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English literature

Course outline

The course aims to encourage students to develop interest in and enjoyment of English literature, through reading widely, critically and independently, across centuries, genre and gender, and through experience of an extensive range of views about texts and how to read them. 

Course content

A passion for the study of literature, as well as a keen enjoyment of reading all genres is essential to success in A Level literature. The course is run as a two-year, linear course with final examinations at the end of Year 13. In addition to the set texts prescribed by the exam board, students will be expected to read widely within the genres, historical periods and the wider work of the authors, to inform and contextualise their study. Within lessons there will be a mix of individual, paired and group work as well as seminar style lessons, which students will be expected to lead from time to time. Regular written assignments will be set to monitor progress and provide feedback, while speaking and listening tasks such as presentations and group discussions will also be central to lessons.

For each hour spent in lessons, students should be prepared to spend an additional hour of study time reading the assigned literature texts, extended wider reading, doing research and preparing presentations and seminar sessions to be delivered in lessons.

Entry requirements

GCSE English literature grade 6 

Career / higher education opportunities

A well-respected qualification which supports university studies in subjects such as: English language and literature; history; politics; law; journalism; media; film; marketing; teaching and education; psychology; sociology; anthropology; theatre studies. 

Course specification

Specification A: 7712

Paper 1 (40%): Love through the Ages – Pre 1900’s Poetry Anthology; The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald; Othello - Shakespeare).

Paper 2 (40%): Texts in shared contexts – Option 2A – WW1 and its aftermath: Wilfred Owen Poetry Anthology; Journey’s End - Sheriff; A Long Long Way – Sebastian Barry.

Non-exam Assessment (20%): Independent Critical Study – Texts Across Time (two independently chosen texts and choice of theme). Comparative essay of 2,500 words.

Student view

"Literature is an adventure that starts and never stops!"