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English Literature A Level at Rainhill High School

Course description

If you enjoy reading, but would also like to develop your knowledge and understanding of English as well as your skills of analysis and creative writing, then this course is for you.

Working from the belief that no text exists in isolation but is the product of the time in which it was produced, English Literature A-Level encourages you to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Studying texts within a shared context, enables you to investigate and connect them, drawing out patterns of similarity and difference using a variety of reading strategies and perspectives. This is a prestigious A-Level to have in your academic portfolio and opens up a vast list of University courses and employment opportunities to you.

Delivery of this course is via teacher-led lessons and presentations. You will need to be prepared to work in a group, be motivated to work individually and, essentially, you must be capable of meeting deadlines. You will be assessed through examination at both AS and A-Level and, at A-Level only, through non-examination assessment.

Complementing your studies, we offer opportunities to visit a theatre production in London and with the A-Level in mind, the WW1 Battlefields in Belgium. There will also be possibilities for other theatre visits throughout the course, especially if a relevant production begins locally. In 2014, students attended an evening performance of Not about Heroes by Stephen MacDonald at the Lowry Theatre in Manchester. Students found this experience to be invaluable and enjoyed watching their set text performed on stage.

Course content

Year 12

Love Through the Ages
This unit involves the study of Shakespeare, poetry from the AQA Anthology and of two prose texts.  As the examinations include unseen prose, there will be a significant amount of wider reading linked to ‘love through the ages’ studied.

Year 13

Love Through the Ages
Further critical study will be based on poetry, prose and a further Shakespeare play. 
Texts in Shared Contexts
Exploring WW1 and its aftermath and involving the study of three texts – prose, poetry and drama.
Independent Critical Study
A comparative critical study of two texts which requires an extended essay and bibliography.

Entry requirements

Minimum of Grade B or above in GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature.


Year 12
Two exams, each of 1 ½ hours, each worth 50% of the AS.

Year 13
Two exams, 3 hours and 2 hours, each worth 40% of the A-Level plus one non-exam assessment worth 20% of the A-Level.

Future opportunities

Many career opportunities are open to you with AS/A-Level English Literature such as Law, Education, Journalism, Media, Writer, Advertising Executive, PR Officer, Librarian and in Business. This course will also enable you to progress onto a degree course in English related studies.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Rainhill High School directly.

Last updated date: 06 March 2017

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