Courses / English Literature

English Literature

English Literature is for anyone who is fascinated by books. It involves reading a range of poetry, drama and novels, and discussing what the writers might be trying to achieve, arguing what you think and why. It gives you the chance to read texts from Shakespeare to the present day, understanding how writing has changed and the impact it has had upon society.

If you choose this course you would benefit from:

  • Experienced teachers who have taught at A level for a number of years
  • Theatre trips to see some of the set texts brought to life on stage
  • Academic lectures from university tutors and subject experts
  • A relaxed atmosphere in which everyone is invited to share their opinion and debate ideas with others

In the first year you will study:

  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
  • Poems of the Decade by various poets from the last 10-15 years
  • Two texts of your choice to prepare for coursework
  • A level essay writing skills
  • The social tensions of 1940s America and Victorian England which influenced two of the set texts
  • Some excellent examples of A level English Literature essays to improve your own style

In the second year you will study:

  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • A selection of poetry from the Romantic era
  • Your two chosen coursework texts
  • Marxist and Feminist critical essays to help you understand EVERYTHING you read from now on!
  • A selection of essays about King Lear to argue and debate with as you form your own opinions
  • Advanced writing skills to aim for the highest grades
  • Appropriate referencing for academic essays
  • Shakespearean theatre and how it was influenced by its society

The course involves a lot of work being done in advance of lessons. Students will read each text before the lessons on this text begin, and use the videos created by teachers to begin annotating and making notes on their reading. Then, in lessons, activities will allow students to discuss, think and write about what they have read, working in groups and independently in order to explore their views, planning and writing exam-style questions to feel confident about how they will be assessed.

Classroom activities will include:

  • Group discussions and presentations
  • Essay based assessments
  • Marking exemplar work and suggesting improvements
  • Presenting key themes in new ways, as powerpoint presentations or visual mind maps
  • Class debates

As part of a wider programme this course provides an excellent basis for progression to many careers or university courses.

Former students of this college have gone on to study English Language and Literature at university, as well as Journalism and Creative Writing. Students have also gone on to a wide range of careers in law, the theatre, and business amongst others.

5 x GCSE grades 4-9 (incl. English Language)

Additional Requirements

5 in English Language
5 in English Literature
5 in one other essay based subject from this list: History, Religious Studies, Geography

Not essential but it will help you with your success…

A love of reading and willingness to read a wide range of different texts. Confident in extended writing and exams.

Pairs well with Linguistics, History, Ancient History, Government and Politics, Film Studies.

Teaching contact time is 4 hours and 20 minutes per subject. Other workshops will be available throughout the year including over some holiday periods. Students are expected to complete up to 4 hours of independent study to complete assignments, homework, extra reading and independent research.


80% exam, 20% coursework

3 exams:

  • Drama (King Lear and A Streetcar Named Desire) 30%
  • Prose (Atonement and Hard Times) 20%
  • Poetry (Romantic poetry and modern poetry) 30%


  • One essay of 2500-3000 words comparing two texts of your choice

Staff Contact Details

Caroline Chattaway

Karen-Anne Herbert

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