Year 11 – Magazine Article

Hellooo. Here are the powerpoints from today’s lesson:

WJEC English Language Writing Paper

Writing Magazine Articles

Also, below is the magazine article we began writing today. The task was taken from the 2011 English Language paper:

Write a lively article for your school or college magazine with the title: ‘How To Survive Your GCSE Year’.

(How timely.)

Remember to PALL before you start, and structure your article using subheadings. Below is the beginning. Please hand in your completed article next Wednesday.


It’s nearly that time of year again! Exam season is almost upon us. Feeling stressed? Read on for some top tips on surviving the stress…

By Ella Coady-Bunge


You’ve probably heard it from teachers, parents and (if you’re really unlucky,) older siblings: Year 11 is the time to ‘get serious’ about your studies and ‘knuckle down’. Time is ticking and there are only X number of days left until study leave. Your heart starts thundering; you feel a rising tide of nausea in the pit of your stomach; Mr. Robertson is waiting outside your form room to find out why you weren’t at your lunchtime intervention session. It can feel overwhelming and you may be tempted to bury your head in the sand. Unfortunately, you can’t, and the sooner you accept that, the better. Ladies, it’s time to get serious.


Managing your time is going to be an essential part of your survival. There are some excellent websites online that offer tools to help you organise your hectic life. Try and to get you going. Make a list of all the topics you need to revise (I’m a sucker for a colour code!) and allocate them to the various slots of time on your calendar. You’ll probably find you’ve got more time than you realise! Use leftover time to plan FUN things to ease the tension. All work and no play can leave your feeling pretty down in the dumps…

A pile of books and a cup of coffee.
A pile of books and a cup of coffee.

It’s a start…

Dear Year 10,

Here is the start to our past exam question on Calpurnia:

How is the character of Calpurnia important to the novel as a whole?

Calpurnia is important to the novel as a whole for a variety of reasons. Lee uses her to add detail and depth to the novel’s main themes, such as (in)justice, family, equality and personal change. Furthermore, she is used as a representative of the black community in a Southern town in 1930s Alabama. Like Atticus, Calpurnia is used by Lee as a mouthpiece through which she expresses moral and ethical views.

Firstly, Calpurnia plays a significant part in Lee’s exploration of the theme of injustice. Whenever she has to discipline Scout, she does so in a way which is appropriate and fair. For example…

Over to you!

GCSE English Language: How to write a Formal Letter

You may be asked to write a formal letter in the Writing section of your English Language exam.

Here is an example from a previous exam paper:

The following is an extract from a letter from a pensioner to your local newspaper:


Dear Editor,


Isn’t it about time we considered raising the legal age for driving from 17? Statistics show that a large proportion of accidents involve drivers aged 17 or 18. The number of casualties is really shocking and, as a result of this, it costs huge sums of money to insure young drivers. Many other countries set the age at 18 and it could make sense to raise it to 20 or even 21.


This may not be a popular suggestion with young people, but it will be for their own good in the long term. I didn’t drive until I was 25 and it didn’t do me any harm.

You decide to write to the newspaper giving our views on this subject.

Write your letter.

 What to do

 1. Jot down the following ‘ingredients’ in your answer booklet, so that you don’t forget them:

  •  Facts / statistics
  • Anecdote
  • Criticise the opposite opinion
  • Rhetorical question

(If you are the kind of person who finds it hard to think of things to say, this can be really helpful. You could even have one paragraph for each ingredient…)

 2.      Decide what your views are going to be. It doesn’t matter what they really are; think about which point of view you will be able to write about most easily.

 3.      Plan what you will put in each paragraph. This might just mean adding some details to the list of ingredients you wrote at the beginning, like this:

  • Facts / statistics – research shows that the majority of RTAs involve drivers aged 22-30. Make up some statistics…
  • Anecdote – tell a personal story about the time my older sister passed her driving test…
  • Criticise the opposite opinion – Explain one of the main reasons people think teenagers are dangerous drivers, and say why it’s not true…
  • Rhetorical question – Could start with this: If we treat teenagers as if they are irresponsible, won’t we ultimately be sending the message that they are?

 You should also number these in the order you think makes the most sense. It’s quite nice to start with a rhetorical question, for example…

 4. Write your letter.

  •  Start a new page in your answer booklet.
  • Write your ‘address’ at the top right hand corner. Write the date underneath.
  • Write the address of the recipient a little way down on the left.
  • Begin formally:

 Dear Sir / Madam,

Dear Editor,

To whom it may concern,

Dear Mr. Codswollop,

 You may want to include a ‘subject’ next, a bit like you would in an email:

 Re.: Raising the legal age for driving

  •  Write 3 – 4 paragraphs, following the plan you made at the beginning. Whatever it is you are writing about, sound as if you are an expert. It should give the reader the impression that you know exactly what you’re talking about. Pay attention to your vocabulary. Some good ways of beginning your paragraphs include:

 I don’t wish to be dogmatic, but I believe…

There are many erudite arguments for / against…

There is a substantial / extensive amount of research indicating that…

The need for action is exigent.

  •  Sign off:

 Yours faithfully, (if you don’t know the name of the person to whom you are writing)

Yours sincerely, (if you do)

Best regards,

 Click on the link below for an example, written by the lovely people in year 11:

 How to Write a Formal Letter

How to get Better Marks in English

Work on your spelling. Go through your work and try to identify spellings you get wrong frequently. For example, you may get confused with ‘their’ and ‘there’ or get plural spellings wrong. Log on to for a range of strategies to help you learn spellings you find difficult. Practise.




Work on your punctuation. Again, go through your work and identify any errors that have been highlighted by your teacher. Common errors include using too many commas and not enough full stops; forgetting to use apostrophes to show possession or missing letters; using semi-colons incorrectly; putting apostrophes in random places wherever there’s an s, and forgetting to put the titles of poems/plays/stories in ‘inverted commas’. Practise.


Work on your vocabulary. Again, go through your work and see if you can identify words you tend to use all the time. Use a thesaurus to find alternatives or synonyms of these words. Practise using them in your work. Practise.

Read things. Try to find a good example of whatever it is you are writing. If it’s an essay, find a good essay. If it’s a leaflet, or a letter, or a magazine article, find a good leaflet, letter or magazine article. Try to look at a few of each. You should start to see words and phrases that are used frequently. Copy these down and learn them. Next time you have to write whatever-it-is, try to use them. Practise.



Don’t use more words than you need to! The best way to do this is to practise summarising texts. Read a magazine article that’s around 500 words and try to summarise it in 100. Or an article of 750 words in 200, and so on. This will force you to become more selective in both your reading, and your writing. Practise.

Year 11 Homework: Writing a Letter of Application

A company that runs play-schemes for children in the 3-10 age range is looking to recruit part-time staff for the school summer holidays.
You decide to apply.
Write your letter of application.

The quality of your writing is more important than its length. You should write about
one to two pages in your answer book.

This is due in on Friday (27th Jan).

Remember that you are assessed on your ability to write for a specific purpose, audience and, where appropriate, using a specific format.

In this case, the format is a letter.

The purpose is to present yourself in a favourable light. You will be using some features of persuasive writing.

The audience is a potential employer.

Click here for advice and guidance on this assignment.

It should sound something like this:

Dear Mrs. Staticfeet,

Having been forwarded details of your exciting summer playscheme by the National Youth Training Initiative, I am delighted to apply for the position of part-time Playscheme Worker. I feel that my previous experience in this field would make me an asset to both your team and the children in your care.

My work at the Highbury and Islington Children’s Centre last summer only increased my desire to work with children in the long term. There, I was responsible for…


Good luck!