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GCSE English Syllabus

Students in Years 10 and 11 will either study either :

  • English as a single GCSE
  • English and Media Studies
  • English Language and English Literature

We follow the AQA syllabus; further information can be found on the AQA website:

www.aqa.org.uk

English

There are three components to the English course

    • Controlled Assessment (40%)
    • Speaking and Listening (20%)
    • Examination (40%) (↓ link)

Controlled Assessments have replaced traditional coursework and students now complete their work in class, but with a set time limit, under exam conditions. Students will be given time to prepare for their assessments, ensuring all material has been covered in advance.

There are two sections of the Controlled Assessment for English, totalling 40% of the final grade.

Part a) Understanding creative texts (Literary reading)

Students complete three tasks on the topic of: Poetry, Prose and Shakespeare.

Part b) Producing creative texts (Creative writing)

Students will submit two pieces of creative writing

Speaking and Listening is also assessed through:

  • Individual presentation
  • Discussion
  • Role play

Together they are worth 20% of the final marks

English Language

There are three components to the English Language course

  • Controlled Assessment
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Examination (40%) (↓ link)

Controlled Assessments have replaced traditional coursework and students now complete their work in class, but with a set time limit, under exam conditions. Students will be given time to prepare for their assessments, ensuring all material has been covered in advance.

There are three sections of the Controlled Assessment for English Language, totalling 40% of the final grade.

  • Spoken Language Study (10%)
  • Creative Writing (15%)
  • Extended Reading (15%)

Speaking and Listening is also assessed through:

  • Individual presentation
  • Discussion
  • Role play

Together they are worth 20% of the final marks

English/English Language examination

Examination Unit 1: Understanding and producing non-fiction texts

The examination is worth 40% of the English Language GCSE.  It will be taken in the summer of year 11 (for current year 11 students this is taken in January)

Reading and understanding non-fiction (20% of final grade): this section of the paper is designed to test the reading comprehension skills of students; they will be asked to comment on a range of features of media and non-fiction texts.

Writing Non-Fiction (20% of final grade): this section of the paper is designed to test the writing skills of students; they will complete two pieces of non-fiction writing for different purposes.

Revision tips:

English and English Language textbook is the book we use in class and makes an excellent revision text. This is available in Achieve a C or Achieve an A* versions.

BBC Bitesize covers all the essential components of the exam and some of the controlled assessment objectives.

CGP Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar – all KS4 students have been given a copy of this textbook to help them improve their technical accuracy in writing. The expectation is that students use this textbook for independent revision and refer to it in lessons and at home.

Students should aim to read broadsheet newspaper articles as often as possible and discuss with parents/guardians their opinion on the text.

For more focused revision consider:

  • The target audience and purpose of the text and what clues there are to support this
  • The use of facts and opinions
  • Following an argument in a text and identifying bias
  • Describe how language, structure and presentational devices are used to make the text effective

English Literature

Students in sets 1 and 2 study the AQA English Literature specification.  The course comprises one Controlled Assessment and two examinations. For current year 10 students the exams will be taken in the summer of year 11.

Controlled Assessment: 

Shakespeare and the Literary Heritage (25% of the final grade).

Students study two Shakespeare plays, or one Shakespeare play and another text from the Literary Heritage (to be confirmed by the class teacher).  Students respond to a question about the two texts studied.

Exams: total 75% of the Literature final grade

Modern Texts: students study two texts for this examination.

Students are required to answer one question on each text in the examination.  This unit contributes 40% of the final grade.

Poetry: students study 15 poems on the theme of ‘Place’. 

Students are required to compare two of these poems in the examination.  They will also be given an ‘unseen’ poem, and are required to write about this poem. This unit contributes 35% of the final grade.

Revision tips:

Students should read as widely as possible to improve their awareness of genres and styles used by writers. The suggested GCSE reading list contains a comprehensive selection of challenging and engaging texts to interest students. Developing personal responses to texts and understanding how the writer has developed character and key themes is an excellent way to build critical skills for the examination.

Media Studies

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