GCSE English/Key Stage 4
*Important News about GCSE English Language*
The vast majority of pupils will study both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature in Years 10 and 11. We follow the WJEC syllabus for both courses.
As you may have seen in the press, the Welsh Assembly Government and the WJEC have recently made changes to the English Language and English Literature GCSE qualification.
The Current Year 11 will be the first year group to sit this new-style qualification. Links to documents giving details about both of these qualification can be found under the appropriate headings below.
GCSE English Language for current Y11 pupils:
This course consists of two exams, worth a total of 40% of the overall mark, and a number of controlled assessments. The course is assessed as follows:
Unit Two: Exam will have a series of tasks that focuses around description, narration and exposition skills. (2hr examination). Combined with Unit Three, this worth 80% of the GCSE.
Unit Three: Exam will revolve around argumentation, persuasion and instruction (2hr examination). Combined with Unit Three, this is worth 80% of GCSE.
Unit One: Speaking and Listening (20% of GCSE). Pupils will undertake an individual research presentation and will have an assessed group discussion that will monitor how they respond and interact in a given scenario.
GCSE English Literature
This course also consists of two exams, worth a total of 75% of the overall mark, and one controlled assessment task. The course is assessed as follows:
Unit One (2hr examination): Pupils will study either 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (top sets) or 'Of Mice and Men' and answer an extract based question and essay based question. They will then have to compare two unseen poems.
Unit Two (2hr examination worth 40% of GCSE): Pupils will study 'Lord of the Flies' and either 'The History Boys' (top sets) or 'Blood Brothers' and answer one extract based question and one essay on each text.
Shakespeare and Poetry (NEA Task worth 25% of GCSE): Pupils have four hours of lesson time to write an analysis of a Shakespeare play (Macbeth) and another two hours to analyse two Welsh poems from the WJEC Anthology, drawing comparisons between the poet's approaches.
What are Non-Examination Assessment Tasks?
Non-Examination Assessment Tasks (s) have been introduced to replace coursework in an effort to prevent pupils cheating by plagiarising others' work. In English, these tasks must be undertaken with formal supervision; in other words, pupils are not allowed to communicate in any way and the work they produce must be entirely their own. For each task pupils are allowed a specified amount of time to complete the assessment, ranging from 40 minutes to 4hrs, with longer assessments taking place across a number of consecutive lessons. Pupils will always receive the title or question in advance and will have plenty of time to prepare for the CAT. For the reading and literature tasks they are also allowed to take an A4 page of notes (rather than a plan) into the assessment.
How can I help my child prepare for their NEA?
At present, you should be able to find out if your son/ daughter has an upcoming CAT as the dates will be written in their homework diary. As this web page evolves, dates of assessments will appear in the 'English News' page which you will be able to link to from this page.
If you know your child is soon to undertake their literature or reading CAT, it is always helpful to ensure they spend time creating a useful page of notes. Although they cannot produce a formal plan, the notes could include:
success criteria for the task;
a list of key quotations;
a list of useful adjectives (questions are often character based and therefore these adjectives would describe the character);
useful connectives such as 'therefore', 'furthermore' and 'moreover';
a Venn diagram for comparison tasks;
useful vocabulary such as 'implies', 'suggests', highlights', 'reveals' etc.