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A Level

English Language & Literature A Level

Subject Area
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
2 years
Level 3

We follow the English Language and Literature specification from Edexcel which encourages interest and enjoyment of a range of literary and non-literary English texts. Students on the course are able to develop skills such as class discussion and debate, literary analysis and evaluation, considering a variety of viewpoints, engaging with texts from a literary and linguistic points of view and develop their own skills as producers of written language. We also engage creatively with the texts we read and use them is springboards for creative pieces.

We close read a range of texts, engaging with everything from authorship to subtext. Along with this we explore language analysis including how language sounds, grammatical structures, the complexity of the spoken word, and the assumptions writers, listeners, and readers make. Students also develop their own academic and analytical writing skills and complete a portfolio of creative writing, examining a genre of their own choice and producing related pieces.

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to read outside of the specification and discuss the chosen pieces in class. This links to the course as a whole and supports our students in the learning of a diverse range of genres and text types. We also try to find the connective tissue between classical and contemporary literature by exploring narrative themes in film and television and relating them back to the work we study.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 5 or above.

What will I study?

Year One
Our main texts studied in the first year are The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. We also study from Voices in Speech and Writing: An Anthology, this text is supplied by York College and contains a variety of works that we engage with throughout both Year One and Two of the course.

Paper One: Voices in Speech and Writing
Written exam, lasting 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of the qualification).

Section A - Creation of Voice: A response to a question from Voices in Speech and Writing: An Anthology.

Section B - Comparing Voices: One comparative piece of writing comparing one text from the anthology and one unseen text.

Paper Two: Varieties in Language and Literature
Written examination, lasting 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of the qualification).

Two question-based essays engaging with the set texts exploring the theme of Encounters. One extract based and the other relating to the text as a whole.

Year Two
Continuing with our themes of Encounters in literature, we move on to introduce the drama element of the course as well as a focus on creative writing. We study Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire along with the first-year prescribed texts. Students will also choose two of their own texts to form the backbone of their non-exam assessment.

Paper One: Voices in Speech and Writing
Written exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes consisting of two sections (40% of the qualification).

Section A - Voices in 20th- and 21st-century Texts: one comparative essay question on one unseen extract selected from 20th- or 21st-century sources and one text from the anthology.

Section B - Drama Texts: One extract-based essay question on the chosen drama text (A Streetcar Named Desire).

Paper Two: Varieties in Language and Literature
Written exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes (40% of the qualification).

Section A - Unseen Prose Non-fiction Texts: one essay question on an unseen prose non-fiction extract. The unseen extract is linked to the studied theme.

Section B - Prose Fiction and Other Genres: one comparative essay question on one prose fiction anchor text and one other text from a theme.

Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)
This is a coursework-based assessment that enables students to be analytical, creative, and original. There are two elements to the NEA (20% of the qualification).

Assignment 1 - two pieces of original writing: one piece of fiction writing and one piece of creative non-fiction writing.

Assignment 2 - one analytical commentary reflecting on your studied texts and the pieces of writing you have produced.

Additional costs
Set texts:
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter ISBN 978-0-099-58811-5
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë ISBN 978-0-141-43955-6
A Streetcar Named Desire ISBN 978-1-4081-0604-4

Method of delivery

You will follow the standard A Level model of delivery with three 90-minute lessons a week. Lessons will include activities such as class and group discussion, reading and research, seminars, creative writing, essay practice and a chance to improve your own personal writing style.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is 100% terminal exam at the end of Year One. Paper One is worth 50% of the total and Paper Two is worth 50%.

In the second year there are two exams and a non-examination assessment; Papers One and Two are worth 40% and the non-examined assessment is worth 20% of the final mark.

Good course combinations

This course combines well with most A Levels, particularly Modern Languages, Film Studies, Media Studies, History, Politics, Sociology, Music and Art.

Your next steps

Degree level study in areas such as English, journalism, creative and media industries, public relations, museum work, civil service, law etc. The course leads into literature and linguistics degrees and is popular among students who are planning to take their creative writing further. Past students have gone on to study at Cambridge, London, UEA, Huddersfield and other universities offering creative writing.

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