Accessibility links

English Literature A level at St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College

Course description

As an English Literature student, you will develop a heightened awareness of the power of language. You will cultivate a considerable vocabulary, a developed understanding of style, advanced critical thinking abilities, and read and write complex, original work. Throughout the course you will be encouraged to develop a critical awareness and understanding of individual works of literature. You will develop your interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies as you read widely and independently, engage creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them, and develop and effectively apply your knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in writing. You will explore literature from a range of genres and contexts, gaining valuable insights into different historical periods and cultures, seeing human life and the human mind as it changes through time and place.

Above all, the course encourages students to become independent readers of literature who can work effectively on their own as well as in a classroom environment. There are a huge variety of resources to help you with this on our regularly updated Moodle site. We also offer a range of extra-curricular activities, such as theatre trips, external workshops, university visits and revision conferences to enhance learning and understanding.

Course content

Component 1 – Shakespeare & Poetry pre-1900

  • Shakespeare: Twelfth Night (examination - 25% of AS mark)
  • Poetry pre-1990: Maud by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (examination - 25% of AS mark)

Component 2 – Drama & Prose post-1900

  • Prose post 1900: The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter + unseen prose analysis (examination – 25% of AS mark)
  • Drama post-1900: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (examination - 25% of AS mark)

Entry requirements

6 GCSEs including C grades in English Language and English Literature. A GCSE pass at grade B or above in English Literature is preferred but not essential. Students must have a genuine enthusiasm for literature in order to succeed at this level. Essay writing is one of the key skills required of students and there will be regular assessment of written work during the course. As with all A Levels, students of English Literature are required to be independent learners and it is a necessary skill that anyone wishing to undertake this course can motivate themselves to work and study independently. The suggested weekly private study for an A level course in English is a minimum of five hours and this would include: reading of course texts; review and organisation of classroom work; research, planning and completion of written assignments; and wider reading of secondary texts and materials to enhance understanding and enable students to develop as critical readers.


Both components, (1) and (2) will be assessed by written examinations taken at the end of the year.

In order to prepare for these, your knowledge, understanding and skills will be assessed at regular intervals during the year.

You will initially be asked to write short pieces in response to the texts, and through the year you will build up to writing longer and more sustained essays. Within this, you will be given regular practice at writing in timed conditions.

You will also be required to sit a mock exam early in the spring term.

You will receive clear and detailed feedback on how to improve your work, and you will be guided on how to record and use this feedback effectively. All our students are expected to aim for high grades, and this assessment and guidance will help you do your very best.

Future opportunities

Studying English prepares you for a diverse range of professional fields. From the study of English Literature you’ll develop comprehensive written and spoken communication skills, becoming adept at arguing a point, framing a narrative and analysing various levels of meaning. These skills are important in degrees or fields of employment where strong communication and written English are valued, for example:

  • Journalism and media occupations like news reporting, magazine journalism, television roles
  • Creative writing for a variety of potential audiences, including viewers as well as readers
  • Publishing, in either print-based or digital forms
  • Arts management and promotion
  • Advertising, marketing and PR
  • Careers in Law such as solicitor, barrister, paralegal or legal secretary
  • A teaching career at any level, from Primary school to Higher Education

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 12 October 2016
Provider logo

Key information