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English in the Sixth Form

A Level English

"It’s in literature that true life can be found. It’s under the mask of fiction that you can tell the truth."                                                 Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize Winner

Throughout the two year course of A Level English, students will study poetry, plays, novels and literary fiction written in English. In the first year, students immerse themselves in the theme of Love Through the Ages, exploring Shakespeare as well as a range of poetry from the 1500s to the present day, one or two novels and a wide selection of prose texts, tracing the development of literary conventions and the portrayal of love - in all of its forms - through time.

In their second year students will study modern texts from 1945 to the present day.  Students should expect to study about 5-6 texts in class during each year, and to complement these with their own wider reading. The success of students lies largely in their ability to read widely and perceptively: we fully expect students to immerse themselves in the world of literature, and the new independent study in the second year of the course requires students to plan and complete their own analysis of two texts, one of which must be from before 1900. This is a course for lovers of reading; students who are suitably committed can look forward to developing a wide and impressive set of analytical skills and enjoying some truly great literature.

Throughout the course students will read and  think about what they read, talk about it, write essays on it, present various aspects of it to the class, go on course related trips, watch the occasional film and conduct their own  research.

A Level English Literature
What is the course about?

Throughout the two year course of A Level English, students will study poetry, plays, novels and literary non-fiction written in English. From the start of the course in year 1 until they sit their exams in year 2, students immerse themselves in modern texts and the theme of Love Through the Ages, exploring Shakespeare as well as a range of poetry from the 1500s to the present day, two novels, a play, and a wide selection of prose texts, tracing the development of literary conventions and the portrayal of love - in all of its forms - through time. An independent dissertation-style coursework is started at the end of year 1 and completed in year 2.

Students should expect to study about seven texts in class during the two year course, and to compliment these with their own wider reading. The success of students lies largely in their ability to read widely and perceptively: we fully expect students to immerse themselves in the world of literature, and the new independent study in the second year of the course requires students to plan and complete their own analysis of two texts; one of which must be from before 1900. This is a course for lovers of reading; students who are suitably committed can look forward to developing a wide and impressive set of analytical skills and enjoying some truly great literature.

What sort of work will I be doing?

Throughout the course students will read and  think about what they read; talk about it; write essays on it; present various aspects of it to the class; go on course related trips; watch the occasional film and conduct their own  research.

How will I be assessed?
A Level – Love Through the Ages
Please note that students will be assessed on all texts below at the end of their second year as part of their A Level exam.
 
  • One Shakespeare play will be studied. Students will be asked to complete one passage based exam question before widening to explore the play as a whole.
  • Students will also be expected to be able to compare two unseen poems.
  • A collection of poetry either pre or post 1900 set by AQA, which students will use to compare and contrast with one of their set prose texts.
A level – Modern Times: Texts from 1945 to the present day.
Students will study three set texts: one poetry anthology, one novel and one play. One of these texts must have been written after 2000. Students will be required to answer an essay question on one of their set texts. They will also be required to answer a second question comparing the remaining texts that they have studied. The third question on this exam requires students to analyse a piece of unseen prose from the period outlined in the course.
 
NEA – Independent Critical Study
Students will also be expected to complete a piece of independent work. This will be a 2500 word critical essay (worth 20%) conceived, planned and completed with minimal input from teachers. Students can only be taught one of the two texts that they will need to compare and contrast. Both must be by different authors and one of these texts must have been written before 1900. Students will need to read widely to meet the requirements of this part of the course.
What qualifications are needed to take this course?

The minimum requirements to do this A level are 5 grade 4s/Cs in 5 different subjects and a grade 6 in both English and English Literature at GCSE.

What extra work can I do?

There is always more to do, as success in this A Level depends upon the amount and quality of the reading and studying you do on your own.  This is not an A Level for those who find it difficult to find motivation, or to get down to work!  An English A Level student always has more to do, and more to read…

What do the students say?

"English is a great subject – it allows to you to express your own opinions in intellectual debates" – Lauren
 
"Throughout the two year course, there are many opportunities to widen our knowledge and interest in the subject through visits and in depth reading" - Emily
And finally….

The English department has very high expectations – we expect every student at this level to have a passion for reading and a willingness to share what they think.  We believe that the study of Literature at this level is life-enhancing and an exciting and interesting voyage of discovery about the world and the way in which we live.

 





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