The English curriculum at upper school is based around the AQA GCSE English Literature and English Language syllabus. Under our current model, all students will sit their GCSE English Literature at the end of Year 10 having started that course from Year 9.
We are very confident that this allows our students to entirely focus on a core GCSE in Year 10 and reduce the amount of revision required in Year 11.
As part of these curriculums, students read a variety of texts including novels, poetry, drama and a Shakespeare play. In Year 11 They also study media “texts” and 19th Century non-fiction are encouraged to read widely in order to develop their appreciation of the different genres and their critical skills.
This course follows on from the Lower School English programme of study where they will have started developing core skills and knowledge linked to the GCSE Assessment Objectives. The English Literature and English Language courses are designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring, as far as possible, that the assessment and texts are accessible to the full range of students.
The courses enable students of all abilities to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures.
Course Content: English Literature
Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel
Section A Shakespeare:
students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.
Section B The 19th-century novel:
students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.
Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry
Section A Modern texts:
students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.
Section B Poetry:
students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.
Section C Unseen poetry:
Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.
Course Content: English Language
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
Content for Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language
As part if their GCSE English course students are required to complete a formal presentation to the class. This is usually completed in Year 10 and will be recorded for submission to the AQA examination board.
Assessed. This is a separate endorsement with 0% weighting to the GCSE. Gradings are set as either a: Pass, Merit or Distinction
English Language Exam Information [PDF]
English Language PLC [PDF]
English Literature Exam Information [PDF]
English Literature PLC [PDF]
GCSE English Revision Pack [ZIP]
Ten Text questions to ask your daughter [PDF]
Assessment in English
Assessment in English GCSE is by 100% exam at the end of Year 10 for GCSE Literature and Year 11 for GCSE
Language Paper 1
Explorations in creative reading and writing:
1 hour and 45 mins
Section A Reading
Q1 – 4 marks – Understanding and retrieval
Q2 – 8 marks – Language: words and phrases/ language features and techniques/sentence forms
Q3 – 8 marks – Structure/ terminology
Q4 – 20 marks – Evaluating the effect of the writing on the reader – responding to a statement.
Section B Writing
Q5 -Descriptive or narrative writing – picture as a stimulus
Content and organisation – 24 marks
Technical accuracy – 16 marks
Language Paper 2
Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives:
1 hour and 45 mins
Section A Reading
Q1 – 4 marks – True statements
Q2 – 8 marks- Summarise and compare two texts
Q3 – 12 marks – Language analysis
Q4 – 16 marks – How two writers present their ideas
Section B Writing
Q5 – Writing to present a point of view – PAT:writing for a specific purpose, audience and text type
24 marks. Content and organisation
16 marks. Technical accuracy
Literature Paper 1
Shakespeare and c19th Novel:
1 hour and 45 mins (40% of GCSE)
Section A Shakespeare
Extract based question. Focus on the extract initially and then on the play as a whole- 30 marks
Section B C19th Novel
Extract based question- Focus on the extract initially and then on the novel as a whole- 30 marks
Literature Paper 2
Modern Text and Poetry:
2 hours and 15 minutes
Section A Modern Text
A choice of 2 questions – 30 marks
Section B – Poetry Love and Relationships
One poem printed – compare printed poem with another poem from the Poetry Anthology – Love and Relationships- 30 marks
Section C – Unseen Poetry
2 unseen poems given – answer the question asked and write about both poems
Q1 – 24 marks
Q2 – 8 marks
Closed book: no texts in the exam
Marking of Student Work and Feedback
Student books are taken in by the class teacher at least three times per term (based on a standard 6 week term). Teachers will specifically indicate what work will and will not be marked in order to give our students a clear idea of what is expected from them and so they can always present their best work. Students are encouraged to self- and peer-assess their work through the use of our Green and Purple pens.
Assessment feedforward sheets are used as part of the assessment marking process at the end of each unit which usually marries up to each term. Staff comments provide guidance on how students can improve their level of understanding. Staff are expected to review all peer assessed and self-assessed work and provide guidance when necessary.
Setting in Upper School GCSE English
- At Upper School all students are taught in sets, where they follow the AQA English and English Literature syllabus. All students are set by their Lower School levels and assessment data conducted throughout Years 7/8.
- All students in Y9, 10 and 11 are set according to assessed ability and progress
- Every set is taught with support, challenge and stretch!
In line with School Policy, set moves are made twice a year where necessary. This is based directly on academic performance through the formal assessments and classroom contributions throughout the year.
- Homework is set in line with the School Homework Policy. At GCSE English the intended length of homework should normally be 1 hour per week per English GCSE (2 in total)
- Students will record homework in their planners and teachers will share via SIMS Learning Gateway the details of what has been set and when it is due to be handed in.
- Due to the nature of the literature exam at GCSE, the English Dept. sets an on-going reading homework throughout years 9 and 10 where students are expected to regularly read and re-read the texts studied. The reading is set alongside any homework issued by class teachers to consolidate and enhance learning that has taken place in the classroom.
- In Year 11 , where Language is studied, students are expected to work through the CGP Language Revision skills book, which is given to all students, alongside any homework set by class teachers to consolidate and enhance learning that has taken place in the classroom.
Supporting Your Daughter in GCSE English
There are a number of ways you can support your daughter with her English:
- Ensure your daughter completes any reading homework within the deadline so they do not fall behind and can access the topics/themes studied in class time.
- Make sure that your daughter has a reading book in her school bag at all times and encourage her to read widely.
- Ensure your daughter reads the set texts, reads them again and then reads them again!
- Encourage attendance to the many and varied Period 6 LEAP activities we offer in English.
- Share your love of literature and language with your daughter – have discussions about what she is reading with her, discuss newspaper articles and help expand her vocabulary.
- Encourage her to do well – a good English GCSE grade will open many doors in the future!