English Language and Literature

All Year 9,10 and 11 students study the following core English GCSE course comprising two full GCSEs. This is a course which covers two GCSEs and results in separate grades and qualifications.

Course Content

The English Language curriculum focuses mainly on reading and writing with a separate assessment for the use of spoken language. The English Literature GCSE includes opportunities to study a range of novels, poetry and plays, including those by William Shakespeare. These will be graded 1-9 with 9 being the highest, the grades for both subjects are determined entirely by externally-assessed examinations taken at the end of Year 11. There is no tiering; all students are entered for the same exams and, because of this, most classes are of mixed ability.

Assessment – English Language

Paper 1

  • Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing (externally examined) - 50%
  • 25% reading literature fiction
  • 25% descriptive or narrative writing

Paper 2

  • Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives (externally examined) - 50%
  • 25% reading non-fiction and literary non-fiction
  • 25% writing to present a viewpoint

Non-examination Assessment

  • Spoken Language (internally marked) - This does not count towards the GCSE but students will receive a separate endorsement on their certificates.
  • Presenting
  • Responding to questions and feedback
  • Use of Standard English

Assessment – English Literature

Paper 1

  • Shakespeare and the 19th-century novel (externally examined) 40%
  • 20% Shakespeare
  • 20% The 19th-century novel

Paper 2

  • Modern texts and poetry (externally examined) 60%
  • 20% Modern texts
  • 20% Poetry
  • 20% Unseen poetry


Success in this subject allows students to progress on to Sixth Form A level, Applied A level, or other Level 3 courses at Northallerton School & Sixth Form College, or elsewhere. Many of our students progress to take English language, English literature or both in higher education.

Start Date

July 2019

Exam Board



Northallerton School & Sixth Form College

Course Level