English Literature

English Literature

Year 12 Course (AS)

Autumn Term

Shakespeare and pre-1900 Poetry H072

Students will start in September with a bridging unit where key skills and knowledge of canonical texts will be taught.

One teacher will focus on Hamlet: the areas covered will be themes, key scenes, detailed analysis of language, structure and form and relevant contextual factors.  Key thematic quotations as well as associated critical quotations must be learnt by heart and this will form a key part of work completed at home.

The other teacher will focus on Christina Rossetti; the chosen text is “Selected Poems”.  The poems to be covered are: Song: When I am dead, my dearest, Remember, From the Antique (‘It’s a weary life, it is, she said’),Echo, Shut Out, In the Round Tower at Jhansi (Indian Mutiny), A Birthday, Maude Clare, Up-hill, No, thank you, John, Good Friday (‘Am I a stone and not a sheep?’), Goblin Market, Twice, Winter: My Secret, Soeur Louise de la Miséricorde

Students will be expected to complete at least two full essays on Hamlet by the end of the first half term. 

Spring Term 1

American Literature 1880 – 1940

The teaching of Hamlet will finish and be replaced by an introduction to the requirements of the prose examination.  “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald will be the set text and students will be taught how to make specific connections between Gatsby and a range of unseen texts.  The pupils will develop independent analytical and comparative skills in preparation for the questions on Gatsby and an unseen text in the examination.

The other teacher will begin “A Streetcar named Desire” by Tennessee Williams.   The analytical skills will be similar to the poetry unit; the main difference will be the impact of dramatic form upon interpretation.

Students will be expected to complete a range of essays including at least one timed in-class response as preparation for the mock examination.

Spring Term 2 – Summer Term

All texts will be revised in preparation for the mock examination.  Pupils will receive detailed feedback based on their performance in the examination and subsequent lessons will areas that need to be improved.


Year 13 Course (A2)

Unit 3: Drama and Poetry pre-1800

From late autumn in Year 13 students will start studying the examination module, unit F663. This is for a two hour, closed book exam. One teacher will study a Shakespeare play; the other will look at a shorter Renaissance or Restoration drama and a collection of poetry from before 1800. The exam will require students to write two analytical essays, an hour for each. The second will require the comparison of the drama and poetry texts in detail.

Unit 4: Texts in Time

This will start in June, at the end of Year 12, with the main A2 coursework module, unit F664: Texts in Time.

This task aims to encourage students in further developing research skills acquired at AS Level and to synthesise knowledge and understanding acquired through their studies in an extended individual comparison of literary texts across at least two of the genres of poetry, prose and drama.

Candidates are required to cover three texts of their choice. This must include one prose and one poetry text. The third text can be from any genre. Texts can be selected from any period and also across periods, depending on candidates’ interests. One literary text may be a [significant/influential] text in translation; one text may be a work of literary criticism or cultural commentary.


The texts chosen must not appear on any of the set text lists for the externally-assessed units at AS and A Level and must not overlap with texts studied for AS Unit F662.

Centres and candidates must select texts in groupings that facilitate links or contrasts, in order to develop the ability to explore how texts illuminate and connect with each other. Suggested ways of grouping texts are:

  • satire;
  • travel writing;
  • gothic writing;
  • feminist perspectives;
  • narrative method;
  • a historical period or movement (eg Victorian/Romantic writing);
  • perspectives on America;
  • men and women, love and marriage;
  • nature and the environment;
  • tragedy/comedy;
  • writing from other cultures.

Candidates are required to produce one extended essay of a maximum of 3000 words. The task should be designed to enable candidates to compare texts and cover all Assessment Objectives (see specification.)

Candidates will be required to show knowledge and understanding of a minimum of six literary texts across at least two of the genres of prose, poetry and drama.

Specifically required at AS Level will be knowledge and understanding of:


  • work by at least one author published between 1800 and 1945, and;
  • at least one work first published or performed after 1990.

In addition, candidates will be required to show knowledge and understanding of:


  • the functions and effects of structure, form and language in texts;
  • some of the ways in which individual texts are interpreted by different readers;
  • some of the ways in which texts relate to one another and the significance of cultural and contextual influences upon readers and writers.

How will students be taught?

A variety of teaching methods will be employed to develop their thinking, writing and analytical skills, as well as their confidence in presenting their own opinions. They will encouraged to lead as well as participate in seminar style lessons, undertake individual projects and work in small groups. Under staff guidance they will be encouraged to develop their own independent learning and research.

What can students do with this subject?

English Literature is widely recognised as an academic subject and complements many other areas of study at A Level. Analytical writing and research skills acquired through this course are acknowledged and valued by employers while continuation to A2 ensures that they are well prepared to study at degree level.