In Year 9, 10 and 11 all students will study for two GCSEs in ‘English’; these are GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. We offer a stimulating and engaging learning experience, which is designed to suit everyone, allowing students of all abilities to succeed. The English Literature and English Language GCSEs are designed to work together, giving students the opportunity to develop a wider range of knowledge and skills.


English Literature Overview
All candidates will study a modern prose or drama text, with modern being defined as Post-1945: a point at which a discernable shift in culture is evident. Some contemporary authors are included in these selections and the selection also literary non-fiction to the set text choices.
All candidates will respond to global Literature. They will make reference to universality as well as ‘difference’, recognising that Literature has the power to cross cultures. All candidates will also respond to Shakespeare, the English Literary Heritage (ELH) and to poetry. The specification offers two routes for candidates to cover this part of the course.  We offer Route A where poetry is assessed externally and Shakespeare and the English Literary Heritage (ELH) assessed internally.
3a Unit 1: Exploring modern texts
In this unit candidates will study two modern texts, one of which will be based on exploring different cultures. Modern in this context is defined as post - 1945. The modern texts in Section A provide an element of familiarity, either through themes and issues or through language. This allows candidates to engage with Literature before they move on to looking at texts that are more distanced from their own experience by place in Section B and then by time in the other units of this course.
Currently the students study: The Woman in Black, Susan Hill or An Inspector Calls, J.B. Priestley and Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck.
Unit 2: Poetry across time:
In this unit candidates will take a skills-based approach to poetry, learning how to make an informed personal response to a range of poems.
Section A is based on the study of a thematic poetry cluster from the AQA poetry Anthology Moon on the Tides. We currently study the relationships cluster. Each cluster contains fifteen poems, some of which are contemporary and some of which are from the ELH, WLH or ILH. Candidates will study one of these clusters in detail in order to respond to questions in Section A of the examination paper.
Section B promotes candidates’ wider engagement with poetry through their study of a list of poems by 15 contemporary and literary heritage poets. They should develop their ability to write about key features of poetry, such as content, theme, structure, rhyme, rhythm and use of language.
Prescribed Poets for Unit 2 Section B: William Blake, John Keats, Thomas Hardy, Christina Rossetti, W. H. Auden, Robert Frost, Wilfred Owen, Dorothy Parker, Maya Angelou, Wendy Cope, Tony Harrison, Jo Shapcott, Sophie Hannah, Owen Sheers and Brian Patten.
Unit 3: The significance of Shakespeare and the Engish Literature Heritage
Candidates will be expected make links between one play by Shakespeare (Macbeth) with one other text from the English (Welsh or Irish) Literary Heritage; in this case we have selected the poetry of Robert Browning as the second text.
The students will study a range of aspects from both texts such as:
  • conflict
  • love
  • family
  • power
  • relationships
  • heroes
  • female or male characters
  • comic characters

English Language Overview
3a Unit 1: Understanding and producing non-fiction texts – Exam = 60%
Section A:
  • Requirements: Candidates are required to read and understand a range of non-fiction texts, and literary non-fiction (such as travelogues and biographies) identifying the writers’ crafts and transferring these skills into their own writing for a range of genres, audiences and purposes.
  • The functional elements of English reading and writing are embedded within this unit allowing candidates to demonstrate that they are competent readers and writers in their daily lives.
  • Reading texts will be drawn from a range of non- fiction genres. Some texts will be clearly functional in context (such as information leaflets) and others will be those which candidates can clearly expect to read in their daily lives including media sources (including texts with images, and/or other presentational.
  • In preparing for this unit, candidates should draw on a variety of text types and transfer their reading skills.
Section B:
There will be two writing tasks, one shorter and one longer. The shorter task will ask candidates to write to inform, explain or describe; the longer task will require more developed and sustained ideas that argue or persuade. Candidates will be required to adapt their style to fit audience and purpose.
Unit 2: Speaking and Listening = Awarded separately
Candidates will be assessed on three speaking and listening tasks although they may well do more than one performance of each activity during the unit. They will be assessed on one activity in each of the categories below; some examples of possible tasks are listed in brackets.
  • Presenting (individually talk to the class about a topic of interest and then answer questions
  • Discussing and Listening (in a group of three or four discuss an issue of interpretation which arises from reading being undertaken elsewhere on the course)
  • Role playing (perform as a pair an interview between detective and suspect based upon a narrative from literature that has been studied elsewhere)
Unit 3 Understanding spoken and written texts & writing creatively: Controlled Assessment = 40%
Part A: Understanding written texts (extended reading)
Candidates will submit one task
Tasks will draw on candidates’ study of one extended text from any genre, including non-fiction. An extended text may include a collection of poems, short stories or non-fiction. Candidates must make reference to the whole text. If using a collection of short texts, they must refer to more than one text, although comparison is not required. Candidates can use any of the texts being studied for GCSE English Literature. For example, candidates studying GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature may study Of Mice and Men for the GCSE English Literature examination and may complete their GCSE English Language Controlled Assessment task on this text.
Part B: Producing creative texts (creative writing)
Candidates will submit two pieces of writing prepared under controlled conditions chosen from two of the topics in this unit.
Each year AQA will provide a bank of six tasks: two for each of the topics covered in this unit. We then select and adapt two tasks for the students to complete. Each task will be taken from a different topic.
  • Moving Images (writing for or about moving images).
  • Commissions (responding to a given brief)
  • Re-creations (taking a text and turning it into another).
Part C: Spoken Language Study (investigate)
Candidates will submit one spoken language study, in a written response, prepared under controlled conditions and chosen from the topics in this unit. The focus of this unit is investigative.
In terms of Subject Content, within the broad category Studying Language, learners should
Understand how spoken (and written) language evolve in response to changes in society and technology, and how this process relates to identity and cultural diversity.
Learners should:
  • Reflect critically on their own and others’ uses of language in different contexts and how they adapt to different listeners and tasks, exploring these experiences in the contexts of wider language use and variation
  • Engage with real life uses of talk and audiences beyond the classroom and consider aspects of spoken language, e.g. how language changes over time, attitudes to standard and non-standard forms and regional variations