Oldham Sixth Form College


English Literature (A Level)

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Studying English Literature at OSFC is amazing!

English Literature (A Level)  

  •  Assessment
  • Year 1
    100% Exam
  • Year 2
    80% exam; 20% coursework
  • Exam board



What Will You Learn?


As a student of English Literature, you will delve into a wide range of novels, plays and poems with an open and inquisitive mind. Students of English Literature read widely and independently, both set texts and others that they have selected for themselves. You will be guided to engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them. Developing and effectively applying your knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in writing is another essential skill that you will gain. By examining a wide range of texts, from modern masterpieces to classic works, you will see how literature reflects the political and cultural struggles of the time in which they are written. This course may even change the way you think about and view the world.


Year 1

  • Unit 1: Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900. The first module involves the literary analysis of both Shakespeare’s The Tempest (1611) and a collection of the poetry of Christina Rossetti.
  • Unit 2: Drama and Prose post-1900. The second module analyses meanings within prose and drama texts and explores the significance of cultural and contextual influences on writers and readers. This module requires students to respond critically and creatively to texts. Texts studied include the 1947 critically acclaimed play A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and Angela Carter’s gothic retelling of fairy tales in The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979) collection.

Year 2

  • Unit 1: Drama and Poetry pre-1900. The first module continues engaging with pre-1900 drama through a comparative study of John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi (1613) and the poetry of Christina Rossetti. The module explores relationships between writers, readers and/or audiences and considers different interpretations across time.
  • Unit 2: The Gothic. The second module involves studying Gothic literature; analysing how writers shape meanings and understanding the contexts in which literary texts are written and received. You will read a range of texts in the Gothic genre and engage with a comparative study of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories (1979) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897).
  • Unit 3: Literature post-1900 (Non-Examined assessment/coursework). The coursework consists of a study of three literary texts, which will include one drama text, one prose text and one poetry text. You will write one comparative essay and one close reading essay. There is an element of independent and guided study. Text choices in the past have included Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting (1993), Pat Barker’s novel Double Vision (2003), Kamila Shamsie’s novel Home Fire (2017); the poetry of Dan O’Brien’s (2017), Sylvia Plath (1965), Jo Shapcott (2010)  and Ted Hughes (1970); the drama text choice revisits Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1947).

Special Features

  • Enhance your independent research skills with our Extended Project Qualification Xtra.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to enhance your learning through trips to London and Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • Guest lectures from experts in their field. Past visitors have included Poet Laureates Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.

Where Will This Lead?

English Literature is a highly regarded subject by all employers and universities. Popular careers for those with English Literature A-Level include law, journalism, academia, writing, politics, banking, museums, education, media and the civil service. English Literature is valued, not only because it is a

challenging course, but because it helps you develop key skills, including the ability to develop arguments, think analytically, evaluate evidence and write fluently and coherently. These skills are prized by Russell Group universities as well as Oxford and Cambridge.