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English Language (GCSE) and English Literature (GCSE)

Head of Department: Mrs V Edmans

What is English?

English is a two-year course which leads to two qualifications: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.

 GCSE English Language allows students to demonstrate their ability to:

Ÿ use English in real life contexts

Ÿ explore the way meaning is conveyed

Ÿ use an investigative and analytical approach to language topics, drawing on personal experience.

GCSE English Literature requires candidates to explore texts from a personal perspective and offers an experience of:

Ÿ literature today

Ÿ literature globally

Ÿ the literary heritage

Ÿ literary criticism and analysis

All work is assessed in terminal exams at the end of year 11, two each for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.

What skills will I develop?

During the course pupils will be expected to:

Ÿ improve their skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening

Ÿ learn to write and speak fluent, accurate and appropriate English

Ÿ read and respond to a range of literature, both fiction and non-fiction.

 What syllabuses will I follow?

 Ÿ AQA English Language (Course Code: 8700)

Ÿ AQA English Literature (Course Code: 8702)

How will I be assessed?

English Language - AQA

There are two exams:

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

1 hour 45 minute exam - 50% of the GCSE

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

1 hour 45 minute exam - 50% of the GCSE

Students also need to complete one speaking and listening task which, although compulsory, does not count toward the overall grade.

 English Literature – AQA

There are two exams:

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-Century novel

  • Shakespeare – all classes study Macbeth
  • The 19th-century novel – e.g. Jekyll and Hyde, A Christmas Carol, Frankenstein

1 hour 45 minute exam - 40% of the GCSE.

 Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

  • Modern texts – e.g. Lord of the Flies or An Inspector Calls,
  • Poetry – from the AQA Anthology, Power and Conflict
  • Unseen poetry.

2 hour 15 minute exam - 60% of the GCSE.

Increasing understanding

Pupils can make considerable progress in English by taking care with all work set. Homework feeds into developing skills and, if tackled conscientiously, will contribute directly to learning.

When studying set texts, pupils are advised to read other work by the same author. Reading non-fiction is a key National Curriculum strand and we advise pupils to read quality journalism to help their background knowledge of informative language as well as to increase their awareness of issues for discussion. 

Response to poetry (classic, contemporary and multi-cultural) is another key National Curriculum strand and wider reading of poetry is therefore also helpful.

Further information about the courses can be found on the AQA website:

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