Castle Manor Academy

GCSE English Literature

Subject Overview

The purpose of studying English Literature is to nurture a love of reading and to develop knowledge and skills in reading, writing and critical thinking.  

Through Literature, students have the chance to develop culturally and study some of the best writing from across a wide range of eras and cultures. The course enables students to develop an appreciation for prose, poetry and drama texts, and their different social and historical contexts.  

The formal academic essay format of answers in an English Literature exam challenges students to explore their own arguments and responses to the texts and support these with detailed knowledge and understanding of the language, form and structural choices made by writers, and the influences on them. The writing of an academic essay is an important life skill containing within it so many transferable skills about using information, presenting ideas, arguing in a formal style and using sophisticated expression to represent yourself and your ideas. 

Course Information

During the Literature course, students will read a variety of texts including ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ‘An Inspector Calls’ and ‘A Christmas Carol.’ Students must also study the AQA poetry anthology cluster on the themes of ‘Power & Conflict’ and know all 15 poems in detail. 


Assessment for this course is through 100% written examination. 

The course is assessed through two exams taken at the end of Year 11: 

  • Paper 1 is on Shakespeare (Romeo & Juliet) and a 19th Century Novel (A Christmas Carol) 
  • Paper 2 is on Modern Texts (An Inspector Calls), the AQA Poetry Anthology (Power & Conflict cluster) and a comparison on previously unseen poems. 


This is an important course for all students no matter what they intend to do after Year 11 – study of literature develops a person’s knowledge and understanding of the world as it is now and how it came to be. Empathy and the ability to connect with people whose life experiences are different to their own and an appreciation of the art of the written word. 

Many students proceed to study English Literature at A-level. The course is also of relevance if students wish to study Drama, Theatre Studies, Media, Journalism, or English Language routes at post-16.