GCSE English Language & English Literature

From September 2015 all boys will study for both English Language and English Literature. The distinction between Foundation and Higher no longer exists and all boys will sit the same exams. You will usually have one teacher (or in some cases one pair of teachers) for the duration of your GCSE.


English Language

  • From September 2015 boys will study for the AQA English Language GCSE.
  • Final assessment is by two exams sat at the end of Year 11. (There is no longer any course work or controlled assessment.)
  • The exam papers are divided into Section A reading (worth 50% of total GCSE) and Section B writing (the other 50%). The range of reading tasks has been extended and boys will have to get to grips with what is called ‘creative reading’. This involves fairly short responses to short sections of text. You will only achieve the higher grades if you can comment on the text in depth and detail.
  • You will be assessed on each of the 5 key skills at least once per term:1.    summary & comprehension2.    use of language (or language analysis)3.    Structure (analysing the structure of a short piece of text)

    4.    descriptive & narrative writing

    5.    persuasive writing


  • In Year 10 boys will sit Paper 1 for their summer mock exam.
    • Boys will encounter a wide range of engaging texts as part of their preparation for the two final exams – for full details of the texts/units see the link below.
    • What used to be called Speaking and Listening is now called Spoken Language. Boys will take part in a range of activities and will be (teacher) assessed on the following: presenting information and ideas; responding to spoken language; and using spoken Standard English. Spoken Language does not contribute to the final GCSE grade but will be a separate grade.

    English Literature

    • From September 2015 all boys will study for the AQA English Literature GCSE. English Literature is not a separate timetabled lesson but will be covered in the boys’ English lessons.
    • Boys will study two of the exam texts in Year 10 (Modern Texts and Shakespeare) and two in Year 11 (C19th novel and poetry). They will be given a separate exercise book for their work on these texts. Unlike English Language, English Literature does require revision of a body of knowledge (i.e. details and ideas about the texts) and so it is important that their notes are presented clearly and ‘revision friendly’.
    • Boys will be given copies of the exam texts and may annotate their copies in pencil. However, the new English Literature GCSE exams are ‘closed book’ exams – they cannot take the books into the exam.
    • When boys have covered their exam texts in detail they will do exam style questions – which require short essay answers (one and half / two sides approx). They will also sit an English Literature paper as part of the Christmas mock exams in Year 11.
    • Boys should not feel that they are restricted to their exam texts. We have a wide range of texts available to boys who are interested in reading more widely – please just ask a member of the English Department.

    AQA Syllabus

    AQA GCSE Exam Skills English Language

    KS4 Personal Learning Checklist