International GCSE English as a Second Language - Your questions answered
We have had a lot of interest in our new English as a Second Language International GCSE, so this page is intended to answer some of the most frequent questions.
For more details you can visit the main page for the 2023 ESL specification
If you have any further questions please get in touch using the contact details below.
When will it be available?
This qualification will be assessed for the first time in 2025.
What about the current specification?
This will be assessed for the last time in 2025, meaning there is one series overlap of the two specifications.
What is the difference between this and the current specification?
- The new qualification has been fully mapped to CEFR (exit level B2+) and GSE (Global Scale of English), equipping students with a demonstrable language proficiency grade for university applications.
- The speaking component is now mandatory and worth 25% of the qualification. The other papers are equally weighted at 25% each.
- Comprehensive core vocabulary and grammar lists
- Topic 5 includes 3 themes to pick from to give flexibility and personalisation.
How does ESL compare with English Language A?
This qualification has been designed as an MFL subject, to sit within the Languages portfolio. It is therefore not directly comparable with the English Language A qualification with regards to the purpose of studying it. ESL is also designed for a second language learner, so similar to a French native undertaking International GCSE French, the target audiences are different.
Does the new ESL replace IELTS?
This qualification fulfills a different purpose to the IELTS test. ESL counts as part of the International GCSE portfolio and can be used to progress to IAL. It is also designed to build and develop a learner's English language in the four core skills. IELTS is a test only, and expects the test takers to have built up their language skills independently or undertaken a separate preparation course.
A more appropriate comparison to IELTS would be PTE (Pearson Test of English). Learners undertaking the IG ESL qualification will be in a strong position to progress to PTE or IELTS. The benefit for students progressing to PTE is that the specification, Sample Assessment Materials, and Grammar lists have been mapped against the GSE (Global Scale of English), which is the same scale that PTE is mapped to and use the same tool kit.
Is there a new textbook?
Yes, we have a second edition of our ESL textbook.
Is there any training available?
Yes, we have two modules of training available as an introduction to this new qualification. This page will be updated as more becomes available.
Are there course planners and schemes of work available?
Yes, and you can keep checking back as there will be more resources added.
Will there be more practice papers coming?
We plan to provide additional assessment material to support you and your students. We will share details on this when they are available.