Our GCSE English experts answer your questions

You asked us - October 2017

Our Head of Curriculum for English – Deborah Pearson – shares her expertise to answer the questions you’ve been asking us this month.

We’ve got your back – every step of the way.

In January 2018, you asked us...

Do you have any advice I can give my new Year 11s on how to approach the writing task in Paper 1 for GCSE English Language?

Encourage your students to plan the structure of their answer before they begin writing. This will help keep their answer focused. If they can sustain this focus over a shorter but more concise piece of writing, this will help them to maintain control and avoid errors.

Reassure your students that shorter answers aren’t less worthy of marks – it’s the quality that matters. Discuss examples of writing with students that include a sustained narrative or description. How long do they think it needs to be, and what do they think is the appropriate length? Remember, the mark scheme doesn’t refer to length, it refers to sustained focus – unpick the meaning of this with students using some example student responses.

Resources and support

Example student responses with examiner commentaries for Paper 1 are available on SKM in e-AQA to see how examiners approach marking of the writing task. From SKM navigate to GCSE English Language and click on ‘Mark Scheme Engagement Materials’.

Use Enhanced Results Analysis (ERA) data to find shorter answers that have scored well. These answers are likely to demonstrate a sustained use of structure – throughout the length of the piece.