English Literature

Contact Teacher: Mr S Collins, Head of English Faculty

Exam Board: AQA


At Bishop Luffa School, when we study English we learn about who we are, as a people, as a nation and as one of the two billion other people on the planet who use English every single day, whether they are in Chichester, Chile or China. We study the rich heritage of the great writers who have used English over the last 1,000 years: the poetry of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Robert Browning, Tony Harrison, Simon Armitage; the plays of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams; the novels of Ian McEwan, Suzanne Collins, Khalid Hosseini, Andrea Levy; the non-fiction of Bill Bryson, Jonathan Swift, Sathnam Sanghera. We dive into the rich, deep world of stories written in other languages and translated into English. We also learn how to understand what people mean when they write or say something, whether in fiction or non-fiction. And, most importantly, we learn how people communicate with each other in different contexts, so that we become creative and imaginative 21st Century communicators.

Studying English literature at school was my first, and probably my biggest, step towards mental freedom and independence. It was like falling in love with life.’  Ian McEwan

English Literature Learning Journey

This is a visual representation of how students' knowledge and skills develop through the English Literature curriculum.

(click on the image below to view a larger version)

Learning Journey English 2023

Why study English Literature?

If you love reading, you will love studying English Literature. The course is designed to develop your close reading skills as well as your breadth of reading through the study of novels, plays, poetry and literary non-fiction. English Literature combines well with a wide range of other subjects such as History, Theatre Studies, Media Studies and Theology. It is respected by all universities as a challenging academic subject.

Course details

Paper 1: Literary Genres
Choice of two options:
Option 1A: Aspects of tragedy
Option 1B: Aspects of comedy
Study of three texts: one Shakespeare text, a second drama text and one further text, of which one must be written pre- 1900.

Paper 2: Texts and Genres
Choice of two options:
Option 2A: Elements of crime writing
Option 2B: Elements of political and social protest writing
Study of three texts: one post- 2000 prose text, one poetry and one further text, one of which must be written pre-1900. Exam will include an unseen passage.

Non exam assessment:
Theory and independence Study of two texts: one poetry and one prose text, informed by study of the Critical Anthology. Two essays of 1250-1500 words, each responding to a different text and linking to a different aspect of the Critical Anthology. One essay can be re-creative. The re-creative piece will be accompanied by a commentary.

How the course is taught and assessed

• We expect you to take an active role in lessons through discussion, presentations and research.
• Two teachers will deliver different areas of the course
• Support booklets are used to guide you through the course and help to make you an independent learner
• You will be expected to keep a log of your wider reading throughout the course
• You will be provided with opportunities to practise timed essays to develop your exam skills. Marking criteria, model answers and teacher feedback will be used to improve your performance.

We aim to enhance your classroom experience with relevant study days/visits to theatres as available.

Two written exams: 40% each (one 2 hrs 30 mins, one 3 hours) Non-exam assessment: 20%

Entry requirements

GCSE Grade 6s or above in English Language and English Literature are required to study the subject at A-level.