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English Literature

If you enjoy reading and discussing literature, you will enjoy this course. You will gain a detailed understanding of a broad range of poetry, prose and drama, while developing different critical approaches which can be used in reading and analysis. It is therefore essential that you are prepared to read independently.

Students starting an English A Level will be embarking on a linear course which means that all exam units will be assessed at the end of two years.

  • Course Outline
    • Course Outline

      We follow the Pearson Literature specification and the course is as follows:

      • Three exams – 80% of A level
      • One NEA unit – 20% of A level
      • Study of three main areas of literature: poetry, prose and drama.


      Paper 1 – Drama

      In this unit, students will study two pre-19th century plays, analysing dramatic conventions and applying contextual knowledge to their interpretations. For the Shakespeare text, students will also study wider reading and apply critical interpretations to their study of the text. Students will study:

      • ‘Othello’ William Shakespeare
      • ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ Tennessee Williams


      Paper 2 – Prose

      In this unit, students will study prose through the lens of the Supernatural. They will compare two novels, analysing the similarities and differences between them in terms of that wider theme. The novels they will be studying are.

      • ‘Dracula’ Bram Stoker
      • ‘A Little Stranger’ Sarah Waters


      Paper 3 – Poetry

      In this unit, students will study a collection of poems from a specific pre-19th century writer. They will then be taught a collection of contemporary poetry that they will be required to compare to an unseen poem in the exam. The collections are:

      • Christina Rossetti Selected Poems
      • Poems of the Decade



      In this unit, students will independently study The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and then compare that to another text of their choice. They will also be required to do wider reading around those texts and apply critical theory to their comparisons.

  • Career opportunities and further study
    • English is a core subject and as such a valuable A Level for any student considering an academic course at university. Many students who do A Level English go on to study degrees in English, History and Law as well as various subjects relating to the media/creative industries, the social sciences and education.

      English is also highly valued by employers; the subject’s core skills, such as written/oral communication, writing for different audiences and purposes, prioritising information and analytical interpretation, are essential in most workplaces.

  • Trips and Events
    • The English department have several trips and events throughout the year, including visits to the theatre and universities. We also run a creative writing weekly workshop and the AQ magazine within the English department.

  • Useful Links

Entry Requirements 2024

You can view provisional entry requirements for courses that start in 2024 from the link below. Please note that your enrolment on to a particular course must be approved by the Head of that department.

Subject Entry Requirements

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