GCSE English

Your son or daughter will be starting Key Stage 4 of National Curriculum English; this is an integrated course of reading, writing, speaking and listening and is assessed by GCSE.  The GCSE is based on the National Curriculum orders for English.

English Language

The GCSE assessment framework for English Language has two components:

Component 1: 20th Century Literature Reading and Creative Prose Writing
Section A: Reading - one literature fiction text from the 20th century.  
Section B: Prose writing - one creative writing task selected from a choice of four titles.
This is assessed by one written exam (1 hour 45 minutes) made up of reading (20%) and writing (20%).

Component 2: 19th and 21st Century non-Fiction Reading and Transactional/Persuasive Writing
Section A: Reading
- understanding of two extracts of high-quality non-fiction writing, one form the 19th century, the other from the 21st century.
Section B: Writing - two compulsory transaction.persuasive writing tasks.
This is assessed by one written exam (2 hours) made up of reading (30%) and writing (30%).

Non Examination Assessment: Spoken Language - Students must do one formal presentation and respond to questions using standard English. This will be set and marked by the teacher and be give a separate endorsement. This has no bearing on the GCSE final mark.

English Literature

This is a separate GCSE qualification. We expect that most of our students will take English Literature as well as English Language.  

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel.  A Shakespeare play from a prescribed list eg Romeo & Juliet, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing etc
A 19th century novel from a prescribed list eg Great Expectations, The Sign on Four, Frankenstein, A Christmas Carol etc.  
Assessed by a written exam (1 hour 45 minutes), 40% of GCSE.
Papers 2: Modern Texts and Poetry. A post 1914 text eg Blood Brothers, An Inspector Calls, The History Boys, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies etc.
Poetry from an anthology provided by AQA (15 poems): love and relationships or power and conflict.
Assessed by a written exam (2 hours and 15 minutes), 60% of GCSE.

Enquiry Based Learning

We offer an enquiry based programme to those pupils who do not study a second language beyond year 7 and for whom extra literacy support is deemed appropriate. In Year 8 pupils develop their skills of enquiry through posing questions and investigating ways to solve problems in topic work such as a forensic crime unit, a writers and illustrators project and a media and marketing task. In Year 9 pupils develop their ability to research, evaluating sources and selecting information appropriate to task and audience in creating a Halloween menu for the school canteen and designing a city infrastructure. There are opportunities for the students to present ideas to experts in their fields such as the catering manager and an Allerdale town planner. At the end of the two year course students are entered for the AQA Foundation Projects Qualification, with excellent results.


The English department is also involved in delivering the COPE course for pupils who would benefit from extra support in their core skills of literacy and numeracy. This is an optional subject which will dovetail with the core GCSE English course and will also support all other subjects through the development of reading and writing skills.