GCSE English Language & Literature

In English, pupils read a wide variety of canonical and contemporary poetry, prose and drama and learn to write using a range of forms for different purposes. While English Language sharpens skills in reading, writing and spoken English, Literature immerses pupils in a tapestry of rich imagined worlds and provides opportunity for budding creatives to learn their craft. Studying for the English GCSE is an intellectual challenge: classwork encourages debate on significant issues and enables pupils to consider their cultural heritage. Language and Literature are awarded separate qualifications that are assessed through examination.

Course Content

English Language GCSE

Fiction and Imaginative Writing:

Study and analyse selections from a range of prose fiction.

Explore and develop imaginative writing skills.

Paper 1: 1 hour and 45 minutes, 40%

Section A:
A series of comprehension and analysis questions in response to an unseen extract from a work of fiction.

Section B:
One Creative Writing question from a choice of two, one of which includes a picture stimulus.

Non-fiction and Transactional Writing:

Study and analyse selections from a range of non-fiction texts.

Explore and develop transactional writing skills, for example letters, articles, reports.

Paper 2: 2 hours and 5 minutes, 60%

Section A:
A series of comprehension, analysis and comparative questions in response to two unseen non-fiction texts.

Section B:
One Creative Writing question from a choice of two.
Spoken language endorsement

English Literature GCSE

Drama

Shakespeare:
Macbeth

Post-19th Century Literature:
Journey’s End

Paper 1: 1 hour and 45 minutes, 50%

One essay question with two parts, one focussing on the extract given in the paper and the other on the whole play.

One essay question from a choice of two.

Prose

19th Century Novel:
Christmas Carol

Poetry:
Edexcel Poetry Anthology
A range of poetry

Paper 2: 2 hours and 15 minutes, 50%

One essay question with two parts, one focussing on the extract given in the paper and the other on the whole play.

Two questions: one comparing two poems from the Anthology,one comparing two unseen contemporary poems.

Co-curricular

  • Literary Society
  • Debating Society
  • Upper School Book Club
  • Young Writers’ Club

Next steps

English provides an excellent foundation for further study in a range of subjects. GCSE English Language and English Literature are robust, well-respected and inspiring courses. They help pupils to form opinions whilst developing analytical skills and intellectual flexibility. Pupils learn how to communicate clearly and effectively, both verbally and in written communication; furthermore, pupils learn to be discerning and critical in their approaches to the world around them. Studies in English provides an excellent set of transferable skills, which will be useful in a wide range of jobs or in further study.

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