A2 | English

The focus of English at Key Stage 4 is to ensure that all students reach their potential and make the required levels of progress. It is vital that students succeed in English GCSE in order to have as many options as possible available to them at post 16.

Key Stage 4 Co-ordinator: Louise Haralambous

Information about Key Stage 4 English and English Literature

As with KS3, students at Key Stage 4 will be taught a mixture of reading, writing and speaking and listening skills which, as well as allowing them to succeed in exams, will be of great use during further study and employment. The focus on written accuracy at KS3 continues at KS4. Key Stage 4 English seeks to build on the ideas of Key Stage 3 that English is an important, accessible and enjoyable subject where real success can be had through hard work and commitment.

Students have 8 lessons of English per fortnight in Year 9, 7 lessons per fortnight in Year 10 and 7 lessons per fortnight in Year 11. However, some students may be granted access to additional lessons in Years 10 and 11 to supplement their learning and ensure good progress is made.

There are six teaching groups throughout Key Stage 4. In Year 9, there are mixed ability classes except for one more able group and one group for students with English as an Additional Language. At the start of Year 10, students will be moved to a more rigorous setting system where set one is the most able group, set two the second most able group. This continues down to set six which is smaller group for the students that find English more difficult.  This setting structure continues in Year 11.

What students learn

For English Language, all students will study a range of fiction and non-fiction extracts.  They will be expected to read texts from the 19th Century to the 21st Century.  They will also be expected to write in different styles including descriptive and argumentative writing.

For English Literature, all students will study the following texts:

  • A selection of poetry based on the theme of ‘Power and Conflict’ from the AQA anthology.
  • A modern play (either An Inspector Calls or Blood Brothers)
  • A Shakespeare play (either Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet)
  • Jekyll and Hyde
  • Unseen poetry

Assessment

During the year students in Years 9, 10 and 11 students will complete one graded assessment at the end of half term.  Their GCSE grades will be determined by 4 exams which they will sit at the end of Year 11.  There is no coursework.

English at GCSE follows the AQA Specification A. An overview of both courses can be seen in the tables below:

English Language:

For English Language you will be assessed through:

  • 2 exams at the end of Year 11
  • Speaking and listening assessment (You will be awarded a separate certificate for this)

Paper 1 – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Exam (1 hour 45 minutes), 80 marks – 50% of English Language grade

Section A: Reading, 40 marks (25%)

Students will answer 4 compulsory questions based on one 20th or 21st century fiction text.

Section B: Writing, 40 marks (25%)

Students will complete 1 narrative or descriptive written task.

Paper 2 – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

Exam (1 hour 45 minutes), 80 marks – 50% of English Language grade

Section A: Reading, 40 marks (25%)

Students will answer 4 compulsory questions based on one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text.

Section B: Writing, 40 marks (25%)

Students will complete 1 written task for a specific audience purpose and form.

Speaking and Listening

In class assessment. You will receive a separate certificate.

Students will need to give a presentation on a chosen topic then respond to questions from other students.
They will need to use Standard English.

English Literature

For English Literature you will be assessed through:

  • 2 exams at the end of Year 11. You will not be able to take any books or the anthology into the exams with you.

Paper 1 – Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

Exam (1 hour 45 minutes), 64 marks – 40% of English Literature grade

Section A: Shakespeare 30 marks

SPAG: 4 marks

Students will answer 1 essay questions based on a Shakespeare play
(e.g. Macbeth/Romeo and Juliet).

They will write about an extract from the play and then write about the play as a whole.

Section B: 19th Century Novel 30 marks

Students will complete 1 written task for a specific audience purpose and form.

Paper 2 – Modern texts and Poetry

Exam (2 hours 15 minutes), 96 marks – 60% of English Literature grade

Section A: Modern Texts 30 marks

SPAG: 4 marks

Students will answer 1 essay question from a choice of 2 based on a modern text
(e.g. An Inspector Calls/Blood Brothers/Lord of the Flies).

Section B: Poetry 30 marks

Students will answer 1 essay question comparing one named poem from the anthology and a poem of your choice from the anthology.

Section B: Unseen Poetry 32 marks

Students will answer 1 essay question on an unseen poem and 1 essay question comparing the first unseen poem with a second unseen poem.