School Alerts
Home / Pupils / Year 8

Year 8

Key Stage 3 curriculum can be found here


Art and Design at Cottenham is a practical-based subject taught, by specialist teachers, in 2 fully-equipped Art studios and a purpose-built ceramic room. Pupils are given the opportunity to develop their skills in painting, drawing, printmaking and three-dimensional work, using media including paint, oil pastels, charcoal, pencil and clay.

Pupils are encouraged to express themselves creatively, whilst learning the fundamental skills, to prepare them for further study.

More about Art

Computing and IT

Computing is about understanding computers and computer systems.  Every day we are using computer systems; modern civilisation would not function without it. Computer systems control airplanes, our health service, cars, coffee makers, washing machines, tax systems, the internet, microwave cookers, mobile phone networks, laptops, desktops, alarms, central heating, remote control television, traffic light systems and more.  To comprehend our place in the digital world, we must understand that it is the human that is clever – not the machine.

Students have one lesson of computing a week.

The Curriculum Overview for Years 7 & 8

Computing at Cottenham is taught by a team of experienced and specialist teachers. Students in KS3 follow a challenging and exciting curriculum designed to include the Royal Society’s three distinct strands within Computing:

  • computer science: understanding concepts including algorithms, data representation, logic, abstraction and decomposition. This also includes problem solving, testing and debugging programs. Understand the hardware and software components that make up computer systems
  • information technology: thinking creatively to create, re-use, revise and re-purpose digital artefacts for a given audience. Pursuing creative projects that involve selecting, using, and combining multiple applications
  • digital literacy: understanding the impact of digital technology; including protecting their online identity and privacy; recognise inappropriate content, how to conduct oneself online and know how to report concerns

In Years 7 & 8 students study a wide range of computing topics. The topics aim to introduce students to the key concepts studied in computing.  These include:

  • Computer hardware
  • E-safety
  • How data is represented in computer systems
  • Block programming
  • Algorithms
  • Editing digital images & sound
  • Introduction to Python
  • HTML & CSS
  • Cryptography
  • Cyber-security
  • Privacy; Digital footprint

Design Technology
Students experience a number of areas including: Materials, Control, CAD/CAM,Textiles, Food, Graphics and Product Design. Key skills and techniques are taught within these areas and research, designing, planning, making and students’ evaluations underpin this. Students are encouraged to pursue creative outcomes, solve problems and to think about design in the wider context. The Design and Technology department is staffed by a team of 4 specialist teaching staff, 2 specialist technicians and a DT trained teaching assistant. At Key Stage 4 we offer two GCSE options (Product Design and Graphics) as well as the BTEC Diploma in Catering. The department has strong links with Cambridge University and has successfully participated in a number of research projects.

More about DT


Drama in the lower school is a practical subject and students are provided with a supportive atmosphere in which to explore, develop and share their ideas.

The major part of the work revolves around group role play, using the medium of Drama and the elements of Drama. We teach a range of explorative strategies, such as, thought-tracking, cross-cutting, narration, split stage, and still-image through a diverse range of topics, scenarios and stimuli.

The following are some of the topics we will cover:

  • Lies
  • Silent Movies
  • Social Drama
  • Stealing
  • Accident
  • Year 8 Drama Exam

Students in all years are taught to communicate through the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. We take pride in introducing students to a range of texts from different genres, cultures and eras; we ask students to develop their own opinions and become confident in expressing them. We work hard to provide engaging opportunities for students to consolidate and develop their skills and understanding right through Key Stages 3 and 4. The English faculty is staffed by a team of specialists with expertise in literature, language, Latin and drama.

More about English


Geography is the study of the earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It is, quite simply, about the world in which we live. Geography at Cottenham stimulates an interest in, and a sense of wonder about, places. It engages students to think about our changing world, how people and the environment interact, where places are, how places and landscapes are formed, and perhaps most importantly today, helps young people make sense of the complex interactions between economic, social and environmental factors prevalent in our world.

The curriculum for Key Stage 3 is currently undergoing re-structuring.

More about Geography

History is the study of the human past. It fascinates and it shocks; is causes joy and sadness in all those who study it. Yet there can be no doubt that it is inescapable, confronting us in the twenty-first century at every turn. A politician’s speech, a quiet road-side memorial or a great-grandfather’s old journal: all of these present us with historical challenges. To comprehend our place in the world today, we must understand that we are always ‘walking backwards into tomorrow’, never knowing what lies ahead, but always in the knowledge of that which went before. This is what history is all about.

More about History


Latin in Year 8 is taught as an optional subject at lunchtime, following on from classes in Year 7.

