English (Literature and Language)

At GCSE level, pupils receive bespoke Literature and Language lessons with a different teacher for each of the two subjects. For both courses we study for the AQA examinations. Pupils will ultimately sit 2 papers for each subject at the end of year 11. The examinations are worth 100% of the pupil’s overall grade.

A small cohort of pupils – approximately 25 although this number does vary from year to year – follow a split entry pathway.  For these students, they have 8 lessons of Literature per fortnight with one teacher during year 10 and sit their Literature GCSE in the May of their year 10.

These pupils continue with the same teacher during year 11 where they receive 8 hours per fortnight of Language and will sit their Language examinations at the end of Year 11. We find that for some of our students sitting one examination early benefits not only their English results but also eases the pressure of year 11 and so benefits their results across the curriculum.

In their Literature course, pupils’ study:

  • the 19th Century Novel: ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare
  • The modern drama ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J.B.Priestley
  • 15 poems based on Power and Conflict
  • A range of unseen poetry

Pupils are provided with copies of the texts to use in all their lessons, but some students do find it useful to have their own copies which they can annotate and read at home.

Throughout the course, pupils are provided with revision guides written within the department and are able to attend extra intervention session as required. Where possible, we attend productions of plays at local theatres and utilise local poets for workshops on the poetry selection and unseen.

In their language course, pupils study a wealth of fiction and non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.  Pupils develop their analytical skills of the language and structural choices employed by writers, in addition to comparing texts considering their contexts and perspectives.

Pupils also develop in their writing skills, progressing both in fiction and non-fiction writing genres.  Often, GCSE Language exams are the most enjoyed by pupils as they allow freedom of expression in the writing requirements.

As part of their language course, pupils must also complete a spoken language presentation to their peers on a topic of their choice.  Pupils relish this opportunity to persuade and argue for a cause they believe in and are often very moving.  Tasks pupils undertake are political, topical and significant for both themselves and their generation.