A Level English is a springboard to any number of higher education and career options. With its combination of critical thinking, independent study, close analysis and argumentative writing, it is welcomed as a qualification for subjects as diverse as Law, the Humanities and Social Sciences.
We follow the OCR English Literature specifications, which permit students to develop all of the above skills. In the Lower 6th, pupils study a Shakespeare play, some pre-twentieth century poetry, as well as modern plays and novels. There is a diverse choice of texts, including Hamlet, George Orwell’s 1984 and works by American authors and Chaucer. The opportunities, then, to look at different genres, styles and even types of language are wide and exciting. At present, this section of the course ends with pupils sitting the AS examination.
In the Upper 6th, this foundation is built upon, the texts carrying over to be looked at in fresh and interesting ways. More pre-twentieth century literature is studied, and various themes are followed, including, as possibilities, Dystopian and Post-Colonial Fiction. A coursework folder is produced, based on three texts, which gives pupils some scope to follow their own literary passions. There is also a significant unseen element, which requires pupils to engage in practical criticism with an eye on cultural and social contexts.
The department has been highly successful in recent years with pupils achieving excellent outcomes that have propelled them to a broad range of higher education destinations. Courses in English - both single and joint honours – have proved to be a popular choice.