English Literature A Level (Edexcel)

Course Information (Edexcel)

Course Specification : 8ETO / 9ETO

The aims and objectives are to enable students to:

  • Read widely and independently set texts and others that they have selected for themselves.
  • Engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them.
  • Develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation.
  • Explore the contexts of the texts they are reading and others’ interpretations of them.
  • Undertake independent and sustained studies to deepen their appreciation and understanding of English literature, including its changing traditions.

Course Requirements

5 GCSEs graded 9 – 5 including at Maths grade 5 and English Literature at grade 6.

Year 1

Students will cover 2 units: Component 1 (Poetry and Drama)

and Component 2 (Prose).

In C1 students will study a selection of poems from a published poetry text. Students will also study aspects of the form of drama via one play.

In C2 students will study aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts, at least one of which must be pre-1900.

Year 2

Students will cover 3 units: Component 1 (Drama), Component 2 (Prose) and Component 3 (Poetry).

In C1 students will study aspects of the form of drama via one play as well as revising the play from the previous year. Students study a tragedy or comedy drama by Shakespeare and revise the other tragedy or comedy drama.

In C2 students will revise aspects of prose via two thematically linked texts previously studied in year 1, at least one of which must be pre-1900.

In C3 students will study a selection of poems from two published poetry texts, one of which is studied in year 1. Students will apply their knowledge in comparing an unseen poem with an example of studied poetry.

Students will also develop depth of knowledge by studying a selection from the work of a single named poet, or a selection from within a literary period or movement.


Students will take an assessment at the end of each topic to monitor progress; these do not count towards the final grade.

In year 2 students revise topics studied and assessed in year 1 as well as 1 additional text in C1 and C3. They also complete one extended comparative essay referring to two texts. Total advisory word count: 2500–3000. Coursework will be assessed via two texts. There are no prescribed texts but students must select different texts from those studied in Components 1, 2 and 3.

The selected texts may be linked by theme, movement, author or period.

Teaching and Learning Styles

As part of the study of their selected Shakespeare play, students will engage with different interpretations. To support this, students will be provided with either the Shakespeare: A Critical Anthology: Tragedy or Shakespeare: A Critical Anthology: Comedy. Each critical anthology includes four generic essays and three specific essays on each set text to encourage students to engage with different readings of their studied Shakespeare play. Literary study of the chosen set poems will be enhanced by study of the contexts in which they were written and received. Independent Study

Students will engage in wider reading, use independent reading skills and apply research and study skills to their chosen literature.

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