GCSE English Language Assignment Sample

AQA GCSE English Language, designed to inspire and challenge students through engaging content and balanced assessments.

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GCSE English Language Assignment

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1 Introduction

1.1 Why choose AQA for GCSE English Language

A specification designed for you and yourstudents

Our assessments have been designed to inspire and motivate students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring, as far as possible, that the assessment and texts are accessible to the full range of students.

The specification will enable students of all abilities to develop the skills they need to read, understand and analyse a wide range of different texts covering the 19th, 20th and 21st century time periods as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures.

Dynamic and engaging content

The specification offers the attraction of two equally-balanced papers, relating reading sources to the topic and theme of writing tasks. The reading sources act as stimulus for writing tasks, providing students with a clear route through each paper.

Each paper has a distinct identity to better support high quality provision and engaging teaching and learning. Paper 1, Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing, looks at how writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to engage the interest of readers. Paper 2, Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives, looks at how different writers present a similar topic over time.

Our approach to spoken language (previously speaking and listening) will emphasise the importance of the wider benefits that speaking and listening skills have for students. The endorsed unit will draw on good practice to suggest how engaging formative tasks can lead to a single summative assessment.

Skills-based approach

The specification offers a skills-based approach to the study of English Language in an untiered context. Questions are designed to take students on an assessment journey through lower tariff tasks to more extended responses.

Teach Language and Literature together

The specification is fully co-teachable with GCSE English Literature. Students who choose to study both will benefit from the transferable skills developed across the two subjects.

We’re behind you every step of theway

After careful consultation with practising teachers, subject associations and employers, we have designed the specification to meet the needs of students and teachers, providing high quality assessment and good provision for English. It offers excellent preparation for AS and A-level English, as well as equipping students with essential life-skills and the best progression route to future employment.

With AQA you can rest assured that your students will receive the grade that fairly represents their attainment and reflects the skills that they have demonstrated.

You can find out about all our English qualifications at aqa.org.uk/english.

1.2 Support and resources to help youteach

We know that support and resources are vital for your teaching and that you have limited time to find or develop good quality materials. So we’ve worked with experienced teachers to provide you with a range of resources that will help you confidently plan, teach and prepare for exams.

Teaching resources

We have too many English Language resources to list here so visit aqa.org.uk/8700to see them all. They include:

  • English Language reading support booklet. This will include a wide range of texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st century and some suggested teaching activities to support you in preparing students for the reading sections of bothpapers
  • a KS3 resource about 19th century texts helping you to develop progression through KS3 intoKS4
  • a digital anthology which will include resources to support the teaching of English Language and EnglishLiterature
  • provision of resources to teach speaking and listening skills, in recognition of the wider benefits that these skills have for yourstudents
  • marked and annotated student responses to the questions on our specimen papers with senior examinercommentaries
  • Subject Advocates who will support you in the transition to the new specification and facilitate local and regional network and updatemeetings
  • student textbooks and digital resources that have been checked and endorsed byAQA
  • training courses to help you deliver AQA GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literaturequalifications
  • subject expertise courses for all teachers; from newly-qualified teachers who are just getting started to experienced teachers looking for freshinspiration.

Preparing for exams

Visit aqa.org.uk/8700for everything you need to prepare for our exams, including:

  • past papers, mark schemes and examiners’reports
  • specimen papers and mark schemes for newcourses
  • Exampro: a searchable bank of past AQA examquestions
  • exemplar student answers with examinercommentaries.

Analyse your students' results with Enhanced Results Analysis (ERA)

Find out which questions were the most challenging, how the results compare to previous years and where your students need to improve. ERA, our free online results analysis tool, will help you see where to focus your teaching. Register at aqa.org.uk/era

For information about results, including maintaining standards over time, grade boundaries and our post-results services, visit aqa.org.uk/results

Keep your skills up to date with professional development

Wherever you are in your career, there’s always something new to learn. As well as subject- specific training, we offer a range of courses to help boost your skills:

  • improve your teaching skills in areas including differentiation, teaching literacy and meeting Ofsted requirements
  • help you prepare for a new role with our leadership and management courses.

