In this specification, pupils are encouraged to develop their interest in, and enjoyment of, literature and literary studies.
The A level course also promotes a logical and challenging transition from IGCSE study, developing learners’ critical analysis skills for progression into higher study. There is a good balance between examined units (80%) and coursework (20%) and pupils will gain insights into the traditions of literature in English through a broad range of texts from different periods. Pupils will develop their understanding and key skills using a variety of methods including: close-reading, research, the study of critical essays, group discussions and film adaptations.
Unit 1: Drama & Poetry pre-1900 (Examination) 40%
In this unit, pupils will study one play by Shakespeare in addition to one pre-1900 drama text and one pre-1900 poetry text. The first section of this unit requires pupils to demonstrate their detailed knowledge and understanding of a Shakespearean play. We are currently studying ‘Twelfth Night’. The second section requires them to establish connections between one pre-1900 poetry text and another pre-1900 drama text. At the moment, groups are enjoying Ibsen’s ‘A Doll’s House’ and Chaucer’s ‘A Merchant’s Prologue and Tale’.
Unit 2: Comparative & Contextual Study (Examination) 40%
This examination is split into different study areas. Currently, we focus on the exciting unit of Dystopian Fiction. Pupils will study two novels for the course, although they will be encouraged to read more widely. The examination will include an unseen close-reading section and a comparative essay section.
Unit 3: Coursework 20%
Pupils are required to study three texts grouped to facilitate links or contrasts. The three texts must include one prose text, one poetry text and one drama text. All texts must have been published or performed after 1900 and at least one must have been published or performed after 2000. As an example, our current A level groups are studying Alan Bennett’s ‘The History Boys’ for Task 1. For Task 2, pupils will be drawing comparisons between Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ with the poetry of Seamus Heaney in ‘Death of a Naturalist’.
• Task 1: One critical piece with commentary (1000 words)
• Task 2: A comparative essay about two texts (2000 words)
Examination Board: OCR
Mrs E. McCarthy – Head of English