GCSE English

GCSE English Language is a compulsory course that will require students to draw upon a range of texts as a reading stimulus and engage with creative, as well as real and relevant contexts.  Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into various topics and themes.

This new GCSE specification will ensure that students can read fluently and write effectively.  Students will be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and grammar, both in deploying figurative language and analysing texts.  Your child will sit two examinations for the English Language GCSE, each lasting 1 hour 45 minutes, during which their reading and writing skills will be tested.

All students will also sit the GCSE in English Literature.  This GCSE will require students to study Shakespeare, 19th Century Literature, Poetry, and Modern Prose or Drama. Your child will sit two examinations for the GCSE English Language, one lasting 1 hour 45 minutes and the other 2 hours 15 minutes.


Paper 1 - Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (examination) 50%
Paper 2 - Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives (examination) 50%
Non-examination assessment - Speaking and Listening (no longer part of the assessment, but still recognised)

Paper 1 – Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel (examination) 40%
Paper 2 – Modern Texts and Poetry (examination) 60%

English in Year 9

Considering the new GCSE specification (as detailed above) a new programme of study has been designed for Year 9 students that will lay the foundations and help prepare them for their GCSE studies. Students will study a range of texts, including a Shakespeare play and 19th Century texts.  Assessments throughout the year will follow the same format as GCSE assessments.

Why study English?

The study of English is vital in the modern world; reading and writing skills are fundamental requirements of any job.  These are practised along with the analysis of literature, which will enable your child to explore their expressive, as well as academic side.  English Language and English Literature are excellent subjects to support study at a higher level, as they enable students to develop and hone their skills of interpretation and essay writing; essential for many university courses.

Skills needed

  • The ability to think carefully about what you read and to be prepared to question why and how it has been put together by the writer, looking at language, structure and form;
  • The ability to think carefully about what you write before you write it, making sure that each word, and their order, is appropriate and effective;
  • To independently revise texts and consolidate learning outside of the classroom.
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