Category Archives for "GCSE English Language"

Is it time to stop PEE-ing?

Several years ago I participated in a piece of classroom research into how essay writing is taught in English. It was a honour for me to add my voice to this conversation. Before the 2015 specification, the keys to success in exams for essay writing appeared to be about reduction and concision, rather than detail and breadth. There was one year when some students were encouraged to draw a PEE table onto the exam paper!

The conversation has moved on a great deal in the intervening years. The voices in Team English had add some fantastic alternatives. If you are looking to develop your teaching of essay writing, then a fantastic first point of call is Becky Wood’s (@shadylady222) blog Why I No Longer PEE.

If you are interested in reading my NATE article on PEE – then you’re in luck. They have very kindly agreed for me to share it here. So thank you NATE – while I am on the topic, do have a look at their website.

So here is my article. Just click on the image below to read the whole thing.

You can also find it here!


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Writing prompts for English Language GCSE

Below I have shared 5 different types of writing prompts for you to use this week with your classes! If you are preparing your classes for GCSE English Language, or any type of creative writing, then these writing will be great for you to use!

Writing a room

Choose one room in your house and list everything that can be: seen, smelt, heard, felt (and tasted).

Write 100 words describing this room using only sensory imagery.

When you have finished writing, ask yourself this question – were you able to create a sense of the room with this tightly controlled word count? If not, consider why? Look at your nouns and adjectives, are they specific and precise? Did you waste words? Make just 5 changes and see if this improves your writing.

Slow your writing down

Both of these writing prompts are great for s-l-o-w writing. Slow writing is the opposite of a quick write. The idea is to write slowly, precisely, carefully, selecting each word intentionally. Slow writing can take 5 minutes with one sentence and 30 minutes with a paragraph. Write these moments of action (or inaction), imagine them in slow-motion. Try and recreate this in your description.

  1. Imagine your family is eating a meal together. Someone knocks over a drink and it spills across the table. Describe this moment.
  2. You are waiting. Probably bored. Perhaps a bit annoyed. Walk your reader through the tick, tick, tick of your watch as you wait. It is sunset and you are waiting for your friends, who are late. Describe the setting as the day moves towards darkness.

Writing character

  1. Sit somewhere public (the cafeteria at school is perfect for this).
  2. Describe the faces of 5 strangers, show personality through expressions and gestures.
  3. When you have your 5 descriptions, create some conflicts between them. One character bumps into another character. Or one character asks another for helpHow would your character react based on the personality you created for them?


  1. Find a picture of a new-born baby. Describe in detail its face and features.
  2. Write a precise description of the feeling of grass beneath bare feet.
  3. Write a precise and detailed description of a seashell. Ensure every shape and ridge is defined.

12 writing tasks in 12 days

This one is super easy. You can just click here and download the free PDF – inside you will find 12 descriptive writing tasks for your students to complete over 12 days!

So you can download this free one-page worksheet of writing tasks here!

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