English Key Stage 4

Students follow the AQA courses leading to two GCSE qualifications.

In KS4 (Years 9 and 10) students study for entry to English Literature GCSE in Year 10 and sit English Language GCSE in Year 11.

Last year (2018/19) our Year 11 students sat English Language at the end of Year 10 (June 2019) so this year (2019/20) both Year 10 and 11 students are studying for their GCSE in English Literature.

In 2020/21 Year 11 will sit English Language and Year 10 will sit English Literature. Both courses are available to view on the AQA exam board website alongside the specification https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse


For their English Language GCSE students will sit two exams at the end of Year 11. In English Language Paper 1 students learn how to analyse and evaluate the language and structure used in ONE contemporary fiction text, and write creatively. In Paper 2 students learn how to compare two different non-fiction texts, one contemporary and one 19th Century text. Students will find information, summarise, analyse language and compare viewpoints in the texts, and write their own non-fiction piece.

For their English Literature GCSE students will study: William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and a poetry anthology exploring themes of power and conflict.

GCSEPod is a brilliant website that Stretford High School subscribe to, to help students with their revision for English: https://www.gcsepod.com/ students can log in here to access a range of informative videos from which to revise topics and texts studied in class.

GSCEPod Login


Year 10

Year 10 Curriculum OverviewTopicContent and skills
HT1Poetry Power and ConflictStudents start September with a bang; exploring concepts of power and the many ways in which conflict can impact individuals and society. Through the exploration of a range of poetry spanning from the Romantics to Contemporary poetry students will analyse how authors use language, structure and form to present their ideas and learn how to analyse an unseen poem for their English Literature Paper 2 exam.
HT2A Christmas Carol English Literature Paper 1Students will read and explore the popular Dickens’ novella ‘A Christmas Carol’ analysing and exploring how Dickens uses language to present characters, themes and ideas. Their exam question will ask them to analyse a given extract from the text and explore the extract in relation to the play as a whole so students will need to develop confident knowledge of the plot, characters and themes. A key component of the study of English Literature is the ability for students to ‘come out’ of the text and view it as a construct – students should consider WHY aspects of the novella appear as they do and be able to link this to Dickens intentions and the Victorian society in which he was writing.
HT3Romeo and Juliet English Literature Paper 1Travelling back to the Elizabethan era students will read and explore the famous Shakespearean play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. As with a Christmas Carol students’ exam question will ask them to analyse a given extract from the text and explore the extract in relation to the play as a whole. Therefore students will develop knowledge and understanding of how Shakespeare uses stagecraft, structure and language to present characters, themes and ideas. They will analyse Shakespeare’s work making links to his intentions and the Elizabethan social, historical and cultural context that forms the backdrop of this dramatic tragedy.
HT4An Inspector Calls and Poetry Revision - English Literature Paper 2In preparation for the fast approaching exams, students will endeavour to deepen their knowledge, skills and understanding of An Inspector Calls and the power and conflict poems. Alongside revising knowledge, students will practice their skills to ensure they are approaching the upcoming exams with confidence.
HT5ExamsEnglish Literature is usually one of the first written exam dates – in early to mid-May. From March to April your child’s classroom teacher will revise all aspects of the AQA GCSE specification adapting their teaching to the needs of the students.
HT6Spoken Language (Year 10 only)Students complete the AQA Spoken Language endorsement by presenting a speech to their classmates on a topic they are passionate about. Students are assessed on their ability to: articulate their thoughts with clarity and flair, structure their ideas clearly and listen and respond to questions.


Year 11

Year 11 Curriculum OverviewTopicContent and skills
HT1GCSE English Language Paper 1 Section B – Writing imaginativelyStudents will focus on honing their writer’s voice in a series of lessons that develops students to think like a writer and write like one! They will be exploring a range of genres including thriller, gothic and detective fiction. Students will be exposed to a range of challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st Century to explore and analyse how writers create atmosphere and tension to apply their findings to their own writing.
HT2GCSE English Language Paper Section A – reading and analysing fiction textsStudents will explore a variety of writing styles of non-fiction writers from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, analysing how writers use language, structure and form to put across their ideas and evaluating the texts to equip them with the skills needed for their GCSE mock exam this term.
HT3GCSE English Language Paper 2 Section B – Transactional WritingStudents will focus on developing a clear writing voice in a range of transactional writing styles and formats. Students will look at topics that are relevant in today’s society such as Education, Careers and the NHS. Students will be given opportunities to discuss their own viewpoint and opinions, whilst developing the skills needed to be successful in communicating their viewpoint in writing.
HT4GCSE English Language Paper 2 ReadingStudents will explore a range of transactional nonfiction and literary non-fiction texts. They will develop skills of synthesis, comparison and analysis in preparation for their Paper 2 English Language exam. Students will explore how writer’s put across their viewpoint and use language and structure to impact the reader.
HT5English Language RevisionTeachers and students will choose what areas to work on with students from the above four areas to best prepare them for their GCSE English exam to be sat in June.


How can I help my child prepare for their GCSE’s?

  • Try to ensure your child is completing revision as well as doing their homework. English Literature involves a lot of content – remembering plot, characters, themes and various contexts to the texts studied – so independent revision is crucial to ensuring all that information gets embedded into their long term memory. See below for revision tips.
  • Reading for pleasure at all ages helps improve vocabulary and students’ own writing – if they can fit it in reading anything they find interesting will help your child improve their English skills.
  • Ask them about the texts they’ve studied – English Literature is all about creating a personal response to a text so the more they talk about the texts the better they’ll get at writing about them! Ask questions such as: what is their favourite poem? Which poem do they hate? What happens in An Inspector Calls? Do you dislike any of the characters in A Christmas Carol? Etc.

What does revision for English Literature look like?

Proposed Revision tasks for English Literature

  • Watch videos and answer questions on GCSE Pod
  • Watch videos and make notes using Mr Bruff on YouTube
  • Read and annotate model answers identifying Assessment Objectives
  • Finish incomplete model answers
  • Complete timed practice papers
  • Practice plans and introductions for various questions
  • Create character profiles
  • Create theme profiles
  • Create timelines/storyboards of plots
  • Make notes using revision guides
  • Quote memorising – Memrise website for quizzing
  • Quote explosions