Key Stage 3


From the start of Year 7, we begin preparing students for their GCSEs. They begin to acquire the skills they will then develop over the next few years to ensure they are in a strong position when they reach Year 11. Year 7 begins with some work on writing skills and then moves through the study of a novel, of war poetry, of a play and of non-fiction texts. These are key areas of study for students as they form the basis of their GCSEs in Years 10 and 11. As well as learning about how other writers use language to create effects, students also learn how to use particular types of language themselves and how to manipulate their language to have an effect on the reader. They continue to hone their writing skills alongside their study of various authors and writers throughout the year.


Students begin Year 8 by revisiting key literacy skills. They then study a range of texts and enhance the reading skills that they were taught in Year 7 in order to encourage them to read between the lines by using inference and deduction. The novel which students study in Year 8 (A Christmas Carol) introduces them to Victorian literature – which will be a component of the GCSE. Students then move on to study Shakespeare’s Macbeth before moving on to look at Romantic poetry. Students really begin to develop an appreciation of the power of language and how a writer can manipulate language to create particular effects and they consolidate these skills through a variety of extended written assessments, which test both their writing and reading skills. Student’s assessments increasingly mirror the style of GCSE assessment, so that they are well prepared by the time they reach their final exams.


In Year 9, students study GCSE level work in preparation for the following year. They learn the skills needed in order to be able to write critically about non-fiction texts and study a range of different types of text e.g. articles, reviews, speeches, reports, leaflets and both formal and informal letters. They also study both narrative and descriptive writing along with another Shakespeare play (Romeo and Juliet) and a novel (either Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird). All of the above types of text feature in their GCSE course and so the skills needed to study these texts effectively are vital for exam preparation in Year 11. The final term of Year 9 the students move onto actual GCSE work with the study of the GCSE Poetry Anthology. This will be revisited in Years 10 and 11, but will be students first taste of actual GCSE study.

Key Stage 4

GCSE English Courses


Subject Leader:

Mrs S Wright



Exam Specification:

Eduqas GCSE English Language and English Literature

QN Code:

English Language: 601/4505/5 
English Lit: 601/5246/1



Summary of course content

All students follow a National Curriculum course in English leading towards a compulsory GCSE examination at the end of Key Stage 4.

The aim of the English Faculty is to enter all students for GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. These subjects are examined and assessed as separate GCSEs.


The content of the English Language courses will be sufficiently varied to enable learners to:

  • Read a wide range of texts, fluently and with good understanding.
  • Read critically, and use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their writing.
  • Write effectively and coherently using Standard English accurately.
  • Use grammar correctly, punctuate and spell accurately.
  • Acquire and apply a wide vocabulary alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology and linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language.

The content of the English Literature course will require learners to:

  • Read a wide range of classic literature fluently and with good understanding, and make connections across their reading.
  • Read in depth, critically, so that they are able to discuss and explain their understanding and ideas.
  • Develop the habit of reading widely and often.
  • Appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage.
  • Write accurately, effectively and analytically about their reading, using Standard English.
  • Acquire and use a wide vocabulary, including the grammatical terminology and other literary and linguistic terms they need to criticise and analyse what they read.


The English Language GCSE

This will be assessed in two ways. There will be two external examinations at the end of Year 11 – these will determine the final grade you achieve. There will also be an assessment of your speaking and listening skills – this is assessed internally, and is compulsory, but does not count towards your final grade.

Each exam component will have two sections – a reading section and a writing section.

Exam (Component) 1 – 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Writing (1 hour and 45 minutes. 40% of qualification).

This exam will have two sections:

  • Section A will be a series of questions on an unseen prose extract.
  • Section B will be a creative writing task.

Exam (Component) 2 – 19th and 21st Century Non-Fiction Reading and Transactional/Persuasive Writing (2hours. 60% of qualification).

This exam will have two sections:

  • A series of questions about two extracts of non-fiction writing from the 19th and 21st centuries.
  • Two transactional /persuasive writing tasks


The English Literature GCSE

This will also be assessed through two external examinations.

Exam (Component) 1 – Shakespeare and Poetry (2 hours. 40% of qualification).

 This exam will have two sections.

  • Section A will be a question and an essay about a particular Shakespeare play. (Macbeth)
  • Section B will be questions about poetry from 1789 to present, which will have been studied in advance.

Exam (Component) 2 – Post 1914 Prose/Drama, 19th Century Prose and Unseen Poetry(2hours. 60% of qualification).

This exam will have three sections:

  • One question on a particular text from post 1914 prose or drama. (An Inspector Calls)
  • One question on a particular 19th Century prose text. (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde)
  • Two questions on unseen poetry.



The final grade at GCSE is determined by:


2 final written exam papers


2 final written exam papers



What type of activities take place in lessons?

Students will take part in a range of activities in lessons in order to prepare them for their final exams. They will take part in both small group and class discussions and debates and will be expected to collaborate with their peers regularly. We also make use of ICT for research based activities and students will produce presentations. There will be a lot of emphasis placed on students written work as this will be important for their final exams.

What type of homework tasks will be set?

Students will be expected to complete homework tasks as a support for the work we do in class. They may be asked to carry out some research, make notes or produce an extended piece of writing. They work they do at home is an extension of classwork and also encourages students to become independent learners.

Revision tasks, mind maps as well as timed essays and research activities are encouraged.  

Other Study

Students need to be reading widely. Students are encouraged to re-read the set texts for the exam.

How will it help me in the future?

GCSE English will give you the skills and qualifications needed for entrance to Colleges of Further and Higher Education. Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing are essential skills required for progress in the world of work

How will this course build on what I have studied in Year 9?

In years 7- 9 students have followed a Key Stage 3 course. All of the elements of it feed into what will be covered in Years 10 and 11. What will be developed are your examination skills and appreciation of literature and language, as well as building on your written and spoken communication skills.

Due to the demands of the new curriculum, some of the content of the GCSE courses will be started in Year 9.

What skills will I develop?

You will develop your reading and understanding, planning, writing and communication skills.

We also aim to develop students’ confidence both in their reading and their speaking skills and to encourage them to become independent learners.