The John Warner School

English Language and Literature

English Language and Literature

Course Description

English Language

Students will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes.

This specification will ensure that students can read fluently and write effectively. Students will be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences, deploying figurative language and analysing texts.

For GCSE English Language students should:

  • read fluently, and with good understanding, a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews and journalism
  • read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons between texts
  • summarise and synthesise information or ideas from texts
  • use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their own writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately
  • use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammatical terminology, understand linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard English effectively.

GCSE English Language is designed on the basis that students should read and be assessed on high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Each text studied must represent a substantial piece of writing, making significant demands on students in terms of content, structure and the quality of language. The texts, across a range of genres and types, should support students in developing their own writing by providing effective models. The texts must include literature and extended literary non-fiction, and other writing such as essays, reviews and journalism (both printed and online). Texts that are essentially transient, such as instant news feeds, must not be included. The number and types of texts, and their length, are not prescribed.


English Literature

Students will study the following texts for English Literature:

  • Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet
  • 19th-century novel – A Christmas Carol
  • Modern texts ( Drama) – An Inspector Calls
  • Poetry - Cluster 2: Power and Conflict (from the Anthology set by the AQA).

In studying the set texts, students should have the opportunity to develop the following skills:

  • literal and inferential comprehension: understanding a word, phrase or sentence in context; exploring aspects of plot, characterisation, events and settings; distinguishing between what is stated explicitly and what is implied; explaining motivation, sequence of events, and the relationship between actions or events
  • critical reading: identifying the theme and distinguishing between themes; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence in the text; recognising the possibility of and evaluating different responses to a text; using understanding of writers’ social, historical and cultural contexts to inform evaluation; making an informed personal response that derives from analysis and evaluation of the text
  • evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, grammatical and structural features: analysing and evaluating how language, structure, form and presentation contribute to quality and impact; using linguistic and literary terminology for such evaluation
  • comparing texts: comparing and contrasting texts studied, referring where relevant to theme, characterisation, context (where known), style and literary quality; comparing two texts critically with respect to the above


  • producing clear and coherent text: writing effectively about literature for a range of purposes such as: to describe, explain, summarise, argue, analyse and evaluate; discussing and maintaining a point of view; selecting and emphasising key points; using relevant quotation and using detailed textual references
  • accurate Standard English: accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Assessment Format

English Language

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Section A: Reading – one literature fiction text

Section B: Writing – descriptive or narrative writing


Written exam 1 hour 45 minutes (80 marks, 50% of GCSE)


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)


Paper 2: Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

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

Section B: Writing – writing to present a viewpoint


Written examination 1 hour 45 minutes (80 marks, 50% of GCSE)


Reading (40 marks, 25%) two linked text

1 short form question (1 x 4 marks)

2 longer form questions (1 x 8, 1 x 12 marks)

1 extended question (1 x 16 marks)


Writing (40 marks, 25%)

1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy)


Non Examination Assessment: Spoken Language


Responding to questions and feedback

Use of Standard English


English Literature

Paper 1: Shakespeare and the 19th century novel

Shakespeare plays

The 19th Century Novel


Written examination 1 hour 45 minutes (64 marks, 40% of GCSE)


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.


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.


Paper 2: Modern texts and poetry

Modern prose or drama texts

The poetry anthology

Unseen poetry


Written examination 2 hours 15 minutes (96 marks, 60% GCSE)


Section A Modern texts: students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied modern prose or drama text.


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.


Section C Unseen poetry: Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.

Mr James Fitzgerald