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English Language / English Literature - GCSE - what's the difference? Are both needed for uni applications?

(14 Posts)
tartanterror Thu 02-Nov-17 23:21:49

I'm not familiar with the English system and just discovered that there are these 2 GCSEs. I've tried reading up but can anyone give me a pithy explanation please? Would someone be disadvantaged when applying to uni if they only had one? Thx

BackforGood Fri 03-Nov-17 00:26:50

Fairly normal / usual to do both. They really are 'what they say on the tin' as it were. Eng Lang is about the use of language, and Eng Lit is all about the study of Literature - there are set texts (poetry, classic fiction, usually (always?) a Shakespeare - which could be a play) which are studied in class beforehand, and the questions in the exam are about things they will have studied in the texts.

tartanterror Fri 03-Nov-17 07:39:41

Thanks for your reply. DS has SEN and particular problems with creative writing. We've being doing lots to help him but don't know how it's going to work out. We have got a long time, as DS is still in primary, but it would save me some years of worry if I knew he wouldn't be disadvantaged by not taking one of them.... what do you think?

Fifthtimelucky Fri 03-Nov-17 07:47:55

English Language is essential for all children. English Literature not, but to be honest if your child is still in primary school, I think it’s a bit early to be worrying about GCSE options. They have a lot of growing up and developing to do in the next few years.

Annebronte Fri 03-Nov-17 17:19:33

English Language will be compulsory and is likely to include creative/descriptive writing of some sort. In some schools, all kids take Literature too, but in others it is an option. It’s quite common for them to be timetabled as one subject and the teacher/department arrange the teaching of the two subjects as suits them.

SandyDenny Fri 03-Nov-17 17:59:10

There's no choice at my DCs school, it's taught as one subject but with 2 GCSEs at the end. From talking with friends that seems to be fairly standard in my area.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 06-Nov-17 14:35:35

For the purposes of calculating whether a child has at leat 5 gcses graded 9-4 (including Maths or English) the pass can be in either English Literature or English Language.

They are usually timetabled as one lesson in most schools and thus most kids will take both.

TeenTimesTwo Mon 06-Nov-17 14:41:04

For the 'Progress 8' measure for schools, I believe pupils have to have been entered for both (even though only the better grade counts).

LIZS Mon 06-Nov-17 14:44:04

English language isn't just creative writing. There are elements of writing in a particular style ( ie. Persuasive writing as a letter) but also analysis of passages of text etc. This underpins many subjects studied at gcse and beyond. English literature involves studying and analysing set texts and extracts. Technically universities would require one or other, but reality is that both are indictors of an ability to study at a higher level and it may be limiting not to have both.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Mon 06-Nov-17 14:47:18

English language can also include studying and analysing literature - just unseen extracts rather than the whole book. It's nothing like English language/linguistics as a degree - I get the sense it's basically just everything you'd do in English that isn't connected to reading and discussing set texts.

You don't usually get the choice of one or the other at GCSE, as far as I'm aware.

TheSecondOfHerName Mon 06-Nov-17 21:56:16

In most secondary schools, both of these GCSE subjects are part of the core curriculum.

In many secondary schools, the two courses are both taught in lessons which are timetabled as 'English', so I don't see how it would be logistically possible for a student to opt out of one of them.

TheSecondOfHerName Mon 06-Nov-17 22:02:01

Creative writing is only one section of English Language GCSE, and they are given guidance on how to approach it.

DS2 has ASD, and struggled with the sort of creative writing they did at primary school. He is now 15, and getting high grades in English.

MsJaneAusten Mon 06-Nov-17 22:05:05

Are you home educating? If not, you/DS are unlikely to get much choice in this. Most schools (state and private) enter all pupils for both except for in specific situations. I'm a HOD English and out of almost 200 pupils this year, only one won't be entered for both.

HaHaHmm Tue 07-Nov-17 09:29:04

Sorry - unless things change dramatically there will be no question of him only taking one. There is some well-intentioned but out of date advice on this thread.

In some schools, all kids take Literature too, but in others it is an option.

Not any more. Pre-2017, it used to be possible to take a single English GCSE which combined enough Language and Literature to fulfil the national curriculum programme of study for English. This doesn't exist any more and everybody has to do both in order to fulfil the NC. Schools are heavily incentivised to enforce this by the new Progress 8 measure, which gives double weighting to the English GCSEs.

Even if he were able to do the old GCSE, he would still have had to do some creative writing. Please don't spend the next few years worrying. We are very good at supporting pupils who struggle with creative writing and it is only one part of the Language GCSE.

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