English lit

English Literature A level

People who enjoy reading stimulating texts, enjoy expressing opinions and like to explore new ideas, will find the course particularly rewarding. The skills that are necessary on this course are very similar to those needed at GCSE. The importance of framing sustained, detailed, well organised and well referenced essays lies at the heart of success. Work is done on the importance of the planning and thinking what needs to happen regarding texts.

Much of the class-work therefore revolves around discussing the aspects of texts. Students will often be asked to prepare work on specific issues so that they can come to the lesson prepared to contribute. This course will give students the confidence to pursue their own ideas based upon a good grounding in the text and its issues. The ultimate aim is for the teacher to be able to monitor the discussion rather than lead it. So those who enjoy reading and who enjoy talking and writing about what they have read will enjoy this course.

Curriculum outline

Subject content across the two year A level course:

Currently, students study:

  •  The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  • AQA Anthology of love poetry through the ages.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton
  • A Long, Long Way by Sebastian Barry
  • Up the Line to Death war poetry anthology Ed. Brian Gardener


For coursework: Comparative critical study of two texts of your own choice, in which you focus on a theme about which you are interested. (One text must be pre-1900)


Assessment at A2 is by examination and non-exam assessment.

  • Paper 1: Love through the ages: Shakespeare and poetry.
  • Paper 2: Texts in shared contexts.

Non-examination assessment: texts across time (coursework).

Initially I thought that English Literature would just been reading and essays, but I love that we have discussions about how we interpret a text.
Year 12 student

Potential career paths and further study

English Literature is a versatile and well-established A level qualification which can lead to a variety of careers and degree courses. It is regarded as a facilitating subject for those wishing to apply for top universities. This qualification is suitable for anyone who is considering a career working with the public. Journalism, law, teaching, banking and social work are only a few of the areas where English Literature is useful.

I love studying English Literature A-level as it has allowed me to see a whole new aspect of literature with so many opportunities to learn new, exciting things with close guidance and support.
Year 12 student