You can attend a course at venues around the country, in your school or online – whatever suits your needs and availability. Find out more at coursesandevents.aqa.org.uk

Get help and support

Visit our website for information, guidance, support and resources at aqa.org.uk/8700You can talk directly to the English Language subject team:

E: english-gcse@aqa.org.ukT: 0161 953 7504

2 Specification at aglance

Subject content

1Explorations in creative reading and writing(page 14) 2Writers’ viewpoints and perspectives(page 14)

3Non-exam assessment(page 15)

For the award of the GCSE in English Language students must offer all three assessments.


All texts in the examination will be unseen.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing
What's assessed Section A: Reading
  • one literature fictiontext Section B: Writing
  • descriptive or narrativewriting
  • written exam: 1 hour 45minutes
  • 80marks
  • 50% ofGCSE
QuestionsReading (40 marks) (25%)– one single text
  • 1 short form question (1 x 4marks)
  • 2 longer form questions (2 x 8marks)
  • 1 extended question (1 x 20marks) Writing (40 marks) (25%)
  • 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technicalaccuracy)
Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives
What's assessed Section A: Reading
  • one non-fiction text and one literary non-fictiontext Section B: Writing
  • writing to present aviewpoint
  • written exam: 1 hour 45minutes
  • 80marks
  • 50% ofGCSE
QuestionsReading (40 marks) (25%) – two linked texts
  • 1 short form question (1 x 4marks)
  • 2 longer form questions (1 x 8, 1 x 12marks)
  • 1 extended question (1 x 16marks) Writing (40 marks) (25%)
  • 1 extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technicalaccuracy)
Non-examination Assessment: Spoken Language
What's assessed (AO7–AO9)
  • presenting
  • responding to questions andfeedback
  • use of StandardEnglish
  • teacher set throughout course
  • marked byteacher
  • separate endorsement (0% weighting ofGCSE)

3 Subjectcontent

Students will draw upon a range of texts as reading stimulus and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts. Students will have opportunities to develop higher-order reading and critical thinking skills that encourage genuine enquiry into different topics and themes.

This specification will ensure that students can read fluently and write effectively. Students will be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and write grammatically correct sentences, deploying figurative language and analysing texts.

For GCSE English Language students should:

  • readfluently,andwithgoodunderstanding,awiderangeoftextsfromthe19th,20thand 21st centuries, including literature and literary non-fiction as well as other writing such as reviews andjournalism
  • read and evaluate texts critically and make comparisons betweentexts
  • summarise and synthesise information or ideas fromtexts
  • use knowledge gained from wide reading to inform and improve their ownwriting
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard Englishappropriately
  • use grammar correctly and punctuate and spellaccurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammaticalterminology,andlinguisticconventionsforreading,writingandspokenlanguage
  • listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken Standard Englisheffectively.

GCSE English Language is designed on the basis that students should read and be assessed on high-quality, challenging texts from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Each text studied must represent a substantial piece of writing, making significant demands on students in terms of content, structure and the quality of language. The texts, across a range of genres and types, should support students in developing their own writing by providing effective models. The texts must include literature and extended literary non-fiction, and other writing such as essays, reviews and journalism (both printed and online). Texts that are essentially transient, such as instant news feeds, must not be included. The number and types of texts, and their length, are not prescribed.

