English Literature

A Level English Literature

Studying English Literature means studying literature in many forms. This demands great commitment and a variety of skills, not least of which is a genuine desire to read books of all genres and periods, from Chaucer onwards. English Literature includes studying novels, plays, poetry, non-fiction and short stories. There is an optional opportunity to engage in creative writing too. Students will be able to make some choices about their areas of study, especially in their non-exam assessment, but they should also expect to study texts outside of their current experience. Students will learn to use critical concepts and terminology with understanding and discrimination. They will be encouraged to reflect on their own responses to texts, considering other readers’ interpretations, with awareness of the contexts in which texts were written.

To do well at A Level, students will need to be self-motivated and independent readers with a love of literature. They will be expected to write weekly essays so good organisational skills are essential as is the ability to write fluent, well-structured arguments.

The A Level course focuses on two key genres: Tragedy in Year 12 and Political and Social Protest Writing in Year 13. Students will study Shakespeare’s Othello, Miller’s Death of a Salesman, the Romantic poetry of John Keats, Hosseni’s The Kite Runner, Margret Atwood’s feminist dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale and the poetry of William Blake.

Studying English Literature is a path that opens the mind up to fundamental questions about how meaning is created and interpreted and how the written word structures and reflects our experience of the world.

Course Summary

  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Publishing copy-editor/proof reader
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Talent agent
  • Web content manager
  • Writer



1 x 3-hour written exam worth 40% of total A Level
1 x 2.5-hour written exam worth 40% of total A Level
2 x Non-Exam Assessment worth 20% of total A Level

Over the two years, students study a range of critical lenses and apply them to two texts; one selected and taught by the Department, and one selected and studied independently by the student.


Exam Board

  • Minimum Required GCSE Grade - Subject specific
  • English Literature: 6

  • English Language: 6

Entry Requirements