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A Level English Language and Literature

Course outline

Studying English Language and Literature together is a great combination and one which will equip you with a variety of transferable skills such as; writing, analysis, applying context and reading for meaning.

The course is perfect if you enjoy not only the creative aspects of the written word, but also if you’re interested in how literature and language reflect society. It will complement your other studies and prepare you well for university and your future career.

This course combines a detailed study of literature with the opportunity to read more widely and independently. Throughout the course you will be encouraged to attend theatre productions of the texts studied and to watch film versions of set and related texts.

Topics include:

Telling stories

You will learn about the ways in which writers and speakers present stories, beginning with a general focus on broad questions such as:

Methods of language analysis

In working on this part of the subject content, you will learn about methods of language analysis. You will be required to adopt a close language focus, identifying salient features of language used in the respective texts.

Remembered places

You will study the AQA Anthology: Paris and explore speech and other genres. You will study a wide range of linguistic and generic features, as well as related issues around questions of representation and viewpoint in texts taken from a range of time periods.

Imagined worlds

Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale

In this part of the subject content, you will explore the imagined worlds of these texts which are characterised by unusual narratives, narrators and events. You will also consider key aspects of the texts which place them in particular contexts of production and reception and analyse the language choices made by writers.

Poetic voices

You will study poems from one of four poets within the AQA Poetic Voices Anthology: Carol Ann Duffy

Writing about society

F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby

In this part of the subject content, you will explore the ways that writers: present people, their points of view and their relationships with others shape the narrative structure and present events/time/places reveal the speech and thought processes of the characters and narrator(s) use situations of conflict to express ideas about societies and their values.

Re-creative work seeks to find absent or underplayed perspectives in the base text – for example, the voice of a marginal character, or how an event might have been reported to a different audience – and create a new text in order to enrich the critical reading of the original.

Critical commentary

Drawing on your studies in 'Writing about Society', you will learn how to write a critical commentary to evaluate their writing. You will explain your own language choices and analyse your intentions in reshaping the writer’s original material.

Dramatic encounters

Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire

In this part of the subject content, you will explore the ways that conflicts are presented, the meanings that can be inferred from the language use and the contextual reasons for these conflicts. As part of your study, you will analyse areas relevant to the study of drama and dramatic discourse, including how playwrights:

  • represent natural speech features
  • use language to create distinctively different characters
  • show characters asserting power and positioning others via their language and behaviour
  • use the idea of conflict to create dynamic narratives and address the wider themes of the play.

Making connections (non exam assessment)

This part of the subject content focuses on language use in different types of text. It is called 'Making Connections' because it will require you to make active connections between a literary text and some non-literary material. This area of the course provides an individualised experience for students, enabling them to demonstrate their ability to initiate and sustain independent enquiry.

You will study this course alongside 2 or 3 other A Levels and you will be able to select your chosen subjects when you apply online.

Subjects which complement A Level English Language and Literature are Sociology, History, Geography, Film.

How to apply for this course

Apply now to study an A Level Programme in 2024/25

You will select your individual subjects when you complete the application.

Want to find out more first?

Get in touch by hitting the button below and filling out our enquiry form.

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Location Date
Chaucer Street

Start: Monday 2nd September 2024

Course code: C000450 / Q000522


A Level Combined English Language and Literature


2 years

Level Level 3
Entry requirements
  • To study 3 A Levels you’ll need at least 5 GCSE’s at grades 9-4 including GCSE English at grade 5 or above and Maths at grade 4 or above
  • To study 4 A Levels you’ll need at least 6 GCSE’s at grades 9-6 including GCSE English at grade 5 or above and Maths at grade 4 or above

The programme of study is for 2 years, and you will be expected to be achieving a minimum of grade D in all subject assessments by the end of year 1 to progress to your 2nd year.

Applicants with predicted GCSE grades 1 or 2 points below the entry requirement for an A Level:

If your predicted grades do not meet the entry requirements for either 1 or 2 of your chosen A Level subject choices, don’t worry we will still make you a conditional offer. We advise that you think about a second choice of course as a back-up plan. You can meet with us for a supportive, friendly and impartial discussion to look at other courses that Nottingham College has to offer. For more information contact High Pavement Sixth Form admissions by telephone on 0115 9100 100 or email at

Applicants who choose 4 subjects but only have the entry requirements to study 3:

If your predicted grades do not meet the entry requirements to study 4 A Level subjects, don’t worry we will still make you a conditional offer for all 4. At your ‘Get Ready for College’ day you will undertake tasters in your subjects and at this point you can discuss your options with subject staff at the event, to help you finalise your subject choices. Final A Level choices however will be made at enrolment in August when your GCSE results are confirmed.

Teaching & assessment

Assessment consists of 20% non-exam assessment and 80% examinations – paper 1 is 3 hours in length and paper 2 is 2 hours and 30 minutes in length.


This course, as with the other English subjects, is a pathway to a huge range of higher education courses. The skills you learn will be invaluable for essay writing, dissertations, report writing and presentations in later life.

This course could take you into a variery of careers, for example: teaching, journalism, playwriting, marketing, PR and media.

Additional information

You will need to purchase:

  • 'The Handmaid’s Tale’ by M Atwood (ISBN 978-0-099-74091-9)
  • ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by T Williams (ISBN 978-0-141-19027-3)
  • ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F S Fitzgerald (ISBN 978-1-85326-041-4)

Students aged 16-18 don't have to pay tuition fees.

If you are aged 19 or over you may still be eligible for funding. Check out our Financial Help pages to find out more!

If you are an EU/EEA or Swiss National, please visit our EU Settled Status scheme page for more information.