English Literature is a subject that develops students’
enjoyment and understanding of literary texts and their contexts. It develops
important skills such as analysing and evaluating, developing and considering
arguments and communicating effectively. It is a good base for any university
course and is well regarded by employers.
Students have progressed to a wide range of courses and
careers with this qualification, including English at Oxford, Cambridge and
Russell Group universities. It is a subject particularly well-suited to those
who like to explore both big ideas and the smaller details that are so important
in literary writing. Above all, it suits students who enjoy reading, both
independently and as part of a group.
This course will involve the detailed analysis of a range of
prose, poetry and drama texts; students will be studying the texts in more
detail than at GCSE and will look specifically at the craft of the writer and
the various contexts of the work. Students will be given many opportunities to
express their own views, and discuss those of others in both discussion and
In the first year students can expect to study a play, two
novels – one a literary “classic”, the other written within their own lifetime –
and a selection of poetry. In the second year students will build upon this
learning further with a piece of coursework based on two texts, that will allow
them to follow a theme, movement, author or period in detail. Students will also
study a Shakespeare play in detail alongside an anthology of the best literary
criticism about this. They will also study a range of poetry from a particular
period in depth.
The Course is divided into four Components:
- Drama: Students will study the play by Tennessee
Williams, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and the tragedy by Shakespeare,
- Prose: Students will study two prose texts – Wilde’s,
‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and Toni Morrissons’ ‘Beloved’. One is a
well-known literary “classic” written before 1900, the other a well-regarded
modern novel written during their own lifetime. Both will be studied in
year one and re-visited, with a sharper critical eye in year two.
- Poetry: In year one, students will study a range of
poetry from an anthology, Poems of the Decade exploring poetic form, meaning,
language, style and conventions. This will be revisited in year two,
when these poems will be compared to an unseen contemporary poem. They
will also undertake the detailed study of Chaucer’s ‘The Wife of Bath’s
Prologue and Tale’.
- Coursework: Students will study two texts that will allow
them to follow a theme, movement, author or period. The final essay
comparing two texts will be between 2,500 and 3000 words long. For example,
students can choose two well regarded novels.In addition, technical accuracy
in spelling, punctuation and grammar is essential for achieving a good grade
at A Level.
Students will enjoy this course if they:
- Like reading, analysing and discussing novels, short
stories, plays, poetry and works of criticism
- Are prepared to express their own views clearly and
accurately in response to questions and tasks set
- Enjoy writing essays
The five assessment objectives for English Literature can be
summarised as testing students’ ability to:
- AO1: Articulate informed, personal and creative responses
to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent,
accurate written expression.
- AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in
- AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and
influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and
- AO4: Explore connections across literary texts.
- AO5: Explore literary texts informed by different
The second year begin with coursework that represents
20% of the final grade. The course will culminate in three final
examinations based upon the texts studied and the analytical skills developed
during the course. All the examinations are ‘open book’, allowing students
to take a copy of the texts into the examination.
The exam board for this A Level is Pearson
Course Specific Trips & Visits
The College runs a number of educational experiences each
year to enable students to contextualise their learning. These experiences
include trips to The Globe, The National Theatre, Chichester Festival and
includes talks/workshops from visiting speakers.
Career Opportunities & Further Study
Many English A Level students choose to continue their
studies at university. Those who choose to follow other disciplines, benefit
from the essay writing and analytical training, as well as the cultural insights
that come from literary study. They will build strong communication skills as
they learn to articulate a clear, well-informed point of view.
Russell Group universities particularly look for A Level
English as part of their preferred qualifications profile. English A Level is
highly regarded by all universities and employers.
English is seen as a key subject for students to develop
their analytical skills through reading and writing. These skills are highly
valued across all academic areas and this, in conjunction with the interesting
and stimulating texts studied, leads to high student satisfaction levels and
The exam board for this A Level is Pearson
Students wishing to include A Levels in their programme need
to have (or expect to achieve) at least five GCSE passes, with at least two at
Grade 5 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted
on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme.
In addition, students should meet the following minimum GCSE
- Grade 5 in English Language and Grade 5 English
Literature, if taken.