3.1 Scope ofstudy

This GCSE specification in English Language will require students to study the following content:

3.1.1 Critical reading andcomprehension

  • critical reading and comprehension: identifying and interpreting themes, ideas and informationinarangeofliteratureandotherhigh-qualitywriting;readingindifferentwaysfor different purposes, and comparing and evaluating the usefulness, relevance and presentation of content for these purposes; drawing inferences and justifying these with evidence; supporting a point of view by referring to evidence within the text; identifying bias and misuse of evidence, including distinguishing between statements that are supported by evidence and those that are not; reflecting critically and evaluatively on text, using the context of the text and drawing on knowledge and skills gained from wider reading; recognising the possibility of different responses to atext
  • summary and synthesis: identifying the main theme or themes; summarising ideas and information from a single text; synthesising from more than onetext
  • evaluation of a writer’s choice of vocabulary, form, grammatical and structural features: explaining and illustrating how vocabulary and grammar contribute to effectiveness and impact, using linguistic and literary terminology accurately to do so and paying attention to detail; analysing and evaluating how form and structure contribute to the effectiveness and impact of atext
  • comparing texts: comparing two or more texts critically with respect to theabove.

3.1.2 Writing

  • producingclearandcoherenttext:writingeffectivelyfordifferentpurposesandaudiences:to describe, narrate, explain, instruct, give and respond to information, and argue; selecting vocabulary, grammar, form, and structural and organisational features judiciously to reflect audience, purpose and context; using language imaginatively and creatively; using information provided by others to write in different forms; maintaining a consistent point of view; maintaining coherence and consistency across atext
  • writing for impact: selecting, organising and emphasising facts, ideas and key points; citing evidence and quotation effectively and pertinently to support views; creating emotional impact; using language creatively, imaginatively and persuasively, including rhetorical devices (such as rhetorical questions, antithesis,parenthesis).

3.1.3 Spoken language

  • presenting information and ideas: selecting and organising information and ideas effectively and persuasively for prepared spoken presentations; planning effectively for different purposes and audiences; making presentations andspeeches
  • responding to spoken language: listening to and responding appropriately to any questions andfeedback
  • spoken Standard English: expressing ideas using Standard English whenever and wherever appropriate.

4 Schemeofassessment

Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers

This specification is designed to be taken over two years with all assessments taken at the end of the course.

GCSE exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2017 and then every May/June and November for the life of the specification.

This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all exams in November or May/June in a single year. All assessments must be taken in the same series.

November entries will only be available to students who were at least 16 on the previous 31 August. See Resits and shelf life in the General administration section for November entry restrictions.

In designing and setting the assessments for this specification we have ensured that taken together, these assessments include questions or tasks which will allow students to:

  • provide extendedresponses
  • demonstrate their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding from across a full course of study for thisqualification.

The final reading question on each paper - Question 4 on Paper 1 and Question 4 on Paper 2 allows students to fulfill this requirement.

All materials are available in English only.

4.1 Aims and learningoutcomes

Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:

read fluently and write effectively. They should be able to demonstrate a confident control of Standard English and they should be able to write grammatically correct sentences, deploy figurative language and analyse texts.

Courses based on this specification should enable students to:

  • read a wide range of texts, fluently and with goodunderstanding
  • readcritically,anduseknowledgegainedfromwidereadingtoinformandimprovetheirown writing
  • write effectively and coherently using Standard Englishappropriately
  • use grammar correctly, punctuate and spellaccurately
  • acquire and apply a wide vocabulary, alongside a knowledge and understanding of grammaticalterminology,andlinguisticconventionsforreading,writingandspoken language.

In addition, they must enable students to:

  • listen to and understand spoken language, and use spoken Standard Englisheffectively.

The Spoken Language endorsement will be reported on as part of the qualification, but it will not form part of the final mark and grade.

4.2 Explorationsincreativereadingandwriting

The aim of this paper is to engage students in a creative text and inspire them to write creatively themselves by:

  • in section A, reading a literature fiction text in order to consider how established writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest ofreaders
  • in section B, writing their own creative text, inspired by the topic that they have responded to in section A to demonstrate their narrative and descriptive skills in response to a written prompt, scenario or visualimage.

