GCSE English

Curriculum Content

The AQA English GCSE course comprises of 3 Units of work:

Unit 1: Understanding and producing non-fiction texts
Unit 2: Speaking and Listening
Unit 3: Understanding and producing creative texts

Students are required to read and understand a range of non-fiction texts, identifying the writers’ crafts and transferring these skills into their own writing for a range of genres, audiences and purposes.

The functional elements of English reading and writing are embedded within this unit allowing students to demonstrate that they are competent readers and writers in their daily lives.

Reading texts will be drawn from a range of non-fiction genres. Some texts will be clearly functional in context (such as information leaflets) and others will be those which students can clearly expect to read in their daily lives including media sources (including texts with images, and/or other presentational devices) and literary non-fiction (such as travelogues and biographies).

In preparing for this unit, students should draw on a variety of text types and transfer their reading skills.

There will be two writing tasks, one shorter and one longer. The shorter task will ask students to write to inform, explain or describe; the longer task will require more developed and sustained ideas which argue or persuade. Students will be required to adapt their style to fit audience and purpose.

Students will be assessed on three speaking and listening tasks although they may well do more than one performance of each activity during the unit. They will be assessed on one activity in each of the following categories:

  • Presenting
  • Discussing and Listening
  • Role playing.

In Speaking and Listening activities, students should:

  • Present and listen to information and ideas.
  • Respond to the questions and views of others, adapting talk appropriately to context and audience
  • Make a range of effective contributions, using creative approaches to exploring questions, solving problems and developing ideas.
  • Participate in a range of contexts, including real life uses of talk and audiences beyond the classroom.

For this part of Unit 3, students will submit for assessment three written responses based on tasks chosen from a task bank for this unit.

Tasks will draw on students’ study of the following texts:

  • A play by Shakespeare
  • A text from the English Literary Heritage
  • A text from a different culture or tradition.

There will be equal coverage of the three texts and the students will cover prose, poetry and drama.

Students will submit two pieces of writing prepared under controlled conditions chosen from two of the topics in this unit.

Follow-on study

This specification offers excellent preparation for A-level specifications in:

  • English Language
  • English Literature
  • combined Language and Literature courses.

Further Information

More details of the Entry Level Certificate in English can be found on the AQA website.