Why choose English?
You will develop independence, creativity and maturity. Whichever English course you choose, you will learn to think for yourself; you will acquire an intellectual toolkit with which to analyse any text that crosses your path; you will find that individual creative contributions are valued; and you will be working within a mature learning community that is both supportive and challenging. We focus from the outset on facilitating your development of good note-taking and essay writing skills, offering additional surgery support where appropriate. In all the English subjects, you will develop close textual analytical skills. You will develop the ability to present a coherent argument in writing and to show awareness of different possibilities of interpretation.
You will have the opportunity to join Voices, the student-run society through which students explore their interest in English beyond the classroom; it includes the Creative Writing Society, Poetry Forum, Book Club, The Phoenix, a student produced newspaper, and the Debating Society. Each year there are several theatre visits and educational visits; recent examples have included a Study Day on Frankenstein in London, and a production of The Tempest at the ADC in Cambridge.
Do you ever ask yourself ‘What does a writer’s use of metaphor or alliteration add to the meaning of a text?’ ‘How does the speech in a novel differ from everyday conversation?’ ‘How does a news story manipulate your reaction to the events it describes?’ If so, English Language and Literature is a course you will enjoy.
At AS and A level you will be encouraged to develop your knowledge and understanding of linguistic and literary approaches in your reading and interpretation of texts in a range of styles and genres.
At A level you will study a wide range of spoken and written texts from different periods, including a minimum of six substantial texts. At least three of these will be taken from the genres of prose fiction, poetry and/or drama. Of the remaining three, one will be non-literary.
As well as studying literary form, you will be required to show awareness of some of the different language levels, as appropriate drawn from:
- Phonetics, phonology and prosodics;
- Lexis and semantics;
- Grammar and morphology;
- Pragmatics and Discourse.
English is a highly regarded subject that will stand you in good stead for whatever subject you choose to study at higher education level or indeed for whatever career you choose to pursue. Universities and employers value the analytical reading skills and clarity and coherence in writing they can expect from former English A Level students. Every year about 45 of our students go on to study an English-related course at university and a number obtain Oxbridge places. As well as providing you with excellent progression opportunities, we hope studying English leaves you with a lifelong passion for language and literature.