GCSE English Literature

Ashbourne has a vibrant English Faculty whose teachers are passionate about their subject. Students explore drama, poetry and prose in a lively and engaging classroom environment and are also encouraged to go on theatre trips and get involved in Ashbourne’s annual Revue showcasing students’ artistic talents.

London offers students an exceptional choice of shows, events and exhibitions as well as outstanding libraries and bookshops.

Why study English Literature?

Stories shape the way we think and live. They enable us to share, understand and pass on ideas, beliefs and culture. They can transport you to another world, put you in other people’s shoes, influence your behaviour and connect you with others, even when they live in the past.

Studying literature will equip you with the skills to analyse, interpret and discuss themes, ideas and contexts within stories, as well as developing your ability to express yourself through dialogue, argument, prose and poetry. It will also teach you how to plan and research as well as expand your understanding of history, culture, philosophy and human behaviour.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE English Literature

What is covered in this course?

Students will read a range of classic literature and poetry and learn how to develop their own responses to texts, analyse language, form and structures, and explore relationships between texts and contexts. There are two components for this course: Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature and 19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789.

Shakespeare and Post-1914 Literature19th-century Novel and Poetry since 1789
Shakepeare’s Macbeth (or the Scottish Play as it’s known among Thesps) exposes how ruthless and bloodthirsty desire for power can lead to tragedy and psychological trauma. The play was originally performed around 1606 during the reign of James 1 (then king of Scotland and England and patron of Shakespeare’s acting company). It is one of Shakespeare’s most often performed plays.

George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a fable about the events leading to the 1917 Russian Revolution and rise of Stalin. The novel explores the ideas of freedom, rebellion and political corruption. Orwell, a democratic socialist, was deeply skeptical about Stalin’s ambitions and wrote the book in 1945 as a direct and contemporary response to the regime. Britain was in wartime alliance with Russia at the time making the publishing of the book extremely controversial.

When well-respected scientist Dr. Jekyll unleashes his evil alter ego Mr Hyde by drinking a precarious concoction of his own making events begin to spiral out of control and ultimately lead to disaster. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Gothic novel Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, published in 1886, explores the concept of good and evil in human nature, the perils of scientific exploration and conflict between the supernatural and nature.

Poetry Anthology
Examining the theme of time and place students will compare language, structure, form and contextual features of two poems selected from a collection of 15.

Who teaches this course?

Lauren Vanderhurst

MA English: Issues in Modern Culture (University College London); BA (Hons) English Literature (University of California); PGCE (Institute of Education, UCL)
Lauren’s love and enthusiasm for English inspires her students to find their own passion and embrace all that the subject has to offer. She is one of Ashbourne’s most encouraging and effective teachers who has played a full and active role in the college’s academic and cultural life since joining in 2014.

Elle Ryan

BA Theology and History with English Literature, Philosophy and Media (Australian Catholic University)
Elle taught for more than five years in Australia and the UK before joining Ashbourne. She teaches English Literature and IELTS at the college.