Curriculum - English


What course do we follow?

All pupils in Years 10 and 11 study English Language as part of the core curriculum and almost all pupils will also study English Literature. The course is assessed by AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance).

What will I learn?
English Language

The English Language course provides students with the opportunity to engage with different styles of texts exploring creative reading and creative writing whilst also analysing the writer’s viewpoints and perspectives. Students complete two examination papers for English Language which are both 1 hour and 45 minutes in length ans assess both reading and writing skills.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing – all texts in this examination will be unseen. The paper is worth 50% of the overall grade for English Language.

Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives – all texts in this examination will be unseen. This paper is worth 50% of the overall grade for English Language

Throughout the course, pupils will also be assessed for Speaking and Listening. They will be assessed on their ability in presenting, in responding to questions and feedback, and on their ability to use standard English. These assessments will form a separate grade from tat awarded for pupils’ written work.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is 100% by examination at the end of the course

Paper 1: 1hour 45 minute
80 marks
50% of GCSE
Section A: Reading – four questions on one literature fiction text
Section B: Writing – creative writing (either a description or narrative piece)

Paper 2: 1hour 45 minute
80 marks

50% of GCSE
Section A: Reading – four questions on two non-fiction texts which are linked by a theme
Section B: Writing – presenting a viewpoint (typically a letter an article or a speech)

English Literature

As with English Language, all assessment is now by examination at the end of the course. During the GCSE English Literature course, students study a Shakespeare play, a 19th century novel, a modern text and a collection of poetry. English Literature is assessed by two examinations one of which are 1 hour 45 minutes and 2 hours 15 minutes respectively

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel

1 hour 45 minutes
64 marks
40% of GCSE Literature
Pupil’s will study a Shakespeare play, typically ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Macbeth’, and a nineteenth century text such as ‘Frankenstein’ or ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’

Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

2 hour 15 minutes
96 marks
60% of GCSE Literature
Pupil’s will study either a modern drama, such as ‘Blood Brothers’ or ‘DNA’, or a modern novel, such as  ‘Lord of the Flies’or ‘Animal Farm’ . They will also study a poetry anthology and prepare for some unseen poetry in the examination.

How will this subject help me in the Future?

English is a preparation for all careers, as written and verbal communication form part of most people’s working lives. However, any English A-level is an excellent preparation for careers such as teaching at all levels, law, management and tourism.


GCE A Level

English Language

Through a rich, engaging and varied programme of study, students will develop a deep knowledge of how English language works and a secure understanding of the language system. They will explore data and examples of language in use and apply concepts and methods appropriate for the analysis of language. All students will undertake an independent investigation in an area of particular and individual interest, and develop their skills as producers and interpreters of language. They are expected  to engage creatively with topical issues relevant to language in use and develop their interest in and enjoyment of English.

Students will develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the language levels, including:

  • Phonetics, phonology and prosodics: how speech sounds and effects are articulated and analysed
  • Lexis and semantics: the vocabulary of English, including social and historical variation
  • Grammar including morphology: the structural patterns and shapes of English at sentence, clause, phrase and word level
  • Pragmatics: the contextual aspects of language use
  • Discourse: extended stretches of communication occurring in different genres, modes and contexts

At A level, learners will apply the language levels to a range of contexts:

  • Historical
  • Geographical
  • Social and individual varieties of English
  • Aspects of language and identity

English Language is an A Level subject that suits students who enjoy discussion and debate.

English Literature

A Level English Literature is an enjoyable and culturally stimulating course covering a wide range of texts, dating from the 16th Century to the present day. Apart from close study of set texts, students are taught critical appreciation of a variety of genres. Teachers encourage enjoyment of and a sensitive response to the written word, which students will continue to take pleasure from once they have completed their studies at the College. English Literature is regarded highly by Universities and is acknowledged as a facilitating subject by the Russell Group. This specification offered at the College encourages students to become informed, independent readers through the close study of set texts – prose, poetry and drama – as well as two texts of their own choice.

The qualification requires the study of eight literary texts plus unseen poetry.

Component 1: Drama

Students will study aspects of the form of drama via two plays. The central focus of the drama study is the literary text. Students study a tragedy or comedy drama by Shakespeare and another tragedy or comedy drama.

Component 2: Prose

Students will study aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts, at least one of which must be pre-1900. Literary study of both texts selected for this component should incorporate the links and connections between  them, and the contexts in which they were written and received.

Component 3: Poetry

Students will study a selection of poems from two published poetry texts. They will consider the concerns and choices of modern-day poets in a selection of contemporary poems. Students will apply their knowledge of poetic form, content and meaning, and develop their skills in comparing an unseen poem with an example of studied poetry. Students will also develop depth of knowledge about poetic style by studying a selection from the work of a single named poet, or a selection from within a literary period or movement. Literary study of the chosen set poems should be enhanced by study of the contexts in which they were written and received.

Non-Examined Assessment

The non-examination element is worth 20% of the qualification and is an opportunity for students to explore areas of interest in greater depth. There are no prescribed texts here – teachers and students are offered a free choice of two texts. There are no genre or date restrictions, apart from the fact that texts in translation are not allowed.