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Notre Dame High School

Notre Dame
High School

English Language

All students will study the AQA GCSE qualifications in both English

Language and English Literature (two separate GCSEs).

What is English Language?

The study of English Language develops a growing maturity of approach and sophistication of materials in the key areas of reading, writing and oral communication. Students will develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different fiction and non-fiction texts covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods. Students will also develop the ability to write clearly, coherently and accurately for a range of different audiences and purposes. There is also a continued emphasis on formal speaking and listening skills.

How is the subject taught?

Students will largely be placed in mixed-ability classes, and in all groups participate in peer and group activities, completing regular peer and self-assessment activities.


  Year 10 Year 11
Aut.1 Language Paper 1 Shakespeare  (Literature)
Aut.2 Modern Text (Literature) 19th-century novel (Literature)
Spr.1 Power & Conflict poetry (Literature) Revision
Spr.2 Language Paper 2 Revision
Sum.1 Unseen Poetry (Literature) Revision
Sum.2 Spoken Language  

How is it assessed?

100% Examination

At the end of Year 11 students will sit two exam papers for English Language, totalling 3½ hours of examination. Both exam papers will test reading and writing skills, and students will be expected to respond to unseen texts.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (50%)

  • Section A: Reading – Students respond to one unseen literature fiction text
  • Section B: Writing – Descriptive or narrative writing

Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives (50%)

  • Section A: Reading - Students respond to one unseen non-fiction text and one unseen literary non-fiction text
  • Section B: Writing - Writing to present a viewpoint

20% of the total marks will be awarded for spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Students will also complete a formal presentation which will be awarded in a separate endorsement.

Career Pathways 

What does it lead to?

Many employers require a good pass in GCSE English Language to prove that candidates have a sound level of competence in both speaking and literacy, and it is often specified as a requirement for further education.

A good pass in English Language demonstrates that the student has acquired a range of communication skills that would be essential in a wide variety of careers.

For more information click on our A Level Courses in English Language and Literature and English Literature.

Career Options

English is useful for all jobs as it helps you develop important analysis and written communication skills. Most employers always say they want people with good English skills.

If you enjoy English you could use your creative and analytical skills to work in a huge range of different career areas. 

If you are interested in the Arts and like reading, media, the theatre or events, there are lots of opportunities in broadcasting, publishing and arts management. 

If you like debating and putting together persuasive arguments you may enjoy law, politics and government or business roles. English combines well with all subjects.

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