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English Literature: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 5 or above in GCSE English Language and English Literature.


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An exploration of great literature

The study of great literature is nothing less than entering into a conversation with the finest minds in human history! If you enjoy reading and like discussing big ideas and the ways they are presented by great authors, then this is the course for you.


The course

Over the two years we will look at classic drama, poetry and prose fiction. As well as studying texts closely with your teachers in class, students will have the opportunity to encounter extracts and whole texts independently and in a variety of creative and stimulating ways.

The selected areas that we cover are Tragedy and Elements of Social and Political Protest units. The taught texts include King Lear, Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Great Gatsby and The Kite Runner.

Continuous assessment will be used to inform the students progression in both years. All content from both years of the course will be examined by two 2 hour exam papers in June of the second year of study.

The two exams at the end of Year 13 make up 80% of the final grade. The non-examined component (coursework) worth 20% of marks asks students to write two critical essays on texts of their choice. This area of the course provides a challenging and wide-ranging opportunity for an introduction to different ways of reading texts and for independent study.


Beyond the classroom

Past activities have included:

  • A debating club
  • Public speaking competitions
  • Trips to the theatre and cinema
  • Support for entering students into national creative writing competitions



An English A-level is a valuable asset when applying to university or to potential employers. It shows that you have good communication skills, and that you are able to persuade, inform or connect with someone. It can lead to a higher or further education course in English or communications, as well as careers in journalism, teaching, the media, public relations, marketing, broadcasting and law. It is a useful qualification for all courses, developing analytical skills and providing evidence of the ability to use language successfully.