English literature

In a consumer-obsessed world, English Literature has never been more relevant. Why do we binge-watch Netflix? What compels us to watch the same films over and over, despite us knowing how they end and when exactly is the right time to turn away? What keeps people tuning into Coronation Street 60 years after it first aired on television? As human beings, we are naturally curious and therefore obsessed with stories. Studying English Literature, it is easy to find out why…

Throughout your study with us, you will encounter a wide variety of tales that will keep you thinking for years afterwards. Even if you didn’t like some of them. Especially if you didn’t like some of them. You will learn how to critically analyse a piece of work and develop mature and convincing debating techniques that will stay with you for a lifetime. Your communication will also be vastly improved, giving you useful skills to use in all walks of life.

If you are someone who enjoys getting your teeth stuck into great stories; engaging in exciting and dynamic discussions; and sharing your opinion with others or even being quietly introspectively reflective, this is an A Level for you.

Studying English Literature has allowed me to explore my creativity and visionary skills, whilst also expanding my analysis and interpretation ability through investigating a range of texts I love, all the while providing me with essential skills in establishing my own opinions regarding the world around me.
Neve Stephenson, Year 12 student
I enjoy studying English Literature as it is open to my own interpretation and like picking apart the texts to find hidden/ deeper meanings. I also enjoy researching about how texts have been produced as a product of their time and how they link to the events, ongoings or developments of the period.
Amy-Rose Skelton, Year 12 student


A level English literature

Awarding body AQA

Entry requirements

GCSE at Grade 5 or above in English.

Course content

  • Paper 1: Love through the ages

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of a central literary theme (love) as seen over time, using unseen material and set texts. For this component, they will study Othello by William Shakespeare, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and AQA’s fantastic Anthology of love poetry through the ages.

  • Paper 2: Texts in shared contexts

The aim of this topic area is to encourage students to explore aspects of literature connected through a period of time: WW1 and its aftermath. This explores literature arising out of WW1, but extends this period to allow reflection on the full impact of the war that reverberates up to the present day. It considers the impact on combatants, non-combatants and subsequent generations as well as its social, political, personal and literary legacies. For this component, they will study Journey’s End by R. C. Sherriff, Life Class by Pat Barker and The War Poetry of Wilfred Owen.


A Level assessment includes two summative examinations (Paper One: Love through the Ages and Paper Two: Texts in shared contexts) and the completion of a Non-Examined Assessment on the Gothic.

Why study English literature?

English Literature is a versatile and well-established A level qualification which can lead to a variety of careers and degree courses. It is regarded as a facilitating subject for those wishing to apply for top universities. This qualification is suitable for anyone who is considering a career working with the public. Journalism, law, teaching, banking and social work are only a few of the areas where English Literature is useful.

I enjoy studying English Literature as it allows me to get involved in interesting debates about a variety of topics; I also enjoy looking at background contextual information to work out why writers may produce the Literature they do. It allows me to look at history in an interesting way.
Erin Oakes, Year 12 student