Exam Board: AQA Syllabus B
Course content and assessment:
English Literature remains a popular subject for Sixth Form study that supports students in developing skills that are useful for many other areas of study and employment. This course starts with the study of aspects of tragedy and moves on to study fiction with a political element. The course has a philosophy which centres on different ways of reading and the connections that exist between texts within a literary genre. The aim is for students to arrive at their own interpretations and become confident autonomous readers. We also aim for students to enjoy their study of literature, and the first cohorts have been enthusiastic about their studies and successful in all areas of the course.
A Level English Literature
Unit 1: Literary genres – Aspects of tragedy
Study of three texts: one Shakespeare play, ‘Othello’, a second drama text, ‘Death of a Salesman,’ and one further text, a selection of Keats’ poetry. The unit is assessed through a two and a half hour closed book examination.
Unit 2: Texts and genres – Elements of political and social protest writing
Study of three texts: one post-2000 prose, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, one poetry collection, ‘The Songs of Innocence and Experience’, and one further text, ‘The Kite Runner’. The unit is assessed through a three hour open book examination. The examination will include an unseen passage.
Unit 3: Theory and independence (non-examined assessment)
Independent critical study, study of two texts: one poetry and one prose text, informed by study of a Critical Anthology. Students will produce two essays of 1250 – 1500 words and a bibliography. One essay can be re-creative.
Students will be expected to achieve a grade 6 in English Literature or Language at GCSE.
Progression routes and careers:
This course offers clear progression from GCSE; it allows students to build on the skills and knowledge already gained and prepare for their next steps. English Literature A Level enhances applications to a wide variety of degree courses besides English, for example law, journalism, creative writing and business studies.