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English Literature

English Literature is an enriching and varied subject which is designed to inspire students and encourage them to become active readers of a wide variety of texts. Students study novels, drama, poetry and modern screenplays and the NEA is designed to allow students to study independently, making their own choice of text and subject focus. 

The variety of assessment styles used, such as passage-based questions, unseen material, open book tasks and non-examined assessment allows students to develop a wide range of skills, including critical analysis, evaluation and communication skills. Students will undertake independent research which is an invaluable tool for use in further study and future employment. 

Courses Offered 

A Level English Literature (AQA) 

Syllabus Breakdown 

AQA A Level English Literature A 

Unit 1: Love through the Ages (Exam unit) 

  • Section A: Shakespeare 

  • Section B: Unseen Poetry 

  • Section C: Comparing Texts: poetry and prose 

Unit 2: Texts in Shared Contexts (Exam Unit) 

  • Option 2A: WW1 and its Aftermath 

  • Option 2B: Modern Times: Literature from 1945 to the Present Day 

Unit 3: Independent Critical Study: Texts across Time (coursework) 

  • Comparative critical study of two texts 

  • One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography 

Subject Key Concepts

#1 Creativity        #2 Critical Thinking

 #3 Communication      #4 Cultural Awareness

Please click here for Subject Key Concepts.

Minimum Entry Requirements 

In addition to our general Sixth Form entry requirements of five GCSEs at grade 4 or above, students will need to achieve a grade 5 in GCSE English Language and English Literature. 

Why Study English Literature?

English Literature is highly regarded by universities and employers as it teaches students to communicate effectively, analyse in depth and express ideas clearly – all highly transferable skills in today’s world. 

Studying literature makes students more aware of the world around them and the complex issues people face; it encourages empathy, it enables students to analyse and evaluate the ways in which writers use language to create meaning and it helps young people to understand the power of the written word so that they can use it to better effect in their own lives. 

English Literature is not just a subject; a love of reading is enriching and can impact on all areas of a student’s life; it is, quite simply, a necessary part of a young adult’s education. 

Wider Opportunities 

Extra-curricular activities, which are designed to support students’ learning as well as enhance their interest in literature, include theatre trips, lectures and workshops run by visiting writers. 

Past activities have included a trip to Westminster Hall to hear talks by Germaine Greer, Melvin Bragg, Tony Harrison and Simon Armitage. Other outings included Ben Wishaw’s Hamlet and Birdsong starring Ben Barnes. At The Mumford Theatre we watched a production of The Canterbury Tales and students have worked with the poet Mick Gower to produce their own poetry. 

Students have also produced their own versions of texts, including The Greater Gatsby, a scene from WW1 and a version of Wuthering Heights, set in Ashwell. 

What Our Students Say: 

“I didn’t realise there was so much behind the creation of texts; I have a greater understanding of literature and appreciate it so much more now.” 

“I chose English Literature as I could not imagine being at school and not studying it.” 

“The teachers make the lessons interesting and enjoyable (and with Shakespeare that’s hard!).” 

What Can I Do Next?

English Literature is useful in a number of careers and is an obvious starting point for students considering a career in newspaper or magazine journalism and the media in general. 

Other career paths include Primary and Secondary School teaching, any occupation which involves report writing and communication skills such as Social Work, the Probationary Service, the Police Force and the Legal Profession. 


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