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    Welcome to GCSE English

    Your course at a glance

    Section A: Reading one literature fiction text

    Section B: Writing descriptive or narrative writing

    Assessed written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes 80 marks 50% of GCSE Questions Reading (40 marks) (25%)– one single text 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks) 2 longer form questions (2 x 8 marks) 1 extended question (1 x 20 marks) Writing (40 marks) (25%) 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)

    Section A: Reading one non-fiction text and one literary non-fiction text

    Section B: Writing writing to present a viewpoint

    Assessed written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes 80 marks 50% of GCSE

    The aim of the assessment is to allow students to demonstrate their speaking and listening skills by:

    • giving a presentation in a formal context
    • responding appropriately to questions and to feedback, asking questions themselves to elicit clarification
    • using spoken Standard English. 


    • Paper 1 Reading

      The aim of this paper is to engage students in a creative text and inspire them to write creatively themselves by:

      In section A, reading a literature fiction text in order to consider how established writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest of readers.

      The source for the reading questions will be a literature fiction text. It will be drawn from either the 20th or 21st century. Its genre will be prose fiction. It will include extracts from novels and short stories and focus on openings, endings, narrative perspectives and points of view, narrative or descriptive passages, character, atmospheric descriptions and other appropriate narrative and descriptive approaches.



    • Paper 1 Writing

      In paper 1 section B, students write their own creative text, inspired by the topic that they have responded to in section A to demonstrate their narrative and descriptive skills in response to a written prompt, scenario or visual image.

      As a stimulus for students’ own writing, there will be a choice of scenario, written prompt or visual image that is related to the topic of the reading text in section A. The scenario sets out a context for writing with a designated audience, purpose and form that will differ to those specified on Paper 2.



    • Paper 2 general

      • Paper 2 Reading

        The aim of this paper is to develop students’ insights into how writers have particular viewpoints and perspectives on issues or themes that are important to the way we think and live our lives. It will encourage students to demonstrate their skills by:

        In section A, reading two linked sources from different time periods and genres in order to consider how each presents a perspective or viewpoint to influence the reader

        The sources for the reading questions will be non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts. They will be drawn from the 19th century, and either the 20th or 21st century depending on the time period assessed in Paper 1 in each particular series. The combination selected will always provide students with an opportunity to consider viewpoints and perspectives over time. Choice of genre will include high quality journalism, articles, reports, essays, travel writing, accounts, sketches, letters, diaries, autobiography and biographical passages or other appropriate non-fiction and literary non-fiction forms.

      • Paper 2 Writing

        In section B, students 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.

        In section B, there will be a single writing task related to the theme of section A. It will specify audience, purpose and form, and will use a range of opinions, statements and writing scenarios to provoke a response.

      • Speaking & listening

        Students must undertake a prepared spoken presentation on a specific topic. The topic is at the discretion. As a guide, the duration should be no more than ten minutes. The key requirements are:

        • presentations must be formal but may take a wide variety of forms, including talks, debates, speeches and dialogues
        • students must identify the subject for their presentations in advance and agree it with their teacher
        • presentations must be planned and organised. Students should be advised that that lack of preparation is likely to prevent access to the criteria for the higher grades
        • students may use pre-prepared notes, powerpoint etc. to assist them during their presentations but this is not a requirement
        • as part of, or following, the presentation students must listen to and respond appropriately to questions and feedback
        • where the audience is the teacher only, the presentation and dialogue must be designed in such a way that it could have a potentially wider audience than just one person (eg it replicates a television interview).