Guide to English Courses

English Language (A Level, Edexcel exam board)  

Why study English Language? 
 
It will enable you to develop your interest in and enjoyment of English through learning about its structures and its functions, its developments and its variation.  It allows you to develop your ability to express yourself through speech and writing, producing texts for different purposes and in different genres.  You will develop the ability to communicate clearly using appropriate terminology and accurate and coherent written expression.  Such skills are valued highly by higher education institutions and employers. “The pen is mightier than the sword” (Edward Bulwer-Lytton).
 
What can it lead on to?
 
English Language can be studied as a single subject in higher education.  Alternatively it can be a foundation for study in any arts based subject.  With English Language A Level you could go straight into employment.   There are opportunities for training in careers such as journalism, the media or the law or in teaching. 
 
What are the areas of study?
 
You will develop methods of exploring and understanding spoken and written language in use whether it be in articles, adverts, children’s story books and of course the internet.  You will learn to understand the roles of purposes, audiences and contexts and the impact of these pressures upon language production and reception.  You will also develop a whole new vocabulary, learning about key linguistic methods in order to analyse and investigate a variety of extracts taken from everyday sources.  Key topics include Child Language Development, Language and Change, Language and Gender and Language and Power. You will also complete a non-examined unit (coursework), where you will have to research, propose, and write two different pieces of writing of the same genre but for different audiences.  
 
 

English Literature (A Level, AQA exam board)  

Why study English Literature? 
 
It will enable you to develop interest in and enjoyment of English literature, through reading widely, critically and independently, across centuries, genre and gender.  You will develop the ability to communicate clearly using appropriate terminology and accurate and coherent written expression.  Such skills are valued highly by higher education institutions and employers. “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all of the miseries of life” (W. Somerset Maugham).
 
What can it lead on to?
 
English Literature can be studied as a single subject in higher education.  Alternatively it can be a foundation for study in any arts based subject. With English Literature A Level you could go straight into employment.  There are opportunities for training in careers such as journalism, the media or the law or even teaching.  Studying this subject shows future employers that you are able to read between the lines, think analytically and research around the history and contexts of texts.  
 
What are the areas of study?
 
You will develop methods of exploring and understanding a range of writers and different genres of literature.  You will learn to understand the importance of the historical context of texts.  Other texts include the dramatic and tragic Othello, pre-20th century love poetry and the turbulent and thought-provoking A Streetcar Named Desire.  All texts will be studied in detail in class but we will also expect you to be an avid reader to develop your knowledge and understanding.  You will also complete a non-examined unit (coursework), where you will have to choose two different texts to compare on a theme of your choice. 
 
 

Media Studies  (A Level, OCR exam board) 

Why study Media? 
 
In today’s world you are saturated with information from the media and it is vital that you learn to deconstruct media texts with the same proficiency that traditionally you have applied to literary texts.  It is equally important that you learn to construct your own media texts.
 
What can it lead on to?
 
You could study a range of associated courses at universities, from general media and film courses to specific courses concentrating on particular media with either a practical or theoretical bias.  There are many careers in media related subjects, some traditional like journalism and broadcasting and others more recent involving special effects and animation.  The course covers a range of media texts in order to best inform our students.  The course will be a combination of practical and theoretical elements with a strong focus on the analysis of real media products. You will be encouraged to examine and develop your own media literacy throughout the course, delving in to new ways to present information and communicate ideas.    
 
 What are the areas of study?
 
You will study ‘news’ in a modern context by exploring how institutions such as The Guardian and The Daily Mail use print, online and their social media presence to deliver different social, cultural and political values.  You will examine representation within music videos and advertising, analysing how media conveys meaning and messages to its audience.  You will compare American and European television dramas, studying the approach of ‘Stranger Things’ to everything from representation to postmodernism.   Another focus is on ‘Evolving Media’, contrasting modern and traditional approaches to production, distribution and marketing in film and radio as well as audience interaction and the conception of ‘prosumers’ in the video games industry.   You will also complete a non-examined unit (coursework) where you will have to research, film and edit a music video.