English Literature A Level

Languages, Literature and Culture

Languages, Literature and Culture
Languages, Literature and Culture
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What will you be working towards?

Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


This exciting specification approaches the study of Literature across a range of written forms, encompassing poetry, prose and drama. The courses will build on and extend the Literature work that students studied at Key Stage 4, encouraging students to engage with texts critically.  

 A-Level English literature is the study of literature through the lens of historicism, encouraging the independent study of a  

range of texts within a shared context, giving logic and meaning to the way that texts are grouped for study. This unifying approach 

 facilitates the inclusion of a range of wider reading, thus extending students’ experience and appreciation of literature.  

Offering clear progression from GCSE, the course allows students to build on the skills and knowledge already gained and  

prepare for their next steps. The variety of assessment styles used, such as passage-based questions, unseen material,  

single-text questions, multiple-text questions, open- and closed-book approaches allows students to develop a wide range of  

skills, such as the ability to read critically, analyse, evaluate and undertake independent research which are valuable for both  

further study and future employment. 


It is important for students to realise that the reading demands of this subject mean that they will be extending their knowledge at a higher level and, as such, they must be prepared to read widely and in great depth. Much of the work is done through discussion seminars.

Students will be expected to present prepared ideas to the class as well as take notes. Note taking and other organisational skills will be developed in order to prepare for both the coursework and examination assessments. In addition to the coursework assignments, essay writing techniques will be developed in readiness for the end of course examinations.

We encourage students to undertake any style of work experience, which will aid a range of skills required in the English course. However, should someone wish to pursue an English-oriented career, then work experience within the following sectors would be ideal: journalism and the media, education, librarianship/information management, curation, public relations.

How will it be delivered?

Paper 1: Drama and Poetry Pre-1900.  Students study one of Shakespeare’s plays, exploring his use of language and dramatic effects as well as how attitudes and values are expressed.  Students also study a cluster of Victorian poetry. 

Paper 2: Contextual Study.  Students will study two texts linked to a chosen topic, for example ‘The Gothic’. Students will develop close reading skills and consider how attitudes and values are expressed. 

Coursework - Students produce a text based on one literary text. This can be either a close reading task or re-creative writing with a commentary.   Students will also produce a comparative essay based on two literary texts. All texts studied are chosen by students, and must be post-1900; one must be post-2000. 

Entry requirements

2 Year Course - Normally 5 GCSE grades in the range of 9-4. Candidates should have achieved at least a grade 5 in GCSE English  Language and GCSE English Literature. Candidates should also have at least one other humanities subject (History, Geography or  Religious Studies – Full Course) at grade 5.  


Your next steps...

You could take this course to complement other advanced level courses or to prepare for the A2 part of an Advanced GCE in English Literature, which could lead onto higher education in English related studies or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to English Literature such as a Teacher, Journalist, Author or Poet. You could also go straight into a job as the AS GCE is a recognised qualification that will help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for. You could take this course with other advanced level courses or equivalent to prepare for higher education in English studies or more general higher education courses. The course will also help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.