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As a traditional and academic subject, English Literature continues to be well-respected by universities and provides you with a wealth of transferable skills which are helpful to a range of careers.
Head of English Literature
“English Literature is a great subject, especially for those who enjoy reading and debating ideas of social and political protest. I have really enjoyed studying the texts for Year 12 as the themes and topics covered are very thought provoking and allow room for good debates in the classroom. If I could do anything differently about Year 12 I would begin reading the texts earlier – that way I could finish them earlier and have a more well-rounded knowledge before studying them.” (Amelia)
Please note: Mrs Richardson is the former Head of English Literature. Ms Harvey is the current Head of English Literature.
The course aims to develop your interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies, encouraging you to read widely and independently. It also encourages you to engage critically with texts, develop and apply knowledge of literary theory as well as explore the contexts of what you are reading.
We follow the AQA English Literature B specification.
Literacy Genres Paper 1A: Aspects of Tragedy
For this unit you will study three texts: a Shakespeare text, a drama text and a prose text (one of which must have been written pre-1900). The texts are read and studied through the lens of ‘tragedy’ and include focus on tragic forms, language and structure as well as on tragic characters such as heroes, villains and victims. Key tragic themes, including fate versus free will, violence, revenge and pride, are also covered.
Texts and Genres Paper 2B: Elements of Political and Social Protest Writing
For this unit you will study three further texts. These will consist of one prose text written post-2000; a poetry collection and one further text, one of which must have been written pre-1900. Study will focus on elements of ‘social and political protest’ and will offer the opportunity to engage in debates around power, rebellion, control, conspiracy and corruption.
Theory and Independence
For this unit you will study two texts: one poetry collection and one prose text. The study will be informed by readings from the AQA Critical Anthology which summarises key ideas from critical theory, such as Feminism, Marxism, Narrative Theory and other key critical debates. During this unit, you will have the opportunity to pursue individual research interests and will be offered free choice in terms of the texts you wish to study. You will produce two essays of 1,250-1,500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology. One essay can be re-creative, giving the opportunity for a creative writing element. You will then justify and explain your ideas in an accompanying commentary.
This unit is assessed by teachers and moderated by the exam board. It is worth 20% of the A Level.
We encourage our students to take a keen interest in their set texts and in 2024 we will be running a trip to see Othello at The Globe Theatre in London. We also run ‘Page to Screen’ evenings aimed at both English Language and Literature and English Literature students across Year 12 and Year 13. In the club we watch film versions of set texts and those related to them and discuss directors’ choices and interpretations.
Broadening your Horizons and Employability
English Literature takes you all over the world and through many periods of history. It opens your eyes to the perspectives and contexts of people in faraway worlds and situations. You will be able to sympathise, empathise, cry, laugh and rejoice with some of the most interesting and stimulating characters and personas ever created.
Although A Level English Literature is a logical step towards any further study of English or arts subjects at university, it will also mark you out as a strong candidate in almost any employment field. Employers will value the transferable skills that English Literature develops: analysis of communication; the ability to look at things in detail; strong written expression; confident presentation skills; effective time management; an ability to work to deadlines and under pressure; an ability to work collaboratively.
You will sit two exams. The exam for Paper 1A is a closed book exam lasting 2 hours 30 minutes, worth 40% of the A Level. The exam for Paper 2B is an open book exam lasting 3 hours, also worth 40%.
Minimum 66555 including 6 in English Literature.