Welcome to the English Department

KS3 English at NUAST

The English Department encompasses three main areas of study: English Language, English Literature and Media Studies.

In Year 7, Literature and Language are interwoven to give students the opportunity to develop vital skills needed to succeed in not only these assessment areas, but for the wider world outside the classroom. Students are introduced to a wide range of literary texts: Shakespeare, Modern Drama, Poetry, and the novel. They are also exposed to other fiction and non- fiction texts to give them a holistic experience of the diverse and rich language that we use. All three areas of study are integrated so that they are addressed each year. Students are also encouraged to be creative through producing imaginative writing, and learning to express their viewpoint, which is a core feature of their learning.

English, as a core subject, is recognised as a fundamentally important area of study. We in the department encourage our students to recognise the crucial impact of communication, written or spoken, for themselves and their future, through focused and creative teaching.

GCSE English at NUAST

Students follow the AQA GCSE English Language, and AQA GCSE English Literature courses at NUAST.

In preparation for the Literature GCSE, students study a play by Shakespeare, a modern play script, a collection of poetry, and a 19th Century novel.

For English Language, students look at a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts which span the 19th, 20th and 21st Century, as well as learning the skills required to write for different audiences and from different perspectives.

The two GCSEs follow a holistic model, with all exams taken at the end of Year 11. The skills required for both GCSEs prepare students to read and comprehend texts, scrutinise and critique writers’ methods and craft, communicate effectively and with authority, and widen their knowledge of literary texts.

In addition, students undertake a Speaking and Listening endorsement. Whilst not part of the GCSE grade, students receive a separate award for an individual planning and preparation task.

GCSE Media Studies at NUAST

GCSE Media Studies gives students the chance to develop a critical understanding of the role of the media in daily life. It encourages an understanding of how to use key media concepts to analyse media products and the opportunity for hands-on practical work. The subject engages students in the in depth study of media products in relation to the four areas of the theoretical framework: media language, media representation, media industries, and media audiences. Students are required to study media products from all of the following media forms: television, film, radio, newspapers, magazines, advertising and marketing, online, social and participatory media, video games and music video. Students are examined through two papers at the end of the course. Paper 1 focuses on Media Language, Industries, Representations, and audiences and consists of unseen and Close study products, and Paper 2 consists of short and long questions based on a screening, assessing depth of knowledge and understanding of the course.

For their Non exam assessment, students are expected to utilise their acquired knowledge and skills to produce a media product, which is worth 30% of their GCSE.


Exam Board: AQA 2 year course – AS/A- level


  • 80% Examination
  • 20% Coursework

The specification encourages independent study of a range of texts across a range of eras and within a shared context. Studied together they create an understanding of English Literature that will deepen students' knowledge and love of the subject.

In Year 12 students read 3 core texts: Shakespeare, a collection of Pre 19th Century poetry, and a Post 19th Century novel. These texts are interlinked through the central theme: Love through the Ages. Students also read a variety of unseen fiction texts, and also unseen poetry.

In Year 13 students explore texts written within a narrower and clearly defined time period: WW1 and its aftermath, or Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day. Working within historicist principles, this wider text study involves thinking about a wide range of relevant contexts, some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing, and also how the text can be interpreted by readers now. Students are examined on the content covered in Year 12 in Paper 1, and also on their Texts across time study from Year 13. Students are also required to fulfil an Independent Study, in which they write a comparative critical study of two texts on a theme of their choice. The title 'Independent critical study' highlights the important idea that, within a literature course, students should have the opportunity to work independently.

November 2019


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