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English Language & Literature


English Language and Literature is a dynamic and exciting course for students who feel they have an enthusiasm and skill in both areas. It combines examining literary texts with using an understanding of how language works to create texts and to suggest the speaker or writer’s identity. As you work on both Englishes, you will examine how spontaneous speech operates in real life and how dialogue can be represented in texts. This course enables students to study a wide range of text-types, including fiction such as novels, short stories, poetry and plays and non-fiction varieties including memoir, articles, online texts and conversational transcripts.

Lessons will mostly involve reading a wide variety of literary and linguistic texts/ discussion of how language works in the texts we read/ exploring how we analyse language-use in a wide range of written and spoken contexts/ creating new fiction and non-fiction texts/ working on writing-skills in order to be more creative, analytical and accurate. Sometimes there will be opportunities to create presentations, to watch performances of key texts on-screen or to visit theatre productions.

This is the right course for anyone who has enjoyed both English GCSEs and who feels they have cross-curricular language skills and interest, which encompass the literary and linguistic. If you enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction, appreciate the creative and analytical aspects of English work and have a passion for the written and spoken word, then this will be the right course for you.

Paper 1: [40%] Voices in Speech and Writing

This focuses on exploring an anthology of text-types and one stage play, such as 'A Streetcar Named Desire'

Coursework: [20%] Investigating and Creating Texts

Assignment 1: students produce two pieces of original writing. I.E. one example of fiction writing and one of creative non-fiction writing.

Assignment 2: an analytical commentary reflecting on your studied texts and the pieces of writing you have produced.

Paper 2: [40%] Varieties in Language and Literature

This unit involves studying a wide range of non-fiction texts on a chosen theme, in preparation for responding to an unseen text on one theme, from the following list:

  • Society and the Individual
  • Love
  • Loss
  • Encounters
  • Crossing Boundaries

We will also read and examine two literary texts on one of the above key themes; for instance, 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Othello'.

Jerome Cox Strong

Studied at Varndean College: English Language/ Literature, Politics, Law, Modern History (2012-2014)

Progression: English Literature at Reading University (graduated with First Class Honours).

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements
How The Course is Assessed
Coursework 20% Investigating and Creating Texts
  • Assignment 1: students produce two pieces of original writing. i.e. one example of fiction writing and one of creative non-fiction writing
  • Assignment 2: an analytical commentary reflecting on your studied texts and the pieces of writing you have produced
Exam 80%
Career Pathways
English Language and Literature students go on to a variety of degree courses, including English Language and Linguistics, Journalism, Education and Creative Writing. This subject can lead to working in journalism, PR, teaching, law, speech therapy and any other career where the ability to communicate and use language effectively is valued. Other options available include: Digital Copywriter, Editorial Assistant, Web Content Manager, Librarian, Advertising Account Executive, Arts Administrator, Information Officer, Public Relations Officer etc.
Transferable Skills
Written competence and accuracy; speaking and communication skills; the ability to structure and organise arguments; widened vocabulary; improved use and grasp of grammar; analysis of texts; drafting and editing; IT skills.
Other Information

Creative Writing
The English Area at Varndean College offers a weekly class for writers run by published performance poet and writer, Rachel Shorer. It is an extracurricular activity open to all. In each session, she leads workshops on developing students’ skills in different aspects of creative writing. Prose, poetry, drama and script writing are all covered. Rachel also offers detailed advice on individual work in progress.

The English Literature Extension Class
Varndean's English Literature Extension Class runs throughout the year and is an informal group, which meets every two or three weeks after college or at lunchtime to discuss texts and ideas not on the standard course.
Enquiries To
Tess McGivney: tem@varndean.ac.uk