English Language and Literature

Exam Board: AQA
Syllabus Numbers: 8700 – English Language; 8702 – English Literature

What will I be studying?

  • English Language

All students practise the important skills of English Language which include opportunities for: directed writing, analysis of writers’ language choices, summary skills, descriptive and discursive writing. AQA’s integrated course allows students to access a wide range of texts studied covering 19th, 20th and 21st century writers. Fiction and non-fiction are probed and students are coached to develop the key skills of analysis; in order that they feel confident exploring language impact. They learn to appreciate literary devices employed and identify their respective impact. Writers are encouraged to practise coherence, clarity and accuracy.

The course culminates in two equally balanced papers, relating reading sources to the topic and theme of writing tasks.

  • English Literature

A range of writing is analysed to study how writers communicate their ideas about the world and how readers may respond to them. The syllabus develops a critical understanding of the ways in which literary texts are a reflection of, and an exploration of, the human condition. The way context shaped writing is explored through a wide range of genres and texts from 17th, 19th, 20th and 21st century texts. The appreciation of employment of writers’ structural choices is encouraged and their effect probed. The course culminates in two external exams.

How will I be assessed?

There are two written exams for each qualification.  Additionally, for Language, there is a compulsory NEA Speaking and Listening component which is recorded and sent to AQA. Distinction, Merit and Pass grades are awarded.

English Language. 8700

There are 2 exams of 1 hour 45 minutes, each
50% of the final grade.

Paper 1: Explorations in Creative Writing.
- Section A: Reading. One prose extract.
4 questions. - Section B: Writing. Descriptive or narrative task. 80 marks.

Paper 2: Writers’ viewpoints and Perspectives.
- Section A: Reading: Thematically linked fiction + nonfiction texts. 4 Questions.
- Section B:  Writing: Discursive writing.
80 marks.

English Literature. 8702

Paper 1: 1 hour 45 minutes. 40%.
- Section A: Shakespeare, Macbeth.
- Section B: 19th century novel. 64 marks.

Paper 2: 2 hours 15 minutes. 60%.
- Section A: Modern texts. Set prose or drama texts. An Inspector Calls.
- Section B: Poetry AQA Anthology.
Poems past and present. Love and relationships.
- Section C: Unseen poetry analysis and  comparison. 96 marks.

Is there anything else I need to know about these courses?

All students will sit their exams at the end of Upper Fifth; there are no controlled assessments or coursework pressures. We’re enthused by the breadth of texts on the syllabi and confident that freedom from administrative constraints will enrich student creativity and flair. Released teaching time will allow us to practise exam timing, essay techniques and consolidate all core skills. Two separate GCSEs will be awarded at levels 9-1. 

All texts in the exam are unseen. Although there is no award for speaking and listening, there is a non-examined assessment in spoken language and oracy is highly valued by us as a means of rehearsing good ideas and planning responses which emulate the successes of the modelled extracts.

Assessment objectives are shared across all parts of the exam and students will benefit from the transferable skills across both subjects. Students enjoy the range of texts’ reading stimulus and engage with creative as well as real and relevant contexts.

We value many author visits, theatre trips and visits to enrich all students’ experiences.

Further information

Please contact Deirdre Cattermole


Tom Church