GCSE English Language and Literature
Exam board: Eduqas
Under the new GCSE framework, as well as being awarded a numerical value (1-9) instead of a letter grade (E-A*) students will no longer complete any coursework. In place of this they will have four exams in the summer term of Year 11: two exams for their GCSE in English Language and two for Literature.
Students will also complete a speaking and listening assessment as part of their English Language study and whilst this will not count as part of their overall grade, it will be reported on alongside their final grade in terms of a Pass, Merit or Distinction.
Both of the English Language exams include a reading and writing section. Paper 1 focusses on fiction and is currently worth 40% of the overall GCSE. There is one 20th Century text extract to read and respond to and one narrative writing task. Paper 2 is worth the remaining 60%. In this paper there are two non-fiction texts to read and respond to, one from the 19th Century and one from the 21st Century. These texts will be linked by topic or theme and there is a requirement to compare them. Pupils will then need to produce two non-fiction texts of their own. All of these extracts are from previously unseen texts and require students to be able to read to at a good level independently.
The program of study for the English Literature GCSE will include studying the following:
Macbeth, A Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and an anthology of poetry.
Paper 1 will assess student’s knowledge and understanding of Macbeth and the anthology of poetry and is worth 40% of the overall GCSE. Paper 2 will assess the remaining two texts and unseen poetry. Students will not able to take any of the books into the exams they will also be expected to recall events and key quotations for each character and across the whole text and for each of the fifteen poems.
Although each GCSE is separate and different they do share common assessment objectives and expectations. This means that the way in which your child answers the questions to the unseen reading texts in the Language exams is the same as they would on the books covered in Literature. Their spelling, punctuation and grammar is also assessed in exactly the same way in both GCSEs. This has enabled us to structure a blended curriculum in year 10. Whereby, students will practice the skills required for both GCSEs every term and study both qualifications together; ensuring that the skills are learned at the deepest level. In year 11 pupils will continue to study both subjects but focus on one specific GCSE per term.
Supporting your child
Under this new framework it is imperative that students are able to learn and remember each text and in order to facilitate their learning and revision we are striving to provide them with a variety of experiences and opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.
Below is an overview of the opportunities we intend to provide over the course of KS4. As I’m sure you will appreciate these events and trips can only be made possible with the financial contributions from families. Each activity will be formally advertised by letter nearer to the time with an exact cost. Below are approximate costs that will enable you to budget should you wish your child to participate.
Supporting your child at home in KS4
There are a few key ways in which you can support your child with their preparation for both of their English GCSEs. Firstly, encourage them to read high quality fiction and no fiction texts. The emphasis is on unseen extracts in the new GCSEs and the expectation is that your child can interpret and retrieve information from any given text. Reading daily broadsheet news articles, quality reviews or a novel and practicing summarising what they have read and listing the key information will enable your child to gain confidence and increase the speed at which they can demonstrate these skills – both incredibly considering both of the GCSEs are 100% examination. Internet programmes such as Quizlet are also very useful for making revisions cards and completing other activities designed to aid the learning and memorization of quotations. The BBC Bitesize website also has information and activities on most of the set texts taught for English Literature and the English Language section has been completely updated for the requirements of the new GCSE. LitCharts is another useful internet based tool for consolidating understanding of the Literature texts.