GCSE 9-1 English Language and Literature click below

Friday Takeaways

Useful Resources

AQA, WJEC Eduqas, OCR & Edexcel GCSE Spoken Language Scheme

Paul Merrell | Thursday November 05, 2015

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, AQA GCSE English Language 2015, AQA Spoken Language, EDEXCEL GCSE, Edexcel GCSE English Language 2015, Edexcel Spoken Language, OCR GCSE, OCR GCSE English Language 2015, OCR Spoken Language, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE English Language 2015, WJEC Eduqas Spoken Language, Hot Entries, Language and Linguistic Analysis, Speaking & Listening, Individual, Spoken English, GCSE Spoken English

Spoken Language Endorsement for GCSE English Language

The four English awarding bodies have developed the new criteria for Spoken Language assessment in the new GCSE English Language (9-1) qualifications. This will be a separately endorsed component, for which candidates will be graded Distinction, Pass, or Merit. Candidates who do not achieve a Pass grade, or those who do not take the component, will be given non-classified.

The Guidance Document for centres is copied below, including the assessment criteria and moderation procedures.

Guidance Document


From first teaching in September 2015, GCSE English Language will have an endorsed component covering Spoken Language. This endorsement will be reported as a separate grade (Pass, Merit, Distinction or Not Classified) and will not contribute to the result of the GCSE English Language qualification.

This document has been produced in collaboration with all the relevant awarding bodies. It provides an outline of the requirements and further clarification will be available in the JCQ Instructions for conducting non-examination assessments.


Candidates must undertake a prepared spoken presentation on a specific topic. As a guide, the duration of the whole assessment should be no more than ten minutes. The key requirements are:

  • Presentations must be formal but may take a wide variety of forms, including talks, debates, speeches and dialogues.
  • Candidates must identify the subject for their presentations in advance and agree it with their teacher.
  • Presentations must be planned and organised. Candidates should be advised that lack of preparation is likely to prevent access to the criteria for the higher grades.
  • Candidates may use pre-prepared notes, PowerPoint etc. to assist them during their presentations but this is not a requirement.
  • As part of, or following, the presentation, candidates must listen to and respond appropriately to questions and feedback.
  • Where the audience is the teacher only, the presentation and dialogue must be designed in such a way that it could have a potentially wider audience than just one person (e.g. it replicates a television interview)


No marks will be assigned to a student’s performance – it will be assessed holistically as a grade, using a ‘competency’ basis on criteria which are provided. Competency means that a student must meet all the criteria in one grade before moving on to the next. Candidates who do not reach the Pass standard must be recorded as Not Classified.

Centres must make arrangements for internal standardisation of assessments. This should take place as far as possible before assessment begins in earnest. Internal standardisation should include a preliminary trial assessment session (including all teachers involved in assessment) using exemplar material provided by the awarding bodies, in order to ensure that there is a common understanding of the assessment criteria.

Monitoring by Awarding Bodies

The endorsement will be assessed by centres. Each centre is required to provide audio-visual recordings of the presentations of a sample of candidates. These will allow us to check that centres have used appropriate tasks, and have applied the assessment criteria correctly and consistently.

The centre must provide recordings of the presentations of a sample of candidates. The recording of each candidate’s presentation, including questions and feedback from the audience, must be complete and unedited.

Using their knowledge of candidates’ likely performance, centres should select the sample following the guidance shown in the table below. Centres are recommended to record slightly more than the minimum number at each grade to allow for candidates whose performance is awarded a higher or lower grade than the centre had anticipated. The awarding body will provide details regarding the storage and submission of recordings.

This is a broad overview of what is required. We will provide further documentation on the detailed requirements for the make-up of the sample in differing scenarios, and will also address the issue of students with special needs.

If the awarding body has concerns as a result of monitoring, the centre will be provided with additional support (which may include a visit by a monitor) in the following academic year. In exceptional circumstances there will be enhanced monitoring arrangements which may include an earlier deadline for submission of assessments or a requirement to record the presentations of all candidates.

Candidate Absence

Where a candidate misses the scheduled date/time for his/her presentation, the centre must organise an alternative session.

A candidate who is unable to undertake his/her presentation because of persistent absence (whether through ill health or any other reason) will not qualify for special consideration and will receive a ‘Not Classified’ result for the Spoken Language endorsement. However, standard procedures for sitting at an alternative venue do apply, if appropriate.

Entries and Centre Declaration

Entries for GCSE English Language automatically include the Spoken Language endorsement. The head of centre is required to provide a written declaration to us by a published deadline to confirm that reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that all candidates whom the centre has entered for GCSE English Language have undertaken the Spoken Language endorsement.

Spoken Language Criteria for Pass, Merit and Distinction

General criteria

To be awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction a Learner must:

  • be audible, and
  • use Spoken Standard English which, for the purposes of the spoken language assessment, means that a Learner must –
  • be intelligible, and
  • generally use language appropriate to the formal setting of the presentation.

Scheme of Work for the Spoken Language component of GCSE English Language (9-1)

Lesson One: Engaging the Listener

Learning Objective

  • To be able to make use of techniques to engage a listener
  • To be able to use these techniques in speech.