The paper will assess in this sequence, AO1, AO2 and AO4 for reading, and AO5 and AO6 for writing. Section A will be allocated 40 marks, and Section B will be allocated 40 marks to give an equal weighting to the reading and writingtasks.


The source for the reading questions will be a literature fiction text. It will be drawn from either the 20th or 21st century. Its genre will be prose fiction. It will include extracts from novels and short stories and focus on openings, endings, narrative perspectives and points of view, narrative or descriptive passages, character, atmospheric descriptions and other appropriate narrative and descriptive approaches.

As a stimulus for students’ own writing, there will be a choice of scenario, written prompt or visual image that is related to the topic of the reading text in section A. The scenario sets out a context for writing with a designated audience, purpose and form that will differ to those specified on Paper 2.

4.3 Writers’ viewpoints andperspectives

The aim of this paper is to develop students’ insights into how writers have particular viewpoints and perspectives on issues or themes that are important to the way we think and live our lives. It will encourage students to demonstrate their skills by:

  • in section A, reading two linked sources from different time periods and genres in order to consider how each presents a perspective or viewpoint to influence thereader
  • in section B, producing a written text to a specified audience, purpose and form in which they give their own perspective on the theme that has been introduced to them in sectionA.

The paper will assess in this sequence, AO1, AO2 and AO3 for reading, and AO5 and AO6 for writing. Section A will be allocated 40 marks, and section B will be allocated 40 marks to give an equal weighting to the reading and writing tasks.


The sources for the reading questions will be non-fiction and literary non-fiction texts. They will be drawn from the 19th century, and either the 20th or 21st century depending on the time period assessed in Paper 1 in each particular series. The combination selected will always provide students with an opportunity to consider viewpoints and perspectives over time. Choice of genre will include high quality journalism, articles, reports, essays, travel writing, accounts, sketches, letters, diaries, autobiography and biographical passages or other appropriate non-fiction and literary non-fiction forms.

In section B, there will be a single writing task related to the theme of section A. It will specify audience, purpose and form, and will use a range of opinions, statements and writing scenarios to provoke a response.

4.4 Non-examassessment

The aim of the assessment is to allow students to demonstrate their speaking and listening skills by:

  • giving a presentation in a formalcontext
  • responding appropriately to questions and to feedback, asking questions themselves to elicit clarification
  • using spoken StandardEnglish.

The assessment will be separately endorsed and will cover AO7, AO8 and AO9 for spoken language.


Students must undertake a prepared spoken presentation on a specific topic. The topic is at the discretion. As a guide, the duration should be no more than ten minutes. The key requirements are:

  • presentations must be formal but may take a wide variety of forms, including talks, debates, speeches anddialogues
  • students must identify the subject for their presentations in advance and agree it with their teacher
  • presentations must be planned and organised. Students should be advised that that lack of preparation is likely to prevent access to the criteria for the highergrades
  • students may use pre-prepared notes, powerpoint etc. to assist them during their presentations but this is not arequirement
  • as part of, or following, the presentation students must listen to and respond appropriately to questions andfeedback
  • where the audience is the teacher only, the presentation and dialogue must be designed in such a way that it could have a potentially wider audience than just one person (eg it replicates a televisioninterview).


No marks will be assigned to a student’s performance – it will be assessed holistically as a grade, using a ‘competency’ basis on criteria which are provided below. Competency means that a student must hit all the criteria in one grade before moving on to the next. Students who do not reach the Pass standard must be recorded as Not Classified.

