English Literature - Year 12


With texts that touch on human nature, philosophy, psychology, religion, politics and the whole gamut of human experience, English literature is a lively, challenging and stimulating subject to take. Recognised as a “facilitating subject”, the skills it develops are transferable to almost any future degree or career. In depth reading, very close analysis, synthesising ideas, developing one’s own empathetic skills and understanding, all these are crucial to a well-rounded, intelligent mind.

We follow the OCR English Literature A-Level


Course Content

Year 12 Subject Content

  • Dystopian Fiction
  • Nineteen Eighty-four
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The Colour Purple
  • Christina Rossetti Poetry
  • An Ideal Husband

The course is delivered by two teachers in two “halves”.

In one half of the course students begin by studying the genre of dystopian fiction, looking at its typical features and concerns. We then study George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four as a superb example of that genre. Students are expected to read at least one other dystopian novel of their own choosing. In the spring term, we move to post-war New Orleans and Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”, a play of passion, fantasy and conflict, before moving to the deep south, the setting for Alice Walker’s “The Colour Purple”. These last two texts form the basis of our comparative coursework, which we begin in the summer term.

In the other half, we begin with the poetry of Christina Rossetti, a Victorian woman of letters and strong beliefs, whose poems are often layered in different meanings in a satisfyingly complicated way. We stay in Victorian England with our next text, “An Ideal Husband” by Oscar Wilde, a play whose elegant wit creates sharp social satire and asks searching questions about morality and human nature. If that wasn’t enough, at the end of the summer term we dive headlong into “Hamlet”.


Independent work is set by staff each week. 


Formative assessment is ongoing throughout the year. Summative assessment is conducted at least half termly on each unit.

Recommended Reading

“The Art of Fiction” by David Lodge, Vintage Books, 2011

“An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory” by Andrew Bennett, Routledge, 2016

“Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley

“A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess

“We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin

“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

“Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro

“Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick

“The Wind-up Girl” by Paola Bacigalupi

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