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The Beaconsfield School A specialist Arts College

English at Key Stage 5

We follow the AQA two year A level course. Assessment is via 20% coursework and 80% examination at the end of Year 13. The three key areas of Drama, Poetry and Prose are studied.

The following Assessment Objectives are applied across the course:


  • AO1: Articulate informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent, accurate written expression.
  • AO2: Analyse ways in which meanings are shaped in literary texts.
  • AO3: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.
  • AO4: Explore connections across literary texts.
  • AO5: Explore literary texts informed by different interpretations.


Paper 1: Love through the Ages.

Study of three texts: Shakespeare – Othello; A level poetry anthology and ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F Scott Fitzgerald.

Examination will include two unseen poems.



  • written exam: 3 hours
  • open book in Section C only
  • 75 marks
  • 40% of A-level


Section A: Shakespeare: one passage-based question with linked essay (25 marks)

Section B: Unseen poetry: compulsory essay question on two unseen poems (25 marks)

Section C: Comparing texts: one essay question linking two texts (25 marks)


Paper 2:  Texts in shared contexts


Option 2B: Modern times: literature from 1945 to the present day

Study of three texts: ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams, ‘Feminine Gospels’ by

Carol Ann Duffy and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood

Examination will include an unseen prose extract


  • written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • open book
  • 75 marks
  • 40% of A-level


Section A: Set texts. One essay question on set text (25 marks)

Section B: Contextual linking

  • one compulsory question on an unseen extract (25 marks)
  • one essay question linking two texts (25 marks)


Non-exam assessment: Independent critical study: texts across time

Comparative critical study of two texts, at least one of which must have been written pre-1900

One extended essay (2500 words) and a bibliography