Students are given the opportunity to study the Latin language and to explore aspects of Roman history and culture, focusing on the town of Pompeii. Students are positively encouraged to make links to English and to other languages. Students continue to follow the Cambridge Latin Course and we aim to finish Book 1 during this year. It is hoped to complete an externally set and moderated test at the end of Year 8 for which a certificate will be awarded.

More about Latin


Mathematics at Cottenham Village College is a five year course culminating in GCSE examinations at the end of year 11.  We aim to support the College’s “Best in You” motto by increasing our students’ fluency, reasoning and problem solving skills in mathematics as they progress through our school.

Year 8 mathematics has six main aims:

  • To enable students to explore mathematics independently
  • To make cross-curricular links
  • To apply mathematics across a range of contexts
  • To become efficient in the use of calculators
  • To begin to consider the difference between evidence and proof
  • To develop skills in using algebra

There is a strong emphasis on mental and written calculations but the students also begin to use calculators efficiently and effectively. There are a number of themed modules to allow the application of mathematics in different contexts and there are a few extended pieces of work to build independent study skills.

Students are placed in classes according to their achievements in year 7.  They are regularly re-assessed throughout the year, through short tests at the end of each module of work and through longer tests towards the end of each term.  They will record their performances on comprehensive analysis sheets which are used to inform any necessary intervention work.

Modern Languages (French)
This page will be updated soon

All students in Music are encouraged to develop their musicianship skills to enable them to demonstrate their understanding of a range of musical styles, genres and traditions. Learning takes place in a well-resourced Music department, which comprises a ‘state of the art’, Mac studio, Keyboard studio, Recording studio, an Instrumental Teaching room and Practice rooms. Opportunities for enrichment include extra-curricular clubs, instrumental lessons, work with outside musicians, an annual trip to Kings College Carol concert, school concerts and shows, and larger scale performances that take place in public venues.

More about Music

Students in all years are taught to perform, understand and communicate in a wide variety of competitive sports and recreational activities ranging from rugby and hockey to gymnastics and athletics. The Physical Education and Dance faculty is staffed by a team of 5 specialist teachers in an area with great facilities. The subject offers GCSE, BTEC , the Sports Leaders experience and the Leadership Academy at Key Stage 4. Students have the opportunity to participate in an extensive range of extra-curricular competitive and recreational activities.

We strive to ensure that all students have a good understanding of the benefits of leading a healthy & active lifestyle and have the skills necessary to achieve their potential, whilst promoting students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

More about PE

Philosophy and Religious Education
The aim of Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at Cottenham is to help students be more considerate. We encourage students to be considerate of the rights and sensitivities of people whose beliefs are different to their own. However, we also ask students to consider what their own moral, philosophical and religious beliefs are, why they hold them, whether they can be justified and how beliefs affect different people’s practices and actions. While many of the topics covered teach students about the six largest world religions (Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and Judaism) students will also come across ideas and arguments from other religious groups and many non-religious thinkers.

We aim to move all students’ thinking from the simple to the reflective, from the casual to the considered and from the vague to the well-informed. We want to pupils to become comfortable with religious and philosophical questions but develop the skills, interest and dedication to work towards answers.

Students are encouraged to engage in oral argument and discussion, personal reflection, the organisation and expression of their thoughts in writing.

In Year 8, students rotate between 6 week blocks of PRE, History and Geography and in Year 9 it is taught as a separate lesson once a week.

More about Philosophy and Religious Education

Our personal development programme covers all aspects of PSHE and citizenship, mainly through conference days when ordinary lessons are replaced with a more flexible programme, which often includes theatre or guest speakers. Health matters, drugs, relationships, citizenship, team-building, first aid, the law and young people, and finances are among the topics covered.

We provide sex and relationships education (SRE) for all students; our programme encourages young people to have regard for moral considerations and the value of family life. The programme uses materials appropriate to the needs and ages of our students. Some aspects are covered in Science lessons in Years 7 and 9 as well as during Key Stage 4 examination work in Years 10 and 11. Further related topics are also studied in areas of Humanities, English and Drama. Additionally, we organise visits from trained individuals to give separate gender-specific talks with more general mixed sessions. These take place during Years 7 and 10 and include focus on both biological and emotional matters.

In Year 8, pupils are placed into sets at the beginning of the year based on their assessed work from Year 7. Attainment of pupils is closely monitored and changes to pupils group are made after key assessment points in the year in accordance with pupils’ progress and attainment. Pupils study different topics in Year 8 building their inquiry and practical skills alongside their scientific knowledge. These topics include: Life Processes and Healthy Living; The Periodic Table of Elements and Metal Reactions; Light and Sound.