English Language & Literature

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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 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 you 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 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, 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 modern stage play.

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.

Please note, studying Lang-Lit at A-level is an invitation to engage in and examine texts which can sometimes include challenging and difficult topics

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.

Jerome Cox Strong

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

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

After leaving college, Jerome's inital plan was to pursue a career in the legal profession and thus study Law at degree level. However, for various reasons, he sought a change in career direction and after taking a gap year, subsequently studied followed English Literature. During the gap year, he worked full-time locally in the retail business, gaining administrative and leadership skills. He graduated in 2018 with First-Class Honours, whilst also being the recipient of the Dr Jean Young Memorial Prize, and is currently now a postgraduate student studying MA English (also at Reading).

During his studies, he has been featured as a poet in internal and external publications, whilst also managing and overseeing a number of creative writing projects at the University. He has contributed a chapter to an edited collection titled Ayn Rand: Purity and Revelation (planned for publication in 2020) in which he explored Rand's text The New Left from a left-wing perspective, considering ideas of pedagogy. He is also due to present papers at a number of academic conferences in the future.

Following his Master's this year, he intends to pursue PhD research, with an ultimate plan of pursuing a career in academia as a lecturer and research in Literature.

Jerome says: "Above anything else, make sure you choose subjects you enjoy. While there are other reasons to choose certain subjects – maybe to fit into what you want to study at University for example – if it's not something you actually enjoy working within, it makes it much harder to engage with any of the materials. It's your education, and being excited – even slightly! – about what you're working on can make all the difference to how you end up getting on!"

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements
How The Course is Assessed
80% exam, 20% coursework
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.

The English Literature Extension Class
This is an informal group, which meets every few weeks to discuss texts and ideas not on the course.
Enquiries To
Tess McGivney: tem@varndean.ac.uk