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English Literature

In order to take this subject to A level, you must have a love of reading and a willingness to read widely, beyond the curriculum.

You must also be willing to contribute to discussions about literature; sharing ideas about a text leads to a much deeper understanding of it. We will take you to the theatre and encourage you to enrich your own cultural understanding as far as possible. The course will involve close study of at least eight texts (including at least two from each genre of poetry, prose and drama).

Why study this course? 

The key areas to think about and study will be:

  • The ways in which writers shape meanings in texts
  • The ways in which different readers, in different contexts interpret texts differently.
  • The ways in which texts relate to one another.
  • The significance of cultural and contextual factors.

What grades do I need at GCSE to study this course? 

Pupils should have achieved a minimum of Grade 6 in both English Language and English Literature at GCSE level.

Course Description

Students studying English Literature will follow the AQA B specification and will sit 2 examinations worth 40% each at the end of the course, as well as completing 2 non-examined assessment essays which contribute 20% of their final grade.

In Year 12 students explore the ‘Aspects of Tragedy’ unit which includes ‘King Lear’ by Shakespeare, ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’ by Thomas Hardy and ‘Death of a Salesman’ by Arthur Miller.

In Year 13 students consider elements of political and social protest writing in the poetry of William Blake, ‘The Kite Runner’ by Khaled Hosseini and ‘A Doll’s House’ by Henrik Ibsen.


An English Literature qualification can lead to many courses at university. In universities, literature is studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree, but other aspects of humanities subjects can often be read alongside this. However, A level English Literature is still regarded as a highly academic subject and works well with many other A levels for students who wish to follow other learning paths such as the law, history, or even the sciences.

With an earned degree in Literature, an individual has numerous career options. Many students start out in publishing and can go on to work in writing or editing. Following that is television and radio broadcasting, motion picture and screenplays, software publishers, internet service providers, web search portals, data processing services, and other related online services. Advertising is another popular choice.

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