GCSE English Literature
Students are entered for two separate GCSEs in English at Key Stage 4: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, both examined by AQA, both taught by the same teacher.
For current Year 10s, GCSE English Literature is taught from November of Year 11 (following the GCSE English Language exam) to the following summer. Our students take ‘Route A’:
Unit 1: Exploring Modern Texts (worth 40%)
This is the first of two external examinations and lasts 1 hour 30 minutes. Under the current ‘modular’ format, current Year 11 students sat this at the end of Year 10. All other students, under the ‘linear’ format, will sit this at the end of Year 11. They are entered at either ‘Foundation’ or ‘Higher’ tier. There are two sections, equally weighted:
- Section A focuses on ‘modern prose or drama.’ Students complete an essay-style response on the AQA short story anthology, ‘Sunlight on the Grass’ (although use of this text is currently being reviewed)
- Section B focuses on ‘exploring cultures.’ Students complete an essay-style response to a question based on ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck.
Unit 2: Poetry Across Time (worth 35%)
This is the second of two external examinations and lasts 1 hour 15 minutes. All students – whether under the modular or linear format – sit this at the end of Year 11. They are entered at either ‘Foundation’ or ‘Higher’ tier. There are two sections:
- Section A is worth most marks and requires students to complete an essay-style response to a cluster of poems from the AQA Poetry Anthology, ‘Moon on the Tides.’
- Section B requires students to respond to a question based on an ‘unseen poem’: one that has not be studied in class.
Unit 3: The significance of Shakespeare and the English Literary Heritage (worth 25%)
This is the former ‘coursework’ element, now known as a ‘Controlled Assessment.’ It is written under examination conditions. It is internally assessed by the teacher, externally moderated by AQA.
There is one assessment, which requires students to study and analyse a Shakespeare play and its links with another piece of literature. The question is changed by AQA from year-to-year, but in the past we have studied the portrayal of war in ‘Henry V’ and poetry from the First World War.