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English Language & Literature A Level at Aylesbury Grammar School

Course description

English Language and Literature is a course that will enable students who enjoyed all aspects of their GCSE English course to develop their interests in the Sixth Form. The subject explores how language and literature work together as an integrated discipline, and will help you to gain greater confidence in using both spoken and written English.

This is achieved through the study of the spoken word in everyday contexts, and through close analysis of both works of literature and non-literary texts. It is, therefore, a broad and flexible subject, differing from A level English Literature chiefly because of this additional focus on the spoken word and non-literary texts. The course also requires you to produce some original writing of your own, written with a particular style and audience in mind.

The course will enable you to understand how the many and varied forms of English Language and Literature have been influenced by background factors such as historical events and changing social contexts. In dealing with English both as a spoken and as a written language you will become aware of how different perspectives have influenced and continue to influence others.

Course content

Students taking this course are expected to be enthusiastic readers with a keen interest in all types of literature (poetry, plays, novels), ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to modern authors. You will be required to analyse language in a variety of contexts such as extracts from radio programmes, diaries, magazines, even ordinary conversations.

You should be willing to join in discussions and share your ideas with others. As 20% of your final mark is based on coursework, you will need to work efficiently on your own and meet deadlines.

Entry requirements

GCSE English.


Paper 1 – telling stories (40% of A level) In this unit you will learn about how and why stories of different kinds are told. The ‘telling’ of the unit title refers to both how stories are told and why they are valuable (telling) within societies. This is assessed with a 3 hour exam. Students will study a prose set text, a collection of poetry and an anthology of assorted texts.

Paper 2 – exploring conflict (40% of A level) Here, students will focus on society as a whole, exploring conflict as a theme in literature and creating their own texts, writing a critical commentary on their own piece.

Assessment is a 2 hour 30 minute exam. Coursework – making connections (20% of A level) Students will be required to explore a particular theme in both literary and non-literary works. Assessment is through a comparison of this theme in a 2500-3000 word essay.

Future opportunities

As with English Literature, a qualification in English Language and Literature will provide you with a wide range of opportunities for future study in the Arts, Humanities, Media and Communications. It will also serve you well for a variety of careers such as in business, the law, education and journalism among many others.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Aylesbury Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years