General criteria

To be awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction a learner must:

  • beaudible
  • use Spoken Standard English which, for the purposes of the spoken language assessment, means that a learner must–
    • beintelligible
    • generally use language appropriate to the formal setting of thepresentation.
Pass Merit Distinction
In addition to the general criteria, to be awarded a Pass a Learner’s performance in his or her spoken language assessment must meet all of the following criteria: In addition to the general criteria, to be awarded a Merit a Learner’s performance in his or her spoken language assessment must meet all of the following criteria:
  • expresses challenging ideas/information/feelings using a range ofvocabulary
  • organises and structures his or her presentation clearly and appropriately to meet the needs of theaudience
  • achieves the purpose of his or herpresentation
  • listens to questions/ feedback responding formally and in somedetail.
In addition to the general criteria, to be awarded a Distinction a Learner’s performance in his or her spoken language assessment must meet all of the following criteria:
  • expresses sophisticated ideas/information/feelings using a sophisticated repertoire ofvocabulary
  • organises and structureshis or her presentation using an effective range of strategies to engage theaudience
  • achieves the purpose ofhis or herpresentation
  • listens to questions/ feedback, responds perceptively and if appropriate elaborateswith further ideas and information.
  • expresses straightforward ideas/information/ feelings
  • makes an attempt to organise and structure his or her presentation
  • makes an attempt to meet the needs of theaudience
  • listens to questions/ feedback and provides an appropriate response in a straight forward manner.

4.5 Assessmentobjectives

Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE English Language specifications and all exam boards.

The exams and Spoken Language endorsement will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1:
    • identify and interpret explicit and implicit information andideas
    • select and synthesise evidence from differenttexts
  • AO2: Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support theirviews
  • AO3: Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or moretexts
  • AO4: Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textualReferences
  • AO5: Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences. Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion oftexts
  • AO6: Candidates must use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation. (This requirement must constitute 20% of the marks for each specification as awhole.)
  • AO7: Demonstrate presentation skills in a formalsetting
  • AO8: Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback onpresentations
  • AO9: Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches andpresentations.

Weighting of assessment objectives for GCSE English Language

Assessment objectives (AOs) Component weightings (approx%) Overall weighting (approx%)
Paper 1 Paper 2 Spoken Language NEA
AO1 2.5 7.5 N/A 10
AO2 10 7.5 N/A 17.5
AO3 N/A 10 N/A 10
AO4 12.5 N/A N/A 12.5
AO5 15 15 N/A 30
AO6 10 10 N/A 20
AO7 N/A N/A endorsement 0
AO8 N/A N/A endorsement 0
AO9 N/A N/A endorsement 0
Overall weighting of components 50 50 0 100

4.6 Assessmentweightings

The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.

Component Maximum raw mark Scaling factor Maximum scaled mark
Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing 80 x1 80
Paper 2: Writers' Viewpoints and Perspectives 80 x1 80
Totalscaled mark: 160

5 Non-exam assessmentadministration

The preparation and assessment of Spoken Language is a compulsory requirement of the course of study. It will appear on all students' certificates as a separately reported grade, alongside the overall grade issued. Performance will be assessed against common criteria issued by all exam boards.

The criteria will address the following assessment objectives:

  • AO7 – demonstrate presentation skills in a formalsetting
  • AO8 – listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including questions and feedback topresentations
  • AO9 – use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches andpresentations.

For first teaching in September 2015, GCSE English Language will have an endorsed component covering Spoken Language. This endorsement has a number of features which distinguish it from most general qualifications components, in particular:

  • it will be reported as a separate grade (Pass, Merit, Distinction or Not Classified) and will not contribute to the result of the GCSE English Language qualification
  • no marks will be assigned – it will be assessed holistically as agrade
  • it will be assessed on a ‘competency’ basis using agreed common criteria – to be awarded a grade students must achieve all of the criteria for thatgrade.
  • AvoidingMalpractice

Please inform your students of the AQA regulations concerning malpractice. They must not:

  • submit work which is not theirown
  • make available their work to other students through anymedium
  • allow other students to have access to their own independently sourcedmaterial
  • assist other students to producework
  • use books, the internet or other sources without acknowledgement orattribution
  • submit work that has been word processed by a third party withoutacknowledgement
  • include inappropriate, offensive or obscenematerial.

