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Why study this subject?

  • Studying both English and English Literature helps us to be able to communicate effectively with the information we are constantly bombarded with.  From exploring different text types, to understanding our literary heritage and being able to decipher the latest events in the news, this subject encompasses it all.
  • Just as good English skills are required in all walks of life, they are required in all subject areas. Understanding a range of texts, breaking down examination questions and communicating effectively are all necessary skills across the full range of subjects.

Aims of the course

  • To improve reading, writing and speaking and listening skills
  • Students learn to read and write an increasingly complex range of texts, exploring how writers appeal to readers.

What can this course lead to?

  • A-Level and degree options in English Language and Literature or a combined course. For many post 16 courses, English Language is a key requirement.
  • Careers in publishing, the media and advertising are common routes for these courses.
  • Confidence in being able to communicate in range of different ways to a range of different people is important throughout life.

Expectations of subject

English Language: The GCSE Language exam is split into two halves and students will be required to demonstrate the following skills:

Paper 1 (Fiction):


  • Analysis of language and structure (HOW does a writer use technical skills to create an impression on the reader)
  • Evaluation (forming an opinion on texts, using evidence and exploring how a writer has created this impression)


  • Narrative and descriptive writing: Use a picture or written prompt to create a well-structured short piece of narrative or descriptive writing on a given theme

Paper 2 (Non-Fiction)


  • Summary and synthesis (Identifying differences between two texts exploring a similar theme)
  • Analysis of language (HOW does a writer use technical skills to create an impression on the reader- particular)
  • Comparison (Comparing how two writers use language, form, tone and structure to create different texts on a similar theme)


Opinion writing: Students will be given a statement and asked to write in one of the following forms (essay/news article/text for a leaflet/text for a speech/letter) expressing their opinion on the given topic.

  • In preparation for the exam, over the two years of the course, students will explore extracts from a range of source texts, both fiction and non-fiction. These texts will be selected to cover a diverse selection of authors, in terms of genre, era, gender, race and culture to allow students the opportunity to explore a truly broad range of texts.
  • Students will have regular opportunities to practise and develop their writing skills. This will include using model texts, debates to support generation of ideas for opinion writing, scaffolds and structural templates for short-form fiction writing and exploration of contemporary issues.

Speaking and listening:

The speaking and listening component of the exam is assessed separately and will take the form of a short presentation to the class on a topic of the student’s choice. The critical aspect of this presentation is the student’s ability to respond in detail to questions at the end of the presentation. This will be assessed at the end of Year 10.

English Literature: The GCSE Literature exam is designed to enable students to explore literary fiction from a range of eras and in different forms and genres. The exam paper overviews are outlined below:

Paper 1 (Shakespeare and the 19th Century novel):

Shakespeare: Macbeth

19th Century Novel: A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

Paper 2 (Modern text and poetry)

A: Modern text: An Inspector Calls- JB Priestley

B: Poetry anthology: Fifteen poems on the theme of power and conflict

· Ozymandias- Percy Shelley · London- William Blake · Extract from The Prelude- William Wordsworth

· My Last Duchess- Robert Browning · Charge of the Light Brigade – Alfred Lord Tennyson

· Exposure- Wilfred Owen · Bayonet Charge- Ted Hughes · Storm on the Island- Seamus Heaney

· War Photographer – Carol Ann Duffy · Poppies- Jane Weir · Remains- Simon Armitage

· Tissue- Imtiaz Dharker · Emigree- Carol Rumens · Checking Out My History- John Agard · Kamikaze- Beatrice Garland

C: Unseen Poetry

Students will study each of the texts in depth, exploring character, plot and theme. We focus heavily on the ‘big ideas’ behind the texts – This could be the ideas which were prevalent at the time of writing but can also include modern interpretations and readings.

We explore additional texts (both fiction and non-fiction) to provide a broader curriculum and to deepen the students’ understanding of genre and themes - for example when studying the early poems in the anthology we may look at articles on the Peterloo Massacre, the living conditions of London during the Industrial Revolution and the work of other Romantic poems. When exploring Macbeth and A Christmas Carol, we refer to biblical stories and works such as Dante’s Inferno in order to understand the influence on these writers. We also look at contemporaries of these writers as well as modern non-fiction responses to their works.

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