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sixth form

English Literature

Why Choose English Literature?

Studying English Literature will give you a broad knowledge of literature from 1600 to the present day.  We investigate plays, poetry and prose from a range of authors, considering the ways they may have been interpreted over time.  Studying these authors, their contemporaries and critics, will help to develop your understanding of intertextuality – that a text is a construction informed and impacted upon by the social, historical and biographical contexts it was created in, but is also related to each of the texts which came before it.

What will you learn?
Primarily, you will spend your time developing a deep understanding of the seven texts required to be successful in the two exams and two pieces of coursework.  We approach these texts in a way that builds knowledge and confidence in their use.  At the beginning of Year 12, the focus is on gaining familiarity with the set texts; we then begin to develop your understanding of the texts in their contexts, which requires reading contemporary authors and critics; finally, we practise how to use our broad knowledge to answer specific examination questions.

Key skills we will develop are:  close reading and inference, interpreting secondary reading and critics, making comparisons, synthesising information and organising ideas in writing.

Why study English Literature at Ashmole Sixth Form?
The texts offered cover a wide range of ideas, themes and genres.  This is supplemented by a well-chosen variety of additional reading materials designed to broaden your literary horizons.  We have regular screenings of plays, both core texts and contemporary drama.

Visiting Speakers/Visits
There are often opportunities to visit universities for lectures and study sessions.  In recent years, we have arranged for a poet to visit to discuss his poetry and this has helped students improve their understanding of his work.  Students also have regular opportunities to speak to their teachers outside the timetabled lessons, who can provide advice and guidance.

Which subjects go well with English Literature?
Most subjects go well with English Literature however the following subjects are particularly useful; History, Geography, Sociology, Religious Studies and Modern Foreign Languages

Where will it lead you?
There are a vast number of employment opportunities following a qualification in English Literature.  These include:  journalism, publishing, teaching, writing and many more.

For more information on subject content structure please click here for the Sixth Form Information Booklet.

For admissions criteria for each subject please click here for the Sixth Form Prospectus


Subject Ambassador


"I chose to study English Literature at A Level because it is different from all the other subjects, but can also relate to them in many ways.  It encourages you to explore different ideas and think about things from a new perspective, as well as considering how texts relate to society.  I find it interesting how ideas have evolved or stayed the same over time, and authors often express their views through their work.  What I’ve found particularly interesting are the critical concepts surrounding texts, since it opens your eyes to different interpretations and can change your opinion not just on the way you view a text, but also the way you view the world.  The interpretations are often relevant to things that are still being debated in modern society, even though the text could have been written hundreds of years ago, and it is thought provoking how literature can relate to other areas of life, like psychology or feminism.

I am an English ambassador for the department, which means helping with events and activities within school.  This includes helping at events such as Secondary Transfer Evening and Sixth Form Information Evening, in order to explain what the course consists of and what it’s like to study it. After A Levels, I plan to study English at a top university.  The way texts interact with society is something that engages me, and in the future, I am thinking of being a Journalist because it also allows you to engage with the world.  The good thing about English is that it is a very broad subject, so it does not restrict you in what you can do in the future.

I think that English Literature is a great choice for A Level.  You can learn from the views of other people in class, which is an interactive way of thinking.  English also gives you the opportunity to explore texts across a range of times and genres.  It is one of the subjects that allows you to engage with concepts and perspectives, which are new and exciting.  You come up with your own ideas, after doing research and analysis, rather than being told what the right or wrong opinion is to have. This is an aspect of English that I find more enjoyable than subjects like Maths or Physics, which was a completely different way of applying what you have learnt, since there was only one correct answer."

To hear from our former students click here