Subject Overview: English and English Literature GCSE
This subject enables the student to achieve a GCSE in two separate subjects: English Language and English Literature. As well as being of vital importance to future employers, the study of Language and Literature allows students to access and enjoy rich texts from the recent past and from our cultural heritage. Besides learning how to critically appraise the work of other writers, students will develop their own written skills and gain a deeper understanding of how language use varies within different contexts. Students will sharpen their abilities to listen to others and communicate effectively within different situations.
Syllabuses (Course Outline and Structure)
Over two years, most students will be covering the requirements for GCSE Language and GCSE Literature. Our current syllabus is Edexcel. Next year’s Year 10 students (2012-2014) will follow a linear structure, which simply means that they will be sitting all of their exams in Summer 2014. The course specifications are as follows:
English Unit One
Two Controlled Assessments (CAs) - one in reading and one in writing. For the reading CA, Students will compare the presentational features and language use of writers in two texts on a related theme. For the writing CA, students will write on a given topic for a specific purpose and audience.
English Unit Two
The Writer’s Voice examination (sat in summer of 2014). Assessment is through a paper of 1 hour 45 minutes. Students will study a set text (currently ‘Heroes’) and respond in Section A of the exam to an extract taken from the novel. In Section B, students will be asked to write on a given topic for a specific purpose and audience.
English Unit Three
Two Controlled Assessments – one on spoken language reading and one on spoken language writing. The spoken language reading CA will involve analysis of two transcripts, whereas the writing assessment will focus on the students writing a text designed to be spoken (e.g. a speech or a script)
The final 20% of the English GCSE is Speaking and Listening (part of Unit Three). Over the two years, students will enter three assessments in this area, which will assess their abilities to speak to different audiences and for different purposes.
Understanding Prose examination: Students study two texts, currently ‘Heroes’ and a choice between ‘Jekyll and Hyde/Animal Farm’
Total = 50% of Literature GCSE
Poetry examination: Students will study a selection of 15 poems from an Anthology. Assessment will be through a paper of 1 hour 45 minutes (sat in the summer of 2014) In Section A, students will respond to an unseen poem, whereas in Section B, they will be asked to write, firstly, about one of the poems that they have studied, and then compare it to a different poem from their list of 15.
Total = 25% of Literature GCSE
Shakespeare and Contemporary Drama Controlled Assessment. Students will complete two CAs, one will be on a modern play (currently ‘Kindertransport’) and the other on a Shakespeare text (currently, ‘Macbeth’). For the modern play, students will be writing about two selected scenes, whereas for the Shakespeare, students will be comparing the playscript with an adaptation.
Total = 25% of Literature GCSE
At the time of writing, we will be completing the CAs for Language and Literature in Year 10 and concentrating on examination preparation in Year 11.
Entry Requirements and Prohibited Options
GCSE English is compulsory for all students. Most students will follow the dual Language/Literature GCSE. In some cases , we will suggest that some students follow an English only certification to allow them to achieve their potential.
Activities and Trips
Usually there are opportunities to see performances of plays that the students are studying. (See below)
Examination texts will be provided for study in the classroom, at home and in the exam itself. Students are not permitted to take in texts that are annotated. We suggest that students buy their own copies of texts, if they wish to do this to aid their revision. Similarly, we reserve the right to charge the student, if they lose their copy of the supplied text.
Complimentary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities
Schemes of Work
Here are a selection of useful resources to help students in their study of the texts:
Resources are saved in relevant folders depending on the topic. There is, for instance, an audio book for Heroes, as well as a study guide for both ‘Heroes’ and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. There is a version of the poetry anthology here that contains most of the poems required for study.
Edexcel have examples of past papers and exemplar material on their website.
NB. These links may only be available from inside school.