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Students in class at Andover College

English Literature – A Level


Level 3



Type of study

School Leavers




2 Years

In A Level English Literature you will explore classic literary texts, from novels to plays and poetry. The course uses literature from a range of periods, such as Chaucer, Shakespeare and literature of the 21st century to develop your literary analysis skills, focusing specifically on your understanding of writers’ techniques. 

Five GCSEs at grade /9–4. including a grade 4 or above in English Literature. BTEC Level 2 qualifications considered in subject related courses. 


Component one: drama and poetry, Twelfth NightThe Merchant’s Prologue and Tale and She Stoops to Conquer  


This component is studied across both years. You will start with Shakespeare and his comedy, Twelfth Night in Year 1. Our approach is thoroughly rooted in context and critical analysis of the play. There will be opportunities to watch different productions during the course, both on stage and on screen. In Year 2, we return to this component and to the focus on the genre of comedy with Chaucer’s The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale, a witty exploration of the relationship troubles between an older ‘husbonde’ and his beautiful ‘yong wyf’. Alongside this we will also study the 18th century drama, She Stoops to Conquer, a wonderful example of the ‘laughing comedy’ form which also focuses upon love and marriage and all of the problems that go with finding the right partner.   

Component two: comparative and contextual study, 1984 and The Children of Men 

This component is studied in Year 1. We read the seminal dystopian novel 1984, by George Orwell and compare it with PD James thoughtful and surprisingly bleak dystopia The Children of Men. Our approach is based on a thorough exploration of the dystopian genre, and is accompanied by studies in the literary context of this type of fiction, from the earliest Sci-Fi antecedents of the form to contemporary texts such as The Hunger GamesMaze Runner and The Handmaid’s Tale  

NEA: literature of the 20th and 21st century   

The non-examined assessment is completed in Year 2. You choose your own focus and select three texts, one from each of the following forms: prose fiction, drama and poetry. All of these texts must have been published after 1900 and one must be post the year 2000. This is an exciting opportunity to explore your own literary passions. Recent topics have included: war literature, femininity/masculinity in literature, the representation of horror themes in literature, literature and ethnicity and the representation of life and death in contemporary literature


Internal assessment 

Assessment in A Level English comes in a variety of different forms, from writing analytical essays to creative tasks and presentations. You be set home learning tasks regularly throughout the course, culminating in internal examined assessments.   

External assessment  

You will complete a NEA which is worth 20% of your overall grade for the A Level. This is based on independent research and will be completed in Year 2 of your course. The other 80% of your final assessment is done through external examinations at the end of the second year.  


This subject is highly valued in Higher Education and by employers. Career paths could include teaching, journalism, media, copy editing or professional writing. 


You will go on theatre trips to see performances of the set drama texts such as the recent production of Twelfth Night at The Globe Theatre, London. We also use critical approaches to literature and you will have the chance to listen to guest speakers delivering talks on these, such as social class, and gender in literary texts.  

The English Language Partnership with Winchester University also offers you the chance to visit Winchester to take part in taster sessions, study tours and talks from guest lecturers from higher education English lecturing staff. 


You will be taught in our Andover Sixth building and will have access to many different facilities, including: 2 study centres, a Library, A canteen and the Careers Hub.