GCSE English Language


GCSE English Language will introduce students to how English Language shapes our everyday lives. Students will explore all the ways one can actually utilise writing, reading and analytical skills in “the real world.” The subject introduces students to the study of both spontaneous spoken language and texts of different forms and purposes such as websites, leaflets, brochures and articles. Furthermore, GCSE English Language allows students to embrace their creativity and apply it to useful modes such as news articles, blogs, reviews and short stories. While typically paired with GCSE English Literature, English Language is often more relevant for students who wish to pursue careers outside of traditional academic fields.

Why study English Language?

Studying GCSE English Language teaches students how to act as “language detectives” and look beyond the obvious in order to read between the lines of texts and make perceptive inferences. Students will learn the tools to theorise and support arguments with evidence, as well as draw connections to broader ideas. Upon finishing the course, students will become critical thinkers with a greater confidence in their creative expression, both oral and written. Students who complete GCSE English Language often find themselves in a variety of creative and analytical careers such as Advertisement, Public Relations, Marketing, Law and Journalism.

Which syllabus do we follow?

We follow the EDEXCEL specification for GCSE English Language.

How many units are there?

There are three units in total: one theory unit and two controlled assessments.

Component 1Component 2Component 3

Component 1: Fiction and Imaginative Writing (Unit 1 English Today)

Students will study a selections of 19th-century fiction texts and develop the skills to analyse and evaluate literature.They will also develop engaging creative writing skills and improve their use of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Component 2: Non-fiction and Transactional Writing

Students will study a selections of 20th-21st-century non-fiction texts (including literary non-fiction). They will develop skills to analyse, evaluate and compare non-fiction extracts. Students will also develop transactional writing skills for a variety of forms, purposes and audiences.

Component 3: Spoken Language Endorsement

Candidates will prepare a spoken presentation on a specific topic and learn to use spoken English effectively, responding to questions and feedback.

How is each unit examined?

Component 1Component 2Component 3

Component 1

Students sit a 1 hour 45 minutes written exam. The paper is divided into Sections A and B. Section A consists of questions on an unseen 19th-century fiction extract. Section B is a choice between two writing tasks. The tasks are linked by a theme to the reading extract.

64 marks

Component 2

Students sit a 2 hours written exam. The paper is divided in Section A and B. Section A is questions on two thematically linked, unseen non-fiction extracts. Section B is a choice between two writing tasks. The tasks are linked by a theme to the reading extracts.

96 marks

Component 3

The component is internally assessed under controlled conditions, and externally moderated. Students must undertake a prepared spoken presentation on a specific topic in a formal setting, listen and respond to questions and feedback, using spoken English effectively.

There are no marks for the Spoken Language endorsement. Students are awarded a grade (Pass, Merit or Distinction).

When do the exams take place?

Students sit unit 1 exam in the summer term of their final GCSE year. Units 2 and 3 are submitted for internal assessment and submitted to the examining board in May of their final GCSE year. There are no single-unit resit opportunities as all units will have to be resat for any particular year.

Which Ashbourne teachers teach this course?

Miss Lauren Vanderhusrt
(PGCE Post-Compulsory, Institute of Education UCL; MA English: Issues in Modern Culture, UCL; BA Hons. English Literature, Specialising in Literature and the Mind: University California Santa Barbara)

Ashbourne College London English Literature teacher - Lauren Vanderhurst

A new addition to Ashbourne, imported from America, Lauren has warmly and enthusiastically embraced the Asher experience. Lauren has worked to inspire students to delve into all that English has to offer, and to ignite a passion for creative analysis. After completing a rigorous undergraduate programme in California, Lauren welcomed the challenge of graduate school in a new country. Through her Master’s degree in Modern English Literature at UCL, Lauren fell in love with London and the prospect of becoming a teacher. A thorough training at the world-renowned Institute of Education and a short stint at a sixth-form college in East London brought her to us in 2014.

Beyond GCSE for English Language Students

Studies in GCSE English Language provide a solid foundation not just for an A Level in the subject of English, but any area of study. The subject will shape students into critical thinkers who are perceptive and empathetic as well as confident in their skills as communicators. It will also instil in students the ability to construct quality written work that is both coherent and fluent.