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English Literature A-Level at The North Durham Academy

Course description

Course outline:

The aim of this course is to encourage you to develop your interest and enthusiasm in the enjoyment of literature and literary studies. You will read widely and independently both set texts and other texts you have selected. You will engage with a substantial body of texts in different genres; poetry, novels, drama, and short stories, and ways of responding to them. Skills and knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in speech and writing will be effectively developed. An important aspect of the course is the exploration of the contexts, for example, historical, political, cultural and biographical, of the texts you will study and other readers’ interpretation of them.

Course Content:

There are two units at AS Level and two units at A2 Level to complete the A Level specification.

Year 12:

Poetry and Prose 1800-1945

The focus of this unit is the study of a collection of poetry and a novel. You will develop skills of close critical analysis, explore connections and comparisons between literary texts and how themes and issues are presented in different literary texts. An understanding of the significance of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received will be developed, and the importance of the meanings made by other readers will be explored. The novel for study on 2013/14 will be Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ and the poetry will be that of W.B. Yates.

Literature post-1900

You will study three post-1900 texts: at least one text must be work published after 1990. The texts for study in 2013/14 will include ‘The Bloody Chamber’ by Angela Carter, ‘The World's Wife’ by Carol Ann Duffy, and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In addition to the skills and knowledge developed in Unit F661, you will develop the ability to link and explore relationships between texts in different ways appropriate to literary study.

Year 13:

Drama and Poetry pre-1800

The focus of study is the study of a Shakespeare play and to explore contrasts, comparisons and connections between one drama text and one poetry text. The texts for study are: a play by William Shakespeare and one drama text and one poetry text written before 1800.

Texts in Time

You will further develop research skills and synthesise knowledge and understanding acquired through your studies. Three texts are required to be studied. This must include one prose and one poetry text. The third text can be from any genre. Texts can be from any period and also across periods. Texts for study will be agreed between the teacher and student.


Year 12

Poetry and Prose 1800-1945

This unit is assessed by a two hour written examination consisting of one essay on Yeats' poetry and one essay on Frankenstein. This is a closed text examination worth 60% of the total AS Level marks.

Literature post-1900

An internally assessed and externally moderated coursework folder of a maximum of 3000 words with two tasks. Worth 40% of the total AS Level marks.

Year 13

Drama and Poetry pre-1800

This unit is assessed by a two hour written examination consisting of one essay on a Shakespeare play and one essay that is a comparative study of a poetry and a drama text. This is a closed text examination worth 30% of the total A Level marks.

Texts in Time

An internally assessed and externally moderated coursework essay on a comparative analysis of three texts, a maximum of 3000 words. Worth 20% of the total A Level marks.

Into the future:

The subject is particularly useful for degree courses in English Literature, English Language, Film Studies, Media Studies, Journalism, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Women’s Studies, Communication and other Arts and Humanities subjects. It is acceptable in all Higher Education institutions. Specific careers using English Literature include teaching, journalism, broadcasting, publishing, civil service, marketing, advertising, administration and human resource management.

English Literature is also an A Level which is highly regarded for its relevance to almost any career or university course.


How to apply:

To apply for a place at NDA16+ students should complete the application form available on our website.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. All applicants will be invited to discuss the course/courses applied for with a senior member of staff to ensure students are selecting the right course/courses. To help with the process we will also look at recent student reports and the attainment information provided by subject staff. Any offer of a place at North Durham Academy may well be dependant on students achieving specified GCSE grades.


Entry requirements

General Entry Criteria

The general criteria for entry to Year 12 of North Durham Academy’s 16+ courses are as follows:

  1. Most A Level and BTEC Level 3 courses: 5 separate GCSE subject passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.
  2. Meet the additional subject-specific requirements which are needed for some courses.
  3. For Maths, Science and Psychology courses, students will be required to complete a ‘Maths for Sixth Form’ course.
  4. Level 1/2 VRQ Courses: 4 GCSE grades at D or above preferably including Maths or English.
  5. Attend the Induction course in July and complete the Summer Bridging study packs relevant to the courses you want to study prior to enrolment.
  6. Agree to the conditions of the Sixth form Learning Agreement.

Any personal issues regarding entry criteria and extenuating circumstances can be raised and discussed at interview.


Entry Criteria:

 Grade C or above in English or English Literature.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The North Durham Academy directly.

Last updated date: 16 March 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years