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ENGLISH LITERATURE at Boston Spa Academy

Course description

The aim is for all students to experience a diverse and interesting collection of texts throughout the two-year course. English Literature will encourage all students to learn new and challenging ways to study a variety of writing styles. At the heart of the course
is the desire to develop and enhance students’ love of reading, giving opportunities to debate themes, issues and questions raised by the texts studied.

Course content

Literary Genres: Tragedy

In Literary Genres, the texts are connected through the mainstream literary genre of Tragedy. Tragedy and comedy have a long tradition in literature, with their origins in the ancient world and with a specific emphasis on drama. Working with genre involves
looking at ways in which authors shape meanings within their texts. It also involves thinking about a wide range of relevant contexts: some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing; some (where possible) to do with how the text has been received over time; and most of all in this specification, contexts to do with how the text can be interpreted by readers now. 

Students study one  Shakespeare play, Othello, and one further drama text, The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), as well as a collection of poems. 

Texts and Genres: Modern Times, Literature from 1945-present day
Here texts will be explored within a narrower and clearly defined time period - Taking the end of WW2 as its historical starting point. Literature’s engagement with some of the social, political, personal and literary issues, which have helped shape the latter half of the 20th Century and the early decades of the 21st Century, will be explored.
Students study the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and make comparisons between The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) and Transl ations (Brian Friel).
The also respond to an unseen passage in the examination.

Theory and Independence
This component is designed to allow students to read widely, to choose their own texts, and to understand that contemporary study of literature needs to be informed by the fact that different theoretical and critical methods can be applied to the subject.

Entry requirements

Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

Students who have previously studied this at GCSE would be expected to have achieved at least a grade 4.


Paper 1: Literary Genres Written exam:  2.5 hours

Closed book 75 marks 40% of A Level

Paper 2: Texts and Genres Written exam: 3 hours

Open book 75 marks 40% of A Level

Non-exam assessment: Theory and Independence

Two essays of 1,250-1,500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology. 50 marks 20% of A Level

Future opportunities

This course will prepare students to study English Literature at university level. Skills of independent study, as well as the ability to research and apply critical opinions, are vital in working at degree level in this subject. Careers using English Literature include teaching, journalism, marketing, social work, publishing, working in public relations and many more.

Further information

Contact Boston Spa Sixth Form on 01937 846612.


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 09 November 2018
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