Because GCSE examinations are undergoing major changes from 2012, and partly in the light of the major problems with GCSE grade boundaries in English, Kirkham Grammar School has moved from our previous examination board, AQA, and adopted Edexcel's International GCSE specification, Certificates Levels 1 and 2 for English Language and English Literature. This seems a very positive step to address the uncertain future for GCSE.
The change will bring a number of benefits to the pupils. First, the qualifications are very traditional in format: there are no Controlled Assessments that in the past have taken up so much teaching time, and there is no written coursework. Assessment for both English Language and English Literature will be through two examinations for each qualification, taken at the end of the two year course. English Language will have a 10% Speaking and Listening component, assessed throughout the course as at present.
Second, moving to assessment by terminal examination means that there is more opportunity for lively and interesting reaching and learning to equip the pupils with the skills necessary for success. So although pupils will only be assessed on three texts for English Literature, they will study a wide variety of interesting texts during the course to develop their literary response. In English Language, the students will be able to enjoy more creative writing and production of media and non- fiction texts better to prepare them for A-Level and for the wider world of further academic study and work. The Edexcel International GCSE courses are fully accredited by the Department for Education and accepted by all universities in the same way as the previous GCSE: they are Certificates Levels 1 and 2 courses, as are GCSE courses, and the final examination certificates the pupils receive will say this, and also the grade achieved. As with GCSE, achievement at a grade of A* to C will be the level generally accepted for entry to Further and Higher education courses, and as proof of literacy for employers.
We are very excited about the change, and are looking forward to enjoying more independence in teaching, which will allow us to address the individual interests, needs and ambitions of our Kirkham Grammar School pupils more fully.
The Edexcel Certificates English Language and English Literature pages can be found by clicking the links: all files are in PDF format - you will need to have the Acrobat Reader program to view the PDF files. If you do not have the Acrobat Reader program you can download it, free of charge, from the Adobe website - www.adobe.co.uk
We teach GCSE in six sets setted according to ability, taught for five periods a week. The smaller Set 6 is designed to support students who find English more difficult. We expect the majority of students to sit both English Language and English Literature, but some members of Set 6 may be entered only for English Language after consultation between teacher, parents and student.More specific details about the assessment of iGCSE can be found here on the Departmental website.
PHILOSOPHYEnglish is an essential subject in pragmatic terms: any course of study beyond GCSE level demands proof of achievement here, and literacy skills are necessary for the world of work. Perhaps more importantly, English study equips students with oral communication skills to enable them to present themselves confidently, encourages creativity in written and oral expression, and develops a love of literature that will last a lifetime. The exploration of literature, central to English teaching, is the exploration of humanity, and of the individual’s place in society. This is not only a good preparation for ‘A’ Level study, but for life in the community outside Kirkham Grammar School.