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Key Stage 4

English in Year 10 & 11

Key Stage 4 Overview

All pupils will take GCSEs in both English Literature and English Language.

English Language Course Overview

The English Language course will comprise of two examination papers, each worth 50% of the overall grade and both sat at the end of Year 11, and a speaking and listening element which is compulsory and is assessed but is not counted towards the final examination grade.

Both examinations have a reading and writing element and are each 1 hour 45 minutes long. Paper 1 looks at how writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to engage the interest of readers. There are three reading questions to answer on one literary text. Pupils will then demonstrate understanding of this topic through their own extended writing. Paper 2 looks at how different writers present a similar topic over time. In section A of paper 2 pupils will read two linked sources from different time periods and genres in order to consider how each presents a perspective or viewpoint to influence the reader; in section B they will be asked to produce a written text to a specified audience, purpose and form in which they give their own perspective on the theme that has been introduced to them in section A.

Our approach to spoken language (previously speaking and listening) will emphasise the importance of the wider benefits that speaking and listening skills have. Pupils will deliver a presentation on a topic of their choice first and then discuss the topic in more detail, responding to questions asked.


English Literature Course Overview


The English Literature course will also comprise of two examination papers, one worth 40% and one worth 60% of the overall grade and both sat at the end of Year 11.

Exam Paper 1 (worth 40%) will test pupils’ understanding of a 19th century novel and a Shakespeare play which they will have studied in class. They will have to answer one essay question on each of the two texts for this paper. Exam Paper 2 (worth 60%) will test pupils’ ability to analyse a modern novel or play and a range of poetry, some seen and some unseen.

This course should encourage pupils to develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking. Through literature, pupils have a chance to develop culturally and acquire knowledge of the best that has been thought and written. Studying GCSE English Literature should encourage pupils to read widely for pleasure, and as a preparation for studying literature at a higher level.



Both GCSEs will be graded using the new 1-9 grading system, with 9 being the highest grade.