Within the English department at Bridgewater School, we offer A-levels in both English Literature (AQA Specification B) and English Language (AQA).
At both English Language and English Literature, small class sizes help to create a supportive space where students can discuss and debate the issues raised through their studies. Students also benefit from increased attention from their subject teachers on how to develop their essay structure and technique, as well as one-to-one guidance upon their NEA. The Department also prepared students for university life by taking students to study days, where students attend lectures by professionals such as Senior Examiners and university academics.
At English Literature A-level, the texts studied are clustered around two different foci – ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Social and Political Protest Writing’, exploring how poems, plays and novels both fit within, as well as challenge, these specific genres of writing. Texts cover different cultures and time periods, ranging from William Shakespeare’s Othello to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Students also have the opportunity to explore their own literary interests in their coursework or NEA (Non-Examined Assessment), where students write essays on both a prose and poetry text of their choice. Students’ appreciation of live theatre is also cultivated through regular theatre trips to performances both locally and nationally, including visits to the RSC and Shakespeare’s Globe.
English Literature is a popular A-level and allows for further study of Creative Writing, Law, History, Journalism and Politics.
Students taking English Language A-level will find the subject quite different – and invariably more engaging – to English Language GCSE. More akin to Sociolinguistics, students will learn how to analyse and interpret language, using advanced linguistic terminology. Students will interrogate how language operates in the real world, exploring issues such as how different genders use language, attitudes towards accent and dialect, how children acquire language and how technology has changed and affected language use. Students also have the opportunity to develop their own original writing skills, writing about language issues for different audiences and purposes. In their coursework or NEA, students will work independently on a language investigation of their own choice to research aspects of language in use, with support from their teacher.
A popular A-level, English Language is useful for a range of degree courses such as English Language and Literature, Journalism, Linguistics and Media Studies.