WJEC GCSE in English Literature for Wales: Resources for Teachers

Welcome! These pages provide detailed readings of the poems selected by the WJEC for the GCSE in English Literature component on Welsh Writing in English (for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022). You will find detailed discussions of each of the set poems, along with some pictures and links.  Helpsheets can be downloaded as individual PDFs or all 15 helpsheets can be downloaded as a single PDF file. Click on the poem titles below or navigate via the left-hand menu.

These readings are aimed at teachers doing the background reading in preparation for teaching, but can be viewed and used by anyone. 

NB: These resources are not endorsed by the WJEC and are not intended to replace any of the teaching resources created by the WJEC. 

These pages were commissioned and edited by CREW, the Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales.

Information for Teachers

The fifteen helpsheets provide a broad introduction and literary analysis without specific reference to the theme selected by the WJEC for 2020.  The helpsheets are intended for teachers who wish for a speedy but in depth immersion in the poems before they turn to prepare their own teaching materials or to make use of the classroom resources on offer from the WJEC.

Information for Students

These helpsheets are in-depth but general critiques of the poems. They provide a general reading of the poem aimed at teachers.  Students may gain insights into how to compose critical prose and gain good understanding of the techniques, themes and imagery of the poem which could help you develop your own ideas.  Remember - your coursework needs to be your own, so by all means use these for inspiration, but following them too exactly will not help you in your assessment.  First, examiners will recognise over-reliance on existing sources and, second, they are not focussed on the chosen theme and contain additional material such as contexts which are not assessed. 

About Us

Swansea University was ranked in the top ten English departments in the UK (number 7) in the recent audit of research excellence (REF 2014). The university is home to CREW (Centre for Research into the English Literature and Language of Wales), a research centre that specialises in Anglophone literature from Wales. 

About this resource

Fifteen poems are selected each year from the Library of Wales anthology, Poetry 1900-2000 edited by Meic Stephens.  The WJEC set a theme through which lens the poems are studied.  These helpsheets do not follow a particular theme but look at the poems in the round.

This is a pilot project. We have undertaken some consultations with teachers, but we welcome further feedback as we consider rolling out this resource to cover all 60 poems identified by WJEC as potential set texts on the annual GCSE in English Literature (Wales).  Please send comments and suggestions to Professor Kirsti Bohata at k.bohata@swansea.ac.uk


The helpsheets were commissioned by Professor Kirsti Bohata, the Director of CREW in collaboration with our partners Literature Wales.  The helpsheets were co-Edited by Professor Bohata and Dr Siriol McAvoy(Honorary Research Fellow, CREW).  PDFs were designed by Literature Wales.  We are grateful to Professor Matthew Jarvis (University of Wales, Trinity St Davids / Aberystwyth University) for his role in developing a model helpsheet.