Guidance videos on speaking and listening and writing tasks for GCSE English and English Language (2010)

Mon Feb 23 08:42:00 UTC 2015

We've prepared 3 videos to help you finish your controlled assessments for GCSE English and GCSE English Language for summer 2015 submission on 15 May. 

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1. GCSE English and English Language speaking and listening in 2015 and 2016

This video explains the arrangements for speaking and listening which came into effect in June 2014.

2. Carrying out the speaking and listening tasks for GCSE English and English Language in 2015 and 2016

This video provides guidance on how to approach the delivery of speaking and listening in GCSE English and GCSE English Language.

3. Writing tasks for 5EH01 English Today

This video provides guidance on how to approach the delivery of the writing task for GCSE English and English Language when the text type is a leaflet or podcast.

Transcripts of the videos 

Since summer 2014, GCSE English and GCSE English Language have a speaking and listening endorsement. Students are assessed via 3 tasks. Teachers enter the marks on Edexcel Online and students are graded from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). Their result appears as a separate line under their GCSE English or English Language result on their certificate. The 1-5 grades do not directly map across to the A*-G grades that are given for GCSEs. These arrangements will remain in place for those sitting the 2014 specifications until the last sitting of these qualifications in summer 2016 along with the November retake in 2016.

Students must complete 3 tasks:

  • Communicating and adapting language
  • Interacting and responding
  • Creating and supporting roles.  

Opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills can be found in all units of GCSE English and GCSE English Language.

For example, when students are studying the reading texts for English Today, such as those on UK attractions, they could have a group discussion on the benefits of school visits to UK attractions for their interacting and responding task. When you’re teaching your text for The Writer’s Voice, often Of Mice and Men, students could create an additional scene played out between the characters in the novel for the creating and sustaining roles task.

For the communicating and adapting language task, students often prepare an individual presentation for the rest of the class on a topic that interests them. Again, this could easily be linked to the topic studied for English Today. For example, a student could present on dog ownership (linking to the Pets theme) considering issues such as pet passports, the possible reintroduction of dog licensing and the moral questions of keeping a dog in a city.

For each task, each individual’s assessed contribution to the task should last for 3-5 minutes.

While there is considerable freedom in task setting, teachers should ensure that a proposed task contains enough inherent complexity to allow students to access the descriptors in the higher bands of the mark schemes.

Teachers are not currently required to video record their students’ performances, but they may do so. This can be useful if you are selected for an external moderation visit. You then have the option to use the video recordings to moderate your marking rather than organising live performances on the day the moderator visits you. Video recordings can also be used for internal moderation across departments.

Edexcel provides video recordings of student performances that you can use to standardise your marking. If you would like a set, contact us and we will send you one.  

For the writing element of English Today, you may be asked to write a leaflet, the script for a podcast, an article or a blog.

In each case, the text should be presented as linear text. No images, colours or design features are needed.

Podcast scripts and blogs can be laid out in a standard ‘play script’ format with the name of the speaker or blogger, followed by a colon and then their utterance or post.

Students in writing tasks are not assessed on layout and presentation. Organisation in the mark scheme refers to the way that a text ‘hangs together’, its structure and coherence. This applies to each text type: leaflets, podcast scripts, articles and blogs.

The text, of whichever type, should have a clear opening and close, effective paragraphing and the use of cohesive devices.

When writing podcasts, students can waste time with layout and presentation, or including technical terms like ‘fade in’. The key foci for marking are: the ideas included; the text’s suitability for purpose and audience; the use of vocabulary and sentence structure; and the organisation.

Podcast scripts and blogs can have one or more voices. The advice for students is that the voice should support sustained ideas for Band 4 and above, and sometimes if there are many voices this sustaining of ideas and focus on purpose becomes lost a little in the ‘chat’ between speakers. A podcast is for a listening audience and students can demonstrate an awareness of this by using direct address to the audience in their scripts. Students can use the examples of blogs provided as reading texts in the Family Holidays theme (the Center Parcs blog) or in the Volunteering theme (the Projects Abroad blog).

I hope you’ve found this guidance helpful.

Best wishes,



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