A Level English Language and Literature (Edexcel)

Entry Requirements

  • Six GCSEs 9-4, two from English, Maths OR Science
  • Two at least grade 6

Specific requirements for English Language and Literature:

  • GCSE grade 5 or higher in English Language and English Literature

What is English Language and Literature?

A Level English Language and Literature offers the chance to study a wide range of texts, both literature and journalism, and produce creative writing. A Level students will study The Great Gatsby, A Streetcar Named Desire, Philip Larkin’s poetry and an anthology of non- fiction texts.

Components

Component 1: (40% of a level)

Students will study an anthology of non-fiction texts and the play A Streetcar Named Desire.

Component 2: (40% of a level)

Students will study the theme of ‘The Individual and Society’ through The Great Gatsby and Philip Larkin’s poetry and unseen texts.

Component 3: (20% of a level)

Students will produce two creative writing pieces: one fiction and one non fiction and write an analytical commentary.

Skills

You will develop your analytical and creative skills. You will become an expert on understanding a writer’s voice and style of writing. Essay writing and creative writing skills will be developed to a high level.

Video

Careers / destinations

You could go on to careers in the creative arts, journalism, copy- writing, marketing, teaching and many more.

English Department

What is the difference between A level English Language and A level English Literature?

The two courses are entirely different. In Literature, students will study a range of genres – novels, poetry and drama – and will also be required to analyse unseen texts. In Language, students will study a wider range of texts – both fiction and non-fiction. They will also study spoken language in action – for example how children acquire language, political discourse and everyday conversations.

What are the topics you study on the English Language A level?

There are a variety of topics covered on the A level including, Language and Power, Child Language Acquisition, Standard and Non-Standard English and Language and Gender. We study texts from Early Modern English (1600-1800) up to English in the 21st Century mainly focusing on language use and changes that have occurred post-2000. For the coursework component, students may choose an area of the course in which they want to specialise for their investigation.

What does the combined A level in Language and Literature entail?

You study literature: A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams), The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald) and The Whitsun Weddings (Philip Larkin) Also An anthology of non-fiction texts which includes newspaper articles and opinion columns, famous speeches, and transcripts of TV interviews e.g. there is one with former President Obama. Coursework: you will write a piece of fiction and non-fiction e.g. a dystopian short story and an article on a subject of your choice.

What are the set texts for A level English Literature?

Drama: A Streetcar Named Desire, (Tennessee Williams) The Duchess of Malfi (John Webster) and either King Lear or The Tempest (Shakespeare)
Poetry: The Whitsun Weddings by Philip Larkin, and Meantime by Carol Ann Duffy and The Merchant’s Tale by Geoffrey Chaucer Coursework is a comparative essay on two novels. This year they are A Room with a View and either The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mohsin Hamid) or Girl Meets Boy (Ali Smith)

How are the 3 A levels assessed?

Both Literature and Language have 3 exams at the end of the 2- year courses. They are worth a total of 80% of the marks. Each A level also has a coursework component worth 20% of the course.

Is there coursework for the English A Levels?

Yes, each A Level has a coursework component, which is introduced
in the first year.

Does the combined A level count as 1 subject?

Yes. It would be 1 of the 3 subjects you would choose to study at Loreto.

Are English A levels well-regarded by universities?

Yes! All three A levels help students to develop their spoken and written communication skills. They involve analysis, research and independence. These are essential preparation for undergraduate study and they also combine well with a whole variety of other subjects.

I want to be a journalist. Which English A level would be best for me?

Any of the English A levels will give you the confidence in written and spoken expression and a wide cultural knowledge.

I want to be a lawyer. Which English A level should I choose?

English Literature is typically regarded as the best option here.

I really like creative writing. Which of the 3 A levels should I choose?

There are opportunities for creative writing in both English Language and the combined A level throughout the two years. Even if you do not choose to study English you can opt into a creative writing enrichment class which is one period a week and completed alongside your other subjects. Check out our Manchester Muse blog for some examples of the work that these students have produced.