Changes to English GCSEs

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Welsh Assembly Government made recent changes to the GCSE English language course. The alterations take effect from November 2012. The Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) state that changes are necessary and respond to The Welsh Assembly’s policy alterations. The reorganisation of GCSE English Language is as follows:

  • ‘Studying Spoken Language’ has been removed from the course;
  • There is less emphasis on assessments undertaken at school (reduced from 60% to 40% of the total marks);
  • There is now a greater emphasis on examinations (increasing from 40% to 60% of the total marks);
  • Students can now gain more marks for technical accuracy. Examiners will assess sentence structure, punctuation and spelling.  This element increases from 13% to 20% of the total assessment.

Please be assured that the skills acquired by your son or daughter and their efforts will not be wasted. Marks awarded in previous assessments can still be used. The changes apply only to GCSE English Language and not to GCSE English Literature or other subjects. There are no plans to make similar changes to other courses and it is not necessary to contact other curriculum departments at this stage. The changes affect GCSE English Language exclusively.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s website offers further information regarding the changes to GCSE English Language: publication/reports/gcseen2012/?lang=en

Additional Information and Frequently Asked Questions relating to GCSE English Language course can be found on the WJEC website:

This matter affects secondary schools nationwide and is of the utmost importance to the English Department at Crickhowell High School. We will continue to make every effort to ensure that your son or daughter is supported and well informed. Please encourage your child to seek reassurance or clarification on this matter from his or her English Teacher and we will be happy to oblige.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs H. O’Farrell
(Head of English)