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English Literature (A level linear - no AS examinations) at Gumley House Convent School

Course description

'You develop the insight of an artist, the analytical precision of a scientist and the persuasiveness of a Lawyer' (Professor Maureen Moran, Brunel University). 

You'll enjoy this course:

  • If you love reading for reading’s sake and often find yourself immersed in the world of a book.
  • You enjoy learning about the wider social, cultural and philosophical ideas which emerge from a text.
  • You relish the opportunity to put forward your point of view on a given text and listen to the critical viewpoints of others.

You will learn how to construct an argument and analyse the structure and use of language and literary devices in a text. You will also learn about the social, historical and cultural context of the set texts.

We employ a diverse range of teaching styles in order to ensure that students have a clear understanding of how to approach a literary text. We understand that many students progress through talk and so classroom discussions occur on a regular basis and you will work on a variety of research projects in small groups. 

Course content

The A level course is a 2 year course. The Edexcel syllabus offers the best opportunity to study an exciting range of modern novels as well as classic texts. The qualification requires students to study eight literary texts. Three of these have to be pre-1900 texts (including one Shakespeare play), plus one text first published or performed post-2000.

The requirement to study eight texts is met in the following way:

Component 1: Drama    1 Shakespeare                           2 Other drama play*

Component 2: Prose      3 Pre-1900 prose fiction            4 Prose fiction*

Component 3: Poetry     5 Post-2000 specified poetry     6 Specified poetry (pre or


Coursework:                   7 Chosen text                            8 Chosen text

* These represent where students can study a third pre-1900 text in the examined components.

This course also provides you with the opportunity to conduct your own independent reading project in the second year. Coursework will be assessed via two texts. There are no prescribed texts but students must select complete texts which may be drawn from poetry, drama, prose or literary non-fiction and must be different texts to those studied in Components 1, 2 and 3. The selected texts may be linked by theme, movement, author or period. Literary study of both texts should be enhanced by study of the links and connections between them, different interpretations and the contexts in which they were written and received.

The expectation is that you will spend 4 hours a week working on private study at home or in school.  We expect all students to read as widely as possible in addition to reading the set texts. 

Entry requirements

Mathematics at level 5 and English at level 6 and threee didfferent subjects at a minimum of grade C.

The minimum entry requirement for this course is a level 6 GCSE in both English Literature and English Language. 


  The Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in English Literature consists of three externally examined papers and one coursework component. The qualification requires the study of eight literary texts plus unseen poetry and students must complete all assessment in May/June in any single year.

Component                           Length                                     % of A level

  Drama                              2 hours 15 minutes                            30%

  Prose                                       1 hour                                            20%

  Poetry                             2 hours 15 minutes                              30%

Coursework                     2,500-3,000 words                               20%


Financial information

Theatre visits and attendance at workshops in support of the curriculum.  

Future opportunities

 English Literature is a very flexible and adaptable subject so the possibilities are endless. Careers may include management, research, consultancy, publishing, public services, media and advertising. You could take this course with other advanced level courses or equivalent to prepare for higher education in English studies or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to English Literature such as a Teacher, Journalist, Author or Poet. The course will also help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.

Further information

To find out more about this qualification, contact us or ask your school/college careers staff.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gumley House Convent School directly.

Last updated date: 11 May 2017
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    • The main entrance to the School is via Gumley Gardens off  St John's Road.

      The School is close to a number of bus routes- 267, 237, 235,117 and H37.

      There is limited parking in the school during school hours. There is metered street parking in South Street (off Twickenham Road).