A Level | English

The emphasis at KS5 is to develop independent and enquiring students who are well informed and confident in working with a range of complex texts. The high level of detailed analysis and ability to construct developed arguments expected of students ensures that they are well prepared for further study, irrespective of whether they intend to continue in their study of English Literature. Students studying English Literature at Key Stage 5 should be prepared to read around the subject, work with independence and be able to communicate clearly and effectively.

Key Stage 5 Co-Ordinator:

Miss A. Ark


What students learn

At A2, the following texts will be studied in the unit WW1 and its Aftermath:

  • Life Class (Pat Barker)
  • Journey’s End (R C Sherriff)
  • The War Poems (Wilfred Owen)
  • Students are also rewarded in the exam for their wider reading. Independent research and reading around the topic of World War One and understanding the typicality of writing at the time is extremely important in order to be successful at A-Level English Literature.

The following texts will be revised from the unit Love through the Ages:

  • Othello (William Shakespeare)
  • The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald)
  • Poetry Anthology of pre-1900 love poems
  • Students are also required to read around the theme of ‘love through the ages’, understanding the typicality of writing at different times. They will be rewarded for their ability to compare, analyse and evaluate texts.


A Level English Literature is comprised of two units – Love through the Ages and WW1 and its Aftermath. The former is taught in Year 12 and students are examined at the end of the year. The latter is taught in Year 13 and the Year 12 course is also revised. Students are examined at the end of Year 13 on both units; this is worth 80% of their English Literature A Level, with the other 20% assessed through a Non-Exam Assessment.

Course Expectations

Attendance and punctuality:

  • Alllessons should be attended on time.
  • If you cannot attend the lesson due to illness/medical reasons, please email the teacher of the lesson you are missing within 24 hours and ensure you catch up on both the missed classwork and the missed homework by the following lesson.
  • Repeated lateness will be monitored and late time added together to be made up after school.
  • Students may be denied entry into the lesson if they are more than 10 minutes late.

Classroom and behaviour:

  • You will be expected to participate in all class discussions, paired work and group work to the best of your ability.
  • You must complete all written work to a thorough and high standard, ensuring all aspects of the success criteria are met.
  • Mobile phones should be turned off in all lessons; at no point should they be visible or in use.
  • Headphones and other electronic equipment should be out of sight.

Equipment and books/notes:

 You will be expected to bring the following to every lesson:

– Black pen / Green Pen / Highlighters
– English folder and lined paper
– Planner
– Relevant texts/reading books

Homework and independent study:

  • You are expected to record homework and deadlines in your planner and check SMHW regularly.
  • Homework must be completed and handed in on the due date with your name on it.
  • If you know you are going to miss the lesson, it is your responsibility to tell the teacher priorto the lesson so that other arrangements for your homework can be made.
  • You must allocate time for English revision during your independent study – this time should also be used to complete wider reading and keep a reading log.

Assessments and exams:

  • It is expected that all assessments and exams are taken seriously and revised for accordingly.
  • If assessment or exam grades awarded are not consistent with Target Grades, they will need to be retaken.

Year 13: English Literature overview

Paper 1 – Love through the ages

Exam (3 hours)                                       75 marks – 40% of A Level English Literature

Open book in Section C only

Section A: Shakespeare

25 marks

One passage-based question on Othello including links to the whole text.

Section B: Unseen poetry

25 marks

One comparative essay question on two unseen poems.

Section C: Comparing texts

25 marks

One comparative essay question (from a choice of two) on The Great Gatsby and the Love Poetry Anthology (pre-1900).


Paper 2 – WW1 and its Aftermath

Exam (2 hours 30 minutes)           75 marks – 40% of A Level English Literature

Open book

Section A:

Set text

25 marks

One essay question (from a choice of two) on Journey’s End.

Section B: Contextual linking

25 marks

Comparing texts

25 marks


One question on an unseen extract.

One comparative essay question on Life Class and The War Poems.


Non-exam assessment: texts across time

Independent critical study             50 marks – 20% of A Level English Literature

Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900. One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography.