English

If you have any further enquiries, please email Mr Daniel Melvin, Head of English, at melvind@salesiancollege.com

Why study English?

English Literature is the most popular subject studied at A Level in the United Kingdom. Its popularity can be explained by its apparent accessibility but also because the skills acquired in English are entirely transferable to all other areas of work and study. English stands at the heart of global culture and underlies and supports performance in all academic and other areas. Studying A Level English Literature level helps you to become an independent and critical thinker who can communicate ideas effectively. You will explore complex ideas and learn how literature acts as an expression of, and a key to, the complexity of human experience.

What does the study of English involve?

English Literature at A Level is a subject very highly regarded by universities. It tells them that you have the ability to deal with complex, sophisticated and adult material, and that you can express yourself in a persuasive and cogent manner.

Why at Salesian College?

The English Department at Salesian College has a long and highly impressive record of academic success in English Literature at A Level. The majority of grades achieved are A*, A and B. Last year 10 of the 12 entrants gained A*-B grades.

What does the course involve?

The reformed English A Level (Edexcel) reflects a greater level of detail in textual study and breadth of literature assessed. The AS course, now decoupled from the full A Level, does, however, provide an interesting grounding in complex areas of literature across time, including a study of modern poetry, two canonical novels and one play. Students are currently studying: Godot, Streetcar, Never Let Me Go, Frankenstein, A Thousand Splendid Suns and Tess.

A typical A Level course would also cover Shakespeare and an anthology of criticism, poetry of the Romantics, Chaucer and a coursework project, worth 20% of the overall A Level. AS materials must also be revised.

Skills required

English A Level students tend to be independent thinkers who are interested in the exploration of ideas. It is a popular option among mathematicians and scientists who wish to preserve an academic and cultural balance as well as among linguists and economists. Students learn to express themselves very effectively in writing and orally. They are especially noted for their abilities in problem solving and in making sense of the complex.

What the English Department offers in teaching and resources

The English Literature A Level course at Salesian College is taught by experienced specialists. Mr Melvin is a graduate of Birmingham University, where he also gained a MPhil. He studied for his PGCE at Oxford University. He has recently published essays in The English Review and E-magazine. Mrs Desmidt is a graduate of the University of Rhodes, South Africa, and was, until she re-joined Salesian College, Head of English at Notre Dame Senior School. Miss Lindquist is a graduate of Liverpool University. Mr Adam is a graduate of The University of London. Miss Jessica Guy is a graduate of Swansea University and studied for her MA at Kingston University.

The English Department has five dedicated classrooms which are equipped with Smartboard and Internet access, computer and DVD technology, supported by an extensive critical and video library.

What is expected from English students?

English students are expected to be flexible and alert, and to be happy to question and to think independently about the ideas they come across in their reading and learning.

What can an A Level in English lead to?

An A Level in English can take you wherever you want to go. At university it can be taken in combination with a very wide range of subjects, as well as being studied on its own. English graduates tend to be very versatile in the careers they follow – but they are especially plentiful in the media, in advertising and in publishing.