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English Literature A level at Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School

Course description

The AS And A-Level Literature course is suitable for keen and dedicated readers and at the heart of this specification lies the need for students to study literature from all three genres across the centuries of Prose, Poetry and Drama.  The course encourages students to develop interest in and enjoyment of English Literature through wider reading and the development of critical and analytical skills.

Students will need to be able to communicate effectively and accurately in their essays, showing an understanding of how writers use form, structure and language.  They must be prepared to produce fluent and convincing responses and to learn how to interpret different critical perspectives.  They will be expected to analyse and comment in detail on a large range of texts and to relate them to the contexts in which they were written, gaining an insight into the significance of the time and culture that gives rise to a text as well as aspects of the author’s life, literary movements and traditions.  At A-Level students must also comment on the differences and similarities between texts and synthesise knowledge and understanding of various styles, contents and meanings.

Students' ability to be self-motivating and to work independently is a crucial contributory factor in meeting the challenges and demands of A-Level as they will be required to do a good deal of extracurricular reading and research.  Most of the essays and coursework assignments will be written outside lesson time, though some practice essays will be undertaken in the classroom under controlled conditions.  Students will receive ample opportunities to use ICT skills for researching and presenting their finished work.

The meeting of deadlines is of crucial importance, not only for the completion of coursework units, but also to ensure absolute preparedness for examinations at the end of the AS course (the first year of A-Level) and the A2 Course (the second year of A-Level). 

Course content

Topics including: 

  • Love through the ages 
  • Shakespeare Study Coursework 
  • An Introduction to Victorian Literature
  • Victorian context and close reading skills 
  • Focus on practical criticism and close reading of unseen texts


  • A Dolls House by Henrik Ibsen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells 
  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  • Poetry by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Poetry by Thomas Hardy  
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • 'The Miller's Tale' from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer 
  • The Homecoming by Harold Pinter  
  • Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
  • Songs and Sonnets by John Donne
  • Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy

Throughout the two year course there will be many opportunities for students to express their opinions and feelings orally and they should have the flexibility to modify, adapt, defend and if necessary abandon a point of view in the light of discussion and others’ views.  Given the strong emphasis on independent learning and research during the course students will also be asked to lead a seminar on a particular text which will require them to present a paper to their peers and lead them in discussion.

Future opportunities

The course is suitable for a wide range of degree courses and a wide variety of careers, including Journalism, Media, Law and Teaching.  It is an excellent preparation for any degree which requires essay writing, particularly Arts, Humanities and Language courses.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School directly.

Last updated date: 01 December 2016
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