AQA GCSE English Language (8700) and Literature (8702)



  • A Level:- AQA English Language (7701/7702) and AQA English Literature (7716/7717)
  • GCSE:- AQA English Language (8700) and AQA English Literature (8702)



English Language

Students will follow the AQA English Language (7701/7702) specification and the details (including sample papers and materials) can be found at:


A Level English Language provides students with opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by engaging with texts creatively and critically. Students will create texts and reflect critically on their own language use. There will be many opportunities to investigate lines of enquiry and debate.

English Literature

Students will follow the AQA English Literature (7716/7717) specification and the details (including sample papers and materials) can be found at:


In A Level English Literature lessons, students will have the opportunity to explore a range of literary and cultural genres. Students can gain a clear understanding of how texts can be connected and how they can be interpreted in multiple ways so that students can arrive at their own interpretations and viewpoints.


Students will follow the AQA English 8700 and Literature 8702 specifications, details of which (alongside sample papers and materials) can be found at: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/english/gcse 

The English GCSE tests students’ ability in reading, writing and spoken language, while the Literature GCSE provides students with the opportunity to study a range of texts and analyse them in detail using key terminology.


The Key Stage 3 course is designed to build on KS2 study and move forward to prepare students for their GCSE studies by developing and introducing the key skills and concepts required.  The curriculum is varied and covers the three central areas of reading, writing and grammar and vocabulary. 

Reading: Students will read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction, including in particular novels, short stories, poems and plays with a wide coverage of genres, historical periods, forms and authors. Students will be choosing and reading books independently for challenge, interest and enjoyment and analysing books encountered earlier to increase familiarity with them and provide a basis for making comparisons.

Students will be taught to understand increasingly challenging texts through: learning new vocabulary, relating it explicitly to known vocabulary and understanding it with the help of context and dictionaries. Fundamentally, students will be making inferences and referring to evidence in the text knowing the purpose, audience for and context of the writing and drawing on this knowledge to support comprehension.

Students will know how language, including figurative language, vocabulary choice, grammar, text structure and organisational features, presents meaning through recognising a range of conventions and understanding how these have been used in studying setting, plot, and characterisation, and the effects of these and will be making critical comparisons across texts. 

Writing: Students will be taught to write accurately, fluently, effectively and at length for pleasure and information through writing for a wide range of purposes and audiences, including:

  • Well-structured formal expository and narrative essays.
  • Stories, scripts, poetry and other imaginative writing.
  • Notes and polished scripts for talks and presentations.
  • A range of other narrative and non-narrative texts, including arguments, and personal and formal letters.
  • Summarising and organising material, and supporting ideas and arguments with any necessary factual detail.
  • Applying their growing knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and text structure to their writing and selecting the appropriate form.
  • Drawing on knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices from their reading and listening to enhance the impact of their writing.
  • Plan, draft, edit and proof-read through.
  • Considering how their writing reflects the audiences and purposes for which it was intended.
  • Amending the vocabulary, grammar and structure of their writing to improve its coherence and overall effectiveness.
  • Paying attention to accurate grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Grammar and Vocabulary: Students will consolidate and build on their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary through:

  • Extending and applying the grammatical knowledge through the analysis of more challenging texts.
  • Studying the effectiveness and impact of the grammatical features of the texts they read.
  • Drawing on new vocabulary and grammatical constructions from their reading and listening, and using these consciously in their writing and speech to achieve particular effects.
  • Knowing and understanding the differences between spoken and written language, including differences associated with formal and informal registers, and between Standard English and other varieties of English.

Year 7 topics:

  • Gothic Horror
  • Introduction to Shakespeare
  • Class novel: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece
  • Creative Writing Genres
  • Poetry from Other Cultures
  • Spoken Language Unit

Year 8 topics

  • Introduction to Purpose
  • Class Novel: Of Mice and Men
  • Merchant of Venice
  • Comparative Writing: Crime and Punishment
  • Poetry: Duffy and Armitage
  • British Values: Speaking and Listening


Year 9 topics:

  • Poetry: Love and Relationships
  • Introduction to Language
  • A Christmas Carol – plot/theme/character
  • Language Paper 1 and Paper 2
  • Macbeth – plot/theme/character
  • Spoken Language unit

Year 10 & 11:

PAPER 1 // 50% // 80 MARKS // 1 HOUR 45 MINUTESPaper 2 // 50% // 80 Marks // 1 Hour 45 Minutes

Section A – Reading

  • 40 marks
  • 25% of total GCSE

Students will be given an extract from a literature fiction text in order to consider how established writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest of readers.

  • Question 1 – A short form question – 4 marks
  • Question 2 – A longer form question – 8 marks
  • Question 3 – A longer form question – 8 marks
  • Question 4 – An extended question – 20 marks

Section B – Writing

  • 40 marks
  • 25% of total GCSE

Students will write 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 visual image.

  • Question 1 – An extended writing question (24 marks for content, 16 marks for accuracy/SPAG)

Spoken Language // 0%

Teacher assessed (AO7 – AO9)

  • Presenting
  • Responding to questions and feedback
  • Use of standard English

Records must be kept and presented at moderation.

AQA Literature 8702 is assessed in the following way:

PAPER 1 // 40% // 64 MARKS // 1 HOUR 45 MINUTES

Section A – Macbeth

  • 30 marks (+4 SPAG)
  • 20% of total GCSE

Students will answer one question on their play of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

Section B – A Christmas Carol

Students will answer one question on their text of choice. They will be required to write in detail about an extract from the play and then to write about the play as a whole.

PAPER 2 // 60% // 96 MARKS // 2 HOURS 15 MINUTES

Section A – An Inspector Calls

  • 30 marks (+4 SPAG)
  • 20% of total GCSE

Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on their studied text.

Section B – Poetry

  • 30 marks
  • 20% of total GCSE

Students will answer one comparitive question on one named poem printed on the paper and one other poem from their chosen anthology cluster.

Section C – Unseen Poetry

  • 32 marks
  • 20% of total GCSE

Question 1 – 24 marks

Students will answer one question on one unseen poem.

Question 2 – 8 marks

Students will compare the first poem with a second unseen poem.


 A Level English Language Topics:

  • Textual Analysis
  • Child Language Development
  • Language Diversity – Gender, Region, Occupation, Social Groups
  • Language Change
  • Language Discourses
  • Creative Writing
  • Language Investigation

A Level English Literature Topics:

  • Othello
  • Death of a Salesman
  • Keats Poetry
  • The Kite Runner
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Theory and Independence: Prose
  • Theory and Independence: Poetry