English Literature A Level

English Literature A Level


English Literature

A Level                                                              Exam Board: OCR

A Level                                                              Exam Board: OCR


If you want to spend two years exploring some of the greatest stories, poems and plays written over the last 500 years, then this is the course for you. No subject is wider reaching and few are as well regarded by universities and employers. In English Literature, we will not guarantee you an A* -because it is academically rigorous – but we will guarantee you two years of challenge, exceptional teaching and mind-broadening discussion.  

Entrance requirements

You need to have a 7 in both English Language and English Literature at GCSE Level. 

Career opportunities

English Literature complements almost every other subject: Modern Languages, Biology, History, Classics, Geography, Drama, Philosophy, Economics – and even to combine it with Maths makes a fierce combination.  A Level English Literature is a Facilitating Subject, highly regarded by all universities, and paves the way for a range of degree courses: History, Politics, Languages, Law, Anthropology, Theology, Business, Marketing, Economics, Media Studies, Linguistics, Drama, Philosophy and Sociology.  

An English degree may lead to a wide variety of careers, notably law, politics, advertising, the media, management and the Civil Service, and students enjoy the privilege of not being limited by virtue of their subject in their final career decision. 

Structure of course: 

N.B. Text choices for the coursework element will vary from teacher to teacher.   

Lower Sixth Content

Upper Sixth Content

o   Close analysis Coursework: Feminine Gospels  

o   Dystopian or Prose Paper: Dracula and The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories or 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale 

o   Comparison Coursework: A Streetcar Named Desire  

o   Comparison paper: A Doll’s House and starting the poetry Paradise Lost Books IX and X or The Miller’s Tale or Rossetti’s poetry 

o   Comparison continued for Paradise Lost IX and X or The Miller’s Tale or Rossetti’s poetry 

o   Comparison coursework: text of pupil’s choice 

o   Shakespeare: Hamlet or The Tempest 

o   Unseen Material – Dystopian/ Gothic Extracts 

o   Revision of Lower Sixth material  




Texts will depend on teachers and their chosen areas of interest and passion, so may change, but the following summarises what is currently being taught. 

Coursework: 20% (internally assessed) 

  • Students write two pieces (3000 words in total) on a selection of texts.

Component 1: Drama: 40% (external exam, 2½ hours) 

  • Essay question on a studied Shakespeare play in context, taking wider critical reading into account.
  • Close analysis of a Shakespearian passage.
  • Comparison between A Doll’s House and either Paradise Lost, The Miller’s Tale or a selection of Rossetti’s poetry.

Component 2: Prose: 40% (external exam, 2½ hours) 

  • Comparative essay on two studied prose texts, either Draculaand The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories or 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale* 
  • Unseen extract from either a Gothic or Dystopian novel.

All externally assessed components are ‘closed book’.  

There will be many opportunities in the Sixth Form for you to enjoy English-related activities outside the limitations of the syllabus. There is a very successful Literary Society and the department offers English Enrichment sessions for those considering English at University and plenty of opportunity for creative writing and essay competitions.  

Wherever possible, we take advantage of opportunities to enhance the teaching of our chosen text, for example: a literary trail around London, visits to museums, seminars at Cambridge University and theatre productions. 

We have also hosted a number of immersive enrichment evenings, such as ‘An Evening with Tennessee’, ‘An Evening with Fitzgerald’ and a dystopian themed evening as a way of fully exploring these texts in their contexts. We will be running a trip to the Hay Festival, a literary festival where pupils will have the opportunity to attend talks from famous writers, explore their literary interests at workshops and enjoy a village with over two dozen wonderful bookshops.