At Central, we begin preparations for G.C.S.E English in Year 9. In Key Stage Four, current Year 11 students follow the Eduqas G.C.S.E courses for English Language and English Literature. Years 9 and 10 have moved to follow the Edexcel specification for both courses, as we believe this will be more accessible for our students and ultimately improve their chances of success in the years to come. Our curriculum meets the needs of the new G.C.S.E requirements set out in 2015. The key points of the new G.C.S.E courses are as follows:
New grading scale
A new grading scale of 9 to 1 is now used, with 9 being the top grade, which is reserved for the top 10% of students in the entire country. Last summer, we had six individuals from the departing Year 11 who came out with the highest grade in English – a phenomenal achievement considering the national uncertainty surrounding the new G.C.S.E criteria. In the new system, a grade 4 is recognised as a “pass”, whilst a grade 5 is recognised as a “good pass”.
Assessment entirely by exam
Assessment will be by external examination at the end of the course. Tiered papers have been removed resulting in all students sitting the same examination papers. Students will be required to sit a total of four examinations; two for English Language and two for English Literature. To help students prepare, they will complete two full sets of Pre-Public Examinations (PPEs or mocks) for English Language in November and March and one full set of papers for English Literature in January.
New and more demanding content
Following the G.C.S.E reforms, there is now more demanding content, which has been developed by the government and the examination boards. As a result, students must now study a nineteenth century novel, with top sets exploring Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and other sets reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. All sets study the same Shakespeare play – Romeo & Juliet – but content is again differentiated in terms of the modern play, with top sets reading J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls and other classes studying Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers. Finally, students are expected to explore a wealth of poetry, all of which is outlined in the Eduqas (current Year 11) and Edexcel (Years 9 and 10) anthologies.