GCSE English / English Literature

Subject:English / English Literature
Qualification Type:GCSE
Exam Board:AQA
Subject Leader:Mr Vivienne Buxton





Course Description

All students follow the AQA English course although some students may also study English Literature as an additional subject.

All students will be examined on course content:

  • Novels, plays and poetry: both pre-1914 (so students understand Literary Heritage), and post-1914 (to understand how Literature shapes the world today);
  • Language in use: in the mass media (electronic and print: news, entertainment and advertising) and speaking and listening.

Assessment Format

Examination of both Literature and Language will be via a combination of:

  • Externally marked written examinations, English (50-60%) English Literature (60%)
  • Controlled assessments and coursework in English (40-60%) and English Literature (40%)
  • Speaking and Listening presentations (10%)

One big difference between KS3 and KS4 is that the GCSE course is more closely prescribed with a particular focus on inference, language analysis and writers’ intentions.  Students need to know course content and skills in detail to attain the Higher Grades (C to A*).  Units of study last longer.  Whereas at KS3 it is quite common to spend two weeks preparing for and writing an essay, at KS4 a controlled assessment or coursework unit can take between 6 and 10 weeks to complete. 

At GCSE, for the higher grades, students need to be able to write about adult literature and media texts, not just in terms of what they think and feel, but in terms of their effect on target audience.  They also have to learn how to write convincingly for a range of purposes and audiences.

Possible Progression (including careers and further education)

Students of English Language and Literature have moved onto careers as diverse as teaching, sales and marketing, advertising, journalism, law, banking and administration, nursing and healthcare, research and development, and even TV!

The next step after GCSE could be A-Level English Language or Literature, followed by a degree in English or a dual honours course together with Linguistics, History, Communications, Media and Film-making.