The English department at Paston offers two A-Level courses: English Language and Literature, and English Literature. 

The question we are asked most frequently is: what is the difference between the two? 

It might be easiest to say that the English Literature course is the more traditional and more what GCSE has led you to expect of the subject. On the whole, you study poems, plays and novels by writers you might have heard of. English Language and Literature, however, challenges the whole concept of ‘literature’. The course takes as its underpinning assumption that Elizabethan sonnets or Jane Austen’s fiction are as linguistically interesting as graphic novels, text messages or personal ads (and can be analysed in similar ways).  Its approach might be said to be more scientific and involves learning some linguistic concepts in order to discuss a wider variety of texts.

Both courses are rich and wide-ranging, guaranteed to give you a more informed and critical sense of the power of language and the infinite variety of writing in English. Both are an excellent grounding for undergraduate study. Indeed, English is seen as a strong component of any university application because you learn attention to detail, develop analytical and conceptual skills, and improve the clarity and coherence of your own writing and speaking.

I've especially enjoyed the theoretical side of the course; the context is obviously helpful with regard to the actual texts and it's all been explained very clearly - even with potentially complicated ideological and philosophical stuff. The texts themselves are also very interesting, and I feel as though everything's been taught clearly with plenty of additional material given. I have always recommended the course and will continue to. ~ Martha Crass, Ex- Aylsham High School now at Kings College, Cambridge University