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English Language and Literature

A level

English Language and Literature explores the structure of the language and how it has developed over the centuries in drama, poetry and prose. This course is only suitable for you if you enjoy reading. We will study at a technical, linguistic level how grammar and language are used in different situations and analyse and compare different texts. We will study a range of challenging literary texts. You will also have the opportunity to produce your own pieces of writing, both literary and non-literary. 

Course content

Year 1 content

In the first year of the course, you will study the ways in which language functions in literary,non-literary and spoken texts from different periods. You will learn how to analyse language and literary techniques by using key terms including: phonology, lexis and grammar.

You will study a range of literary texts, including prose, poetry, drama and non-literary texts such as, autobiographies, biographies, travel writing, journalism and speeches. You will also have the opportunity to produce your own creative writing, both literary and non-literary, drawing on their knowledge and understanding of how texts are created for different audiences and purposes.

You will develop an understanding of how language and literary techniques are used to create meaning in literary and non-literary texts and explore these through analytical and creative work.

Skills you will need to develop include:

  • Analysing literary and linguistic techniques in both prepared and unseen texts
  • Directed writing for different audiences and purposes under exam conditions.
  • Exploring connections across a wide range of texts 

Assessment will be in the form of two examinations.

All students will take the AS examination at the end of Year 1.

Year 2 content

The second year of the course will develop on the skills you have acquired in the first year.

You will study additional texts to those studied in the first year. You will be encouraged to explore wider reading of spoken and written texts from different times and will be provided with opportunities to select appropriate methods of analysis when exploring non-literary texts.

You will develop the skills to recognise the bias, moral values, prejudice and attitudes of speakers and writers and be able to analyse how these are conveyed through the use of language.

For coursework you will be required to submit an extended study of a literary text and related wider reading from a choice of literary or non-literary genres, such as gothic, science fiction, crime or romance. You will also be expected to produce two pieces of creative writing: one literary in style and the other non-literary. Both pieces of writing must be informed by the research and study completed for your extended study.

Additional Skills you will need to develop include:

  • Writing in a variety of styles and genres for different audiences
  • recognising the bias, the moral outlook, prejudices, attitudes and values of speakers and writers and how these are conveyed through the use of language.

Assessment will be in the form of three two-hour examinations (80%) at the end of the course and a coursework folder (20%).

Special features

There will be a variety of extra-curricular activities, including theatre trips and workshops. For example, in the past we have visited The Globe Theatre in London and the Arts Cinema in Cambridge.

Is it for me?

You will enjoy and benefit from English Language and Literature if you:

  • are a keen reader and enjoy studying a wide variety of texts, prose, poetry and drama, from different eras;
  • are interested in the way that people use English, both spoken and written, for communication;
  • would like to analyse in linguistic detail how writers use language and express underlying themes;
  • enjoy debating and expressing your ideas and interpretations both verbally and in writing.

Entry requirements

At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including Maths and English. A Grade 4 or equivalent is required in English Literature if taken at GCSE level. 

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