These actions constitute malpractice and a penalty will be given (for example, disqualification). With respect to this endorsement:

  • if it comes to light that a teacher has awarded a grade to a student who has not in fact carried out a presentation in the required manner, the head of centre will be asked to carry out an investigation of the circumstances and report to the awarding Results from some or all students at the centre may bewithheld
  • failure on the part of the head of centre to give all students the opportunity to undertake a Spoken Language presentation is a breach of specification requirements. The awarding body willinformotherawardingbodiesandtheregulator,andthecentre’sarrangementsforthe

next cohort will be closely monitored. A grade of Not Classified will be recorded for the endorsement in the case of any GCSE English Language students who do not attempt it

  • because of the nature of the work required, opportunities for student malpractice are lessened, but in circumstances where it occurs the standard published malpractice procedures
  • TeacherStandardisation

We will provide support for using the marking criteria through some inter-board produced standardising material. This is available at aqa.org.uk/8700

  • Internalstandardisation

You must ensure that you have consistent marking standards for all students. One person must manage this process and the must sign the Centre declaration sheet to confirm that internal standardisation has taken place.

Internal standardisation may involve:

  • all teachers marking some sample presentations to identify differences in markingstandards
  • discussing any differences in marking at a training meeting for all teachersinvolved
  • referring to reference material, such as examples of presentations provided by the awarding bodies.
  • Submittingmarks

There is no formal requirement to submit any supporting evidence such as a record form or paperwork alongside the recordings of the presentations of a sample of students.

The deadline for submitting the total mark for each student is given at aqa.org.uk/keydates

  • Moderation

You must provide audio-visual recordings of a sample of students by the specified date given at aqa.org.uk/deadlines

The sample is selected by the school. The recording of each student’s presentation, including questions and feedback from the audience, must be complete and unedited.

Using their knowledge of students’ likely performance, centres should select the sample following the guidance shown in Table 1 and its footnotes. Centres are recommended to aim to record slightly more than the minimum number at each grade to allow for students whose performance is awarded a higher or lower grade than the centre had anticipated. However, a centre whose sample at a particular grade is ultimately slightly smaller than the minimum specified in the table is not required to take further action (ie record further students) to rectify the sample. Awarding bodies will provide details regarding the storage and submission ofrecordings.

Table 1 – Sample sizes

No. of students at centre No. of students whose presentations must be recorded Minimum no. of students at each grade (D, M, P)+
30 or fewer All students 10++
Over 30 30 10+++

+ All students at a grade if the centre has fewer than the stated minimum. Students assessed as Not Classified should not be included.

++ For example, if a school or college has 15 D students, 11 M students and 3 P students, all of these students will be in the sample.

+++ For example:

  • if a school or college has 21 D students, 14 M students and 3 P students, the sample will consist of 10 of the D students, 10 of the M students and all of the P students, with 7 additional students (from D and/or M) to make the overall sample up to30
  • if a school or college has no D students, 7 M students and 60 P students, the sample will consist of all of the M students and 23 of the Pstudents.

The monitor appointed by AQA will view some or all of a school or college’s recordings and there will be a statistical analysis of the school or college’s assessments.

  • Aftermoderation

You will not receive a report on the endorsement when the results are issued.

If there are concerns as a result of monitoring, the centre will be provided with additional support through a centre visit by a monitor in the following academic year. In the future, this may lead to enhanced monitoring arrangements which may include an earlier deadline for submission of assessments or a requirement to record the presentations of all students.

6 Generaladministration

You can find information about all aspects of administration, as well as all the forms you need, at aqa.org.uk/examsadmin

6.1 Entries andcodes

You only need to make one entry for each qualification – this will cover all the question papers, coursework and certification.

Every specification is given a national discount (classification) code by the Department for Education (DfE), which indicates its subject area.

