English Literature

A / AS Level
2 years

What is AS/A Level English Literature?

If you love reading, and you enjoy talking and writing about drama, poetry and novels, this is the course for you. We enable you to become an informed, more independent reader, able to explore a range of opinions and clearly express your own ideas and interpretations of literary texts. You will develop analytical skills so that you can understand and explain how language, structure and form shape meaning.

Over the two years you will study a wide range of stimulating and exciting poetry, drama and prose, from the classic to the post-modern. You will begin by studying poetry written since 2000, as well as 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde and a postmodern novel.  You will also study a play by Tennessee Williams in your first year, and these texts are assessed for the AS qualification.  In the second year you will study two novels for coursework, classic poetry and Shakespeare.  All eight texts are assessed at the end of the second year for the A level qualification.

Is English Literature suitable for me?

If you enjoy developing and expressing your own opinion, then English Literature is a good choice since all points of view are welcomed when proved with evidence from the text. Consequently lessons are academic yet lively; each year we have a very high proportion of students who continue their study of English Literature on to degree level. One student commented: “I have loved English Literature this year. Lessons have been brilliant, really varied and interesting and my teachers have been very supportive.”

How will I learn?

Lesson activities are wide ranging: from debates to drama-based interpretations to detailed analysis and feedback; to student-based presentations on extracts and context, through to creative responses like painting, collage, writing an additional scene or episode to a studied text, or "found-poetry‟. We also organise a huge range of trips to see performances and to develop understanding of context.

How will I be assessed?

Coursework: 20% overall taken in the second year.

Examinations: 2 exam papers for the AS qualification.  Three exam papers and coursework for the A level qualification. 


English Literature is a highly prized qualification and the skills you acquire will not only enable you to read with increased pleasure for the rest of your life, they will also enable you to express yourself precisely and logically, supporting your views with evidence. You may find yourself inspired to study English Literature at university, at the very least you should find yourself referring back to English Literature study for years to come.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in English. Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and A levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

You must be someone who enjoys reading, will prepare for lessons and will work hard on finding the best way of expressing your opinion on paper. You are likely to be most successful if you contribute to discussions in class and use these discussions to work towards your own considered opinion.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own copies of the studied texts, stationery, and memory sticks.

Essential: You will need to buy you own texts. This means you can annotate your text and make it your own – a big advantage when revising. Books cost between £1.99 and £7.00 each. You will need to buy four texts in the first year at a total cost of around £20.

Optional: A number of trips run during the year, and we ask you to pay for your ticket and for travel. Theatre trips cost approximately £20.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.