GCSE English Language and English Literature

Your child is currently studying English Language and English Literature and will take a total of four exams in addition to a Spoken Language endorsement with the AQA.

English has been through an exciting time nationally over the past couple of years with the changes to grading, the end of controlled assessment and the new Spoken Language endorsement. The ELA are well equipped to meet the demands of the new specification whilst ensuring that pupil engagement is key.

English Literature

English Literature covers a wide range of themes through three key texts and a poetry collection. Pupils should expect to be challenged and work hard if they want to succeed.

This year your child will cover the following texts:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  • Poetry: Power and conflict

Students will undertake two exams for Literature:

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel duration: 1hour 45 minutes and 40% of GCSE

Students will be given an extract to write about in detail and then relate to the rest of the play.

What will be assessed?

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry: duration 2 hours 15 minutes and 60% of the GCSE

The paper is divided into three sections:

  • Section A Modern texts: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (play script)
  • Section B Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from the cluster Power and conflict. Students will study all 15 poems in 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 They should be able to compare key features such as their content, theme, structure and use of language


English Language

English Language is covered through a number of themes across the two  year course including:

  • Crime and Punishment
  • Oppression and Free Speech
  • Supernatural
  • Leisure and Travel

The Scheme of Work allows students to engage in a wide range of texts tailored to be interesting and engaging as well as preparing students for the comparative element of the exam in Paper 2.

Students will undertake two examinations for English Language:

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing: duration 1 hour 45 minutes and 50% of the GCSE

What will be assessed?

  • Section A Reading: one literature fiction text
  • Section B Writing: descriptive or narrative writing

Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives: duration 1 hour and 45 minutes and 50% of the GCSE

What will be assessed?

  • Section A Reading: one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text
  • Section B Writing: writing to present a viewpoint


In addition, to the two exams students will undertake a Spoken Language Endorsement on a topic of their choice.

As you can see English has a large amount of material to tackle this year and is not going to be an easy battle. You can support your child in the following ways:

  • Encouraging them to read widely
  • Supporting an improvement in vocabulary
  • Making sure they are in their lessons and on time
  • Purchasing revision booklets. The class teacher will be able to support here
  • Ensure your child takes every opportunity for extra support