Key Stage 5 English
English Language and Literature AS and A Level follow an integrated approach, taking the
skills from the GCSE Language and Literature study and building on these foundations.
Students who choose to take this subject will be working towards one qualification in English Language and Literature.
Studying A level English offers numerous advantages. It enhances critical thinking and
analytical skills, fostering a deeper understanding of literary texts and their cultural contexts.
A level English develops effective communication, both written and oral, encouraging
articulate expression. It also cultivates creativity, empathy, and a lifelong appreciation for
literature, empowering students with valuable skills for higher education and beyond.
Students will study two units both worth 20% towards the final A Level qualification.
Unit 1 – Comparative Analysis and Creative Writing – One 2 hour exam
In this unit, students will study an anthology of pre-1914 poems. They will also learn how to develop analytical approaches to non-literary texts such as spoken transcriptions,
advertisements, autobiographies, biographies, travel writing, journalism, information texts,
instructional texts, letters, reports, speeches, specialist publications.
Also in this unit, students will develop their own original writing skills by writing in a range of genres.
Unit 2 – Drama and Non-Literary text study – One 2 hour exam
Students will be more familiar with the approaches for this unit as it has close links with the GCSE Literature units but with the added benefits of also looking at the texts through a
linguistic lens. Students will engage in a detailed study of two texts:
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – A true crime novel, based on the story of the brutal murder of an entire family in rural Kansas which opens a window on the dark underbelly of postwar America.
- Shakespeare in Love by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard – A romantic comedy, written for screen and stage which follows the romantic life of a young William Shakespeare as he tries to overcome writer’s block.
Unit 3 – Shakespeare One 2 hour exam
Students will use integrated literary and linguistic approaches to study King Lear by William Shakespeare. While students will engage critically with the text as a work of literature, this unit also offers opportunities for exploring the richness of the English language and its historical development set within the context of when the text was produced and received.
Students will develop their knowledge of dramatic techniques, their skills as interpreters of performance texts and their understanding of significant contextual factors throughout their studies for this unit.
Unit 4 – Comparative analysis of unseen texts and prose study, One 2 hour exam
There are two sections for this unit. For section A, students will refine the analytical methods and approaches needed to compare a range of literary and non-literary texts.
For section B, students will study Margret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale.
Unit 5 – Critical and Creative Genre Study, Non-exam assessment: 2500-3500 word
folder. This unit comprises of a detailed study of the gothic genre. Through close analysis of a wide range of extracts taken from gothic texts, and through the study of the classic gothic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, students will gain a deep insight into the gothic literary conventions and contextual influences. This unit gives students the freedom to choose an aspect of the genre they are interested in or even other wider reading texts on which to base their study.
In reflecting on their studies, students will then be required to produce original writing related to their chosen genre.