If a student takes two specifications with the same discount code, Further and Higher Education providers are likely to take the view that they have only achieved one of the two qualifications. Please check this before your students start their course. Where two specifications have the same discount code, only one of them will be counted for the purpose of the School and College Performance tables – the DfE’s rules on ‘early entry’ will determine which one.

Qualification title AQAentry code DfE discount code
AQA GCSE in English Language 8700 FK2B

This specification complies with Ofqual’s:

  • General Conditions of Recognition that apply to all regulatedqualifications
  • GCSE qualification conditions that apply to allGCSEs
  • GCSE English Language conditions that apply to all GCSEs in this subject. The Ofqual qualification accreditation number (QAN) is601/4292/3

6.2 Overlaps with otherqualifications

This specification overlaps with the AQA Level 1/Level 2 Certificate in English Language.

6.3 Awarding grades and reportingresults

The qualification will be graded on a nine-point scale: 1 to 9 – where 9 is the best grade.

Students who fail to reach the minimum standard for grade 1 will be recorded as U (unclassified) and will not receive a qualification certificate.

6.4 Re-sits and shelflife

Students can re-sit the qualification as many times as they wish, within the shelf life of the qualification. November entries will only be available to students who were at least 16 on the

previous 31 August, as set out in Ofqual'sGCSE subject level conditions and requirements for English Language, and we will make reasonable checks to ensure schools and colleges comply with this requirement.

6.5 Previous learning andprerequisites

There are no previous learning requirements. Candidates are not required to have taken any particular qualifications before taking this course. Any requirements for entry to a course based on this specification are at the discretion of schools and colleges.

However, as English Language is taught in progressively greater depth over the course of Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, GCSE outcomes may reflect or build upon subject content that is typically taught at Key Stage 3. There is no expectation that teaching of such content should be repeated during the GCSE course where it has already been taught effectively at an earlier stage.

6.6 Accesstoassessment:diversityandinclusion

General qualifications are designed to prepare students for a wide range of occupations and further study. Therefore our qualifications must assess a wide range of competences.

The subject criteria have been assessed to see if any of the skills or knowledge required present any possible difficulty to any students, whatever their ethnic background, religion, sex, age, disability or sexuality. If any difficulties were encountered, the criteria were reviewed again to make sure that tests of specific competences were only included if they were important to the subject.

As members of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) we participate in the production of the JCQ document Access Arrangements and Reasonable Adjustments: General and Vocational qualifications. We follow these guidelines when assessing the needs of individual students who may require an access arrangement or reasonable adjustment. This document is published on the JCQ website at jcq.org.uk

Students with special needs

We can make arrangements for students with special needs to help them access the assessments, as long as the competences being tested are not changed. These arrangements must be made before the exam. For example, we can agree to a reader for an individual student with learning difficulties. This would be classed as an access arrangement.

Students with disabilities

We can make reasonable adjustments for disabled students. For example, a Braille paper would be a reasonable adjustment for a Braille reader but not for a student who does not read Braille. We are required by the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to remove or lessen any disadvantage that affects a disabledstudent.

If you have students who need access arrangements or reasonable adjustments, you can apply using the Access arrangements online service at aqa.org.uk/eaqa

Special consideration

We can give special consideration to students who have been disadvantaged at the time of the exam through no fault of their own – for example a temporary illness, injury or serious problem such as the death of a relative. We can only do this after the exam.

Your exams officer should apply online for special consideration at aqa.org.uk/eaqa

For more information and advice about access arrangements, reasonable adjustments and special consideration please see aqa.org.uk/accessor email accessarrangementsqueries@aqa.org.uk

6.7 Safeguarding

Some of the content within this curriculum may generate discussions or disclosures from students which raise safeguarding concerns. If this happens, please follow your centre’s safeguarding policy to arrange support.

