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English Language and Literature A level at Paston Sixth Form College

Course description

This course integrates completely the study of language and literature. Whereas the GCSE courses tend to keep them distinct, we bring the two together in productive and exciting ways, applying linguistic concepts and methods of analysis to literary texts and vice versa. On one day, you might find yourself looking at similarities in language between a Keats poem and an advert; on another, you could be looking at the differences in speech patterns between people chatting in a pub and dialogue in a Shakespeare play. It’s a dynamic and wide-ranging course which gives you the chance to develop your skills in textual analysis and in many different forms of writing.

Course content

The course is organised into three genre-based units, each assessed by a two-hour exam (worth in total 80% of your final mark).

The first deals with poetry and prose; you study an exhilarating poetry anthology which takes you from Marlowe and Shakespeare to Yeats and Hardy via Rossetti and Barrett Browning, and a novel (a stone-wall classic like Dickens’ Great Expectations or a celebrated modern novel such as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple).

The second is on drama and involves work on a Shakespeare play (perhaps his sardonic romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing or the intense and harrowing tragedy of power, betrayal and family conflict, King Lear) and Diane Samuels’ powerful and moving Kindertransport, which focuses on the impact of World War Two on the Jewish children forced to leave their parents, exploring the legacy of the holocaust on their lives, families and identities.

Unit 3 is about non-literary texts. For this, you study Truman Capote’s stunning ‘non-fiction novel’ In Cold Blood, his investigation into the brutal killing of the Clutter family in late 1950s Kansas, and work on a wide range of unseen non-fiction texts – adverts, newspaper articles, blogs, conversation, twitter feeds, all the stuff you take for granted and don’t think of as an object for study.

Entry requirements

BBCCC at GCSE including English Language and either Mathematics or a science.


Three exams, all two hours in length (80%) and a coursework folder (20%).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Paston Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 09 September 2016

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