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English Literature A Level

Course Overview

A Level English Literature gives students the opportunity to delve into a range of different texts from literature throughout time. We use independent work, group work, presentations and class discussions to expose students to an array of contexts, interpretations and reader responses.

Over the two-year course, you will study a range of prose, drama and poetry texts from literature across time. You will get to know six core texts in depth and learn how to consider the contexts in which they were written and received as well as how different readers and audiences have responded over time. You will discover critical theory and how experts have responded to the texts as well as weigh up whether you agree with them or not.

English Literature will not only give you an in depth understanding of literature through the ages, but it will also give you the opportunity to improve your planning, writing and analytical skills.


Course Components

Year 1 Components

  • An introduction modern literature
  • The Great Gatsby, Othello, pre 1900 poetry
  • Unseen poetry comparison
  • Start the NEA – coursework unit

Year 2 Components

  • Finish the NEA – coursework unit
  • All My Sons, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Feminine Gospels
  • Unseen prose

Key Info

Five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above including: 

  • GCSE grade 6 in English Language or Literature


  • 80% Exam
  • 20% Coursework
  • Exam Board: AQA Specification A


Subject Lead

Mrs C Wright & Miss G Smy

Why Choose this Course?

If you enjoy reading or studying a range of different texts, English Literature is for you. The A Level course gives us time to study texts in more time and greater depth than at GCSE, so you can really get to the know the texts and their contexts. However, you don’t have to have a love of reading to enjoy this course, an interest in history, psychology, sociology or drama (to name a few) can be just as valuable in the English Literature classroom. The NEA coursework element gives you the chance to choose your own texts to read, research and write about and is a great opportunity for you to take your study in a direction that interests you.

Skills You Gain

English Literature embeds the skills that are essential for communicating in the modern world. With textual analysis, inferred meanings and academic style increasingly more important in making you stand out from others, English Literature is just as relevant today as it always has been. You will gain skills in working independently and in groups as well as developing confidence in airing your own opinions in front of others and building your confidence in both the spoken and written word. You will learn key analytical skills so that you will be able to read any text and be aware of how meaning is generated and how readers might respond.

After Northgate

An English Literature A Level is very well respected in all areas of life after Sixth Form. Any university will recognise and value an A Level in English Literature, and it is suitable for any area of further education, with alumni going on to study everything from journalism to biochemistry. English Literature goes well with many combinations of other subjects you may go on to study, including History, Sociology, Psychology, Drama, Media, Criminology, Law, Business – the list really is endless.

"An A Level in English Literature encourages you to be more adventurous in what you read and how you view the world around you. It opens your mind to new ways of reading and analysing, and it gives you the skills to succeed in anything you go on to do after A Levels."

Contact Us

Northgate Sixth Form,
Sidegate Lane, Ipswich, IP4 3DL

Tel: 01473 210 123