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Advanced GCE in English Literature at Ash Green School

Course description

At Ash Green School we follow the OCR English Literature syllabus, exploring a wide range of set texts, critical positions that provide exciting new ways of reading literature, the history of these texts and how writers came to shape their language. It is a vibrant, compelling course for those who love reading and love a challenge. The AS level is 40% coursework and 60% exam, with the same ratio in year 13 (and therefore the A level as a whole). This allows our students to spend time developing their skills and flourishing as critical, academic writers!


Course content

For the AS coursework (F662) we examine texts from all three genres written after 1900. We look at these through the lens of feminist criticism, exploring radical female writers – namely: Virginia Woolf and her novel ‘Orlando’, Caryl Churchill and her play ‘Top Girls’, and Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection ‘Feminine Gospels’.


For the AS exam (F661) we study Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein for the set novel and Edward Thomas for the poetry section. Both writers’ works are engaging and strikingly relevant, frequently resonating in a variety of ways with our students.


For A level we study three texts for our coursework (F664 – Texts in Time): a range of poems by Edgar Allen Poe, ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare, and ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ by Ken Kesey. These are examined in relation to psychoanalytic criticism, looking at Freud and a range of other writers

For the A level exam we study three texts. For the Shakespeare section we look closely at King Lear, examining it through a range of critical positions, productions and engaging meaningfully with the language and structure of the text itself. For the comparative section between poetry and prose we look at ‘The White Devil’ by John Webster and ‘Paradise Lost’ by John Milton. These are compared via a range of themes and potential commonalities between the texts.

Entry requirements

Students must have attained the minimum of 5 A*- C qualifications at GCSE or equivalent (e.g. BTEC), with at least a B grade in each subject to be studied at level three.
In exceptional cases a C grade minimum can apply to students for both GCE A Level and BTEC Level Three courses where mitigating circumstance applies and there is clear evidence of a good basis for level three study to be undertaken.
Students must have at least a grade C in both English and Mathematics. In exceptional cases a D grade minimum can apply where mitigating circumstance applies and there is clear evidence of a good basis for level three studies. Students who have a GCSE in Mathematics and English at grade D will be required to follow a course leading to a level 2, C grade qualification.


The AS level is 40% coursework and 60% exam.

The A Level is 40% coursework and 60% exam.

Future opportunities

English Literature is a highly regarded A-Level valued by universities due to the emphasis on research, analysis and communication. The skills developed through this course are highly transferable to the workplace and an A-Level in English Literature is highly valued in many careers including journalism, media and law.

Further information

What skills will I develop?

You will be developing your skills of research and editing as well as analysing and presenting ideas with clear justification. You will also be developing confidence in independently evaluating and interpreting texts and drawing links between different ages and genres. You will also deepen your appreciation and enjoyment of a wide range of literature.

Why might this course be for me?

If you love reading and discovering the world through literature then this course will interest and excite you. You will have a good degree of self-motivation and organisation to keep up with the reading required. An interest in history and how it is represented through literature will heighten your appreciation of this course.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Ash Green School directly.

Last updated date: 15 September 2014
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September