This course is based on two disciplines within English studies main areas of study: English Literature which covers drama, prose and creative writing and English Language which includes language, syntax, grammar and phonology. 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.
Students' perspectives: ‘I have achieved 3 grades A in A Level Law, English Language & Literature and Psychology. I’m really pleased with my achievements and glad that my hard work paid off. My results will guarantee me a place at the University of Birmingham where I’m going to study LLB (Hons) Law degree.’
Students are assessed by external exams and through an internal coursework component in the second year.
Teaching methods are based around group discussion and lecture centred learning. Coursework sessions are frequently run in workshop style, which enables you to gain the best possible grade for each piece of written work. Visits to local theatres are also part of the course.
To obtain a certificate for Advanced Subsidiary GCE, you will need to have studied for and been assessed on your performance in 2 AS units.
Students will then have the opportunity to enter a second year of study to gain an A-level qualification. Progression into the second year of study, however, is dependent on them gaining a minimum of a grade 3 (D) in the AS component of the course.
Work Experience All students are required to complete a minimum of 20 hours work experience in both year one and year two. This will help develop the personal qualities and skills required by universities and employers.
The components available at AS are: Component 1: Voices in Speech and Writing (2 hour 15 minute examination, 50% of qualification) Section A - Creation of Voice: In this section you will be required to create an original piece of writing to a specific genre inspired from a text in the Voices in Speech and Writing anthology. This anthology offers a diverse range of media texts including articles, reportage, reviews, interviews and blogs. Section B – Comparison of Voice: In this section you will compare another text from the Voices in Speech and Writing anthology with an unseen text of a different genre. You will analyse how writers shape a clear ‘voice’ in their writing through their lexical choices, grammatical structures, literary devices and rhetorical features.
Component 2: Varieties of English Language & Literature (2 hour 15 minute examination, open-book, 50% of qualification) Section A – Prose Fiction Extract: Learners will read and analyse F. Scott Fitzgerald’s important social novel The Great Gatsby. You will gain insight into the social issues of 1920’s America and how Fitzgerald dramatizes the corruption of an important age in American history. Section B – Exploring Text and Theme: Students will explore social and political themes explored in William Shakespeare’s Othello, looking closely at how Shakespeare uses dramatic structure, characterisation and language to explore the presentation of identity, race, the role of women, personal honour and morality. The components available at A Level are: Component 1: Voices in Speech and Writing (2 hour 30 minute examination, 40% of qualification) Section A – Comparison of Voice: Students will revise and be reassessed for this component, studied in detail in the AS year. Section B – Drama Texts: You will be exploring the presentation of social themes in Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire. You will study the form, structure and language of these texts and also the context in which they are written.
Component 2: Varieties of English Language & Literature (2 hour 30 minute examination, open book, 40% of qualification) Section A – Unseen Prose Non-Fiction Texts: Learners will respond to a previously unseen non-fiction text that relates to the theme of ‘Society and the Individual’. You will use the skills developed in the course to perform a detailed literary and linguistic analysis of this extract. Section B – Prose Fiction and Other Genres: You will compare texts studied separately in the AS year, The Great Gatsby and Othello, and draw intertextual comparisons to these texts. You will revise and be reassessed on key content delivered in the AS year. Component 3 – Coursework (20% of the qualification) This module is designed to develop your own expertise as a writer. You will be able to independently research and select a literary text and a creative non-fiction text that share a thematic link and produce original fiction and non-fiction writing that is stylistically influenced by this independent reading. You will then need to produce an analytical commentary on your writing and how it was influenced by your research. Your work will make up a 3250 word portfolio.
Example portfolio: Fiction text: Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange Non-fiction text: Dave Cullen’s Columbine Theme: Violence
5 GCSEs at grade 5 (C) or above including at least a grade 5 (C) but preferably a grade 6 in your GCSE English. English goes well with most other subjects. You could choose any subjects from a wide range of Humanities, Arts or Sciences.
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.