Girls may elect to study English Literature at A-Level.

Students are encouraged to pursue their own interests, to trace connections, comparisons and contrasts between texts and to promote independent study. They must actively read a wide variety of poetry, plays and novels and should become confident critics of literary texts by the end of the two-year course.

The course approaches the study of English Literature through passage-based questions, unseen material and set texts from all three genres. Students build on the skills and knowledge gained at GCSE and develop their approach to independent learning as they approach set drama, prose and poetry texts.

Othello, The Great Gatsby and 19th century poetry are set for Component 1, while poems by William Blake, Robert Burns, Thomas Hardy and Christina Rossetti also feature. Many girls find their opinions of the set texts change as a result of class discussion, a second reading or further research and these skills provide excellent preparation for Non Examination Assessment and the examination papers.

The course is divided into three sections, with examinations at the end of Upper Sixth:

Love Through the Ages – Girls study set prose, the AQA poetry anthology, unseen poetry and a Shakespeare play. It is assessed by a three-hour examination paper worth 40% of the total grade.

Texts in Shared Contexts – There are three set texts and an unseen extract question. The two and a half-hour examination paper is worth 40% of your grade. The Handmaid’s Tale, A Streetcar named Desire and poetry by Owen Sheers are set texts for Component 2.

Non Examination Assessment – An Independent Critical Study of two texts and an extended coursework essay. The written response is worth 20% of the final grade.

The English Department encourages girls in their creative endeavours outside of the classroom and helps them to enter both local and national writing competitions. Current students have been the recipients of prestigious awards such as the Foyles Young Poet Award and the Cuckoo Young Writers Award and one of our former English Literature students is the Liverpool Writer in Residence.

In addition, a weekly extension workshop is used to introduce students to a range of wider reading and literary criticism which is directly relevant to the examination texts.