KS4 English


In Years 10 and 11, pupils study English Language and English Literature. Both are two year GCSE courses, delivered through the AQA examination board. The GCSE courses involve a number of written examinations and a Speaking and Listening assessment. Pupils are supported with regular revision classes and, if necessary, targeted tuition that involves more personalised support.

Pupils are provided with an overview at the start of Year 10 but more specific guidance is provided as both courses progress. The order of teaching is subject to change dependent on student and class needs.

Details of the English Language specification can be found here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-language-8700/specification-at-a-glance

Details of the English Literature specification can be found here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse/english-literature-8702/specification-at-a-glance

English Literature

Shakespeare 19th Century Literature and Modern Drama Poetry

‘Macbeth’ –

William Shakespeare.

Assessment: One 30 mark essay, analysing an extract and relating this to evidence from the wider text


An Inspector Calls –

J. B Priestley

Assessment: One 30 mark essay from a choice of 2, analysing a theme or character


A Christmas Carol –

Charles Dickens

Assessment: One 30 mark essay, analysing an extract and relating this to evidence from the wider text




‘Power and conflict’ poetry

(AQA anthology). 

Assessment: One 30 mark essay comparing a poem from the anthology to a named poem


Unseen Poetry

Assessment: One 24 mark essay and one 8 mark short comparison essay. Students are given two unseen poems that are linked by theme.

English Language

Paper 1  Paper 2 Spoken Language Endorsement
Explorations in creative reading and writing

  • Reading analysis of one modern fiction text
  • Narrative writing or description writing based on a stimulus
Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives

  • Reading analysis of two non-fiction texts (one modern, one older)
  • Non-fiction writing for different purposes and audiences in a stated text format (e.g. letter, speech, article)
One spoken presentation and response to questioning.


While the spoken langauge accreditation must be completed in  order to achieve a GCSE English Language grade, this is assessed as a separate qualification, and graded:

Pass, Merit or Distinction.

 Assessment dates:

  • Students will complete two ‘FAR’ (Feedback/Action/Response) pieces each half term. These will inform the teachers’ planning and give students time to improve on their initial responses. Formal examinations will take place in the summer term of Year 10, and the autumn term of Year 11, exact dates will be confirmed each academic year.



Example Questions


English Language


List four things from this part of the text about…

How does the writer use language here to describe…?

How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader?

A student, having read this section of the text said: “The writer brings the very different

characters to life for the reader. It is as if you are inside the coach with them.” To what extent do you agree?

Write a description suggested by this picture.

Write the opening part of a story about…


English Literature


Starting with this speech, explain how far you think Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth as a powerful woman. Write about:

  • how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth in this speech
  • how Shakespeare presents Lady Macbeth in the play as a whole.


How does Priestley explore responsibility in ‘An Inspector Calls’.


Compare the ways poets present ideas about power in ‘Ozymandias’ and in one other poem from ‘Power and conflict’.


  • Year 10 internal examinations will take place in the Summer Term of Year 10.
  • Year 11 mock examinations will take place in the Autumn Term of Year 11. Post-mock examinations will take place in the Spring Term of Year 11.
  • External examination dates are confirmed by the exam board yearly.



English homework is set weekly as an extension of the curriculum, and as preparation for next lessons. Students will often be asked to learn sections of their knowledge organiser or vocabulary lists, which they will be quizzed on in lesson. Students will also be set exam practice and preparation of revision resources, such as quotation cue cards. This isn’t an exhaustive system, and some teachers may set alternative homework depending on their class’ needs.

Other useful information:

We would advise students to have their own copies of set  texts listed above for annotation – where students are in receipt of pupil premium or free school meals, these texts will be provided by the school.

There are various study guides and websites that pupils may find useful when extending their learning beyond the classroom. For example:

  • CGP study guides are helpful and provide specific advice for all areas of the course. Guides are available for ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘A Christmas Carol’ and the ‘Power and conflict’ section of the English Literature Anthology.
  • ‘York Notes’ study guides are useful for set English Literature texts such as ‘An Inspector Calls’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.
  • BBC GCSE Bitesize offers helpful overviews and tests of English Language reading and writing skills and of the different English Literature texts studied.
  • Sparknotes and Cliffnotes offers more detailed analysis of the English Literature texts.
  • Litcharts are also suitable for A-level study and would be useful for those pupils aiming for the top grades at GCSE.
  • ‘Mr Bruff’ runs a YouTube channel covering all sections of both the English Language and Literature courses. These are exceptionally detailed and a great visual/audio aid for students.

5 ways I can help my child

1 Encourage your child to take an active interest in current affairs and topical issues by watching/reading/following the news. Develop articulation skills by discussing and debating relevant issues.


Take advantage of any local drama performances to encourage your child to broaden their enjoyment and experiences of theatre.


Take an active interest in your child’s GCSE set texts and familiarise yourself with plot/characters/themes to encourage discussions around these at home.
4 Encourage your child to practise and develop creative writing skills on a regular basis. Taking inspiration from places visited, photographs and even everyday objects around the house can all provide students with prompts for descriptive writing.


Make screen time productive by encouraging your child to follow relevant revision sites/pages on social media and watching recommended revision videos on YouTube.