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English Language & Literature - A Level

Available for applications

More information about this Course

Useful Information

On the combined English Language and Literature course, students will study a range of writing from a variety of genres, including the main literary types: novels, poetry and drama. Students will also study a wide selection of non-fiction texts, ranging from newspaper journalism to autobiographies and travel writing.

Texts are studied from both literary and linguistic viewpoints. The language of speech and conversation will also form part of this course and students will examine the way speech is used in everyday life and in literary dialogue.

Overall, the course aims to foster a deeper understanding of English Language and Literature and to prepare students to study a range of English-related courses in higher education.

The A Level course comprises two exam papers and a coursework assignment.

Course Overview

On the A Level course, students will learn how to use an ‘integrated’ analytical approach to spoken and written texts, using both literary and linguistic concepts and terminology.

Basic concepts from a linguistic approach will be taught, enabling students to be more precise in their interpretation of texts. These ‘frameworks’ include:

  • Phonology and prosodics (the sounds of real speech and the patterns of sound in literature) 
  • Lexis and semantics (the connotations of word choices and imagery) 
  • Grammar (the role of specific words, such as pronouns and verbs, in a sentence) 
  • Pragmatics (how different contexts and situations affect meaning)

At A Level, students will study an Anthology of spoken and written texts entitled Voices in Speech and Writing, which contains a wide variety of texts, such as newspaper articles and reports; extracts from autobiographies, diaries, travel writing and digital texts (such as ‘blogs’); book and television reviews. Other examples of these types of text will be studied to develop the skills of writing comparatively.

Students will study one compulsory prose fiction ‘anchor’ text, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and the play by Lorraine Hansberry ‘A Raisin in the Sun’.. This ‘text pairing’ will be following the theme: Society and the Individual.

There is also a coursework component, worth 20% which requires the production of creative writing in response to the study of two stimulus texts: Margaret Atwood’s, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ by `Che’ Guevara.

In addition, technical accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar is essential for achieving a good grade at A Level.

Students will succeed on this course if they:

  • Enjoy reading and responding to many different kinds of writing, including whole novels and plays 
  • Are willing to explore in detail, through close text analysis, how language can affect the reader or listener 
  • Are prepared to learn the terminology associated with a linguistic approach to English 
  • Enjoy writing (accurately and fluently) in different forms, for different purposes and audiences 
  • Enjoy taking part in discussion 
  • Find language itself interesting; the way it changes and means different things to different people

Course Highlights

Course Specific Trips & Visits

The College runs a number of educational experiences each year to enable students to contextualise their learning. These experiences include trips to The Globe, The National Theatre, Chichester Festival and includes talks/workshops with visiting speakers.

Career Opportunities & Further Study

Many of our students continue with an English or English-related degree at university. Others graduate in Law, History, Sociology and History for example, having made excellent use of the skills acquired from A Level English.

Russell Group universities particularly look for A Level English as part of their preferred qualifications profile. English A Level is highly regarded by all universities and employers.



There are two components at A Level, each worth 40% of the final qualification, plus a coursework component worth 20%. Both are assessed by formal written examinations of 2 hours, 30 minutes, and will be taken in June.

The exam board for this A Level is Pearson Edexcel.

Entry Requirements

Students wishing to include A Levels in their programme need to have (or expect to achieve) at least five GCSE passes, with at least two at Grade 5 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.

In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirement:

  •  Grade 5 in English Language and Grade 5 English Literature, if taken.

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