On the combined English Language & Literature course, students will study a range of writing from a variety of genres, including the main literary types: novels, poetry and drama. Students will also study a wide selection of non-fiction texts, ranging from newspaper journalism to autobiographies and travel writing.Texts are studied from both literary and linguistic viewpoints. The language of speech and conversation will also form part of this course and students will examine the way speech is used in everyday life and in literary dialogue. 

Overall, the course aims to foster a deeper understanding of how the English language is used in particular contexts and for different purposes and audiences.  It is excellent preparation for undergraduate study on a range of English-related courses at university.  

What goes well with this course?

English Language & Literature combines well with any subject.


Many students continue with an English or English-related degree at university.  Others study Law, History, Sociology and History for example, making excellent use of the linguistic analysis skills acquired from A Level English. 

Course Content

On this course, students will learn how to use an ‘integrated’ analytical approach to spoken and written texts, using both literary and linguistic concepts and terminology. 

Basic concepts from a linguistic approach will be taught, enabling students to be more precise in their interpretation of texts. These ‘frameworks’ include:  

  • Phonology and prosodics (the sound of real speech and the patterns of sound in literature)
  • Lexis and semantics (the connotations of word choices and imagery)
  • Grammar (the role of specific words, such as pronouns and verbs, in a sentence)
  • Pragmatics (how different contexts and situations affect meaning

Unit One

Students will study an Anthology of spoken and written texts entitled Voices in Speech and Writing, which contains a wide variety of texts, such as newspaper articles and reports; extracts from autobiographies, diaries, travel writing and digital texts (such as ‘blogs’); book and television reviews. Other examples of these types of text will be studied to develop the skills of writing comparatively. A new drama text will be studied in the second year: Translations by Brian Friel 

Unit Two

Students will study one compulsory prose fiction ‘anchor’ text, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Shakespeare’s Othello. This ‘text pairing’ will be following the theme: Society and the Individual. 

Unit Three

The coursework component, worth 20%,  requires the production of creative writing in response to the study of two stimulus texts. Students will produce fiction and non-fiction creative writing and analyse their language choices in a commentary. 

Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

English Language & Literature A Level students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course-related experiences. We always try to enrich students’ study of texts with trips to see plays or to hear authors discussing their work. In recent years, these have included:

  • A visit to see a production of Translations at the National Theatre in London
  • A visit to see a production of The Crucible at The Old Vic Theatre in London

Activities Programme

In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.

Work Experience

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.


The A Level is assessed by examination and coursework. There are two written examinations of 2 hours 30 minutes, each worth 40% of the final qualification, plus a coursework component worth 20%.  The exam board for this A Level is Pearson Edexcel.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

 In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE requirement:  

  • Grade 5 in English Language and English Literature

In addition, technical accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar is essential for achieving a good grade at A Level.

Students will succeed on this course if they:

  • Enjoy reading and responding to many different kinds of writing, including whole novels and plays
  • Are willing to explore in detail, through close textual analysis, how language can affect the reader or listener
  • Are prepared to learn the terminology associated with a linguistic approach to English
  • Enjoy writing (accurately and fluently) in different forms, for different purposes and audiences
  • Enjoy taking part in discussion
  • Find language itself interesting; the way it changes and means different things to different people

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2020

Students from partner schools (Reigate, Warwick, de Stafford and Oakwood) should complete an online application under the guidance of their school.

All other applicants should download and return the 2020 application form.

All applications will be considered according to the College’s Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

Back to top
Font Resize