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Pearson reinvigorates English Language GCSE through contemporary, skills-based learning

Classroom inequality

@Pearson has today announced the launch of a new Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) English Language specification, which has been designed to engage and motivate students through contemporary texts and writing tasks, providing a new qualification choice to reflect the diversity of learners.

The newly accredited Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) English Language 2.0 qualification, which will be available for teaching at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year, provides students with a strong foundation for further academic or vocational pathways through real-world, applicable content.

Based on feedback from teachers,[1] the new, one-year specification supports students following a less traditionally literary pathway through their English studies or educators looking for a fresh, new English Language course to motivate those required to re-sit.

With an innovative approach to the 19th century text requirement that sees 19th-century, non-fiction newspaper articles and instructional pieces of writing used rather than 19th century fiction, the qualification uses texts with relatable, modern themes and focuses on real-world applicable writing tasks such as letters of application.

Speaking about the new qualification, Katy Lewis, Head of English and Drama, said:

“Every year 750,000 people take their English GCSE. In consulting with the English teaching community last year, we recognised that a one-size fits all approach to English Language doesn’t equally suit the needs, interests and progression of all learners.

“We wanted to develop a qualification that was equal but different to the English Language GCSEs that are currently available to learners across the UK, whilst motivating and engaging students to equip themselves with life-long skills.”

Requiring no co-teaching of literature, the functional qualification is designed to reinvigorate English language learning and pave the way for exam success whilst exposing learners to a broad range of diverse and inclusive texts.

As part of the organisation’s work with the Lit in Colour programme, Penguin Random House UK will also be providing schools and settings taking the new specification with access to a bespoke anthology of texts by contemporary writers and writers of colour.

The specification has been described as a “positive move” by teachers involved in its development, which allows students to truly engage and showcase their knowledge, providing them with “a better chance of success because the qualification meets their needs.”

Ruth Rhoden-Farmer, GCSE and FS English Lecturer at Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group, said:

“The new GCSE format and resources will give each student the opportunity to explore visually engaging texts, engage with the English Language heritage, and apply the techniques they have discovered in their own writing.”

Pearson will be providing schools and settings with specification and sample assessment materials, mapping documents, schemes of work and one-year planners, a comprehensive programme of online training and network events and one-to-one support from an English specialist to support them in delivering the qualification with confidence.

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