English Language and Literature (A Level)

Why should I study A Level English Language and Literature?

Discover a unique approach to English with Language and Literature. Combine your study of novels, poems and plays with blogs, interviews, travel writing and screenplays. Read critically and think creatively; writing stories alongside essays, to broaden your study and explore a new way to think about English.

The course recognises that English is not easily divided between Language and Literature. When studying combined English, you will get the opportunity to investigate texts from a wide range of genres and periods. You will become a confident reader and develop your writing skills in a variety of critical and creative ways providing you with a unique and comprehensive study of English.


The two-year course involves the study of a variety of texts:

Non-Fiction Texts and Spoken Texts 

Exploring a range of speeches, graphic novels, TV scripts and letters provides you with a unique perspective on how language is used in real situations and how it is adapted for fiction. Based on your understanding of different styles, you will get the opportunity to write your own creative non-fiction.

Literary Texts 

Studying The Great Gatsby provides you with an insight into how the choice of language combines with narrative techniques to create distinctive and powerful writing. Working on narrative style, point of view, dialogue, characterisation and setting enables you to create your own fiction writing. The combined approach of Language and Literature will include the study of a play such as The Importance of Being Earnest, A Streetcar Named Desire or Translations and a collection of poems by poets such as William Blake or Carol Ann Duffy.


You will have the opportunity to choose your own text to compare with a non-fiction text such as Stasiland, In Cold Blood or Why be Happy When You Could be Normal? You will also produce your own non-fiction writing which could be a blog, newspaper editorial, travel writing or biography.


Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.


Three written examination papers taken at the end of the second year and a piece of non-examined assessment.

Paper 1: (16%) Comparison of an anthology text with an unseen text. 

Paper 2: (32%) Comparison of poems and analysis of an extract of a play. 

Paper 3: (32%) Critical discussion of The Great Gatsby and production of a narrative opening.

Non-Examined Assessment: (20%)

Critical essay comparing a non-fiction text and a text of your own choice, and a piece of original non-fiction writing.

Minimum Entry Criteria

Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of: 




GCSE English Language






GCSE English Literature

Please note, it is not possible to take A Level English Language and Literature alongside any other English A Level.

We are an inclusive department and in some situations we will consider students who have achieved a good grade in only one GCSE English course.


Our students continue their studies with a variety of degrees, such as English, drama, law, history and even science subjects, and pursue a range of careers including print and electronic journalism, creative writing, publishing, teaching and marketing. Language and Literature is valued by employers and universities because it develops core communication and analytical skills alongside creative thinking.


The subject fits into any programme of study and is a good accompaniment to creative and critical subjects. English lessons include a wide range of varied activities and utilise various technologies such as PowerPoint, Padlets and Kahoot

Students will be provided with a variety of course resources, but must purchase their own texts. Financial assistance may be available where required.

English students are offered a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities such as trips to the theatre, cinema, lecture days and support for those applying to study English at university. We run popular residential trips including Stratford-Upon-Avon and a Creative Writing retreat, and invite visiting speakers such poets, novelists, playwrights and journalists to talk to our students. We also participate in the Royal Shakespeare Company live streaming and offer Additional Studies in Creative Writing, College Magazine and Debating.