A Level English Literature is a fascinating course, designed to engage the heart and soul, as well as the mind. The texts we study span over five centuries and three continents, and will present you with a variety of mature ideas and perspectives on life, emanating from stories of passion and drama.

The course offers students the opportunity to explore a range of texts and literary criticisms expanding and developing knowledge gained at GCSE. Lessons will involve a variety of learning strategies including group investigations, teacher and student-led presentations, close analysis and discussions and video interpretations of some texts. Obviously the key element of the course is reading: we assume that all students are keen readers of fiction who will want to read and write about more than just the set texts.



  • Grade 6 or higher in GCSE English Literature and
  • Grade 5 or higher in GCSE English Language
  • This is a two-year A Level course only
  • Unless in exceptional circumstances, you cannot join this course late


A Level English Literature (AQA Specification B)

The course is divided into three units: two exams and the coursework component. Although specific texts and authors may vary from year to year, the summary below gives a good indication of the course.

Unit One: Aspects of Tragedy

In Year 12 we will study what drives the individual to overcome or fall victim to human flaws, family life and social circumstances.

  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  • Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

The assessment will be a closed-book* written exam of 2 hours 30 minutes, worth 40% of the A Level.

Unit Two: Political and Social Protest

In Year 13 we will explore how writers challenge social conventions, as they explore cultural values and how they affect the individual.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The assessment will be an open-book* written exam of 3 hours, worth 40% of the A Level. This exam will also include an unseen passage for analysis.

* Closed-book means that you won’t have a copy of the texts in the exam; open-book means that you will.

Unit Three: Theory and IndependenceThe coursework unit is completed over both Year 12 and

13 encourages students to view texts through different perspectives: for example, Feminist, Marxist, Eco-critical or a range of narrative viewpoints. You will study the AQA Critical Anthology and work by two writers: a novel and a selection of poems.

Prose Options:

  • The Magic Toyshop or The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
  • Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Poetry Options:

  • John Clare
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Wilfred Owen
  • Robert Frost
  • Anne Winters

There will be the opportunity for some student choice, in terms of the both the texts studied and the nature of the assessment, for example you could write one re-creative response instead of a conventional essay. Your teachers will guide you through the options.


Due to time constraints, we do not offer English Literature at AS Level. However, if you want to study English at AS Level for one year only, you can choose A Level English Language, which is offered at both AS and A Level.


English Literature A Level is an excellent training for any employment involving communication. In addition, it provides a very useful background to further study in English, Media Studies and Theatre, Journalism, Education, Speech Therapy, Law, Psychology or Sociology.


A Level results vary a little each year, but typically at the end of Year 13:

  • 40% of students achieve Grades A*-B
  • 70% of students achieve Grades A*-C
  • 100% of students achieve Grades A*-E (a pass)
  • Over 75% of Year 13 students gain their target grade or higher.


Mr Poole, Head of English Faculty and Ms Snowling.



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Head Teacher: Mr Alex Lingard

Liskeard School & Community College
PL14 3EA

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