Subject Leader: Miss Hayley Syrett

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Course Content

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th - century novel

  • Section A Shakespeare:

    Students will answer one question on their play of choice.

    They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole. Text choices (which will be decided by individual class teachers) include: ‘Macbeth’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘Julius Caesar’. 

    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. Text choices (which will be decided by individual class teachers) include: ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Jane Eyre’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Sign of Four’.

  • Paper 2: Modern Texts and poetry

  • Section A Modern texts:

    Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text. Text choices (which will be decided by individual class teachers) include: ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Blood Brothers’, ‘The History Boys’, ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Pigeon English’.

    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. Students will study the Power and Conflict cluster of poems.

    Section C Unseen poetry:

    Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem. They should be able to analyse and compare key features such as their content, theme, structure and use of language.

    How are we assessed?

    Two written exam papers at the end of Year 11:

    Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th - century novel (40% of GCSE, 1 hour 45 minute exam)

    Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry (60% of GCSE, 2 hours 15 minute exam)

    Assessment Objectives

    Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE English Literature specifications and all exam boards.

    The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives:

    AO1: Read, understand and respond to texts. Students should be able to:

    • maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response
    • use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations.

    AO2: Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate.

    AO3: Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written.

    AO4: Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

    How are we grouped?

    As at Key Stage 3, students are taught in banded groups as opposed to finely set classes. For example, instead of a class only containing students with GCSE targets of a 5 or 6, a typical class will have a slightly wider range of targets, from grades 5 to 7 or from grades 4 to 6. Groups are no longer identified numerically (e.g. sets 1, 2, 3 etc.) but are instead named after some of the literary characters they will meet in their study of GCSE texts; e.g. Magwitch and Mercutio.

    What home learning am I expected to do?

    Home learning is given once a week and we would normally expect this to take between 45 minutes to 2 hours. Homework tasks are directly linked to the content of the lessons and may include:

    • Self-quizzing
    • Research
    • Pre-reading for in class study
    • Aim Higher booklets
    • Practice exam questions
    • Annotations of key chapters and poems
    • Appropriate revision for in class tests
    • SCITTLES activities (poetry only)
    • Quotation learning

    As well as this, we would expect students to be working independently to read through their notes from lessons; learn key words; improve literacy issues identified in their work and work on targets given in class.

    Students are also expected to read outside of lessons; we suggest for three to four hours a week. At this stage students should be aware of the world around them and we encourage the reading of good quality newspapers and non-fiction as well as fiction texts. All students should have a book in school every day.

    What can parents do to help?

    Your help is very much appreciated and here are a few ideas about how you can support your children with their home learning:

    • Talk to your child about how to approach the task set.
    • Discuss his or her reading and encourage your child to offer evidence and explain it when discussing characters/themes (there are many reasonably priced study guides on the set texts that you can find in any high street bookshop or online).
    • Help your child to look up unfamiliar vocabulary and to learn it.
    • Proofread work with your child (please advise us of the help you have given).
    • Test on key words, etc.
    • Encourage the meeting of deadlines and/or communication with teachers to clear up any misunderstandings.
    • Encourage your child to take an active interest in current affairs/politics and to feel comfortable discussing their opinions.

    Please note:

    Although this is a separate qualification to GCSE Language, students must be entered for GCSE Language to be awarded GCSE Literature.

    This is a single tiered qualification where all students, regardless of varying abilities, sit the same exam papers. This is the same for all GCSE Language and Literature specifications and across all exam boards.