Curriculum Intent

In English, our curriculum intent is:

  • To empower students to communicate with clarity, creativity and flair, using a wide range of vocabulary and oracy skills
  • To experience reading a variety of literature from different eras, cultures, genres and voices
  • To develop a range of analytical skills when interpreting texts, including an understanding of how context shapes meaning

Course Overview

Year 1 – ‘Love through the Ages’

  • Students will read an anthology of pre-1900 love poetry, ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare, ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott. Fitzgerald and some unseen poetry and prose extracts.
  • Students also begin their NEA (Non-Examined Assessment) – a 2500 word essay comparing two texts (one of which has to be pre 1900).

Year 2 – ‘Modern Times’

  • Students will read ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, ‘Feminine Gospels’ by Carol Ann Duffy and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.
  • Some texts will be revisited from year 1 and students will also study some unseen poetry.


Paper 1: Love through the ages – written exam: 3 hours (closed book) 40% of A level

Section A: Shakespeare: one passage-based question with linked essay

Section B: Unseen poetry: compulsory essay question on two unseen poems

Section C: Comparing texts: one essay question linking The Great Gatsby with a selection of poetry from the studied anthology (open book in Sec C only)

Paper 2: Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day – written exam: 2 hrs 30 mins (open book) 40% of A level

Section A: One essay question on ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

Section B: Contextual linking – one compulsory question on an unseen extract, one essay question linking ‘Feminine Gospels’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

Non-exam assessment: Independent critical study: texts across time (20% of A-level)

One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography, assessed by teachers, moderated by AQA.

Exam Board Information

AS and A-level English Literature A

Future Steps

Students studying Literature develop a range of critical and analytical skills which can lead down a variety of career paths: from the study of law, journalism, careers in media, publishing and copywriting to teaching and business development roles.