers, musical development and how society has changed from the Baroque.  After Christmas, we study Film Music; explore the leitmotif, and how music reflects action and moods.  Students compose a section of music in Garageband for James Bond trailer.  Following this, they begin to look at using their left and right hands together on the keyboard and learn either the start of Bach’s ‘Prelude in C’ or Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.  In the Summer term we explore the development of Blues and Jazz music starting with its origins in traditional music of Sub-Saharan Africa.   We learn to play the djembes, playing more complicated rhythms and together as an ensemble.  We look at how the abolition of slavery encouraged travel to the big cities of America, where popular styles began to fuse to create Blues and Jazz.  Students then develop their guitar playing skills from Year 7 by learning ‘Next to Me’ by Emeli Sandi.  They also have the opportunity to learn the bass guitar.

Product Design

British Values night light, children’s themed bookend & desk tidy –students investigate, develop designs and create 3D models using craft knives, hot glue guns and corrugated card. Computer aided design and manufacturing is taught as well as how to build electronic circuits. Students work with soldering irons, PCB drills, the laser machine and other workshop machinery. Students journey through the design process and turn their ideas into reality.