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English Language

If you are fascinated by language, this course is for you.  Maybe you listen with interest when you come across an accent that is different from your own, or there might be a young child in your family learning to talk, or perhaps you’re intrigued by the way new words seem to appear on a daily basis – or even by the unique histories of older words.  Each of these areas, and many more besides, are the business of a linguist and this is what you become if you study English Language.  You can turn your natural interest in language into the study of linguistics.  During the two-year linear course, you will learn to analyse language in its many forms, conduct your own investigation into a particular area of language use and show creativity through the production of your own original writing.

To get started

The most important qualities you need are a curiosity about the way language works and an enjoyment of the process of reading and writing. To manage this course effectively, you will need high quality skills in analytical writing.  Successful students make meaningful contributions to discussions in class and have a pro-active and independent attitude to learning.  You will need to have a grade 5 in GCSE English Language.

Exams and Assesment

AAQ – 7702 A Level

A linear course assessed by two exam papers and two pieces of non-examination assessment.

Language, the Individual and Society 40%

Textual Variations and Representations

Children’s Language Development

Language Diversity and Change 40%

Diversity and Change

Language Discourses

Language in Action: A non-exam assessment worth 20% consisting of:

Language Investigation 10%

Original Writing 10%

What Next?

English Language sits happily alongside an impressive range of undergraduate subject combinations.  It is a particularly good choice for those considering A Levels in Literature, Modern Languages, Sociology and Psychology, although it can also make an ideal choice for those considering one of the sciences.

This course will prepare you to be a critical reader and effective communicator.  Past students have gone on to sucessful careers in media, journalism, teaching, law, politics and speech therapy.  It is also an excellent preparation for studying English Language or Linguistics at university.

The English language has never been so influential: it is the language of international business, politics and the internet.  It is in a constant state of evolution and the focus of many a lively debate on Twitter or YouTube.  It is interesting to find out what David Crystal, Donna Tartt or Stephen Fry have to say about it.

English Literature

Should women be forced to have babies?

Does raw sexual chemistry trump morality?

Were the Romantic poets more debauched than today’s rock stars?

Wouldn’t Hamlet have been happier if he had stopped his whinging and accepted his new father?

Can we trust anything a character tells us?

Are baddies really all that bad?

The A Level Literature course attempts to answer questions about the world and everything that’s in it.

Students will explore some of the best literature the English Language has to offer and consider what each text reveals about the human condition and the world around us.

Students will engage in lively debate concerning the ideas presented in literature and make connections between texts borne out of a diverse range of artistic movements and contexts. All aspects of essay writing will be honed including areas such as taking a firm perspective on an issue, composing sophisticated thesis statements, precision, structure and evaluation. Learning will be achieved through a combination of group work, independent study, lecture format, debate and discussion. You will refine your skills in evaluating the issues raised in texts and the methods writers utilise to present their ideas. You will consider and respond to alternative critical interpretations of literary texts from both academic writers and your classmates.

To get started

You will need to be interested in improving your skills in building a convincing argument, explaining and defending your viewpoint. You will enjoy reading and discussing prose, poetry and drama texts. You will be enthusiastic, have a sense of fun and possess a willingness to be directly involved in learning activities.

Exams and Assesment


Three examination papers (80%) and one piece of coursework (20%). All exams are open book.

Drama exam 9ETO/01: An essay on Hamlet and an essay on A Streetcar Named Desire – 30%.

Prose Study exam 9ETO/02: One comparative essay focusing on Frankenstein and The Handmaid’s Tale through the concept of ‘Science and Society’ – 20%.

Poetry exam 9ETO/03: Two comparative essays: one focusing on a selection of contemporary poetry both seen and unseen, one exploring the Romantic poets – 30%.

Coursework 9ETO/04: An essay comparing two texts which may be linked by theme, movement, author or period. 2500 to 3000 words – 20%.

What Next?

Some of the qualities most valued by today’s employers and universities are emotional and social understanding. The Literature course will refine these aspects of your personality as well as give you a more profound understanding of yourself and the world around you.

An A Level in English Literature can be used in a fantastic range of careers and higher education courses including the media, the arts and the performing arts, journalism, writing, education and academia, publishing, public relations, advertising, marketing and the law.

A Level Literature enables you to apply for single or combined Degree programs where you can study Literature alone or in conjunction with another academic field.

Student Absence Reporting


The absence reporting form is currently under review and will be available from Friday 22nd April. 

We apologise for any inconvenience 


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