English Language & Literature A Level

Course Overview

Explore the myriad methods writers use to create meaning through this in-depth study of English Language and Literature. You’ll examine a wide range of texts, both literary and non-literary, learning how to use precise literary and linguistic terminology to analyse and compare works across genres and time.

The course covers literature (prose, poetry & drama) as well as spoken language texts and Truman Capote's renowned true crime non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood. The prose text we study is The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and our drama studies are shaped by Shakespeare's tragedy Othello and Alan Bennett's modern masterpiece The History Boys. Study of the different contexts in which all texted are created further illuminates how meaning is interpreted and how art is in constant conversation with life. 

Lessons will be an engaging mix of discussion, debates, pair, independent and group work. You'll develop the skills to write in a variety of styles and genres, and you'll create a portfolio of your own fiction and non-fiction writing. 

Throughout your studies, there will be opportunities to attend a range of activities to support your learning, including trips to see plays in performance. In recent years, our students have visited Shakespeare's Glove in London, the Cambridge Arts Theatre and the ADC Theatre, Cambridge. 

Year 1 Modules

  • Non-literary texts – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  • Poetry Pre-1945
  • Prose – The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Spoken Language

Year 2 Modules

  • Critical & Creative Genre Study
  • Post-1900 Drama – The History Boys by Alan Bennett
  • Shakespeare – Othello

Key Info

Minimum Entry Requirements

  • Five GCSEs at Grade 5 including:
    • Grade 5 in GCSE English Language
    • Grade 5 in GCSE English Literature


  • 80% Exam
  • 20% Coursework
  • Exam Board: EDUQAS

Exam Results 2022: 42% A* - B


Total students


Average class size






Why choose this course? 

We consistently seek out and attend opportunities to enhance learning on the course, in particular to support the Drama component.

We recently took a trip to the National Theatre in London and a visiting poet spoke to students. We offer opportunities to watch NT Live productions in college and in a usual year would attend at least one live Drama production, be that in Cambridge, London or further afield.

This is the course for you if:

  • You enjoy reading, forming opinions and discussing them with your peers
  • You’re interested in exploring different cultures and how these can be represented through language, structure and form
  • You are interested in the continuing conversation between society and the arts
  • You enjoy non-fiction as well as fiction and are excited by the idea of creative writing

Skills you'll gain

Through close examination of literary, non-literary and spoken texts across different time periods, you will learn how writers achieve their purposes.

You will learn to identify and explain the effects of linguistic and literary techniques using key terms such as phonology, lexis and grammar.

Knowledge of different social, historic and artistic contexts will illuminate your understanding of all these texts. You will also develop your own writing skills and put these into practice with two pieces of creative writing.

Combining the close study of writers’ techniques with your own creative endeavours is a fun and effective way to understand the elements that craft meaning.

After Long Road

Students go on to a range of studies such as:

  • English Literature
  • Law
  • Public Relations and Communications
  • Script-writing
  • Journalism
  • Film
  • Media
  • Publishing

at a wide range of institutions, including:

  • Sheffield University,
  • Aberystwyth University,
  • De Montfort University,
  • Anglia Ruskin University,
  • Nottingham Trent University,
  • Lincoln University
  • Greenwich University.

Students have also gone on to complete Apprenticeships in the field of Health and Administration.

The course is very challenging, and you learn a lot of really interesting things. It can be hard to reach the top grades, and you have to push yourself to succeed. This course would suit anyone who is determined, enjoys a challenge but above all who loves reading.