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English Literature AS/A Level at Saint Cecilia's Church of England School

Course description

This course will appeal to students who have a real and genuine interest in reading a wide variety of literature from past to present; enjoy expressing their opinions and justifying their comments on texts; want to read about different interpretations of texts and are willing to challenge what they read with ideas of their own; and want to keep their options open for further study.

English Literature can be studied as a single subject in higher education or can be combined with a wide variety of other subjects. It would form a good basis for study in any arts based subject and could be combined with History, Media Studies, Journalism, Philosophy, Law, Politics or Modern Foreign Languages. Even students interested in science subjects might find English Literature the perfect contrast as a fourth AS level and universities are constantly searching for students with a wide knowledge and diverse interests.

Course content

This course will appeal to students who have a genuine interest in reading a rich, vibrant variety of literature from past to present, who enjoy expressing and justifying their opinions, and who are willing to explore challenging interpretations and perspectives based on texts they encounter.

English Literature is a popular qualification for further education, and compliments and enriches a wide range of career options.

Currently, there are two qualifications proposed: a one year AS course and a two year A level programme.


Entry requirements

A grade ‘B’ in GCSE English is a requirement for this course.



AS Level Paper 1 (60% of AS), Paper 2 (40% of AS) – all examination

This qualification is assessed by two written exams.

The first paper is divided into two sections. The first section tests pupils’ understanding of two poems selected from the anthology ‘Poems of the Decade’. The second section asks them to write an essay in response to the drama text ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’.

The second paper asks students to write one response comparing the prose texts ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘The War of the Worlds’. Therefore, pupils will cover set texts across all three genres: poetry, prose and drama.

All exams are ‘open book’.

  • Sample texts for study: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, Margaret Atwood ‘The War of the Worlds’, H.G. Wells ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, Tennessee Williams ‘Poems of the Decade’, anthology
  • A Level Paper 1 (30% of A Level), Paper 2 (20% of A Level), Paper 3 (30% of A Level), Independent Study (non-exam assignment) (20% of A Level)

The A Level programme is assessed by three written exams.

The first paper will assess students’ understanding of ‘Othello’, alongside their previously studied drama text, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’.

The second paper, as at AS, asks students to write one response comparing the prose texts ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘The War of the Worlds’.

The third paper again draws on the anthology ‘Poems of the Decade’, asking students to compare one poem from this volume with an unseen poem.

This paper also asks pupils to write a response to a studied poetic movement or named poet; at this stage we intend to teach either the poetry of the Romantics or Philip Larkin. All exams are ‘open book’.

There is further credit awarded for a non-exam independent assignment, where pupils must produce a 3000 word study of two texts of their choice. This piece will be assessed by the teacher.

Sample texts for study: As at AS, plus: ‘Othello’, Shakespeare ‘English Romantic Verse’, anthology ‘The Less Deceived’, Philip Larkin

Financial information

Students in the Sixth Form, who are in need of some financial support, may be eligible for the Schools 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. This is the fund which replaces EMA and has been allocated directly, by the Government, to individual Schools to administer. This funding, however, does not replicate EMA and the amount of money available for distribution is much less. Therefore, we are committed to distributing Bursaries to those students with the greatest need. Eligibility for Guaranteed Bursary Students most in need will be eligible to receive a bursary of £1,200 a year.

This group includes: People in care, care leavers, people claiming income support, disabled young people who receive Employment Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance.

Future opportunities

English Literature is a popular qualification for a wide range of courses in higher education or future careers.

Some students will use their qualification to go straight into employment and with A level English Literature you will have a wide choice, it is a highly valued A level.


Further information

To find out more about this qualification, please contact us on 0208 7801244 or

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Saint Cecilia's Church of England School directly.

Last updated date: 18 March 2016
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Key information


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    • Main School

      Saint Cecilia’s is a co-educational comprehensive school for pupils aged 11-18 years in the Diocese of Southwark and the London Borough of Wandsworth. The school is highly successful and well-respected with a proven record of high academic standards taught in a caring, supportive and distinctly Christian environment.

      The school respects the unique contribution which every individual can make to the community and seeks to place this contribution within a clear structure which both embraces the highest possible academic aspirations and accepts individual differences in ability, aptitude and level of skills. Saint Cecilia’s is primarily a learning community and its culture of teaching and learning unlocks pupils’ potential for self-fulfillment and prepares them to take their place within adult life as well-rounded responsible and caring people.

      At the heart of the school is its Christian foundation, where Jesus Christ is reflected in every aspect of school life. This is true in the relationships we build, the choices we make, the attitudes we adopt and the goals for which we strive, and as a Christian school we are proud to declare that we exist to “Glorify God Through Outstanding, Enjoyable Education”.

      Our school community is enriched by a committed staff, good discipline and wide range of extra-curricular and enrichment activities aimed at broadening our pupils’ experiences. We pride ourselves on knowing each child personally, thereby enabling us to monitor carefully the all-round development of each child during his or her time with us.

      Indeed, we want all pupils to look back on their time at this school as the happiest time of their lives; this is what we strive for day in and day out. Our success is also built on the excellent partnerships developed with parents and carers, through which we can promote the kind of education that enables our pupils to prosper and receive the very best educational opportunities.

      Sixth Form

      Life in the Sixth Form is exciting and vibrant with a real sense of purpose. Students are encouraged to study a combination of courses that are most suited to their interests, particular skill set and future career and life ambitions. Students are encouraged to 'think big'  and 'aim high'. We want every student to at least fulfil, if not exceed, his or her academic potential, and there is a real drive towards achieving academic success.

      However, life in the Sixth Form at Saint Cecilia's offers much more than that. It is our desire for students to achieve their academic potential, but equally we want students to leave here having successfully managed the transition from child to adult, and to have developed the skills, abilities, confidence and character to lead fulfilled and happy adult lives and make a valuable contribution to the society in which they live.