GCSE English Language and English Literature are core subjects and girls will be following Eduqas’ specifications of study. The English Department has a strong history of enabling girls to achieve excellent results. We study texts that we hope will enrich their sense of literature and encourage them to develop a mature and informed critical tone. We have every reason to expect that St James girls will continue to excel in both elements of the English curriculum.

The current specifications do not offer the opportunity for Controlled Assessments or coursework and all pupils will now be assessed in terminal examinations at the end of Year 11. The advantage of this is that girls have the opportunity to allow their analytical writing to mature and develop over the course of two years of study. They can take time to explore the set texts in detail and hone their writing skills in considerable depth before having to undertake any formal assessments.

English Language consists of two examinations which ask pupils to respond to unseen literary non-fiction from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. There is also a component which assesses pupils on their writing, including elements of creative writing. The two English Literature examinations focus on Shakespeare, modern drama, poetry and a 19th century novel. The breadth of texts is challenging but the Key Stage Three curriculum has been designed to equip girls to be aware of different forms of writing and the varied opportunities they present for analysis.

The English GCSE syllabus will mean that the girls also receive a merit, pass or distinction in Speaking and Listening. This does not contribute to the GCSE grade but results in a separate certificate which is recognised as an official certification. The assessment of Speaking and Listening will be embedded into GCSE teaching and will accompany the learning and analysis that form part of examination preparation.