Close up of a hand writing on the dining room table surrounded by notes

Lessons

English Language lessons involve reading a wide range of texts and from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews and journalism. You’ll be looking at and listening to examples of language use, identifying aspects of language and learning the technical terms to describe them, discussing and writing about issues to do with language.

This will be done through a mixture of whole-class work, small group activity and individual work.

English Language is the best way to learn how to use grammar correctly and punctuate and spell accurately, and acquire and apply a wide vocabulary.

English Language is a compulsory GCSE for all students - if you do not achieve at least a grade 4 at GCSE you’ll have to continue with it as part of your study programme on finishing school, either in college or during an apprenticeship.

Exams

English Language GCSE is made up of two exams which take place at the end of Year 11. These are:

  1. Creative Reading and Writing - The paper is split up in two sections both of similar marks. In the first you’ll be given fictional texts which you’ll have to read and respond to with short answers and longer statements. In the second section you’ll be required to write a piece of original fiction based on a scenario given to you.
  2. Non-fiction Reading and Writing - The paper is split up in two sections both of similar marks. In the first you’ll be given non-fictional texts which you’ll have to read and respond to with short answers and longer statements. In the second section you’ll be required to write a piece of non-fiction, such as a letter or an article for a newspaper based on a scenario given to you.

You’ll also have to pass a Spoken Language assessment, which demonstrates your presentation skills in a formal setting. You’ll have to listen and respond to questions and feedback, and use spoken English effectively. You’ll be awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction which will appear on your English Language GCSE certificate, however the spoken language element does not go towards your final grade.

Skills

English Language gives you a wealth of skills which you can take to employers including:

Written Communication - You’ll be able to write for a specific audience or purpose to inform, persuade or take a viewpoint, as well as writing creatively, all of which is useful in many careers.

Verbal Communication - The ability to express yourself coherently and present your ideas in an effective manner. Your verbal communication will improve through both discussions in class and the Spoken Language assessment you’ll undertake.

Reading - Discover how writers use their skills when writing fiction or non-fiction.

Critical Thinking - Through the ability to gather, compare and consolidate ideas you’ll gain an understanding of how to synthesise and summarise different topics and themes.

English Language - Broaden your vocabulary, appreciate the effective use of English by others and write effectively and coherently using Standard English appropriately.

What’s Next

English Language provides a strong foundation for further academic and vocational study and for employment.

If you do wish to go to college and take A-levels, A-level English Language is a great complement to many subject choices, whether it's to specifically show off you English skills, or to show a different side to your ability if you choose to take science or social science subjects.

If you wish to go to university to study English Language, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to study straight English, however you could study a course such as Literature, Creative Writing or Linguistics which you might like the sound of.

Resources

BBC Bitesize - Always a great resource, there’s examples and explanations along with quick quizzes to test your knowledge.

English Biz - can help you with all of your English writing, whether it's a creative piece such as a story, a persuasive letter or article, or an essay based on a non-fiction or literary text.