English Literature


The English Literature course journeys through some of the most well-known and cutting-edge titles in  literature. It ranges from the study of Shakespeare to that of the current Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage 

Whether you’re studying literature from 1600 or 2000, this captivating course will open your mind to the wider world. Independent thought is encouraged and pupils find the course eye-opening and rewarding.


Qualification: GCSE
Examination Board: AQA
Specification Code: 8702


Topics Covered

The Literature course develops analytical skills and encourages pupils to think deeply about a range of topics. 

The Shakespeare element of the exam allows pupils to study at least one Shakespeare play in detail. There is also the opportunity to study a 19th century novel in depth. 

The poetry examination component features some of the best contemporary writing published today. This course allows students the opportunity to consider both heritage and contemporary literature. 



100% of the assessment is through external examination spread over two papers:

  • Shakespeare and the 19th – century novel - 40%
    (External examination consisting of one paper)
  • Modern texts and poetry - 60%
    (External examination consisting of one paper)

Course Progression

The English Literature course is an excellent basis for studying English Literature and/or Media Studies at post-16 (both of which are offered at Swanshurst Sixth Form).


The analytical skills developed throughout the course also links well to humanities subjects.


Career Opportunities

A GCSE in English Literature is a natural starting point for any profession where analysis is essential and jobs that rely on good English skills.


A good grade in English Literature is very attractive for employers as it shows that you have an enquiring and analytical mind.