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English Language GCSE


GCSE English Language

Study GCSE English Language online and you’ll develop confidence and competence in speaking, listening, reading and writing in English, and gain a vital qualification for your future career.


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Gaining a GCSE in English Language is vital for future career progression and a minimum requirement for many further education courses. However, it’s not just a means to an end, this course will help you develop your reading and writing skills, and enable you to communicate and express your ideas more effectively.

Studying GCSE English Language online is a flexible way to gain key skills, that you’ll use in all aspects of your life. Supported by a personal tutor, you’ll explore the use of words in different contexts and gain a deeper understanding of the power and influence of the spoken and written word.

Why study English Language?

Why study English Language GCSE?

Have you ever looked at two different writers and wondered why their styles of writing are so different? Or found yourself examining how writer’s viewpoints and perspectives can reshape how language is used?

Our GCSE English Language online course will inspire you to think creatively and differently about the complex and intricate language we use everyday. Through engaging topics, delivered through well-designed course materials, you’ll work towards a internationally-recognised GCSE qualification. Our English Language GCSE course is ideal if you:

  • Are keen to study English at A level or beyond.
  • Would like to apply to study further in any subject. For example, most Sixth Form Colleges or University courses require a Grade 9-4 (A*-C) in English language as part of their entry requirements.
  • Want to gain a deeper understanding of English language in context, and the rules that underpin why and how we use the spoken and written word.
  • To apply for a wide range of careers or skilled job roles, including teaching and nursing.
  • Want to improve your written and spoken English in your personal or professional life.
  • Enjoy expressing your opinions on how we communicate.

Future opportunities

  • Studying English courses at further study.
  • A wide range of rewarding career paths in a range of areas such as journalism, publishing, education and training, counselling and social services, teaching, nursing, marketing sales and advertising, and management.

Course content

Section 1: Creative reading, Part 1

  • Prose fiction texts
  • Language effects
  • Setting, context and atmosphere
  • Looking at characters

Section 2: Creative reading, Part 2

  • Narrative voice and narrative viewpoint
  • Openings and endings
  • Approaching Paper 1 Section A

Section 3: Creative Writing, Part 1

  • Descriptive and narrative writing
  • Describing settings
  • Describing characters

Section 4: Creative Writing, Part 2

  • Narrative writing
  • Using dialogue
  • Approaching Paper 1 Section B

Section 5: Writer’s viewpoints and perspectives, Part 1

  • Inference and interpretation
  • Viewpoint and perspectives
  • Synthesis and summary

Section 6: Writers viewpoints and perspectives, Part 2

  • Comment and analysis
  • Comparing writers’ ideas
  • Approaching Paper 2 Section A

Section 7: Writers viewpoints and perspectives, Part 3

  • Audience, purpose and form
  • Planning your response
  • Writing your response, Part 1
  • Writing your response, Part 2
  • Approaching Paper 2 Section B

Section 8: Preparing for the exam – Paper 1

  • Practice Paper 1
  • Guidance on Practice Paper 1

Section 9: Preparing for the exam – Paper 2

  • Practice Paper 2
  • Guidance on Practice Paper

Study GCSE English Language with us and benefit from:

  • Flexible learning
  • Support from a personal tutor by email, phone or Skype
  • Any time enrolment
  • Our exam booking service
  • Assignments with tutor feedback
  • Ongoing support from Student Support
  • Forums to discuss your course with other students


Choose when and where you access your course, using learn@nec our 24/7 learning platform.

This easy-to-use learning platform includes interactive checkpoints, quizzes and activities to help you evaluate your progress.

Your tutor

You’ll have access to support from a personal tutor. All NEC tutors are subject experts, with experience of supporting online learners.

Meet Kath who is just one of our first-class English tutors:

“I have had the privilege of supporting students in their study of English for the past 23 years and have been a Lead Tutor for NEC’s English Language courses for the past decade. I have a degree in English Literature and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Leeds and have been an examiner since 1999. I have held various leadership positions, including Head of A level English and Head of Pastoral Support at a large secondary school, and Outreach Coordinator and Teaching Mentor at a large secondary school in Leeds. Beyond the classroom I play the fiddle in a ceilidh band, cycle, run, and attempt to grow vegetables.”

What you need to know

Exam board

  • AQA 8700


  • Online learning with support from a personal tutor


  • Complete at your own pace
  • Approx. 120-150*  hours plus time for completing assignments

*The specification suggests that 150 hours is needed. You’ll also need time to complete assignments and prepare yourself for exams and some courses like English literature involve a lot of reading. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to say with certainty how long a course will take you, but you should expect to spend longer than 150 hours. Taken across the length of time we recommend, this equates to approximately 4 hours per week. This will increase if you choose to take it over a shorter time frame or may be less if you are retaking a subject and have covered a lot of of the course content.


  • 10 assignments (one introductory) – these do not contribute towards your final grade


  • No additional set texts required


There are some recommendations you may wish to refer to for additional reading:

  • AQA GCSE English Language: Developing the Skills for Learning and Assessment, by H Blackhouse and B Emm, Oxford, 2015
  • AQA GCSE English Language: Assessment Preparation for Paper 1 and Paper 2, J Branson and P Ellison, Oxford, 2015
  • Oxford A-Z of Better Spelling, C Buxton, Oxford, 2013
  • Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation, J Seely, Oxford, 2013


  • Internet access
  • Computer operating system and browser to support learn@nec

What's included?

Our course fees are clear and transparent to help you plan for any additional costs.

Your course fee includes:

  • 24/7 access to learn@nec platform and resources
  • Expertly designed online course materials (including ebook versions of textbooks where specified) that you need to complete the course and written to cover the carefully selected awarding body specification
  • Support from our Student Services team
  • Structured assignments to help you track your progress throughout your course
  • Guidance from your tutor for up to 18 months from your date of enrolment
  • Constructive feedback on your assignments from your tutor, to help you improve and prepare for exams
  • Guaranteed exam place
  • NEC’s guide to study skills: How to Succeed as an Independent Learner
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar guide
  • Time planner template to help you plan your study timetable
  • Information on how to apply for exams

Your course fee does not cover:

  • Any fees in relation to exam entries or assessments
  • Centre Assessment Grades (CAG) in the event of exam cancellation
  • Recommended textbooks for additional reading or set texts
  • Equipment for core practicals

If you need more support, you can purchase:

  • Online tutorials – if you need help with a specific topic you can arrange a 30 minute or 1 hour tutorial
  • Additional past paper marking – to help with your exam preparation
  • Revision tutorial –  to plan your revision and explore revision techniques
  • Help with your UCAS application service

For further information on additional/optional support you can purchase, please visit our additional services page.

Related blog posts

Exams and assessment

Exams (two):

  • 50% of marks  (1 hour 45 minutes)
  • 50% of marks (1 hour 45 minutes)

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

  • an additional assessment to demonstrate your skills in spoken language, including presenting, responding to questions and feedback, and use of standard English
  • separately endorsed and reported as a separate grade
  • does not contribute to the result of the GCSE qualification

Additional support if you’re under 18

We know that our younger students often need an extra helping hand with their studies. In our experience learning online works best when either a parent or guardian are involved. This is why NEC has developed our unique Progress Tracker to help you to support your child.

NEC’s Progress Tracker will allow you to easily track your child’s progress across their subjects and gain insight to how well they are doing through access to their assignment grades and tutor feedback.  

Read more about how we work with young students who are studying at home or through a school.

Arrange a callback with a member of our Course Advice Team.

Would you like to talk to our Course Advice Team about the best route for you? Visit our Contact Us page, fill in the form and a member of the team will get back to you!