A Level

English Literature

Immerse yourself in the fascinating study of contemporary and period plays, poetry and prose.
80% Exam 20% NEA
5 in English Language AND 6 in English Literature

What is English Literature?

English Literature is the study of plays, poetry and prose. You will have the opportunity to read – and learn more about the contexts of – a wide range of texts during this course under the umbrella themes of ‘World War One and its Aftermath’ and ‘Love through the Ages’.

Classes include seminar-style discussions, student presentations, and close annotation of reading material.

A really exciting part of the course – which helps you to develop your creativity, independence, and study skills – is the NEA (coursework) element in which you write a 2,500-word essay on two texts of your choice in response to a task which you have written. You will be supervised by one of your teachers, who will have particular expertise in and passion for your chosen texts, and this component is fantastic preparation for higher education.

Why study English Literature?

English Literature is a wonderful course to support your development both as a rounded young person and as a creative, independent, and thoughtful student. You will develop your skills in analysis, critical thinking, creativity and reading.

English Literature works effectively in combination with a wide range of other subjects so it suits those students who know that they want to pursue a particular path in the Arts but also those students who might still be considering their future pathway. In the past our students have studied English Literature alongside subjects like History and Philosophy and Ethics but also others like Biology, Government and Politics and Sociology.

If you enjoyed English Literature at GCSE and feel passionate about texts and ideas, English Literature could be the perfect course for you.


English Literature Exam Results




A* to C


A* to B


St. Paul’s can’t be compared to any other college. There is a real sense of community, especially in the English Department.

Lexie (English Literature Student)

I always feel free to share my opinion and contribute to class discussions as well as learn from not only my teachers, but also my fellow students.

Richard (English Literature Student)

All the teachers are so caring and kind and you never feel like your opinion or view on something does not matter.

Yas (English Literature Student)

As a person who came from an external secondary school, I was nervous about joining the Sixth Form but the English Department especially helped to make me feel welcome and like I belonged.

Yas (English Literature Student)

English Literature
Course Content

This course offers students the opportunity to study literature through the lens of historicism and actively promotes independent study of a broad range of texts and wider reading, thus extending students’ experience and appreciation of literature.

Love Through The Ages
40% (75 Marks)
3 Hours
Open Book for Section C

Paper 1 is divided into three sections:

  • Section A is the study of Shakespeare’s Othello.
  • Section B is a comparative task of unseen poetry across time.
  • Section C is the study of ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte and AQA’s Poetry Anthology, a collection of poems from across time linked by the theme ‘Love and Relationships’.
World War 1 & Its Aftermath
40% (75 Marks)
2 Hours 30 Minutes
Open Book

Paper 2 is divided into three sections:

  • Section A is the study of an anthology of war poetry, ‘Scars Upon My Heart’, written by women.
  • Section B is the analysis of unseen prose.
  • Section C is the study of ‘A Long, Long Way’ – a 2005 novel by the Irish writer Sebastian Barry – and David Haig’s 1997 play ‘My Boy Jack’.
Non-Exam Assessment
2500 Words

The non-exam assessment (NEA) is an independent critical study of texts across time, and consists of one extended essay and a bibliography.

Mrs Staffiere

Mrs E Staffiere


We are so delighted that you are considering English Literature as one of your A-levels. My team and I are passionate about the study of English Literature and are keen to share our love for, and knowledge of, the subject with you as well.

I would be really happy to answer any questions that you may have about English Literature; please do not hesitate to contact me.

Send me a message

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