English Language and Literature

Exam Board: AQA


The aims of the course are as follows:

  • Help students develop and apply their knowledge of literary and linguistic analysis and evaluation.
  • Engage students both creatively and critically with a wide range of texts.
  • Explore ways in which the historical, social and political context affects the production and reception of texts
  • Help students develop their own skills as producers and interpreters of language.
  • Promote independent learning and critical thinking.

Entry Requirements

Students should have Grade 6 or higher in GCSE English, or the equivalent grade/mark in their national system of secondary education.

Course Structure

Year 1

  • Remembered places – the representation of place is explored through an anthology of non-fiction.
  • Imagined worlds – point of view and genre in prose is explored through the novel, The Handmaid’s Tale.
  • Poetic voices – the forms and functions of poetic voice are explored with Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry.
  • Methods of language analysis are integrated into all the activities.

Year 2

  • Writing about society – the role of the individual in society, and re-creative writing based on the novel, The Kite Runner.
  • Critical commentary – evaluating own writing.
  • Dramatic encounters – conflict in drama explored through All My Sons.
  • Methods of language analysis learnt during first year are built on in the second.


  • Paper 1 – Written exam of 3 hours (40% of A level).
  • Paper 2 – Written exam of 2 ½ hours (40% of A level).
  • Paper 3 – non- examined assessment (20 % of A level).

Core Text

  • The Handmaid’s Tale.
  • Poetry Anthology.
  • Paris Anthology.
  • The Kite Runner.
  • All My Sons.
  • A literary and non-literary text of the student’s choice.
  • Careers and Opportunities

Careers and Opportunities

As well as further study at university and later work in academia, English A Level teaches a wide range of skills well-suited to roles that use the English language and its facets on a day-to-day basis. For instance, the subject is a good choice if you want to pursue a career in journalism, writing, advertising, marketing or linguistics. What’s more, it is important in fields such as politics, performing arts, law, foreign languages, design and media too. If you are thinking of studying humanities at university, the skills it teaches you will be of great use, whatever you study, thanks to its focus on communication and textual analysis.

Transferable skills developed studying English A level include:

  • Research skills.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Essay writing.
  • Analytical skills.
  • An attention to detail.
  • Crafting arguments.
  • Communication skills.