English Language & Literature

The combined English Language & Literature course will introduce you to an exciting range of English and American literature, exploring themes such as love, sex, sexuality, deception and death. The course will also help you to develop your understanding of linguistic and literary techniques, equipping you with the skills to analyse diļ¬€erent kinds of literary and non-literary texts. So, if you enjoy taking part in discussion, writing essays and reading novels, plays and poetry which explore moral issues, dysfunctional relationships, gender roles, alienation and human identity, but also want to impress your friends with your knowledge of abstract nouns, adverbials, late eighteenth century romantic poetry and fronted conjunctions, this is the course for you!

Awarding Body

Available As

A Level

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What will I study?

English Language & Literature involves studying a range of texts, mostly but not completely literary ones, and exploring and analysing these, using linguistic as well as literary approaches. There are four Components (3 exam/1 coursework = 80%/20%) to the A-level:

  1. Exploring non-fiction and spoken texts - this involves the study of a range of non-literary texts, including classic works such as Pepys' Diary and Swift's brilliant satire 'A Modest Proposal', newspaper articles, an interview with a 'rap' artist, graphic non-fiction, political texts and even something on Twitter!
  2. The language of poetry and plays - William Blake's powerful exploration of conflict, corruption and spirituality in  'Songs of Innocence and Experience' and Tennessee Williams' classic mid-20th Century play about sexual passion and violent desire in the American Deep South - 'A Streetcar Named Desire'.
  3. Reading as a writer, writing as a reader - a study of narrative fiction through analysis of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic critique of the American Dream - 'The Great Gatsby' - and through students' own creative writing.
  4. Independent study/coursework - a comparative study of a non-fiction set text with students' own choice of text and a non-fiction creative writing task.

How will I learn?

Students will read texts - some in class and some outside - and then discuss and analyse these in small groups, as a whole class and individually. There will be a variety of tasks to encourage you to engage with the texts and develop your understanding and analytical skills. You will be taught a wide range of literary and linguistic terminology (some of this will be very new to you) to help you to develop the depth and quality of your responses to the texts. There will also be opportunites to watch plays and films and to use more inter-active resources. The main aims will be to encourage your enjoyment of texts, provide you with the confidence to evaluate their meaning and give you the skills to write good essays.

How will I be assessed?

The course is 80% exam and 20% coursework:

  • Component 1 Exam 1 hr 16% (Anthology of non-fiction spoken and written texts in comparison with unseen texts) Closed Text
  • Component 2 Exam 2 hrs 32% (Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience and Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire) Closed Text
  • Component 3 Exam 2 hrs 32% (Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Creative Writing) Open Text
  • Component 4 Coursework 20% (Comparative study of a non-fiction text with another text and Creative Writing)

Are there any trips on this course?

Much Ado about Nothing

Measure for Measure

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

National Theatre live Cat on Hot Tin Roof


A Streetcar Named Desire

The Duchess of Malfi

Are there any extra costs?

Students purchase their own texts at a reduced cost via the College - was £25 in 2018.

Some additional materials/handbooks available at very low costs.

Are there any specific entry requirements?

English Language GCSE at Grade 5

Careers Information


Can I take this alongside other English A Levels?

No you cannot do this alongside English Literature or English Language A-levels.

Does this count as 1 or 2 A Levels?

This is a combined course that counts as one A Level.

Can I study English at university if I do this course?

Many of our students do go on to study English at University from this course, although if you want to do a straight English Literature course at a higher level, you may be well advised to take the English Literature A-level, simply because you will have read more books.

How often do I have to write essays?

You will normally be expected to write an essay at least once a fortnight.