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What Will I Study?

English Literature involves studying a range of texts and developing your critical skills. There are four Components (3 exam/1 coursework = 80%/20%) to the A-level:

  1. Poetry – you will be introduced to work of the Victorian poet Christina Rossetti and make a comparative study of the poems of Philip Larkin and Carol Ann Duffy, exploring themes of gender, identity and religion. 
  2. Drama – you will be immersed in Shakespeare's arguably greatest tragedy 'Hamlet' and Tennessee Williams's excoriating mid-twentieth century Southern American drama – 'A Streetcar Named Desire'
  3. Unseen Texts- this involves the analysis of both prose and poetry.
  4. Prose Study – coursework based on the study of F.Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel 'The Great Gatsby'  and Ian McEwan's brilliant and complex novel of love, war and moral crime – 'Atonement'.

More Info

Students will read texts – some in class and some outside – and then discuss and analyse these in small groups, as a whole class and individually. There will be a variety of tasks to encourage you to engage with the texts and develop your understanding and analytical skills. You will be taught a wide range of literary terminology to help you to develop the depth and quality of your responses to the texts. There will also be opportunites to watch plays and films and to use more inter-active resources. The main aims will be to encourage your enjoyment of texts, provide you with the confidence to evaluate their meaning and give you the skills to write good essays.

The course is 80% exam and 20% coursework:

  1. Poetry Exam 2hrs 30% (Open Text – you can take the books into the exam)
  2. Drama Exam 2 hrs 30% (Closed Text)
  3. Unseen Texts Exam 2hrs 20%
  4. Prose Study Coursework 20%

Many of our students go on from this course to study English courses at University, these include combination course of Language and Literature, English Literature, American Literature and Film Studies. English is a also course that allows for a wide range of Joint Honours options at University, this is where English is combined with another subject to create a dual degree programme, for example:

  • English and Drama
  • English and History
  • English and Philosophy
  • English and Music
  • English and Creative Writing

After University, the options available to English graduates are vast:

  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Public Relations
  • The Civil Service
  • Teaching

are some of the more traditional routes linked to an English degree.

  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Events Management
  • Law Conversions
  • Media Production

are other common destinations for those with English qualifications.

Hamlet, RSC Stratford

National Theatre live Hamlet

The Duchess of Malfi

Measure for Measure, the Globe Theatre

(also A-level English Language & Literature trips to see Much Ado about Nothing and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof)

Students purchase their own texts at a reduced cost via the College – £30 in 2017.

Other resources/handbook material available at very small costs.

English Language GCSE at Grade 5.

Key Facts

Offered As

A Level

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Awarding Body


You may study English Literature A Level at the same time but you cannot choose English Language and Literature (the combined course).

This is the ideal preparation for an English Literature course at a higher level.

You will write an essay approximately once a fortnight on this course.

Progression and Career Opportunities

A fifth of graduates go on to further study, almost a third of whom are studying towards a teacher training qualification and a quarter continue to study English.

2.9 million people are working in the education sector in the UK. Teacher salaries range from £22,917 – £67,305.

Over 2.8 million people are employed in the creative industries and this number is growing rapidly. 60% of people employed in this sector have a degree qualification.

Average Journalist salaries range from £15,000 – £50,000.

Career Opportunities:

  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Public Relations
  • The Civil Service
  • Teaching
  • Human Resources

University 68%

Employment/apprenticeships 15%


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