Content of Course
Studying English at GCSE develops and extends the work done at Key Stage 3, combining the skills needed to explore how writers achieve effects in novels, plays, poetry and non-fiction texts. Students study the texts in depth, exploring the effect of the writers’ choices of structure, form and language. They also develop their own craft as a writer by using what they have learned to develop their own writing, as well as honing their speaking and listening skills through presentations and drama work. In addition, students have to understand the influences of the historical and social contexts that texts are produced in and make direct links between an author’s life and their works.
Throughout the course, students will become expert communicators – in Standard English – both in writing and verbally through their independent and group work, and presentations.
English Language and Literature
From 2017, GCSEs are comprised of exam only. There is no longer a coursework element.
English Language: two exams (100%)
Paper 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing – 40%
Paper 2: Non-fiction and Transactional Writing – 60%
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar will form 20% of the overall mark for the GCSE.
- Speaking & Listening will still be formally assessed but will not form part of the final GCSE grade: students will receive a certificate at Pass/Merit/Distinction.
English Literature: two exams (100%)
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the nineteenth-century novel – 40%
Texts: ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare and ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens
Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry – 60%
- Texts: ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B. Priestley; Power and Conflict (AQA Poetry Anthology); Unseen Poetry
- All exams are ‘closed text’ (no texts studied will be allowed in the exam).
Spelling, punctuation and grammar will form 5% of the overall mark for the GCSE.
Having an English GCSE shows employers you are confident, creative and able to express yourself fluently. These qualities are particularly well respected in the following fields: teaching, law, journalism, politics media and business. It also prepares you for any further study in the Performing Arts fields.