Accessibility links

A Level English Literature Specification at Matthew Arnold School

Course description

The new AS and A2 courses are exciting courses designed to support students who enjoy literary studies as they develop as critical, analytical readers, and as they become confident academic writers. The specification offers students the widest possible reading experiences over the two years beginning with a historicist approach in year 12 where all of the texts are linked by the theme of “Love through the Ages” and range from the works of Geoffrey Chaucer to Carol Ann Duffy. There is a more focussed thematic approach in year 13 where all of the texts will have been written post-1945 and offer students a chance to explore how literature reflects our most recent history.

Course content

Assessments in the AS-level are all through external examination taken at the end of the course and involve Shakespeare studies, work with an AQA anthology of poetry and two prose texts. Comparison of texts is required and allows students to compare, contrast and evaluate different texts through time and their different presentation of ideas. An unseen component is also part of the exam, and students will be wellprepared for this – and indeed for all of the papers through rigorous exam essay practice.

At A2, students build on this strong skills-based foundation and focus their reading on more modern texts. Assessment will include a further examination on the texts from year 12 as well as a paper requiring students to answer on modern prose, poetry and drama texts and to tackle an unseen extract. There is also a coursework element to the A-level which requires students to write an extended, academic essay comparing two texts. This accounts for 20% of the final A-level mark. There is always scope in coursework for students to pursue their particular literary interests and we offer detailed guidance on wider reading at Matthew Arnold.

AQA prescribes all of the texts for A-level study but they are all texts with which we have had years of success and we always look forward to teaching them with new, enthusiastic students for whom reading is a passion and for whom writing is a way to express well-informed ideas about love, life and literature.

Entry requirements

Current success and enjoyment in both English Language and English Literature at GCSE. Successful students enjoy reading, are fast and critical readers, and are curious about new texts. They can write clearly using an academic style, and spelling, punctuation and grammar are very sound.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Matthew Arnold School directly.

Last updated date: 16 April 2015
Provider logo

Key information


  • More information
    • Students have their own centre with its dedicated study room, common room and computer facilities. Sixth Form students are encouraged to play an active part in the wider life of the school taking advantage of a broad range of enrichment activities including enrichment days, sport, music and drama. Students are also expected to contribute to the wider community through a Community Service programme and assuming roles of responsibility within the school. OFSTED found that “Sixth form students are positive role models within the school and make a good contribution to the school’s ethos, supporting teachers in modelling excellent behaviour and conduct.

      We offer a comprehensive selection of A level subjects, from traditional courses through to newer subjects such as film studies, photography and computing. Each subject is taught by experienced staff with an excellent record in A level success.