6.8 Working with AQA for the firsttime

If your school or college has not previously offered any AQA specification, you need to register as an AQA centre to offer our exams to your students. Find out how at aqa.org.uk/becomeacentre

If your school or college is new to this specification, please let us know by completing an Intention to enter form. The easiest way to do this is via e-AQA at aqa.org.uk/eaqa

6.9 Privatecandidates

A private candidate is someone who enters for exams through an AQA-approved school or college but is not enrolled as a student there.

If you are a private candidate you may be self-taught, home-schooled or have private tuition, either with a tutor or through a distance learning organisation. You must be based in the UK.

If you have any queries as a private candidate, you can:

  • speak to the exams officer at the school or college where you intend to take yourexams
  • visit our website atorg.uk/examsadmin
  • email:privatecandidates@aqa.org.uk

Get help and support

Visit our website for information, guidance, support and resources at You can talk directly to the English Language subject team:

E: english-gcse@aqa.org.ukT: 0161 953 7504


Copyright © 2021 AQA and its licensors. All rights reserved.

AQA retains the copyright on all its publications, including the specifications. However, schools and colleges registered with AQA are permitted to copy material from this specification for their own internal use.

AQA Education (AQA) is a registered charity (number 1073334) and a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (company number 3644723). Our registered address is AQA, Devas Street, Manchester M15 6EX.

Reference list

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De Wilde, V., Brysbaert, M. and Eyckmans, J., 2020. Learning English through out-of-school exposure. Which levels of language proficiency are attained and which types of input are important?. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 23(1), pp.171-185.https://doi.org/10.1017/S1366728918001062

Demaria, K., Fee, K. and Wardrip, K., 2020. Exploring a skills-based approach to occupational mobility (No. 89004). Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedpcd/89004.html

Evgeniou, T., Peress, J., Vermaelen, T. and Yue, L., 2022. Network centrality and managerial market-timing ability. Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 57(2), pp.704-760. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022109021000016

Fernandez, A.A. and Shaw, G.P., 2020. Academic leadership in a time of crisis: The Coronavirus and COVID?19. Journal of leadership Studies, 14(1), pp.39-45. https://doi.org/10.1002/jls.21684

Horn, S. and Veermans, K., 2019. Critical thinking efficacy and transfer skills defend against ‘fake news’ at an international school in Finland. Journal of Research in International Education, 18(1), pp.23-41. https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240919830003

Jenkins, J. and Leung, C., 2019. From mythical ‘standard’to standard reality: The need for alternatives to standardized English language tests. Language Teaching, 52(1), pp.86-110. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444818000307

Naidoo, P., 2019. Perceptions of teachers and school management teams of the leadership roles of public school principals. South African Journal of Education, 39(2). https://doi.org/10.15700/saje.v39n2a1534

Orfan, S.N., 2020. Afghan EFL students’ difficulties and strategies in learning and understanding English idioms. Cogent Arts & Humanities, 7(1), p.1796228.https://doi.org/10.1080/23311983.2020.1796228

Porfírio, J.A., Carrilho, T., Felício, J.A. and Jardim, J., 2021. Leadership characteristics and digital transformation. Journal of Business Research, 124, pp.610-619. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.10.058

Solomka, O.M., 2019. Literature Review on Issues Surrounding GCSE Textiles Courses in English Secondary Schools. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.46572

Trautman, L.J., Butler, S., Chang, F.R., Hooper, M., McCray, R. and Simmons, R., 2022. Corporate Directors: Who They Are, What They Do, Cyber Risk and Other Challenges. Buff. L. Rev., 70, p.459. https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/buflr70&div=10&id=&page=

Verhoeven, B., 2022. The politics of GCSE English Language: Popular language ideology's influence on England's National Curriculum English Language qualification. English Today, 38(4), pp.244-253. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078421000110

Weaver, M.M., 2019. “I still think there's a need for proper, academic, Standard English”: Examining a teacher's negotiation of multiple language ideologies. Linguistics and Education, 49, pp.41-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.linged.2018.12.005

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