KS5 English - UTC Leeds

KS5 English

English Language and Literature A Level

For English, we will achieve this by ensuring:

That all UTC Leeds students are equipped with the skills to communicate and comprehend ideas coherently and clearly, enabling them to access the college curriculum and have a wider knowledge and appreciation of the world in which they live.


The English Language and Literature combined A level at the UTC is the perfect course for those who thoroughly enjoyed both English Language and English Literature at GCSE level. The A level returns to familiar ground but allows students to do so in far more varied, exciting, challenging and flexible ways. Students are exposed to a greater variety of writing and have more freedom with the pieces of writing that they themselves create. The A level naturally builds upon, refines and heightens the skills and knowledge developed at GCSE, allowing students to pursue topics in greater analytical depth.

During the A-level, students will explore the most fundamental questions we have about the relation between language and world: Why do we tell stories? How can language tell us about who and what we are? How can language inform our sense of place and where we’re from? How can words be used to exert power over others? Why do words hold such power and sway over people? How can we use language to speak out about the wrongs in the world?

Beyond the content of the course, the English Language and Literature combined A level will equip students with the necessary skills to access other areas of the college curriculum, to have a wider knowledge and appreciation of the world and to be ready for future study or employment.

Our English curriculum is broken down into ‘non-negotiables’ – the vital areas that a student needs to master in that subject. These non-negotiables underpin the learning throughout the duration of the study and our students understand that after developing competency in each strand, they will aim to develop mastery in each. The learning is coherently sequenced across the 4-year plan and mapped cross-curricular, and our sequence of learning plans specifies which non-negotiables are the learning foci and/or the knowledge that students will gain.

The English Language and Literature combined A level is broken up into three taught modules:

Module 1 – Telling Stories

This module focuses on how and why we tell stories, the ways in which writers and speakers present stories, and how language choices help to shape the representations of different worlds, places and perspectives. ‘Telling Stories’ will explore how we are all naturally disposed to make sense of ourselves, our identity and who we are through narrative and storytelling. Students will draw on their everyday experiences of storytelling and learn how conscious language choices shape the representations of different places and the perspectives of those places.

Module 2 – Exploring Conflict

This module focuses on how different forms of literature construct ideas of conflict between people, conflict within people themselves mentally and psychologically and between people and their societies. After all, the world in which we live and the values we hold dear have been built upon and been born out of various conflicts. In ‘Exploring Conflict’, students will begin to answer some of the following pertinent questions: How do people claim power and position others in talk? What communicative strategies do people use when in conflict with others? How do different groups or individuals make themselves heard? Many of these questions are relevant to contemporary events in the world happening right now—the war in Ukraine, the Black Lives Matter Movement, the returning of the Taliban in Afghanistan, etc.–and so what we learn in this module has relevancy and currency that goes far beyond the mere confines of the classroom.

Module 3 – Making Connections

This final module ties everything together by focusing on language use in different types of text and requires students to make active connections between a literary text (prose, drama or poetry) and some form of non-literary material (an autobiography, a letter, a diary entry, etc.). In ‘Making Connections’, students will be asked to produce a coursework-based investigation where they explore the connections between types of fiction writing and types of non-fiction writing. Possible investigations that have been looked at in the past by students include: A comparison of openings in a novel and an autobiography; an exploration of how real and fictitious events are described; an investigation into the idea of ‘character’ in literature and in non-fiction texts and the explication of how real places are described in fiction and non-fiction. The beauty of this module is also that students are not restricted to simply published work or continuous prose writing like they are at GCSE level – as part of their investigation they can consult personal letters, texts, data, charts, transcripts, diagrams and lists.

Reading list

Into the Wild (1996) by Jon Krakauer

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House (2008) by Kate Summers

The Great Gatsby (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Kite Runner (2003) by Khaled Hosseini

Othello (1603) by William Shakespeare

All My Sons (1946) by Arthur Miller

A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) by Tennessee Williams

The Herd (2013) by Rory Kinnear

Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley

Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker

The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood

The Lovely Bones (2002) by Alice Sebold

Poetry by John Donne, Robert Browning, Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney

Could you be part of the next generation? Apply online now!

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