Skip to content ↓

The Charter School

North Dulwich

Course Descriptions


In Year 8 pupils continue to develop skills in observational drawing, collage, 3-D installation and print-making.  They study perspective and a range of experimental drawing techniques in order to develop their ideas.  Each Module allows pupils to investigate, explore and develop their ideas, as well as giving them an opportunity to evaluate their work and the works of others.  Knowledge and understanding of artists, craftspeople and designers informs this process.  Pupils work with a range of materials and equipment.  They also keep a sketchbook throughout the year to assist them with researching, designing and analysing.


In Year 8, pupils develop a variety of skills, knowledge and understanding of various citizenship studies’ topics.

  • Module 1 focuses on the concept of global Human Rights, examining Human Rights legislation and the relationship between rights and responsibilities.
  • Module 2 introduces the concepts of democracy and civil rights in the UK, specialising on the struggle for universal suffrage and the current campaign for votes at 16.
  • Module 3 explores UK politics, looking at Parliament, political parties, elections and voting.  Pupils create their own political parties, present their parties at a Mock Hustings and participate in a Mock General election.
  • Module 4 develops pupils’ skills of representation and advocacy.  Pupils create a 2 minute TV news broadcast, for an internet TV Youth Channel, addressing the issue of stereotyping young people in the media and wider society.
  • Module 5 investigates Crime and Punishment in the UK, examining different causes of crime and attitudes to punishment.  Pupils interview a policeman and worker from the national charity Victim Support on Youth and Gang Crime.
  • Module 6 is a pupil-led project on a local issue of their choice.  Pupils plan a campaign to create change on their issue, researching the background and which decision-makers they need to influence to create change.

Design Technology

During Year 8 pupils have built on the design technology work done in Year 7 to give them a broad experience of design and technology areas and help prepare them for choosing a DT subject at GCSE.  This work covers the National Curriculum requirements for design technology and includes four of the following:

  • Textiles – batik pencil case
  • Engineering – mechanical toy or Mars Rover
  • Resistant materials and CAD – ball bearing game and restaurant designs
  • Food – Exploring staple f ood


During Year 8 pupils work to develop a wide range of co-operative learning skills such as listening, concentration, trust, cooperation.  They learn and practise a wide variety of drama devices and use props, costume, lighting and sound to support their performance work.  They study different theatrical styles such as Melodrama, Pantomime, Commedia D’ell Arte, Improvisation, and Musical Theatre.  They also use themes and issues as a starting point for dramatic exploration.


In English, pupils are taught to speak fluently, listen attentively and participate co-operatively in group, pair and individual activities.  When writing, they learn to compose in different styles, from creative writing to writing to argue and persuade.  They are taught to plan, draft and proofread.  They are taught spelling, punctuation and the principles of grammar.  They learn to appreciate and analyse a range of texts from the literary heritage and from different cultures and traditions as well as studying non-fiction and media.


Pupils begin Year 8 studying multicultural Britain and developing their understanding of diversity.  They move on to study river processes and analyse impacts of flooding in Bangladesh.  During Module 3 pupils investigate the geography of crime, combining geography and maths to present their enquiry findings in a report.  Module 4 studies extreme environments, enabling pupils to contrast a variety of opinions including their own and develop their debating skills.  The final unit is about the impact of tourism on a range of destinations, focusing on sustainable tourism.


In Year 8 pupils are expected to build and develop their knowledge and understanding of the past.  Pupils investigate some of the big political, social, religious and economic changes that took place in Britain and the world between 1500 and 1900.  Pupils follow the national curriculum for history at Key Stage 3 through the examination of questions such as: “What were the causes of the Civil War?”, “How did the understanding of medicine develop?” and “Why are there different interpretations of children’s working conditions in the industrial revolution?”

Pupils will be expected to present their knowledge and understanding in a variety of ways including the use of ICT.

Information & Communication Technology

During Year 8, pupils follow the Key Stage 3 Computer Science & ICT curriculum.  This builds upon the work undertaken during Year 7.  In Module 1 pupils programmed a robot to perform a variety of challenges.  In Module 2 pupils created an Environmental Calculator using a range of complicated formulae, in order to model their carbon footprint.  During Modules 3 and 4 pupils developed their own computer game using object-oriented programming software.  During Modules 5 and 6 pupils will create an interactive website using HTML and JavaScript.  Pupils can develop their abilities in programing further by downloading a variety of free tools for home use, such as Scratch, GameMaker and BBC Basic.


Throughout Year 8 pupils follow the KS3 National Strategy and work from the Maths Links scheme.  There are four tiers of work relating to National Curriculum levels : Level 2 and below, Levels 3-5, Levels 4-6 and  5-7 with extension work available at Level 8 if necessary.  All pupils have access to support materials within this scheme and tiers are re-evaluated every half term.   We use a variety of teaching methods to build upon work on number, algebra, shape and space, and data handling.  Pupils can revise from home using the website, for which each pupil has a personalised login and password.  Homework may also be set from this site.  Pupils are expected to complete an investigative task in the summer term which provides an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their ability to use and apply mathematics.

Modern Foreign Languages

Pupils continue to work in the four skills – speaking, listening, reading and writing – and should reach a National Curriculum level 4/5 by the end of the summer term.

Topics explored include home and environment, daily routine, leisure, clothes and media.  New grammar introduced in Year 8 includes referring to past, present and future events using different tenses, and extending work by using more complex language structures. They improve their understanding of Spanish or French by using materials from a variety of sources and from different Spanish and French-speaking countries to increase their cultural awareness.


During Year 8 pupils study opera and the symphony orchestra, music of the Caribbean, history of western classical music (learning Pachelbel’s Canon in D) and introduction to song writing.  They explore various notation systems and instruments during this time.  Work has been organised to cover the National Curriculum requirements for music : composing, performing, listening and appraising.  Each Module includes a range of listening, analysing and appraising tasks against specific criteria.  Pupils improvise, compose and perform individually, in small groups and as a whole class, expanding their repertoire, knowledge and practical skills.

Physical Education

In Year 8 pupils study the following activity areas : rounders, softball, cricket and athletics.

They have been assessed in their ability to combine skills and techniques and apply them with consistency and precision; to plan for and analyse themselves and others in specific skill related activities; and to understand the effects that a variety of activities have on fitness levels.

Religious Studies

Year 8 start the year with a Module of philosophy called ‘ultimate questions’.  They then spend a Module studying the beliefs and practices of Christianity.  During Module 3 they investigate the core aspects of Islam and during Module 4 they study the religion of Sikhism.  Finally, during Module 5, they explore the topic of rites of passage including birth ceremonies, death ceremonies and initiation rituals.


Pupils continue to develop their understanding of scientific principles by applying the concepts learnt in Year 7 to more abstract topics.  These topics are electric circuits, magnets and electromagnets, light and sound in physics.  In chemistry they study the chemistry of rocks, combustion and the development of the Periodic Table.  In biology they look at habitats, variation and inheritance, digestion and respiration.  The course includes references to the historical development of scientific ideas.  Pupils continue to develop their skills of planning, carrying out and reporting their practical work and they use ICT to support these activities.