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Level: Advanced (Level 3)Awarding Body: OCR

Why study A Level English Language & Literature?

At the heart of this course is an exciting premise: that all texts, written and spoken, literary and non-literary, are worthy of study. As an English Language and Literature student you will engage with a broad and stimulating range of non-literary texts, from Twitter feeds (Caitlin Moran) and speeches (Russell Brand), to adverts and graphic non-fiction (Marjane Satrapi). You will also have the opportunity to study some of the greatest works of literature – poetry, prose and drama - in the English language. You will develop an intense and sophisticated awareness of the relationship between language, genre, purpose and audience, and will learn to apply both literary and linguistic techniques of analysis, in order to illuminate the multiple ways in which meanings are created in and by texts. The assumption that good writers make good readers is another key premise of this course, and you will have a chance to develop your ability to write skillfully and with ease in a range of different genres.

What can it lead to?

Studying English prepares you for a diverse range of professional fields. From the study of English Language & Literature you’ll develop comprehensive written and spoken communication skills, becoming adept at arguing a point, framing a narrative and analysing various levels of meaning. These skills are important in degrees or fields of employment where strong communication and written English are valued, for example:

  • Journalism & media occupations like news reporting, magazine journalism, television
  • Creative writing for a variety of audiences, including viewers as well as readers
  • Publishing, in either print-based or digital forms
  • Arts management and promotion
  • Advertising, marketing and PR
  • Careers in Law such as solicitor, barrister, paralegal or legal secretary
  • A teaching career at any level, from Primary school to Higher Education
  • Civil service posts

How is the course organised?

Awarding Body: OCR

Component 1 – Exploring Non-Fiction & Spoken Texts

(Examination – 16% of total A-level)

  • Study of OCR Anthology of Texts + unseen texts.

Component 2 – The Language of Poetry & Plays

(Examination – 32% of total A-level)

  • Songs of Innocence & Experience by William Blake
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Component 3 – Reading as a Writer/Writing as a Reader

(Examination – 32% of total A-level)

  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  • Creative writing task & commentary

Component 4 – Independent study

(Non-exam assessment – 20% of total A-level)

  • Comparative essay – texts to be confirmed
  • Original non-fiction writing task

How is the course assessed?

Components 1, 2 and 3 will be assessed by written examinations taken at the end of the year. Component 4 is known as ‘coursework’ and is internally assessed and consists of two coursework tasks.

In order to prepare for these, your knowledge, understanding and skills will be assessed at regular intervals during the year.

You will initially be asked to write short pieces in response to the texts, and through the year you will build up to writing longer and more sustained essays. Within this, you will be given regular practice at writing in timed conditions.

You will also be required to sit mock exams at designated points across the two years.

You will receive clear and detailed feedback on how to improve your work, and you will be guided on how to record and use this feedback effectively. All our students are expected to aim for high grades, and this assessment and guidance will help you do your very best.

What do I need to qualify for this course?

Level 5 required in both GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature. Applicants with two C grades in GCSE English from previous specifications will also qualify. Students must have a genuine enthusiasm for language and literature in order to succeed at this level. Essay writing is one of the key skills required of students and there will be regular assessment of written work during the course. As with all A Levels, students of English Language & Literature are required to be independent learners and it is a necessary skill that anyone wishing to undertake this course can motivate themselves to work and study independently. The suggested weekly private study for an A level course in English is a minimum of five hours and this would include: reading of course texts; review and organisation of classroom work; research, planning and completion of written assignments; and wider reading of secondary texts and materials to enhance understanding and enable students to develop as critical readers.

Who are the teachers?

Your teachers on A Level English Language & Literature will be:

Ms Redmond (MRE)

Ms Morgillo (CMO)

Ms Chilton (ACI)

Ms Leech (SLE)

Mr Cribbin (BCR)

All your teachers have relevant higher education qualifications.

What do students say about the course?

“The teachers really encourage you to be independent readers and thinkers. They expect you to come up with your own ideas, backed up by research and evidence.”

“It was so interesting learning about language in much greater detail. Now I know my prepositions from my pronouns!”

“I found the linguistic approach to my study of literature such a valuable one. It helped me to see more clearly the careful crafting of these great writers.”

What Else Should I Know About?

Above all, the course encourages students to become independent readers of different texts who can work effectively on their own as well as in a classroom environment. There are a huge variety of resources to help you with this on our regularly updated Moodle site. We also offer a range of extra-curricular activities, such as theatre trips, external workshops, university visits and revision conferences to enhance learning and understanding.