English Langauge Course Overview
GCSE English Language offers students the opportunity to develop reading and writing skills in a variety of ways, alongside encouraging an appreciation for language in its many forms.
When reading, students will analyse both fiction and non-fiction texts, focusing on the writers’ methods and their effects upon the reader. Supplementing their study of literature, students will read a range of challenging, engaging extracts by writers such as George Orwell, Angela Carter and Ian McEwan. Students will analyse them both linguistically and structurally, developing an appreciation of how writers are able to engage and manipulate their readers.
Students will also engage with non-fiction writing, studying 21st century texts such as broadsheet newspaper reports and magazine articles and 19th century literary non-fiction texts such as letters and articles by DH Lawrence and Charles Dickens. Using this enhanced appreciation of language, students will hone their own creative writing skills. For fictional writing, students will focus on their descriptive and narrative skills, while for non-fiction, students will learn to draft assured letters and newspaper articles, fostering informative, rhetoric and polemic tones.
Developing these skills and an appreciation of the various forms of writing will provide pupils with an invaluable confidence. Language skills inevitably transfer to many other subjects and remain highly sought after in the modern, technological age.
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
Section A: Reading (one literature fiction text)
Section B: Writing (descriptive or narrative writing)
Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
Section A: Reading (one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text)
Section B: Writing (writing to present a viewpoint)
Non-examination assessment: Speaking and Listening
Students will undertake a prepared spoken presentation, lasting no more than ten minutes, on a specific topic chosen by them
English Literature Course Overview
GCSE English Literature encourages students to develop their knowledge, skills and appreciation of challenging literature. Throughout the course, students will have the opportunity to read and watch texts of great cultural significance, such as a Shakespearean play, a 20th-century play, a Victorian novella and a collection of poetry ranging from the Romantic period 21st-century contemporary poems.
Students will engage with the various themes and concepts presented in these texts, the writers’ methods in conveying these ideas, and the contextual factors that have influenced these texts' production and reception. Throughout the course, students will be taught how to read texts in-depth and analytically, enabling them to produce critical, evaluative essay responses.
Students’ confidence in discussing complex ideas will be developed alongside their essay writing accuracy, focusing on expression, grammar and spelling. By reading rich texts ingrained in the English literary heritage, students will also begin to make connections across texts and appreciate the wider power and importance of literature within our society and culture. In doing so, great empathy and critical thinking skills will be enhanced, and enthusiasm and inclination for further reading will be fostered. Furthermore, these skills and an appreciation for literature will enable students to pursue a range of challenging careers.
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 write about the play as a whole.
Section B The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice.
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.