In Key Stage 4 English lessons, students study towards two separate GCSEs: one in English Language and one in English Literature. Across Years 10 and 11, they will read a range of texts and learn the skills required to prepare them for the four exams (two for each GCSE) they will sit in the summer of Year 11.
In Year 10, students will begin with a short unit on unseen poetry in order to establish key analytical skills and for teachers to be able to give students some early feedback on their writing. This will be followed by study of the first set of poems from the AQA Poetry Anthology – a set text which students will receive a copy of for study both at home and in class. Both unseen poetry and the taught anthology poems will eventually be examined in Paper 2 of the Literature GCSE.
By half term, students will also have begun practicing and developing the skills needed for the reading section of Paper 1 of the Language exam, where they will respond to extracts from literary fiction, again focussing on the writer’s craft. At Christmas, students will begin reading the 19th century novel, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This is followed by the study of a second set of poems from their anthology, followed by the Shakespeare play Macbeth. Both Macbeth and Jekyll and Hyde are examined in Paper 1 of Literature. Again students will receive their own copy of these texts to annotate, which will become key revision material in the lead-up to exams.
In the Spring term, students will practice and develop their writing skills for Paper 1 of the Language exam where they are required to write creatively—either narrative or descriptive writing or a combination of both. Students will then be ready to take internal exams at the end of Year 10: Paper 1 of Literature and Paper 1 of Language.
During the summer term of Year 10, students will begin studying the skills for expressing a viewpoint which are assessed in the writing section of Language Paper 2. This will lead to an assessment before the summer break of their spoken language ability, for which they will receive a standalone grade on their GCSE certificate. When they return in Year 11 students will study the play An Inspector Calls for Paper 2 of the English Literature exam. They will then move on to the study of non-fiction texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. They will explore different writers’ viewpoints and perspectives found in unseen non-fiction extracts and how to respond to them in Paper 2 of the English Language exam. They will then use what they have read as a springboard for developing their own writing for Language Paper 2 Section B, where they are expected to express views and opinions.