English Literature

A Level

Transition Activities

Please find transition resources related to this course below.


About the Course

English Literature at A level gives students the opportunity to study literature through the lens of historicism, encouraging the independent study of a range of texts within a shared context, giving logic and meaning to the way that texts are grouped for study. This unifying approach facilitates the inclusion of a range of wider reading, thus extending students’ experience and appreciation of literature. Offering clear progression from GCSE, this course allows students to build on the skills and knowledge already gained at GCSE and develop their close analysis of literary texts. The variety of assessment styles used, such as response to passage-based questions, exploration of unseen material, single-text study, comparative analysis, and both open and closed book approaches allows students to develop a wide range of necessary skills, such as the ability to read critically, analyse, evaluate, and undertake independent research, all of which are valuable for both further study and future employment.

Exam Board

AQA English Literature A. Examination 80%. Independent critical study (coursework) 20%.


Grade 5-6 in English Language and Literature

Course Content

Paper 1: Love through the ages.  Students explore presentations of love in various literary contexts through time.  The set texts for study are: ' Othello' by William Shakespeare, 'The Great Gatsby' by F Scott Fitzgerald and a collection of love poems from the 17th and 18th century. Paper 2: Texts in shared contexts: Modern times: Literature from 1945 to the present day.  Students explore a range of post-war texts, including (as set texts) 'A Streetcar Named Desire' by Tennessee Williams, ' The Handsmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood, and 'Feminine Gospels' by Carol Ann Duffy. Non-examination assessment: Texts across time.  Students produce a comparative essay in response to two texts as their coursework component.

Beyond the Classroom

There will be a number of opportunities to visit universities and experience degree level study, alongside attending workshops in school delivered by visiting lecturers. There are also opportunities available to meet various writers. Students will need to be proactive in reading a variety of prose, poetry, and drama texts outside of lesson to consolidate knowledge and develop critical perspectives. There will be a suggested reading list available to support this. There is also the opportunity to join the sixth form book club and attend the theatre to watch productions of the set texts for study.

Your Future

English Literature develops critical understanding and analytical skills. It is highly regarded by universities and stands well alongside other analytical A level subjects.  An English Literature A level is seen as a Russell Group Facilitating subject.
Future First Artsmark
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