GCSE English Literature

Why study GCSE 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.

Studying GCSE English 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.

GCSE English Literature at Ashbourne

As a GCSE English Literature student at Ashbourne you will explore drama, poetry and prose in a lively and engaging classroom environment. Ashbourne’s English Faculty is vibrant and very successful with teachers who are truly passionate about the subject.

London offers a fantastic selection of shows and theatre productions to experience and you will also get the chance to perform your own work, including at the college’s hugely popular Revue. Students (and staff) from across the college are welcome to take part and showcase their artists talents and skills.

Which syllabus do we follow?
Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE English Literature.

Who teaches this course?
Snaa Ashraf
MA English in Education (Kings College London); BA English Language (Kent); PGCE (Canterbury)

Snaa is an experienced and passionate English teacher whose focus is building students’ confidence, helping them to develop and practice examination technique and revise effectively. She applies her thorough understanding of the current debates in education, the examination process and assessment to her teaching.

Abigail Pillai
BA English; PGCE Secondary English (UCL)

Abigail is enthusiastic to share how English literature and language can engender empathy, provide a platform for many voices and empower both the author and reader. Her teaching experience and passion for the subject have been instrumental in helping students achieve excellent results.

Lauren Vanderhurst Moorley
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.

What is covered in this course?

You will read a range of classic literature and poetry and learn how to develop your 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 Literature and 19th-century Novel

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.

Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable old penny-pincher who hates everyone, especially children, until one Christmas when he is visited by three ghosts from the past, present and future. Scared rotten he begins to see the error of his ways and rediscovers the joy of giving.

Charles Dickens was one of the most prolific and well-loved writers of the Victorian era and much celebrated during his own lifetime. Some of his most popular novels include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Great Expectations.

Poetry since 1789

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.

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