“One of the best colleges in London”

English Language A Level & AS Level Courses

English Literature is an engaging and intellectually stimulating subject at Westminster Tutors, led by our Principal, Virginia Maguire. Students are able to choose their own texts according to their personal interests, and they have plenty of opportunity for discussion both on a one-to-one basis and in small groups. Our English Literature students not only explore and analyse texts at a deep level, but also learn to hone their writing skills to produce articulate and sophisticated essays.

Course outline

AS Level English Literature

Component 01
Shakespeare and poetry pre-1900

  • Shakespeare
  • Poetry pre-1900

Component 02
Drama and prose post-1900

  • Drama post-1900
  • Prose post-1900

A Level English Literature

Component 01
Drama and poetry pre-1900

  • Shakespeare
  • Drama and poetry pre-1900

Component 02
Comparative and contextual study

  • Close reading
  • Comparative essay

Component 03
Literature post-1900

  • Close reading OR re-creative writing with commentary
  • Comparative essay


AS Level English Literature

Component 01
Synoptic assessment

  • 60 marks
  • Closed text
  • 1 hour 30 minutes written paper
  • 50% of total AS level

Component 02
Synoptic assessment

  • 60 marks
  • Closed text
  • 1 hour 45 minutes written paper
  • 50% of total AS level

A Level English Literature

Component 01
Synoptic assessment

  • 60 marks
  • Closed text
  • 2 hours 30 minutes written paper
  • 40% of total A level

Component 02
Synoptic assessment

  • 60 marks
  • Closed text
  • 2 hours 30 minutes written paper
  • 40% of total A level

Component 03
Synoptic assessment

  • 40 marks
  • 3000 words
  • Non-examined assessment
  • 20% of total A level

Set Texts


Learners study one Shakespeare play:

  • Coriolanus
  • Hamlet
  • Measure for Measure
  • Richard III
  • The Tempest
  • Twelfth Night

Drama and poetry pre-1900

Learners study one pre-1900 drama text:

  • Christopher Marlowe: Edward II
  • John Webster: The Duchess of Malfi
  • Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer
  • Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House
  • Oscar Wilde: An Ideal Husband

Learners study one pre-1900 poetry text:

  • Geoffrey Chaucer: The Merchant’s Prologue and Tale
  • John Milton: Paradise Lost Books 9 & 10
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Selected Poems
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson: Maud

    Christina Rossetti: Selected Poems

Drama post - 1900

Learners study one post-1900 drama text:

  • Noel Coward: Private Lives
  • Tennessee Williams: A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Harold Pinter: The Homecoming
  • Alan Bennett: The History Boys
  • Polly Stenham: That Face
  • Jez Butterworth: Jerusalem

Comparative and contextual study

Learners choose one topic and study two whole texts, at least one must be from the list below:

  • American Literature 1880-1940
    • F Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
    • John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Gothic
    • Angela Carter: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories
    • Bram Stoker: Dracula
  • Dystopia
    • Margaret Atwood: The Handmaid’s Tale
    • George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • Women in Literature
    • Jane Austen: Sense and Sensibility
    • Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway
  • The Immigrant Experience
    • Mohsin Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
    • Henry Roth: Call It Sleep


Although we offer all exam boards as our courses are individually designed, our chosen specification is OCR English Literature (H072 and H472). Westminster Tutors is considered one of the “Best Colleges in London” based on our results.


Benedict Tucker
BA (Cambridge)

Danielle Grover
BA (Southampton), MA (Warwick), PGCE (Durham), PhD (Southampton)

Jessica Frith
BA (Exeter), MPhil (Cambridge), CELTA, PhD candidate

Joe Mattei
MA (National Film & Television School), MA (Institute of Education, UCL)

Max Fletcher
BA (Oxford), MPhil (Cambridge)

Virginia Maguire
BA (UCL), CELTA, MLitt (Strathclyde), MA (UCL/ IOE)

Why Choose Westminster Tutors?

  • Top independent sixth form college
  • In 2020 A levels 68% A*-A and 92% A*-B
  • In 2020 72% placed at Russell Group unis
  • Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ across the board
  • Superbly qualified teachers who care
  • Average A level retake improvement is 2.4 grades
Student studying for her A-Levels

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About Us

Westminster Tutors is one of the oldest and best independent sixth form colleges in London. Established in 1934, our “culture of scholastic excellence” (Ofsted, 2018) is deeply embedded and sets the standard for other colleges to follow.

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