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English Language & Literature A-Level

English Language A-Level The Bedford Sixth Form

Qualification: A-Level | Exam board: OCR

This course offers the opportunity to study both English language and literature in an integrated way, bringing together great texts, analysis and the skill of original writing.

You’ll be encouraged to:

  • read widely across all main genres of writing
  • develop the ability to read closely and analyse any expression of English
  • become a confident writer in various modes and forms.

English is considered a facilitating subject by Russell Group universities and a gateway qualification in much of industry.

English Language A-Level The Bedford Sixth Form

Year one course content

During year one, two units are studied; both assessed by summer exams.

The first of these invites you to explore a wide range of written and spoken texts from across different time periods and contexts. You will analyse a choice of these texts in the exam and create an original piece of writing of their own.

In the second unit, you will study one prose text and one poetry text. The prose and poetry texts are taken from a short list of well-regarded classics and more recent titles in the English language. You will be assessed on your ability to analyse how language choices shape meaning and show awareness of the influence of contextual factors.

English Language A-Level The Bedford Sixth Form

Year two course content

Year two builds on the skills and texts of the first year; adding a drama text, further non-fiction reading and a free choice of text.

Although the texts studied during the first year are revisited, they are now paired up differently and assessed in different ways. The opportunity for you to bring in your own choice of text is particularly exciting.

There is a coursework essay of 1500-2000 words, a short piece of creative writing, as well as three summer exams. Whilst similar skills are assessed at A-level, there is greater emphasis on depth of analysis and demonstrating an integrated approach to language and literature study.

Additional Information

What does this course prepare me for?

The study of English in all its forms is valued highly by universities and in a wide variety of career paths.

English is considered a facilitating subject by Russell Group universities and a gateway qualification in much of industry. Through the study of English you will develop skills of analysis, interpretation, communication and argument, which are valued in careers such as law, teaching, journalism, publishing, public relations, sales and marketing and more.

Course support and enrichment

Essential skills for this course include a good standard of written English and the ability to read extended texts such as novels.

The course builds on the typical content of GCSE English Language and Literature, so already having some success in these subjects is extremely beneficial. Typically, students with at least B grades at GCSE find that they can bridge across to A-level without much of a problem. You will be supported in class as you study the texts and work to improve your analytical skills and ability to write in various forms.


Students will be assessed internally on a regular basis, including through formal mock exams. There are final exams at the end of the course in Year two.

Year Two assessment:

  • Exploring non-fiction and spoken texts: 1 hour exam.
  • The language of poetry and plays: 2 hour exam.
  • Reading as a writer; writing as a reader: 2 hour exam.
  • Independent study: Coursework of 1500-2000 words and a piece of creative writing.
Entry requirements

Some of our subjects are subject to standard entry requirement and some have additional requirements. Please see below:

Subject specific entry requirements

  • 5 in English Language

Standard entry requirements

  • At least five GCSEs at grades 9-4 including English Language and Maths (one Vocational or Technical qualification at Merit or above may be counted)


  • At least grade 4 (or Merit for Vocational or Technical qualifications) in any subject(s) that you have taken at GCSE and wish to continue studying at Level 3


  • Average GCSE (best 8) of at least 4 (38 on the old points table)


  • Grade 4 (or Merit), at least, in any subject previously studied
  • Students will take either 3 A-Level subjects or 1 Diploma subject with 1 A-Level
September 2024

Apply now!

Applications for a September 2024 start at The Bedford Sixth Form are open now! Apply now and achieve great things.

Please note: Applications will close on Friday 31 May 2024. Applications made after this date will be added to a waiting list.