Alignment with the GCSE Specification | Facing History & Ourselves
Facing History & Ourselves

Alignment with the GCSE Specification

Read about how Teaching an Inspector Calls is aligned with Ofqual’s subject aims and learning outcomes for both the English Literature and English Language GCSEs.

Teaching An Inspector Calls

Use this unit to transform how you teach J.B. Priestley's play and support your students in becoming effective writers, critical thinkers, and socially responsible citizens, who excel in their GCSEs.

Teaching An Inspector Calls, which consists of twenty-three lessons of either 50 or 100 minutes, prepares teachers to teach the English GCSE text An Inspector Calls in an inspiring, challenging and motivating way, and enables students to excel academically. Throughout the scheme, students are given ample opportunities to develop their critical reading and comprehension skills, to practise producing clear and coherent writing, and to improve their spoken English through debates, presentations and discussions. Whilst the scheme of work is focused on preparing students for their English Literature GCSE, it is aligned with Ofqual’s subject aims and learning outcomes for both the English Literature and English Language GCSEs, and prepares students to fulfil assessment objectives relevant to both. Alongside the core lessons of the scheme of work are five optional GCSE supplements that focus solely on developing students’ persuasive writing skills or essay writing skills.

English Literature GCSE

Students are introduced to the sociohistorical context of An Inspector Calls before reading the play and are given ample opportunities to engage critically with the content and to develop their analytical skills. 

The English Literature GCSE assessment objectives, as outlined by the Department for Education 1 , are as follows:

English Literature GCSE assessment objectives
Objective Description
  • Maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response
  • Use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations
AO2 Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate
AO3 Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written
AO4 Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation


This unit enables students to fulfil AO1 by ensuring that students develop their comprehension skills, whilst engaging with texts both critically and analytically. Students are given opportunities to practise both literal and inferential comprehension; to engage critically with both their responses to the texts and those of their classmates, identifying and discussing any differences; and to compare the different texts that they read (in addition to the play, students read poetry, non-fiction texts on relevant themes, and a range of persuasive and essay writing models).


Students fulfil AO2 by analysing and evaluating the writer’s choice of language and crafting of the text, dissecting the messages transmitted by their artistic choices and the impact that they have, ultimately writing analytical paragraphs and essays to explain their findings.


Students are prepared for AO3 by being introduced to the broad sociohistorical contexts of An Inspector Calls (that of Edwardian society and those which are relevant to Priestley’s life experiences and when he wrote the play). They are also taught to examine the contexts of the play itself: how the characters and themes change as the action progresses. They then use this information when they both read and analyse An Inspector Calls.


Throughout the scheme, students are given a range of writing tasks – analytical, creative and otherwise – in which they are provided with sentence starters and models. These tasks, along with the frequent sharing opportunities in which students are able to verbalise their thoughts before putting them in writing, help prepare students to fulfil AO4. The Marking Criteria Codes (more below), which we recommend teachers use to engage with the work that students have produced, help prepare students to fulfil all of the assessment objectives.

For ease of reference, throughout the lessons in this scheme of work, we will refer to the assessment objectives for English Literature with the prefix of Lit (i.e. Lit-AO1, Lit-AO2, Lit-AO3, and Lit-AO4).

English Language GCSE

Students are exposed to a range of non-fiction texts, such as articles and primary sources, and are given a range of tasks that develop their creative writing skills and their ability to write for impact. 

The English Language GCSE assessment objectives, as outlined by the Department for Education 2 , are as follows:

English Language GCSE assessment objectives
Objective Description
AO1 Read and understand a range of texts to:
  • Identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas
  • Select and synthesise evidence from different texts
AO2 Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views
AO3 Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts
AO4 Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references
  • Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences
  • Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts
AO6 Candidates must use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation
Spoken Language
AO7 Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting
AO8 Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback to presentations
AO9 Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations

Reading (AO1, AO2, AO3, & AO4)

Students are prepared to fulfil AO1 by answering a range of comprehension questions, looking for both implicit and explicit ideas, and by identifying and synthesising information they encounter in non-fiction texts, both articles and primary sources, and the play itself. They often select and synthesise this evidence in pairs or groups before sharing their ideas with their classmates. Students use their ideas and interpretations to prepare for AO2: they annotate, analyse and discuss the different texts contained within the unit, sharing their ideas verbally and in writing. 

