English at Queen Ethelburga’s

English Language is a compulsory subject in Key Stage 4 for all students at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate with the option to further your learning by studying GCSE English Literature or A Level English Literature/Language.

You also have the opportunity to practise your English skills by participating in Queen Ethelburga’s traditional essay writing competition or competing against schools across the UK in debating competitions.

Senior school students in class with teacher

Study English Language and English Literature at GCSE and A Level at Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate.
Practise English Skills Outside Of The Classroom

For over one hundred years Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate has run the Foundation Essay Competition for gifted and talented students to showcase their writing skills.

Students write an essay on a topic of their choice and the winner’s name is engraved on the school’s honour board.

Alternatively, you can practise your public speaking by entering one of the many debate competitions against schools and colleges across the UK.

Key Stage Four

20% of College Students achieved a Level 9 for English Language in 2023

There are two different pathways for studying GCSE English at Queen Ethelburga’s depending on the senior school you attend. Faculty students complete English Language as a two-year course with the chance to take English Literature in Year 11. Whereas College students will take English Language as a one-year course in Year 10 and will then study English Literature in Year 11.

You will study the IGCSE English First Language in Year 10 covering the books ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ by Malorie Blackman, ‘Pigeon English’ by Stephen Kelman, and ‘Educating Rita’ and ‘Blood Brothers’ by Willy Russell. Each book will focus on studying themes, practising creative writing and analysing language. 

When you move to Year 11, you will either:

  • Continue your Language IGCSE work by finalising coursework and improving examination skills through a thematic approach
  • Begin the IGCSE English Literature course, using the texts from Year 10 to inform your coursework

Key Stage Five

100% of College and Faculty students achieved A*-C grades in A Level English Literature and Language

You can take either English Literature or English Language at A Level in QE College or QE Faculty. 

English Literature A Level

Literature allows you to learn about human behaviour and society on a deeper level. It helps you to think critically through reflection, which is really useful when it comes to choosing subjects like Law for your future career.

Year 13 student, 2023

Studying Literature develops transferable skills in analysis, critical thinking and written/spoken communication, which are essential to support any essay-based subjects at A Level or to prepare for Higher Education. The course examines writing from Tennessee Williams, William Blake, Ian McEwan, Shakespeare, Eugene O’Neill, John Donne and Jean Rhys.

English Language A Level

English Language allowed me to learn about theories and concepts behind everyday language. The difference between GCSE and A Level content is massive; in A Level we study how things like gender and age impact language as well as accents from around the UK and the world. English has helped me to understand more about how and why we speak the way we do.

Year 13 student, 2023

The study of language explores conventions and discourses in a range of genres with students exploring language changes, how children learn language and how language reflects the self.