English Literature A Level

Head Department:
Mrs M May

Why choose the subject?
This course will appeal to anyone who genuinely enjoys reading and discussing books. It develops the work on literature undertaken in GCSE English and English Literature courses and it will develop your own language skills as you study examples of other people’s writing. There will be opportunities to visit the theatre and full advantage should be taken of these.

The course will build up an overview of English Literature through the ages and across the different forms (poetry, novels, plays) and will provide an excellent preparation for students wishing to study a broad range of subjects at university.

Who is eligible?
Anyone who enjoys reading analytically, thinking, listening, talking and writing. You need to have achieved at least a grade 6 in English GCSE and English Literature too. The course is suitable for anyone who enjoys studying literature.

Qualification Type: A Level only (2 year)

Specification: Year 2024/2026 Advanced Level Award Examination Board: OCR

For A Level English Literature, students will study at least eight texts over the two years. The course encourages students to develop critical awareness and understanding of individual works of literature, of relationships between texts and of the significance of cultural and contextual influences upon readers and writers. One component of the course is the non-examined assessment.

Here students will have an opportunity to select their own texts for comparison. This will lead to an extended piece of independent writing and offers scope for investigating aspects of literature in which the student has a particular interest. There will be two examinations at the end of the course.

Component 1:
• Shakespeare
• Drama and poetry pre-1900
Drama and poetry pre-1900 (Closed text) , 2 hours 30 minutes written paper, 60 marks, 40% of total A level.

Component 2:
• Close reading in chosen topic area
• Comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area
Comparative and contextual study (Closed text), 2 hours 30 minutes written paper, 60 marks, 40% of total A level.

Component 3:
• Close reading OR re-creative writing piece with commentary
• Comparative essay
Literature post-1900, Non examined assessment, 40 marks, 20% of total A level.

Developing your own formal written communication style is a key skill for further studies and communication in a career: a skill that is highly valued by employers but can be overlooked in the modern world.

Many of the skills developed through studying this subject are related to independent thinking — the ability to analyse sophisticated ideas and the ways in which they are presented, to synthesise large and complex text, and to know how to build a convincing argument are just a few.

This course is commonly studied with:
As an A-Level subject, English literature complements several other A-Level courses, including English language, drama, history and religious studies.

Future Careers:
It is widely recognised by universities that the skills developed through the study of English Literature are among the most transferable, with English graduates going on to develop the widest range of careers — among the most popular are publishing, broadcasting, marketing and PR, journalism, law, teaching and politics.