A level English Literature

What is the A level about?

In studying A level English Literature at Kingham Hill, you embark upon an intellectually lively and challenging discipline that can be successfully paired with all subjects. Pupils study a wide variety of texts, ranging from 21st-century speculative writing to the metaphysical conceits of 17th-century poetry. Exploration of the literature often leads to the lively and imaginative discussion of philosophical, political, historical and sociological topics. English Literature is, at its heart, the study of the human condition. Pupils will delve into the course and expand their minds and ideas, all whilst honing the qualities of Kingham Hill English: thoughtful reading, critical thinking and creative, eloquent expression.


Drama: Renaissance Tragedy 

  • One Shakespeare play, e.g.. Othello, King Lear or Hamlet
  • One contemporaneous play, e.g.. Dr Faustus, Christopher Marlowe

Prose: Science and Society

  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
  • Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro


  • Post 2000 contemporary poetry, Poems of the Decade
  • Pre-1900 poetry, e.g.. The Metaphysical Poets or The Romantics
  • Prose Coursework: The Gothic

Whom does the subject suit?

The course will appeal to pupils who take pleasure in reading a wide variety of literature, who enjoy expressing their opinions in lively discussion and imaginative, articulate writing, who have a love for words and stories, and who are stimulated by a subject that draws upon their other academic interests. It is for pupils who like to ask questions--about the world around them, about what it means to be human, about how ideas and stories of the past have influenced how we think today. In short, the best pupils of A level English Literature are the ones who are curious.


Exam Board

Pearson Edexcel

Entry Criteria

Grade 7 or higher in English Literature and Language GCSE. You need to enjoy reading and approaching texts analytically.

For American Program pupils: two years of English , maintaining at least an A- average.

Career Pathways

Multitudinous: English pairs with and wonderfully enhances any career pathway. Specific careers requiring English could be:

  • Education
  • Teacher or lecturer
  • Academic research
  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Politics
  • Publishing
  • Communications
  • Advertising and Media
  • Archivist
  • Librarian
  • Museum Curator