English Language & Literature

This course will develop your ability to read closely and intelligently and learn to discern the inferences and influences in a range of literary and non-literary texts, spoken and written. You will study poetry, drama and prose as well as an anthology of non-fiction texts; you will examine how these texts use language, form and structure to create meanings and ideas. The course will help you understand how the English language works in context, with a detailed knowledge of its functions and structures. You will develop your ability to write carefully constructed arguments in academic essays. Alongside this, you will also learn how to write creative and engaging fiction and non-fiction pieces of your own.

What skills will I develop?

Primarily, you will be developing your ability to read: to discern the inferences and contextual influences in a range of literary and non-literary texts; to explore the thematic implications; to consider character creation and development. In particular, you will examine the ways in which texts use language, form and structure to create meanings: the key skill of analysis.

You will be able to explore how the English Language works, with a detailed knowledge of its functions and structures.

You will become a better writer and communicator on this course as well: you will refine your essay writing skills as well as your ability to discuss and argue with flair and sophistication. You will also develop your skills as an accurate writer of a range of literary and non-literary texts, including prose fiction.

What topics will I study?

Component 1 - Examination:  Exploring Non-fiction and Spoken Texts (1 hour - 16%)

  • Section A: You will study an Anthology of non-fiction spoken and written texts across different time periods and contexts in order to prepare for a comparative and contextual essay based on the anthology and unseen texts.

Component 2 – Examination: The Language of Poetry and Plays (2 hours - 32%)

  • Section A: Poetry – Eavan Boland, New Collected Poems
  • Section B: Plays – Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Component 3 – Examination: Reading as a Writer, Writing as a Reader (2 hours - 32%)

  • Section A: Reading as a Writer – F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Section B: Writing as a Reader – Produce an original narrative text and a commentary

Component 4 – Non examined assessment: Independent Study: Analysing and Producing Texts (3200 words - 20%)

  • Section A: Analytical and Comparative Writing – Essay comparing two substantial non-fiction texts (2000 words approx.)
  • Section B: Original Non-Fiction Writing (1200 words approx.)

Where does the course lead?

English Language and Literature is a very flexible subject and fits wonderfully with many other AS/A Levels. Success on this course indicates to employers and universities the much valued skills of clear communication and sensitive reading.  It follows that there are many careers – direct and indirect – which may result from the study of English: Journalism, Publishing, Advertising, Research, Teaching, Public Relations, Law and Business are just a few possibilities.

Exam Board


Head of Department

Richard Vardy

Entry Requirements

Five A*- C grades (or equivalent 4+) including at least a grade 4 in English Language.

Grade 4+ in English Literature is desirable, but not essential.

Assessment Breakdown

Coursework = 20%, Examination = 80%