English Literature

Studying English Literature provides the opportunity to gain an understanding of the traditions of English Literature through reading widely.

It also develops the ability to think and write critically, making informed judgements about texts. Through the study of literature students will develop an appreciation of social, cultural and historical considerations that are relevant in today’s society. Students will study both modern texts as well as texts from previous centuries and should enjoy analysing what they have read.

Why Choose English Literature

A wide range of career and higher education opportunities are available as a result of studying this course.

  • It develops higher communication skills and an ability to apply literary critical concepts
  • It forms a sound basis for study in any arts-based subject in combination with subjects such as History, Philosophy, Law, Politics or Foreign Languages
  • It leads into further training in areas such as Journalism, Media or Law
  • It leads into careers in Marketing, Public Relations, Copywriting, Speech and Language Therapy, Publishing, Advertising, Editorial Work, Script Writing and many others
  • It can lead directly into employment rather than higher education

Exam Board

Further information on the English Literature A Level can be found on the Edexcel website. 

Course Content

AS Level

Unit 1 - Explorations in Poetry and Prose

Leading to a three part examination of unseen and seen material, using Ishiguro's The Remains of Day, E.M. Forster’s Howard’s End, and the poetry anthology The Rattle Bag.

Unit 2 - Explorations in Drama

Leading to two pieces of written coursework using the Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and Johnson’s The Alchemist.

A2 Level

Unit 3 - Interpretations of Poetry and Prose

Leading to a two part examination of unseen material and a pair of prepared texts, using Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Duffy’s Rapture.

Unit 4 - Reflections in Literary Studies 

Leading to a substantial comparative essay of three texts, using Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Ngugi Petals of Blood and The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Armah.


Unit One - Explorations in Prose and Poetry (examination) 2 hours 15 mins

  • 60% of AS Level marks
  • 30% of A2 Level marks

Unit Two - Explorations in Drama (coursework)

  • 40% of AS Level marks
  • 20% of A2 Level marks

Unit Three - Interpretations of Prose and Poetry (examination) 2 hours 45 mins

  • 30% of A2 Level marks

Unit Four – Presenting the World (coursework)

  • 20% of A2 Level marks

Trips, Activities and Extension

The English Department runs a substantial extra-curricular programme incorporating guest speakers, authors, poets, workshops, attending Sixth Form English conferences, theatre visits, debating and public speaker teams, and poetry recitation competitions. 

Visiting Authors and Speakers

There are a number of guest speakers who visit the School to present to, and discuss their work with students. 

Theatre Trips

The Department run a number of trips to Theatre productions which have included The White Devil, and visiting the Globe Theatre in London to watch a performance of Macbeth where students also had the chance to work with one of the actors in the rehearsal space. 

Inter-School Competitions

Students have the opportunity to participate in Inter-School competitions such as Poetry by Heart, Debating and Public Speaking.