Students then prepare for AO3 by comparing writers’ ideas and perspectives across texts that share themes. They compare non-fiction texts and primary sources with each other, as well as with An Inspector Calls. To prepare for AO4, students engage with all of the texts contained within the unit critically, evaluating their messages and deciding whether or not certain statements concerning texts and their content are supported by evidence. 

Throughout the unit, students are given ample opportunities to reflect on the texts they read, and to share their reflections with each other, which exposes them to the fact that texts can be interpreted in a range of ways.

Writing (AO5 & AO6)

Students are assisted in fulfilling AO5 in the range of writing tasks set throughout the unit that are related to An Inspector Calls and the other texts encountered. Students have the opportunity to write for impact, adapting their style, register and content for a range of purposes and audiences: they write creatively from the perspective of a character or person in history, using both the primary sources and the play as a stimulus; they write in order to persuade using the format of a speech or letter from their own perspective, building on content that they have covered in the lesson; and they write analytically, outlining their findings and structuring their claims and ideas into paragraphs or an essay. The use of sentence structures, models and the suggested use of marking codes, as well as the range of sharing opportunities and group work also help prepare students to succeed at AO6.

Spoken Language (AO7, AO8, & AO9)

Finally, the spoken language, listening and communication skills of students are developed throughout the scheme of work through a range of debates, discussions, group work and presentations. In every lesson, students are given the opportunity to practise the demands of AO8 as students share ideas with their classmates in a range of formats. They also have the opportunity to deliver speeches and presentations in debates and in the mock court trial regarding the death of Eva Smith, thus practising their spoken Standard English. In these activities, students are provided with sentence starters and phrases to assist them in structuring their ideas effectively, thus helping them prepare to fulfil AO9. The debate between Birling and Company vs the union of the factory workers and the mock court trial (Lesson 10 and Lesson 19, respectively) also give students the chance to demonstrate their presentation skills in a faux-formal setting. All of these skills will help students when they come to deliver their formal speech on their chosen topic to fulfil AO7.

For reference throughout the lessons of this unit, we will refer to the assessment objectives for English Language with the prefix of Lang (i.e. Lang-AO1, Lang-AO2, Lang-AO3, Lang-AO4, etc.).

Developing Written English

To succeed in both school and the world beyond, it is vital that students are not only able to produce clear and coherent text that responds to the criteria set, but that they are able to write in Standard English, using accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar. Throughout the scheme of work, we, therefore, recommend that teachers use Marking Criteria Codes when reviewing students’ written work to help them develop the structure and content of their writing, and their written English. These marking codes enable teachers to nurture their students as effective writers by giving them in-depth feedback, which requires proactive student engagement.

Key Skill Areas

Using Ofqual’s subject aims and learning outcomes for both the English Literature and English Language GCSEs, and the assessment objectives, we have identified key skill areas that are being developed in the lessons. They will be signposted when they occur in the lessons and will be linked to corresponding assessment objectives when relevant using the Lit-/Lang- structure outlined above.

  • Analysis
  • Application of Contextual Information
  • Clear and Coherent Writing
  • Comparison and Evaluation Skills
  • Creative Writing 
  • Critical Reading 
  • Critical Thinking
  • Evidence-Based Reasoning
  • Knowledge of Content 
  • Knowledge of Subject Terminology
  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Spoken Language Skills
  • Summarising and Synthesising Skills
  • Writing for Impact (form, audience, purpose)


You might also be interested in…