GCSE English Literature

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From September 2017, Bede's is offering two GCSE English Literature options.

Most pupils will follow the CIE IGCSE English Literature option, which concludes with three exams.

Paper 1 covers poetry (from a pre-published selection) and a prose work studied across the two years. Paper 2 covers Drama, and includes two essays based on plays studied across the Fifth Form, and Paper 3 consists of an Unseen element where candidates are challenged to write a short essay response about either a story or a poem included in the exam.

Having worked with CIE for many years, Bede's has a notable record of success with the board and in 2016 77% of Bede's pupils achieved either an A or A* grade in the qualification.

We do not rest easy on our laurels however, and our top set groups are now embarking on the AQA English Literature GCSE course - a course which challenges them to study a Shakespeare work and a 19th Century novel.

No matter which course a pupil embarks upon at the start of their Lower Fifth year, they will experience of the joys and challenges of timeless poetry and prose.

Beyond learning the significance of totemic names like Shakespeare, Austen or Browning, the courses enable teachers to tailor assignments to the specific passions of a group, delve into a Booker Prize winner and explore poetry from a diverse and exciting array of sources.

Our course structure helps pupils hone their writing skills and develop their appreciation of literature and, although we aspire for our students to achieve the highest grades, we encourage curiosity and independent critical thinking most of all.

As a department, our conviction is that children should be challenged by their reading and encouraged to question for themselves as to why, or even if, a set text merits its place in the contemporary canon of literary greats.

Furthermore, beyond the classroom we frequently invite visiting writers and lecturers to come to Bede’s to stretch and challenge pupils far beyond the requirements of the curriculum, organise regular theatre trips to bring drama to life, and, through our singular Fifth Form Masterclass programme, introduce the children to ideas, theories and writing that most would only encounter at degree level. 

Matt Oliver
It is through reading and writing that we discover who we are, or who we want to be. In each piece of writing, I want my pupils to have the chance to reinvent themselves.

Matt Oliver, Head of English and Dicker House Tutor

Read Mr Oliver's blog

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GCSE English Literature staff

It is through reading and writing that we discover who we are, or who we want to be. In each piece of writing, I want my students to have the chance to reinvent themselves.

Matt Oliver, Head of English and Dicker House Tutor

One of the best things about being a teacher is that you don't just teach - you continue to learn at the same time.

David Cheshire, Deputy Head of Sixth Form, Teacher of English and Dicker House Tutor

There is truth in fiction. It is, ultimately, the mirror we hold up to ourselves and to society.

Paul Gibbs, Director of Higher Education, Teacher of English and Bloomsbury House Tutor

I love teaching in general and English in particular, as I feel that education and the ability to use language truly empowers students.

Michelle Martin, Charleston Housemistress and Teacher of English and EAL

Working at Bede's is a dream job. I get to share my unquenchable passion for literature with a new generation of fertile minds in an inspirational, supportive environment - it is a joy and a privilege.

Justin Sealey, Camberlot Deputy Housemaster and Teacher of English

Bede's is a unique place full of unique people. I've been a teacher for all my career and there's nowhere quite like it.

Jane Savage, Teacher of English and Dicker House Tutor

Teaching is one of the great pleasures of my life. It simply doesn't get better than helping children to achieve things that they never thought possible.

Philip Trenaman, Teacher of English and Deis House Tutor

It is our language which defines us as humans. There can be no more important time within school than that spent studying the language we are constantly using.

John Tuson, Academic Deputy Head, Teacher of English and Deis House Tutor

I am deeply passionate about the kind of education available to children at Bede's. It is extremely rare for a school to offer so much to its pupils.

Martin Vaux, Teacher of English and Knights House Tutor