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:
- 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!
- 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'.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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)
Many of our students go on from this course to study English courses at University, these include combination courses of Language and Literature, English Language, and Linguistics. English is also a course that allows for a wide range of Joint Honour options at University, this is where English is combined with another subject to create a dual degree programme, for example:
• English and Drama
• English and History
• English and Philosophy
• English and Music
• English and Creative Writing
After University, the options available to English graduates are vast:
• Public Relations
• The Civil Service
are some of the more traditional routes linked to an English degree.
• Human Resources
• Teaching English as a Foreign Language
• Events Management
• Law Conversions
• Media Production
are other common destinations for those with English qualifications.
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
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.
English Language GCSE at Grade 5
No you cannot do this alongside English Literature or English Language A Levels.
This is a combined course that counts as one A Level.
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.
You will normally be expected to write an essay at least once a fortnight.
Progression and Career Opportunities
A fifth of graduates go on to further study, almost a third of whom are studying towards a teacher training qualification and a quarter continue to study English.
- Public Relations
- The Civil Service