Bolton School Sixth Form Boys

English Literature

Why Study English Literature at Bolton School?

OCR A level English Literature (H072/ H472)

Power, rebellion, mercy and punishment, self-knowledge, love, violence, ‘alternative facts’, social cohesion: these are the themes of great literature and it is these issues we explore in A-Level English Literature. You will study a range of literary works from the past six hundred years, considering the methods of the authors, the impact of contextual influences and a range of critical approaches to analysing them. An interest in reading literature and an enjoyment of vigorous discussion are necessary for this English Literature course. In Year 12 it consists of the study of a Shakespeare play, pre-1900 poetry and 20th/21st century drama and prose. At A-Level you will additionally study a pre-1900 play and a second novel for the examination units. The coursework unit involves the study of three modern texts, one of which you may choose independently. 

The course requires the readiness to analyse language in detail and an interest in engaging with different critical approaches to a text. You will be expected to make use of the Senior Library for research, to read independently, analyse and take notes on what you have read. 

English Literature is an excellent course for those who like reading, have enjoyed the literature they have studied for GCSE and who relish the opportunity to explore ideas fundamental to the human condition, both in classroom debate and in written essays.  There will also be opportunities to visit the theatre.

How will I be assessed?


Component 1: Shakespeare and Poetry pre-1900 (written exam 2 hours 30 minutes) 40% of A-Level

Component 2: Comparative and Contextual Study (written exam 2 hours 30 minutes) 40% of A-Level

Component 3: Literature post-1900 (coursework) 20% of A-Level

Desirable requirements

You should achieve at least a Grade 6 in GCSE English Language or English Literature, be a keen reader and have an interest in the way language works.

Where will it lead?

A-Level English Literature is a very highly regarded subject which helps students gain a wide range of skills desirable for both university and the workplace: mature and sophistication communication, flexible and objective analytical thinking, awareness of other cultures and perspectives and empathy. It is one of the subjects named by the Russell Group universities as one of the ‘facilitating subjects’ for entry to the most competitive UK universities. Anyone wishing to study English at University MUST take English Literature at A-Level.  

Those who have taken an English degree have a wide choice of careers, particularly in the media and the fast growing creative industries sector; however, it is such a well-respected subject that it can lead to opportunities in areas including business and finance, Law, PR, marketing, management, recruitment and education.  The skills gained on an English degree and the high academic calibre of the majority of English graduates makes them eminently employable. It is also an ideal qualification for those intending to study Medicine as a way to refine their communication skills and strengthen the empathy and compassion necessary to be a doctor.