English Language & Literature

These are two separate GCSEs, but there is significant overlap in terms of skills and part of the text content. All pupils are required to take both subjects. The courses run concurrently, though we switch from one to the other as necessary. There is no coursework element: all work will be geared towards exam success. We use AQA exam board. All exams are in the summer of Year 11.
The specification offers two equally-balanced papers, relating reading sources to the topic and theme of writing tasks. The reading sources act as stimulus for writing tasks, providing students with a clear route through each paper.
Paper 1, (1 hour 45 minutes) Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing, looks at how writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to engage the interest of readers.
Section A: Reading - one literature fiction text
Section B: Writing - descriptive or narrative writing
Paper 2, (1 hour 45 minutes) Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives, looks at how different writers present a similar topic over time.
Section A: Reading - one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text
Section B: Writing - writing to present a viewpoint
Speaking and Listening skills no longer carry weighting towards the final GCSE grade, but instead will receive a separate endorsement on the results, and will be tested by one assessed piece marked in school.
Paper 1: 1 hour 45 minutes (40% of GCSE)
Section A: Shakespeare: students will answer one question on one play. They will be required to write in detail about an extract and then to write about the play as a whole.
Section B: The 19th-century novel: students will answer one question on their novel of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the novel and then to write about the novel as a whole.
Paper 2: 2 hours 15 minutes (60% of GCSE)
Section A: Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on a modern prose or drama text.
Section B: Poetry: students will answer one comparative question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.
Section C: Unseen poetry: students will answer one question on each of two unseen poems and one comparative question. 
The best thing pupils can do to prepare themselves from now on is to read as many books and feature articles of good quality as possible. This will help them in all writing-based subjects. This is particularly true if a pupil has struggled with aspects of English in Year 9, when the great majority will achieve Level 6 or 7.