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English Literature A Level at Ashington Community High School

Course description

This course will appeal to those students who particularly enjoy reading, exploring and analysing a range of literary forms: plays, prose and poetry. Students will explore and investigate a wide range of texts, looking at the influence of context. They will study texts selected from our diverse English literary heritage, analysing the ways writers use literary techniques, structure, form and language. They will be taught to:

- Analyse set texts in depth
- Explore and comment on unseen texts independently
- Develop comparative skills
- Read with insight and empathy

The course requires students to undertake a programme of wider reading to add breadth to their knowledge. Students will develop the ability to engage with the views of others and explore critical responses.

Course content

Unit 1: Literary Genres – Aspects of Tragedy:
Students will study and analyse three texts on the central theme of tragedy. Texts studied by students in 2016 were ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald and ‘Richard II’ and ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare.
- 40% of total A Level grade
- Two-hour closed-book written examination (copies of the texts cannot be taken into the exam)

Unit 2: Texts and Genres – Elements of Crime Writing:
Students will study and analyse three texts on the central theme of crime. Texts studied by students in 2016 were ‘Oliver Twist’ by Charles Dickens, ‘Atonement’ by Ian McEwan and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
- 40% of total A Level grade
- Three-hour open-book written examination (copies of the texts can be taken into the exam)

Unit 3 - Theory and Independence Coursework:
This is an independent critical study unit which requires students to read widely to choose their own texts and to understand that the study of literature needs to be informed by different theoretical and critical methods. In this unit, students choose two different literary texts and write two essays of 1,250-1,500 words, one essay on each text. One of the texts must be a poetry text and the other must be prose.
- 20% of total A Level grade
- Two 1,250-1,500 word essays

Entry requirements

Students will need GCSE English Language at grade 5 or above. GCSE English Literature at grade 5 or above would be an advantage.

Independent reading is essential and the course is ideally suited to those who enjoy reading and exploring the techniques that writers use, as well as the views they present. The study of Shakespeare is an important part of the course and an interest in his works is therefore important.


The course will be delivered in a variety of ways, including teacher-led and student-led presentations, independent research tasks, theatre visits and creative work. Students will be expected to read more than just the set texts in order to have a breadth of understanding

Future opportunities

A qualification in English Literature is seen as a “facilitating subject”, and as such is highly regarded by colleges, universities and employers. Career options are very wide after studying English Literature at A Level and include:
- Law
- The world of business
- Journalism
- The media
- Teaching
- Publishing

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 September 2017

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