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GCE A Level English Language and Literature at Bournville College

Course description

This course is based on 2 main areas of study: English Literature which covers Drama, Poetry and Prose and English Language which includes the spoken and written word. You will develop your understanding of how language is used for different audiences. You will also develop your own writing skills.

Students have the opportunity to go on a number of theatre trips. AS and A2 groups regularly go to see productions at the RSC in Stratford Upon Avon and The Lowry Centre in Manchester. The College also has strong links with the English department at Aston University and the students have bi-annual attendance at undergraduate lecturers by the professors in residence.

Course content

The Modules available at AS are
Module 1 Critical Reading of Literary and Non – Literary Texts
Section A: This section is based on your study of two prose texts. You will study one ‘core’ text and a ‘partner’ text. You will be required to compare and contrast, exploring the relationships between the texts and to consider the influence of contextual factors, using integrated linguistic and literary approaches to analyse both texts.  The texts are ‘Stuart A Life Backwards’ by Alexander Masters and ‘Once in a House on Fire’ by Andrea Ashworth. Assessment will be in the form of a written examination.

Section B: In the new academic year you will be presented with a poetry anthology containing a range of literary texts.  The aim of this module is to introduce you to the skills of critical analysis.  Assessment will be in the form of a written examination.

Module 2  Producing of Texts
This module is designed to develop your own expertise as a writer.  You will be able to choose the style in which you wish to write e.g. writing to entertain, to persuade, to inform or to instruct.  You will also be required to submit a commentary on your writing explaining and analysing your piece.  Assessment will be by the production of a coursework folder containing 2 pieces of original writing totalling 2000 words plus a commentary of approximately 500 words.

The Modules available at A2 are:
Module 3 Analysing and Producing Performance Texts
You will be required to produce 2 assignments, one based on a literary text, the other a transcript of spoken language.  Each assignment will form a 1000 word analysis of the language variation of literary and spoken language.

Section A: Dramatic texts in context.  A Shakespearean text (Macbeth) should be the focus of students’ detailed study, as this should be regarded as the ‘core’ text. The second drama/performance text can be by any author other than Shakespeare, and from any time period. It can also be a screenplay/play script for a film/play that has already been produced/performed, with Hollywood film ‘Pulp Fiction’ being chosen.  This text should be regarded as the ‘partner’ text, and so the study of this text will be broader in focus and should illuminate the Shakespeare study.

Section B: Producing texts for performance. You will be required to:

write 2 original spoken texts for performance for different audiences and purposes (approximately 1000 words in total);

evaluate the effectiveness of one of the texts they have produced (approximately 500 words).

The original spoken texts can be spontaneous or prepared. You will be free to perform the texts themselves but there is no requirement for this. Obviously in order to produce a transcription the text would have to be performed and taped, but again, this need not be in front of an audience. One of the 2 original texts should be transcribed, i.e. showing pauses, stress, intonation and other prosodic features. Tapes from which the transcription has been made should not be submitted.

Module 4 Comparative Textual Analysis and Review (synoptic)
Section A: Comparative analysis of texts. You will be required to answer one compulsory question in this section. The question will require you to produce a detailed comparative analysis of three unseen texts of different genres, chosen from a range of types and periods.  The core text is the Granta Book of Reportage which consists of a range of political essays by renowned writers, each dealing with a major international incident.  Examples topics in the collection are: the Gulf War, the Holocaust and other key historical events. The focus of the analysis will be provided in the question. In your response to the question, you will be expected to select and apply relevant linguistic and literary approaches from your integrated studies.

Section B: Reviewing approaches ('open' text – clean copy). You will be required to answer one question in this section, from a choice of six. Each question will require a piece of extended writing designed to allow candidates to reflect on insights gained from integrated linguistic and literary study across the whole A level course. Assessment will be in the form of a written examination.

Entry requirements

5 GCSE's at grade C or above including at least a grade C but preferably a grade B in your GCSE English.


The main two aspects you will study are the language changes and the different way authors treat similar themes.  Assessment will be in the form of a written examination.

Specification at a Glance English Language and English Literature

AS Examination
Unit  1 - Introduction to Language & Literature Study
Examiniation: 60% of the total AS marks.  30% of the total A level marks 2 hours

Unit 2 - Production of Texts
Coursework: 40% of the total AS marks. 20% of the total A level marks

A2 Examination
Unit 3 - Coursework unit
Coursework: 20% of the total A level marks

Unit 4 - Critical Approaches
Examination: 30% of the total A level marks. 2½ hours (including ½ hour reading time)

Future opportunities

With a qualification in English, you could go into higher education and/or work in the media and communication industry, teaching, administration, publishing or librarianship.

Further information

If you are interested in studying this course please contact the Advice Zone on 0121 477 1300

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 08 August 2016
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