Starter Activity

Show Malala Yousafzai‘s acceptance speech on winning the Nobel Peace Prize to the class:

As they watch, put the students in groups and ask them to note down as many presentational techniques that Malala uses to make her speech engaging for the audience. You may want to ‘ban’ the following phrases: it makes the listener think / it creates a picture in your mind / it makes the listener want to carry on listening! Try to get them to be specific i.e. it appeals to the listeners’ sense of empathy / it shocks the listener into agreeing.

Display the following line from her speech:

“I’m proud that we can work together; we can work together and show the world…”

Ask pupils to identify the technique used. Now discuss in detail what impact it has on the listener and what impact they think Malala was trying to achieve. Make reference to the repetition, the deliberate pause between the two clauses and the use of emotive language.

Ask pupils: why didn’t Malala include a line like this in her speech: It’s the most amazing, wonderful, incredible and totally fabulous prize I’ve ever had! Draw attention to the way the tone is wrong ad detracts from her message and the use of hyperbole undermines the seriousness of the speech. Remind pupils that they must use techniques with discretion - a tick list of devices is not recommended.

After showing the video ask each group to go through their list and suggest what impact each of the techniques has on the audience.

Take feedback on the board - highlighting particularly effective choices. This could develop into a more general discussion of the way in which writers use rhetorical features in order to ensure an audience is interested in what they have to say. Ideally, end up with a list on the board that resembles the following:

  1. Rhetorical questions
  2. Using anecdotes or stories to prove a point
  3. Humour
  4. Emphasis on individual words/phrases
  5. Eye contact
  6. Gesture
  7. Emotive language
  8. Personal involvement
  9. Pace and use of pauses
  10. Response to audience
  11. Repetition

Explain that the construction of an engaging 3-4 minute speech is going to be the focus of the next series of lessons; in preparation for the Spoken Language. Stress that the piece they have just watched is a scripted piece and that they should rely on cue cards rather than script their speech. What the class will be focusing upon is identifying and making use of rhetorical features and thinking about their facial expression, body language and delivery so that they are familiar with them when the time comes to do their assessment.

Second Activity

Explain the nature of the Spoken Language assessment is to create a 4-5 minute spoken presentation. Students can choose any topic to speak on, but to achieve the higher grades their topic should involve a level of complexity.

At this point put the Assessment Criteria on the whiteboard and discuss with the class what is needed to achieve the different grade levels. Stress to them that the topic that they choose for their talk will have an impact on whether they are able to achieve the higher grades.

Discuss possible topics with the students:

  • Conspiracy theories
  • Beauty and cosmetic surgery
  • Should parents encourage the belief in Santa Claus?
  • Racism and prejudice
  • Whether footballer’s wages can be justified
  • Paranormal phenomena
  • The Harry Potter series versus the Twilight series
  • The rapper, Eminem, and his impact on society
  • The positive and negative development of social media
  • Decoding the art of lying
  • Should we spend money on space programs or can it be better spent?
  • The pros and cons of conscription
  • Is image too important?
  • Can you ever be too wealthy?
  • First impressions, and the science behind it.

It is important to stress that, although we are focusing on how a listener can be engaged and entertained in these lessons, there are many different approaches that will work. There will be nothing wrong with producing a heartfelt and sincere talk that eschews many of the techniques being considered in this lesson.

Students do not need to choose their final topic at this stage but should start thinking about what may interest them so that they can do any necessary thinking or research.

Third Activity

It is important to offer students a chance to express an opinion, not necessarily one they hold, in a secure and safe manner.

Taking the topic ‘All young people should be compelled to do a year of community service when they leave school’ ask the students to devise a response arguing for or against the proposal. Put the students in pairs – one should argue for and the other against. At this stage, we are just looking for students to develop notes for a talk that makes use of the rhetorical features they have already looked at. Allow between 15 and 20 mins for this activity: try to challenge students to stretch themselves here. If they finish quickly, encourage them to rethink and redevelop their notes.

Ask the pairs to try out their talks to one another. The partner should offer feedback and ask questions following the talk.

Listen to a few examples of strong work here. Pupils should try to identify the techniques that are being used and to comment on the effect they have and if they were used appropriately. It may be appropriate to share some of these on the board. It may be possible to record some of the talks and play them back to the group.


Take feedback from the class of the key features of engaging speaking that they have discovered are important. For homework, ask the group to begin to think about what they might possibly want to talk about in their Speaking and Listening Test. The list given is just a starting point - they just need to find something in which they have an interest.

Lesson Two: Defending the Indefensible

Learning Objective

  • To be able to make use of rhetorical features in own talk
  • To be able to construct, and deliver a one minute speech.

Starter Activity

Show David Mitchell’s soapbox on ‘I wouldn’t have minded but . . .’

Very briefly, take feedback from the class on the use of the rhetorical features that were discussed yesterday. You may also want to talk about the delivery here. Think about tone, vocal colouring and pace.


You need to have an active subscription to access content on Edusites English. If you would like to access this content, speak to your teacher or Head of Department. Alternatively, contact Edusites by email at admin@edusites.co.uk or by phone on 01604 847689.