English Literature A Level

Course Overview

English Literature is for anyone who loves to read; if you like to discuss novels, plays and poetry, this is the course for you! Our English Literature A Level will develop your skills in communicating, arguing, and writing. Throughout the course you will study eight texts from different time periods: poetry, prose, and drama.

Drama: You will explore the genre of tragedy, considering its conventions and how these have been adapted at different points in literary history. Focusing on a Shakespearean tragedy and a 20th century tragedy, you will consider the ways writers create characters and the stagecraft which gives the plays their emotional and dramatic impact. We will draw upon historical and modern performances of the plays, visiting the theatre to watch productions when possible.

Prose: Linked by the theme of the supernatural, you will compare two gothic novels considering the ways that writers make their books scary or unsettling and the ways that the supernatural is used to represent real anxieties within society. You will read a 19th century and a modern novel, allowing us to consider how modern readers might respond differently to those in the past.

Poetry: You will study two texts from different time periods, one a lively and varied collection of 21st century poems, and the other from a historical literary period. We will analyse unseen poems and make comparisons, using a precise technical vocabulary to discuss the ways in which poets use language and structure to create meanings.

Your coursework project will allow you to independently study two texts: The Great Gatsby and any text of your choosing. You will research a range of secondary academic readings and the historical contexts of the time.

Year 1 Modules

  • Shakespeare: Tragedy: Antony and Cleopatra OR Hamlet OR King Lear
  • Prose: Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • Modern Poetry: Poems of the Decade, an Anthology of the Forward books of poetry 2001-2011, by various authors
  • Coursework: The Great Gatsby and a text of your choice.  

Year 2 Modules

  • Modern Drama: Les Blancs, Lorraine Hansberry
  • Movement Poetry: Medieval: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer or Victorian: Christina Rossetti
  • Modern Poetry: unseen poetry

female student writing in a notebook using a pen and pink and purple highlighters

Key Info

Minimum Entry Requirements

  • Five GCSEs at Grade 5 including: 
    • Grade 5 in GCSE English Language
    • Grade 5 in GCSE English Literature


  • 80% Exam
  • 20% Coursework
  • Exam Board: Edexcel



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Why choose this course? 

You will enjoy this course if you love to read and explore writing from different genres and time periods, and if you love to have a good discussion about what things mean. We welcome each students’ unique perspective on the texts we read and what they mean to us today.

We offer the opportunity for theatrical performances of the texts we are studying, as well as those by other writers, and also visit venues and exhibitions which will enhance your understanding of the social, cultural and literary contexts in which books are written.

We organise workshops with authors and expert speakers to help enhance your understanding of the writing process and the literature that you read. There are many opportunities to develop your own creative writing in enrichment groups in the college, from journalism to poetry.

Skills you'll gain

English Literature requires exceptional communication skills as well as advanced reading aptitude. Students are expected to write essays to an extremely high standard. The lessons rely on sophisticated discussions which allow students to refine their speaking and listening skills.

Throughout the two years, students will be exposed to challenging texts written across historic periods. Students will frequently be expected to understand and interpret writers’ craft, often exposed to historic forms of English. The subject is unique in that it requires the most advanced skills in critical engagement, creativity and communication.

After Long Road

Many of our students go on to English related university courses, such as:

  • English Literature
  • English Language and Literature
  • Communication studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Law
  • Education

Students may also find that the skills they develop in English Literature are transferable to a range of degree apprenticeships such as:

  • Digital marketing
  • Public relations
  • Management consultancy
  • Law
  • Early years education

English is a subject which offers pathways onto many careers, including Publishing, Teaching, Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Communications, Copywriting, Journalism, the Civil Service, Law, Politics, Editing, Events Management and many more!

I have really enjoyed the books we’ve studied, and the way we look at them from various different angles. There’s never just one interpretation, and it’s interesting to debate them and come up with your own ideas.