English A Level at Hellesdon: Language, Literature or both?
As a rule of thumb you might consider taking both Language and Literature if you wish to have a career in "writing" or "speaking" professions, such as Teaching, the Law, or Journalism. Language is not easier than Literature, but it overlaps with many disciplines with wider career paths than the traditionally academic Literature, such as Forensics and Speech Therapy.
If you want to work in Journalism or Advertising, or become a freelance writer, editor or publisher you are also recommended to consider enrolling for extracurricular AS Creative Writing to complement these.
English Literature (Edexcel)
The Edexcel English Literature syllabus has been chosen as the most accessible and flexible of the options available.
It allows students to look more deeply at novels, poetry and drama, and draw out the universal themes that help us live better and more meaningful lives, as well as giving access to some of the most beautiful and moving writing in English.
The course, which is taught to full A Level over two years, comprises of units on Poetry both seen and unseen, Prose, consisting of two novels, Drama, consisting of a text by Shakespeare and a modern play, and coursework, currently the study of Dystopian Literature.
It is recommended that students are regular readers and have at least a B from GCSE English Literature.
English Language (Edexcel)
The Edexcel English Language syllabus broadens considerably the range of GCSE study, and offers four units.
The first of these is Language Variation, which includes individual varieties as well as the history of the language from 1500 to the present day. The second is Child Language; the third Investigating Language, a student-researched linguistic investigation. The fourth is Coursework: two pieces of Creative Writing with a reflective Commentary.
Full access to the complete online Oxford English Dictionary is granted to students on this course.
It is recommended that students have at least a B from GCSE, and they read as much as possible from the Reading List in the summer before they begin.
2017 will complete the final cycle of this experimental and innovative course from AQA, with which Hellesdon Sixth Formers have had much success.
Creative Writing is run as an extracurricular option—to be taken as either Enrichment or as A Level (AS only from September 2016). It is like no other course, since it offers the opportunity to be part of the editorial team for the Sixth Form magazine, Vibe, enter competitions (successes in the past two years have included two Tower Prize longlists and two Young Norfolk Poetry shortlists this year) and belong to a professional writers' group, allowing the opportunity for those with writing as part of a prospective career to workshop poems, plays and prose in a sympathetic, encouraging and enthusiastic environment.