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GCSE English Literature

Mathematics - Year 7

Click here to return to our English curriculum overview

Below you will find more specific information about the curriculum in English Literature for Years 10 and 11 students, explaining to you what students will learn, when, why and how. There is also information about how parents/carers are able to support students in their learning, extra-curricular opportunities in this subject and how mathematics links to other subjects and the wider world.

While this information covers a broad range of areas, please do get in touch with the Subject Leader Mrs Weston if you have any questions.

Please click on the questions below to find out more.

Which exam board will students be examined by?


How are groups organised?

Classes are set according to ability.

Students have 9 one-hour lessons per fortnight.

What characteristics does a successful student have in this subject?

The most successful students in English Literature are avid readers who are able to interpret and analyse the work of writers from a range of backgrounds. They are insightful and can recognise and evaluate the ways in which writers craft their work to create meaning.

What are the key concepts students will study at this level?

  • Reading for meaning
  • Analysis and evaluation of language techniques and literary devices used by a range of writers
  • Understanding of the significance of structure in written texts
  • Awareness of the significance of contexts
  • Confidence in written communication.

What will students learn at this level?

English Literature Unit 1: Examination

 (40% of total marks)

Shakespeare and the 19th Century


Section A: Shakespeare

Section B: the 19th Century Novel

English Literature Unit 2:     

  Examination (60% of total marks)

  Modern Texts and Poetry

  Section A: modern texts

  Section B: poetry anthology

  Section C: unseen poetry

What skills will students develop at this level?

  • Reading skills
  • Analytical and evaluative skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Critical thinking

How will students learn at this level?

  • Reading poetry, prose and drama texts
  • Watching film and live performance versions of texts.
  • Studying exemplar answers.
  • Working collaboratively with texts.
  • Researching contexts of texts.
  • Debating and expressing points of view.
  • Responding critically and evaluatively to reading.
  • Practising written responses.

How will students’ learning be assessed at this level?

Through two examinations

English Literature Paper 1:

Shakespeare and the 19th Century Novel

Section A: Shakespeare

Section B: The 19th Century Novel

You will answer one question on each text, starting with a given extract then writing about the text as a whole

English Literature Paper 2:

Modern Texts and Poetry

Section A: Modern Texts

You will answer one question on your set text.

Section B: Poetry Anthology

You will answer a question on a poem printed in the Exam paper, comparing it to another poem from the poem anthology.

Section C: Unseen Poetry

You will answer two questions, one on the first unseen poem and one comparing the methods the writers use in two poems.


You will be given a number of assessment tasks throughout the course to assess your learning.

When do key assessments take place?

Year 11 mock exams – December/January

Year 11 exams – May

Assessment tasks throughout the year.

How can parents/carers support students’ learning?

  • By encouraging the reading of a range of pre-1900 and modern fiction writing and discussing its language use, ideas and merits.
  • By reading the set texts to enable shared discussion on key themes and characters.
  • By watching film versions and live performances of texts together
  • By reading responses to questions and offering constructive feedback on communication skills and presentation of ideas.

What equipment do students need for this subject?

Writing equipment

How does this subject link to other subjects?

  • Literacy – all subjects
  • Analytical skills – most subjects
  • Communication skills – all subjects

What websites or resources may be helpful to support students’ learning?

AQA Exam Board website

BBC Bitesize

York Notes or other revision guides on the set texts

What extra-curricular or enrichment opportunities are available for students in this subject at this level?

KTS Best Books – write a review for publication on the KTS website

Theatre visits

What sort of careers can this subject lead to?

  • Journalism
  • Teaching
  • Freelance writing
  • Any career requiring high level literacy skills

What does student work look like in this subject at this level?


How does this subject support a broad and balanced curriculum, meeting the needs of all students, and developing traditional core skills?

Broad and balanced:

We cover a wide range of fiction including pre-1900 texts and texts from other cultures. We discuss a range of ideas, beliefs and attitudes and explore life experiences and pupil responses to texts in depth.

Meeting the needs of all students:

We differentiate appropriately in all lessons, adapting unit tasks and all assessments to ensure they are challenging and accessible to all pupils.

Texts are selected according to the ability, strengths and interests of students.

TAs are used effectively to support students and we liaise with relevant agencies/staff to ensure students’ needs are met.

Traditional core skills:

Literacy is at the heart of the English curriculum. We also develop critical thinking skills, encourage the forming and expression of opinion and consider ethics and morality when studying literature in particular.

How does this subject promote creativity, critical thinking, practice, perseverance and resilience, and making links?


We develop thinking skills and encourage students to respond creatively to texts and ideas explored in lessons.

Critical thinking:

We encourage pupils to think about a range of issues, ideas, language use and writers’ intentions throughout the course. They are expected to formulate their own responses and ideas, identifying strengths and weaknesses and expressing their own views clearly and articulately.

Practice, perseverance and resilience:

We encourage drafting and self-editing to enable pupils to identify their own errors and improve the quality of their writing.

We encourage students to complete longer writing tasks on a regular basis to develop writing resilience and read longer, challenging texts and extracts to develop reading resilience. Pupils are encouraged to persevere with challenging tasks and we break down more complex tasks to ensure they are less daunting and more accessible to all students.

Making Links:

Through the study of a wide range of literature texts we link with history to discover the significance of the historical contexts of texts. There are links with geography, science and modern languages as well as ethics and philosophy.

How does this subject encourage enrichment and the development of cultural capital, deep learning, and inclusivity?

Enrichment/cultural capital:

We study a range of extracts from literary texts covering six centuries and diverse themes.

Substance/deep learning:

We study texts written for adult readers. Students are encouraged to think about mature ideas and themes and reflect on a range of issues.

All ideas are fully explored and tested to ensure pupils have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the skills taught throughout the year.

Open and inclusive:

We ensure all literature and non-fiction studied is relatable and accessible to all students. The themes reflect a wide number of concerns and issues, which are always dealt with appropriately and with sensitivity. We actively promote inclusivity in all of our units and within our classroom teaching.