GCSE English Language and Literaure

GCSE English Language and Literature

Exam Board – AQA

The Course

In English, students follow a two-year GCSE course, which involves reading, writing and spoken language. Students prepare to sit both two English Language and two English Literature examinations. At the end of the course each student will obtain two qualifications.

Throughout the course we aim to provide students with the opportunity to read an enriching and exciting range of texts and to develop a rich and wide-ranging set of communication skills that prepare them for both their exams and success in the wider world.

Year 10

September to October: Poetry

Students study a selection of poems from AQA’s Power and Conflict anthology. They learn to explore ideas and issues raised in the poems, and discuss and write about the poems’ content, language, structure and message. They learn to engage with and write about both individual poems and paired poems which they compare.

October to December: A Christmas Carol

Students study Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. They will learn to explore writer’s message, the context in which a novel is written and received and explore how meaning is made through a writer’s methods. Alongside this focus on literature we will also spend some time developing creative writing skills practicing writing fiction, in preparation for the language exam.

January: Studying Non-Fiction (Water, Women, War and Welfare)

Students study a range of Non-Fiction extracts. They learn to interpret texts, analyse writers’ use of language and structure and to write effective and purposeful non-fiction. All of the non-fiction texts they read are linked to the context of the play ‘An Inspector Calls’.

February to April: An Inspector Calls

Students read and study the play ‘An Inspector Calls’, by J.B. Priestley. They will learn to write critical essays, which explore language, form and structure and consider the context in which the play was written.

May to July: Macbeth

Students study Shakespeare’s Macbeth and learn how to write critical essays focusing on how writers’ use language, form and structure. They will learn about Jacobean values and concerns, Shakespeare’s use of the Tragic form and different interpretations of the play over time. They will also use themes and ideas from the play as impetus to develop their creative writing skills.

Year 11

September to October: Poetry

Students continue their study of poems from AQA’s Power and Conflict anthology. They learn to explore ideas and issues raised in the poems, and discuss and write about the poems’ content, language, structure and message. They learn to engage with and write about both individual poems and paired poems which they compare.

October to December: English Language: Explorations in Creative Writing and Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives.

Students study and explore a range of fiction and non-fiction text extracts, ranging from the 19th century to the modern day. They develop the skills of retrieval, summary, inference, language analysis, structural analysis, evaluation and comparison. They then take these ideas and skills and apply them to their own writing, preparing both narrative and non-fiction pieces.

January to May: Revision and Exam Technique

Students will develop their exam skills in preparation for the final GCSE exams.

Assessment

All exams take place at the end of Year 11. There are four exams in total, two for English Language and two for English Literature.

English Language

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing. (1hr 45mins – 50%)

Section A (Reading)

Students read one unseen extract from a piece of 20th or 21st century fiction and answer 4 questions on the skills of:

  • Retrieval
  • Language Analysis
  • Structure
  • Evaluation

     

    Section B (Writing)

    Students create a piece of creative writing, such as a description or a narrative piece.

    Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives. (1hr 45mins – 50%)

    Section A (Reading)

    Students read two unseen non-fiction extracts, one from either the 20th or 21st century, and one form the 19th century. They then answer 4 questions:     

  • Comprehension
  • Summary & Comparison   
  • Language
  • Comparison (Writer’s attitudes)

     

    Section B (Writing)

    Students create a piece of non-fiction writing, such as a newspaper article, letter or feature article.

    English Literature

    Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel (1hr 45mins – 40%)

  • Section A (Macbeth) Students write a character or thematic study, beginning with an extract and widening their discussion out to the rest of the play.
  • Section B (A Christmas Carol) Students write a character study or thematic study, beginning with an extract and widening their discussion out to the rest of the novel.

    Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry (2hr 15mins – 60%)

  • Section A (An Inspector Calls) Students write either a character study or thematic study, form a choice of two questions, exploring the dramatic effects of the play.
  • Section B (Power and Conflict Poetry) Students write a comparison of two poems they have studied in class.
  • Section C (Unseen Poetry) Students write a response to one unseen poem before adding a short comparison to a second unseen poem.

     

    Spoken Language

    As part of the GCSE course students will be assessed on their ability to communicate through spoken language. This part of the course does not count towards the overall GCSE grade but is certified separately as a ‘Spoken Language Endorsement’ (graded pass, merit or distinction). Each student must deliver a speech and will be assessed on their ability to present information, listen and respond to others and communicate through Standard English.

    Where it leads

    TV, film and journalism, law, education, the possibilities are infinite!