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English Literature A Level (Block C or Block D) at Walton High School

Course description

Aimed at:

Those who want to enjoy their Sixth Form studies! Two years is a long time to study something that does not inspire you! English Literature students enjoy great opportunities to debate issues in stimulating ways developing individual interests and enthusiasm in reading as well as time to think about a range of personal, cultural and historical issues. It presents a diverse range of learning opportunities and encourages expression and justification of personal opinions, orally and in writing, plus interaction with others, in order to come to a personal understanding of the texts.

Contrary to popular belief, teaching is not the main occupation of those who study English beyond Sixth Form! Many go into general management, research and consultancy and the public services, as well as publishing and the creative industries. Also it is commonly combined with other subjects in Combined and Joint Honours formats. There are natural areas of overlap with many other subjects. It offers great opportunities in the future as an AS or full A Level subject.

AS / A Level

The AS in English Literature will be a separate qualification to the full GCE A Level in English Literature. However, if students do take the AS and then move on to the full A level they will be reassessed on some of the material they have already covered at AS. The experience of sitting the AS could therefore be very useful practice for taking the A Level components at the end of the two year course.

Course content

A Level

  1. Drama and Poetry Pre 1900 
  • Shakespeare: Hamlet; The Tempest; Measure for Measure; Richard III; Twelfth Night; Coriolanus
  • Drama: Marlowe: Edward II; Webster: The Duchess of Malfi; Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer; Ibsen: A Doll’s House; Wilde: An Ideal Husband; 
  • PoetryChaucer: The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale; Milton:Paradise Lost Books 9 and 10; Coleridge: Selected Poems; Alfred, Lord Tennyson:Maud; Christina Rossetti: Selected Poems
  1. Comparative and Contextual Study: Close reading and Comparative and Contextual Study
  • American Literature 1880-1940:  Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby; John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Gothic: Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories; Bram Stoker: Dracula
  • Dystopia: Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid's Tale; George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Women in Literature: Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility; Virginia woolf: Mrs Dalloway
  • The Immigrant Experience: Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Henry Roth: Call It Sleep
  1. Non-examined Assessment Component Literature Post 1900
  • Students study three literary texts grouped to facilitate links or contrasts. The three texts must include prose, poetry and drama published after 1900 and at least one text must have been published after 2000.

AS Level

AS Level is assessed by 2 exams based on 4 texts: the Shakespeare play and Poetry text studied for the full A Level and one of the texts studied in the Topic Area. An additional play is also examined and this text is then used as the drama text within the non-examined assessment for the full A Level.

Entry requirements

At least a Grade 5 in BOTH English Language and English Literature at GCSE


  1. Drama and Poetry Pre 1900 
  • Shakespeare (Section 1) – candidates answer one question on the play they have studied.
  • Drama and Poetry Pre-1900 (Section 2) candidates answer one question (from a choice of 6) exploring connections between one drama text and one poetry text. 
  1. Comparative and Contextual Study:
  • Section 1 Unseen passage to analyse on the Topic Area they have studied for Section 2
  • Section 2 Candidates are required to choose one question (from a choice of 3) and write an essay comparing two texts 
  1. Non-Examined Assessment Component
  • Task 1: a critical piece or recreative piece with commentary (1000 words)
  • Task 2: a comparative essay on the other two texts (2000 words)

Further information

Please select one subject per option block (A, B, C, D and E - listed in Course Title) to ensure there is no clash on your timetable.

By and large most students will follow 3 academic A Levels plus will have the opportunity to add to this with the Extended Project and our Enrichment Programme.

A few students may be able to follow a 4th A Level with advice from our Sixth Form Management team.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 05 January 2017
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