English Literature

English Literature

Our Subject


An introduction to English Literature
A Level English Literature FAQs

English Literature is an A-level for students who love reading and enjoy sharing their views on literature with like-minded souls. This highly successful course welcomes students’ own perceptions of texts and is rooted in enjoyment and critical reflection. A popular feature of the course is its opportunities for extra-curricular activity. Recent theatre visits have included trips to London (National Theatre and Globe Theatre) as well as in other UK theatre destinations including Nottingham, Oxford and Stratford.

To study English Literature at Bilborough you need a grade 5 or above in GCSE English Literature and GCSE English Language, and a grade 4 in GCSE Maths.

Our links with HE

We are proud to see many of our students going on to study English-related degrees – as well as English Literature there are Creative Writing courses, American Studies and even Law. English Literature is a preferred subject for the Russell Group universities (something they call a ‘facilitating subject’) and highly valuable for those thinking of going into a wide range of professions. Our past students say that A-level English Literature at Bilborough prepared them well for their degree courses and progression to study English at degree level is very good.

Course Structure

The specification we have chosen for 2015 and beyond is AQA Specification B.

Year 1: Your first year of study involves an exploration of ‘Literary Genres’. The ‘literary genre’ we have chosen to study is Tragedy. You will study Othello by Shakespeare and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller for the first half of the year. In the second half you will study a selection of poetry by Keats. There is no exam in the first year. In the second year of the course you will sit a two and a half hour exam on Othello, Death of a Salesman, and Keats. This exam will make up 40% of your A Level grade.

Year 2: In your second year you will be studying ‘Elements of Crime Writing’.  The texts for study are Brighton Rock by Graham Greene, When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson and finally The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.  You will sit a three hour exam and is worth 40% of your A Level grade.

The coursework module

The final unit will consist of two pieces of independently produced coursework. You will study one poetry text and one prose text (of your choosing) and respond to the texts using a critical approach of your choice (approach will be chosen from an accompanying critical anthology).  Each essay will be 1200-1500 words and will make up the final 20% of your A Level grade. You will complete the poetry essay in your first year, and the prose essay in your second year.

There is an AQA textbook that supports the course now available on Amazon (OUP Press)


“English Literature has changed my life by helping shape me as a person, and shaping the way I read, write and think. English Literature isn’t just a subject you study and get graded on. It is so much more, it is an experience, an element that I and certainly many others will implement in our lives and cherish till the end of our days.”
– Kieran, former student

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