GCSE English Language and English Literature
The new GCSE curriculum offers students fantastic learning opportunities, built around extensive study of classic and modern literature, creative writing and reading and exploring all genres and forms of texts. Students develop analytical insight when exploring writers’ crafts, developing arguments and points of view and tighter and more controlled technical accuracy in their own work.
The courses are assessed by examinations at the end of Year 11 and all students will sit the same examinations:
Language (AQA spec 8700) – 2 papers each worth 50%, each including reading and writing elements.
Literature (AQA Spec 8702) – 2 papers each worth 50%, covering Shakespeare, modern literature, poetry and pre 1900 prose (mostly pre-seen other than 2 smaller unseen poetry questions). All literature questions are closed book (not permitted in the exam hall) however students are given an extract (or poem) on which the question is based).
Speaking and Listening – students will receive a certificate along with their results in August which confirms that they have completed a speaking and listening task. This will be a presentation to class (or a smaller group) and their teacher on a subject of their choice, with an opportunity for questions at the end. It is advised that students looking to receive a Merit or Distinction should choose a topic that is challenging and persuasive, rather than simply descriptive and explanatory. This will be completed in the early part of year 11, with some homeworks set in order to research and prepare their topic. This will also be an opportunity to practise for Language Paper 2 Writing section as students will be expected to develop a point of view and structure their text in a clear and interesting way.
The order of the units studied over the may be subject to change on a yearly basis. Most classes will have 2 teachers – below outlines what students will study with each of their teachers, each term.
At all times, students will continue to work on their technical accuracy and control of spelling, punctuation and grammar, and will be given literacy targets to ensure that they make suitable and sustained progress in these areas.
Term 1 (3week study with both teachers)
Literature: Completion of the 19th Century Novel Students will bring their study of their 19th Century text to a close, completing some timed responses in order to show understanding of language, structure, themes and characters. They will need to bring in their understanding of the context surrounding the setting of the text and perspective of the writer. They will also need to learn quotations from across the text so that they can refer to elsewhere in the play and not just the extract provided.
Term 1 (4week study)
Teacher 1 Language: Exam Paper 1 Reading section – students will explore the 4 components of the reading section, developing understanding of how to approach unseen texts (extract based). They will analyse the effects of language and structure as well as evaluate the text using their own opinions.
Teacher 2 Language: Exam Paper 1 Writing section – students will continue to develop their ability to write descriptively and accurately, using relevant, sophisticated and imaginative vocabulary, imagery and structural features, to respond to a visual stimulus or prompt idea.
Teacher 1 Language: Exam Paper 2 Reading Section – students will explore the 4 components of the reading section, ensuring they can analyse non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts. They will respond in both short and extended answers, developing comparative and analytical skills as well as showing understanding of a writer’s attitude.
Teacher 2 Language: Exam Paper 2 Writing Section – students will continue to develop skills in writing to persuade, advise, argue and inform, considering how they can structure a text to develop a point of view and attitude.
Both teachers Literature: Poetry – the poetry component of the examination is divided in to two sections: the study and analysis of a pre-seen anthology (provided by exam board – although not permitted in the exam hall – 1 poem will be printed in the paper) and the ability to respond analytically to an unseen poem. Skills nurtured are analysis, evaluation of a writer’s crafts and effect on the reader, understanding of poetic techniques (including terminology) and comparison. Students will study the anthology with one teacher and unseen components with the other.
Teacher 1 Literature: Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing or Macbeth Students will revise what they have already studied in year 10 and ensure they are able to respond to an extract from the play. They will need to bring in their understanding of Renaissance England, the text’s plot, characters and themes. They will need to learn quotations from across the text so that they can refer to elsewhere in the play and not just the extract provided.
Teacher 2 Literature: Modern Drama or Prose – Students will revise what they have already studied in year 10 and ensure they are able to respond to an extract from the text. Like the Shakespeare component, students will understand plot, character, themes and writer’s intentions and be able to analyse meanings in language and structure. Students will need to show understanding of the writer’s viewpoints and again, like the Shakespeare component, will need to know quotations from across the text.
Teacher 1 Language: Reading paper skills – students will review their reading skills for both papers 1 & 2. This will draw together all of the analytical and comparative skills they have developed across the year and be an opportunity to refine their examination approach.
Teacher 2 Literature: 19th Century Revision – students will have a final opportunity to revise their 19th Century text, ensuring they have learned quotations and can explore how themes and characters develop and change across the text.
The LRC is open every lunch time with a range of activities run by Mrs Plowman our LRC manager.
We also run a debate club, ranging from year 7 up through to the sixth form. Currently this is held on Tuesday lunchtimes, run by Miss Windridge.
USEFUL WEBSITES AND RESOURCES
http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse The Language and Literature specifications can be found here (specification numbers can be found above).
BBC Bitesize offers summaries and quizzes on the literature texts as well as advice on how to approach the Language papers.
No Fear Shakespeare http://nfs.sparknotes.com/ provides text summaries, character details and the whole original text, with a translated version to the right.
http://www.poemhunter.com/ lists many famous poems, information on poets and may also have some useful reader comments attached to help understanding (not all to be taken seriously perhaps!)
http://literary-devices.com/ lists all the possible terminology you could want, with helpful definitions, in studying poems, prose, plays and non-fiction texts.
YouTube houses videos / films of poems being read, plays being performed and also analysis of some texts by teachers, academics and other students.
Reviews of texts in national / global newspapers such as The Guardian and The New York Times can help with understanding of themes, plot and characters.
Please note, film versions can be useful to watch to support understanding of a text, but cannot take the place of reading the text itself.
The new curriculum requires all students to be confident readers and therefore it is really important that students are getting a good reading diet at home. Even if they are not strong or confident with reading – or even that they just do not enjoy it – it is vital to their English GCSE qualifications. Homeworks will expose students to a wide range of text types, from all genres and eras, however the more additional support you can provide at home with reading challenging texts, the more confident students will feel.
If they haven’t already purchased them, we strongly recommend that students get their own copies of their three required Literature texts. They can then annotate in their own copies. Our advice would be to get versions with glossaries / translations in and can be found second hand on sites such as Amazon or ebay (some second hand copies might even have some notes from a previous owner in). York Notes study guides are also useful.
PROVISION FOR MOST ABLE
Differentiated lessons to challenge and push more able students and work towards the highest possible level.
Assisting other students and acting as mentor/role model
Participation in the School Talented and Gifted programme.
Students can photocopy their own extracts / poems to annotate and analyse. The format for the questions is always the same so they could devise their own, extra to what we set.
Termly or end of unit assessments (exam style question or paper).
Students are expected to apply feedback from one piece of work and apply to the next.
Students will not necessarily be assessed on the unit they are currently studying in class. The intention here is to ensure that students are revising each of the texts and components throughout the year.
Frequent, dedicated marked work with helpful and supportive feedback is at the heart of what we do.