Why choose AQA for Entry Level Certificate Step Up to English

You can find out about all our Step Up to English qualifications at

A specification designed for you and your students

Entry Level Certificates are nationally recognised qualifications that give students the opportunity to achieve a certified award. Our assessments are designed to inspire and motivate your students, providing appropriate stretch and challenge whilst ensuring that the assessment and texts are accessible to Entry Level students.

The specification will encourage Entry Level students to develop the skills they need to read and understand a range of texts as well as to write clearly, coherently and accurately using a range of vocabulary and sentence structures.

The qualification can be tailored to students' needs through either Silver Step or Gold Step. Silver Step is aimed at Entry 1 and Entry 2 students and Gold Step is for Entry 3 students looking to progress to GCSE. We have provided clear progression and GCSE-ready level descriptors.

Dynamic and engaging content

The qualification offers non-exam assessment (NEA) which supports an engaging and supportive learning and assessment experience for Entry Level students. The specification offers two components in both steps, which each assess reading and writing. Spoken language is included in Component 1 and contributes to the overall mark.

Each component thematically links reading and writing and supports high-quality provision and engaging teaching and learning.
  • Component 1, Literacy Topics, is transactional in nature and will ask students to complete a number of tasks based around a theme.
  • Component 2, Creative Reading and Writing, is literary in nature and students will be asked to respond to excerpts from literary and literary non-fiction texts and write creatively.

Skills-based approach

The specification offers a skills-based approach to the study of English and literacy. Assessment is on-demand as tasks are available throughout the academic year on the secure area of our website. You can download them whenever you think a student has acquired the skills needed. However, students will still need to be entered and certificated in a particular series.

Teach Step Up to English and GCSE together

The specification is fully co-teachable with GCSE English Language. Entry Level students who choose to study both will benefit from the transferable skills developed across the two specifications. The assessment objectives (AOs) are based on the GCSE English Language objectives; Entry Level descriptors of achievement have been matched to these, giving threads of learning running right through Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3 to GCSE. This allows you to focus your teaching on the same AOs with both Entry Level and GCSE students.

We’re behind you every step of the way

We have consulted teachers and subject experts to ensure the specification meets the needs of you and your students.

The GCSE-ready descriptors offer excellent preparation for GCSE English Language by allowing teachers to easily identify when a student has developed the skills they need to progress to the GCSE. It will also equip your students with essential life-skills and a progression route for future employment.

The assessment method will provide a straightforward but flexible approach which fosters high-quality teaching and learning and will aim for clarity so that you can focus on your students rather than administration.

With Step Up to English your students will receive the award that fairly represents their attainment and reflects the skills that they have demonstrated.

You can find out about all our English qualifications at

Support and resources to help you teach

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

Visit to see all our teaching resources. They include:

  • exemplar plans to show co-teachability resources
  • suggested activities for lessons
  • standardising materials
  • training courses to help you deliver AQA Step Up to English qualifications
  • subject expertise courses for all teachers, from newly-qualified teachers who are just getting started to experienced teachers looking for fresh inspiration.

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

For information about results, including maintaining standards over time, grade boundaries and our post-results services, visit

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.
  • 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

Get help and support

Visit our website for information, guidance, support and resources at

You can talk directly to the Step Up to English subject team:


T: 0161 9537504