English Literature

English LiteratureInspiring our students by guiding them through a rich and innovative curriculum that is has been painstakingly designed to help them grow into confident and passionate scholars of literature. It is never just about passing an examination.

GCSE - Years 10 and 11

What will I learn?

This course aims to promote a knowledge of and, perhaps most importantly, love of literature. We explore writers’ choices and consider language in considerable depth. We also explore the human, spiritual and cultural dimensions of a variety of plays, poetry and prose fiction texts. The course is also designed to lay a foundation for further study of literature at A Level. We aim to help you to read critically, sensitively and in detail.

Poetry is studied in great detail as two thirds of the final examination is based on the analysis of both unseen and taught poems. Students will be exposed to a diverse and enjoyable array of literary texts.

How is the course structured and assessed?

Exam: Paper 1

  • External examination = 60% of the total iGCSE marks. 2 hours - 90 marks
  • Section A – Unseen Poetry: one 20-mark essay question exploring the meaning and effects created in an unseen poem. The poem will be reproduced in the question paper.
  • Section B: One 30-mark essay question from a choice of two, comparing two poems from Part 3 of the Pearson Edexcel International GCSE English Anthology.
  • Section C: One 40-mark essay question from a choice of two a modern prose text (usually ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’)


  • Two coursework assignments, (40% of the total IGCSE marks) internally set and assessed and externally moderated by Edexcel.
  • Assignment A – Modern Drama: one essay response to a teacher-devised assignment on the studied text (usually ‘An Inspector Calls’).
  • Assignment B – Literary Heritage Texts: one essay response to a teacher-devised assignment on the studied text (usually ‘Macbeth’).
  • The total number of marks available is 60 (30 marks for each assignment).

What is the nature and timing of coursework?

We complete the English Literature coursework throughout Year 10.

This course is taught in tandem with the English Language Specification.

A Level Years 12 and 13

Monkton Senior School is blessed to have a well-provisioned English department, staffed by teachers who are passionate about English Literature. The qualification continues to be hugely popular, and is undertaken by an array of students considering a diverse range of undergraduate degrees and careers.

This course is challenging, rewarding and well suited to those who enjoy exploring their imagination. We not only study a number of texts considered the greatest published in the English language, but we also explore the time in which they were written, published and read. The coursework element in Year 13 allows our students to discover their own voice and area of interest, and they will be skilfully equipped to express themselves in original and creative ways through dialogue, argument, prose and poetry.

What do I need before starting this course?

The requirements for this highly popular course are a minimum of a grade 6 at English Literature and English Language at GCSE...and a love of reading.

What will I learn?

Through the texts you study there will be questions like: What is literature? Is there such a thing as good and bad writing? Why do some writers last whilst others fade? Where did the novel come from? Who wrote the first plays? Does laying out the notes this way make them poetry?

How is the course assessed? 

Drama and Poetry pre-1900 (closed text) External Exam 40%: Section 1: Shakespeare, Section 2: One pre-1900 drama text and one pre-1900 poetry text. Comparative and contextual study (closed text) External Exam 40%: Section 1: Close reading in chosen topic area, Section 2: Comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area. Literature post-1900 (non-examined assessment) 20%.

Where next?