Year 8 Themes


Year 8 themes continue to build upon and develop the knowledge and skills of students. They may revisit some of the ideas that are covered in Year 7 but in greater depth.

Again, each theme lasts between three and four weeks and is centred around group work, research skills, audienced learning and technology. Below is a brief description of each theme.

Review and exam weeks will be held twice during the year, in January and in the Summer term.

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Computer Science

Autumn Term

Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: How can positive changes come from negative events? The intention of this theme is to explore a major event from 1666 that mixes History and Science with Art and Design. The Fire of London is a major historical event which signalled the end of the Great Plague of 1665 and the beginning of a new confidence in early modern Britain as well as physical changes to London. We look at these historical themes but also address the issue of plague and fire, the science around them as well as the impact that they can have on society. Something that is important today more than ever. This shows how use history to see that there will be an end to the impact of COVID 19 and that positive things can emerge from difficult times. Find out more about Pudding Lane
Subject focus

DRIVING QUESTION: What must we consider when building for our community?

The intention of this theme is for students to identify, explain and analyse the key components to consider when building for our community. They will take on the role of an architect bidding for a new project in the local area, planning and building models of their designs and considering how to fund it for the future. They conduct research, plan, build and use feedback to make improvements throughout the project. By the end of the theme, they participate in a competition, where they deliver a pitch in the hope of it being chosen by the local community.

Find out more about Grand Designs

Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: Why do people migrate and what impact does it have on countries? The intention of this theme is to allow students to probe and ask questions regarding the way our environment has been shaped by human movement and activity. Students achieve this by looking at specific case studies, investigating current global issues and the effect they have on the people living within different areas of the world.   Students will also research different countries of the World including Russia, India, China and Britain using location and map skills as well as empathy to build up life skills that give them a sense of place and scale. Find out more about Coming and Going
Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: What made India the country it is today? The intention of this theme is to broaden students’ depth of knowledge of British and world history through the study of the Indian sub-continent from many different perspectives. We start by looking at the physical geography of India and then go on to discover and reflect on how modern India has developed from the sixteenth century and the rule of the Mughals to modern India today. This includes exploring the impact of the British Raj in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the struggle for independence. We also look at some world religions which are practised in India, and the influence of some Indian art, film and literature. The journey of lessons in the theme alongside the supporting resources allow students to explain what made India the country it is today with reference to the Indian sub-continent and its global context. Find out more about India

Spring Term

Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: How have the ideas of Da Vinci shaped our thinking about the world? The intention of this theme is to explore the many inventions and works of Leonardo da Vinci before acknowledging how his ideas have shaped our thinking about the world today. We will exercise our creativity to design our own portraits, supportive sketches, notations and commentaries. As part of our scientific work, we will investigate Leonardo’s theories regarding proportions of the human body. We will test our hypothesis based on whether we consider his ratios to be accurate or not, while also considering how we could improve our investigation methods. This theme also looks at the story of Holy Week where we examine Christian doctrines such as Holy Communion as well as explore one of Leonardo’s most famous works, The Last Supper. This theme will end by revisiting the driving question and producing a Leonardo da Vinci style piece of work which details our own theories about how the ideas of Leonardo have shaped our thinking about the world. Find out more about Da Vinci
Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: What events in history defined the civil rights we are entitled to today? The intention of this theme is to deepen students’ understanding of civil rights and understand their origin and the struggles groups in society have been through to obtain them. Students will start by looking at the British Empire and assess the effects that it had on the countries that were colonised. Then students will explore the Slave Trade and evaluate the treatment of people who were captured and empathise with their experiences. Following on from this, students will look at the Civil Rights Movement in America and consider the origins of racial tension and how racial issues perpetuated despite slavery being made illegal. The theme then takes the students to the modern day and explores the problem of human trafficking and the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill supported by charities such as UNICEF. Finally, students are to look at their own rights and responsibilities and teach younger students the importance of them through a children’s story.
Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: How and why are the coastlines constantly changing? This theme uses key geographical terminology to explain how the coastlines change over time. We study the inter-relationships of natural processes and human influences and how these two worlds work together or sometimes against each other to alter the coastline shape. Students look at where we like to holiday and how this impacts the people, the geomorphic features and the economy of an area. Within this, they link to the morals of luxury resorts in poorer countries and how we can all become more sustainable too. As the theme progresses, the focus will move towards a social and environmental context and students will be expected to plan an investigative trip. The aim is to take part in a fieldwork trip to a coastal region and write up fieldwork related to this trip.

Summer Term

Subject focus

DRIVING QUESTION: What impact has the Industrial Revolution had on living conditions today?

The intention of this theme is to explore the Industrial Revolution in Britain, with its main focus around education and industry. Students investigate the differences between the conditions of this time and the modern world. The theme begins with students researching some of the fundamental differences within the world of work, schools and inventions before discovering the difficult circumstances of children through William Blake’s poetry and eyewitness accounts. Students will also use Dickens’ Oliver Twist to create pieces of script that reflect the themes and plot of the original text. This helps them prepare for an extended piece of writing discussing the potential return of corporal punishment. They will also experience a typical school day similar to Victorian times to compare the differences in teaching and learning styles, subjects and activities.

Subject focus
DRIVING QUESTION: Was World War One a ‘Great War?’ The Over the Top theme focuses on the First World War (1914-1918), incorporating religion, ethics, war poetry and literature, human and physical geography, as well as history. Students will become familiar with the place of sources and interpretations in historical study, learning how to analyse and evaluate their usefulness and reliability, deepening their critical skills. Students develop a chronological understanding of the key events of the First World War and assess their impact on both those fighting on the Western front but also those men, women, and children on the Home Front. Key religious and ethical issues are explored through studying the impact of war on women, religious and ethnic minorities, conscientious objectors, and animals as well as assessing responses to the conflict.

DRIVING QUESTION: What App can we design to improve people’s lives?


During this theme, students will:

  • Work individually or as part of a team to complete a project
  • Brainstorm a real-life problem that could be solved by an app
  • Decide on an idea to take forward
  • Identify the app features that would be most beneficial to potential users
  • Design and prototype an app
  • Promote their app idea to potential investors