Course title: AQA GCE A Level English Literature A, AQA-7711-7712-SP-2015.PDF
What are the knowledge and skills that students will gain over Key Stage 5?
AQA English Literature A encourages students to explore the relationships that exist between texts and the contexts within which they are written, received and understood. Students are encouraged to debate and challenge the interpretations of other readers as they develop their own informed personal responses.
Working with texts over time involves looking at ways in which authors shape meanings within their texts. It also involves thinking about a wide range of relevant contexts, some of them to do with the production of the text at the time of its writing, some (where possible) to do with how the text has been received over time and contexts to do with how the text can be interpreted by readers now.
The subject encourages critical debate, with students required to argue and to show personal responses and critical preferences, supported by the terminology relevant to the topics and contexts with which they are engaging.
Why is it delivered in this way?
In Year 12 we start with The Great Gatsby, which engages the students and introduces them to the ideas of the contexts of production and reception, and Othello which builds on the students’ study of Shakespeare at GCSE. Following The Great Gatsby, the students then study the love poetry anthology due to the requirement to compare these two texts in the exam.
This ‘linking’ pattern is then continued into Year 13 with The First Casualty being taught alongside the WW1 poetry, as the exam question will again ask students for a comparison of these two texts.
The NEA task is introduced at the end of Year 12, giving the students time to read their independent choice text over the summer ready to start writing the essay at the start of Year 13. This also allows a full year for the students to develop their writing and analysis before they start work on this task.