Windsor Sixth Form, Richmond Street, Halesowen, B63 4BB
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english literature a level

English Literature A Level

A Level English Literature encourages you to develop a passion for English literature as well as literary heritage. Through reading widely, critically and independently, you will become an expert in literature across centuries, genre and gender, and will be challenged to seek out patterns and identify developments over time, forming informed theories on why this may be.

The specification offers you the opportunity to experience literature at its best, not just through set texts but by encouraging independent reading of linked texts too, thus creating well informed, critical readers. It also enables you to synthesize the knowledge, understanding and skills of the course, allowing you to connect and compare a wide range of whole texts and extracts.

English literature is a subject that encourages the sharing of opinions and evolution of ideas and is suited to those with a passion for reading but also those who enjoy analysis and making connections across texts and topics.

What you will study

A Level English Literature consists of two main topics - Love Through the Ages and World War I and the Aftermath - as well as a Non-exam Assessment (NEA). You will be developing your inference and analytical skills as well as your communication and reasoning skills, both verbally and in writing.

Love Through the Ages

  • Shakespeare - one play will be studied in depth, allowing students to develop their skills as analysts of Shakespearean Drama 
  • Poetry - students will study a range of poems spanning centuries of poets finding unique and mysterious ways of expressing feelings of, and about, the theme of love
  • Prose - one novel, for example, The Great Gatsby or Atonement, is studied in relation to the theme of love

WWI and the Aftermath

  • Poetry and drama - The script of Wipers Times  will be studied in depth alongside a collection of poems, allowing students to compare how various aspects of war are differently presented 
  • Prose - students study the novel Regeneration by Pat Barker as a way to enhance and broaden their understanding of experiences of war
  • Unseen - students will also practise “cold” analysis of extracts from texts which are also linked to WWI. Not only does this further develop contextual understanding, but it helps students to hone their analytical skills and their abilities to infer meaning

NEA

  • One critical essay comparing a theme and a critical viewpoint between two texts from the gothic genre. One of these texts will be studied as a class whilst you will get the opportunity to select the second text yourself from the Literary Canon

How the course is assessed

  • Paper 1: Love Through the Ages, 40%
  • Paper 2: WWI and the Aftermath, 40%
  • NEA: Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900, 20%

Entry requirements

  • Five subjects at grade 4 or above, including English and maths
  • Grade 6 or above in GCSE English Literature or Language

Why study English Literature at Windsor Sixth Form?

  • Expert teachers - The English department is staffed by enthusiastic individuals, all of whom are knowledgeable and dedicated professionals. Not only do they have excellent subject knowledge, but there are also specialists in a variety of areas of study including drama, poetry and the gothic
  • Partnership with University of Birmingham - We will be working closely with the University of Birmingham to deliver a range of extra opportunities and workshops which will enhance your studies and provide you with insight into university life
  • Excellent results - Staff are committed to supporting students to reach their full potential - in 2021, 71% of students achieved grades A* - B and 100% of students achieved grades A* - C

Other courses that go well with A Level English Literature

English literature allows you to develop your skills as a critical reader, your empathy with both fictional and non-fictional people and events, and your ability to make connections and form theories. It will therefore work well alongside any other course, but particularly subjects such as history, geography, sociology and law.

What you can do after the course

The skills you will develop studying English literature are among the most transferable, meaning you will have a broad spectrum of opportunities available to you.

Further study and apprenticeships

University courses you may wish to pursue include: 

  • English (Literature, Language or Language and Literature)
  • Creative Writing
  • Psychology
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Design
  • Media
  • Photography and Film

If you are considering an apprenticeship, you could think about working in: 

  • Fitness coaching
  • Construction
  • Marketing
  • Education
  • Property sales
  • Engineering
  • Administration
  • Health and Social Care

Careers

The course could lead you almost anywhere because the skills you will have developed are so appealing to employers. Some example careers are:

  • Marketing
  • Human resources and relations
  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Broadcasting
  • Business development
  • Counselling
  • Consulting

Where do students progress to after the course?

Students often continue on to university. Some recent destinations include: 

  • University of Oxford to read English and German
  • Swansea University to read English Literature and History with a year abroad
  • Aston University to read Law with Forensic Psychology
  • Birmingham City University to read Criminology

Student success strories

  • Having studied English Literature, one student received an A* in English Literature and is going on to read English with German at the University of Oxford
  • Having achieved an A in English Literature, one student went on to the University of Birmingham to read Biochemistry
  • Having achieved an A* in English Literature, a student is moving on to the University of Sheffield to read Politics and International Relations