A Level English

“Only connect the prose and the passion.”

E.M. Forster’s famous words have lodged themselves into the public consciousness alongside so many other examples of verse, rhyme and text, and are central to all we strive to achieve in the English department; blending sensory delight and literary analysis with the everchanging world beyond.  Reading and going to the theatre are pleasurable activities which form an important part of the intelligent student’s recreation; why not join us in doing so?

Our chosen examination board is OCR, which allows us to begin studying, in Year 12, two of Shakespeare’s greatest works: ‘Twelfth Night’ or ‘Hamlet’.  The interpretations are as profound as they are endless: is CS Lewis correct in claiming The Great Dane has a “pure, noble and most moral nature”?  Or should we align with Wilson Knight, who claims he is the ‘poison in the veins of Denmark’?  This is what makes studying Shakespeare at A level so rewarding: no view is without merit and only serves to augment those already convinced of their own.

New Hall School English

After Shakespeare we encounter one of the greatest contributions to the literary canon of all time: Books IX and X of John Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’.  His epic tale of the fall of man, informed as it is by his involvement in the English Civil War and the regicide of Charles I, complements the study of History, Theology and Philosophy, contributing as much to our country’s cultural capital as does the Bard of Avon.

New Hall School English

After studying Ibsen’s late-Victorian masterpiece ‘A Doll’s House’, we travel across the Atlantic Ocean to 1920s America, exploring the giddying highs of ‘The Great Gatsby’ and the devastating lows of ‘The Grapes of Wrath’.  A coursework element, finally, concludes our learning journey, focusing as it does on ‘Purple Hibiscus’ and the poetry of our Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

New Hall School English


Outside the classroom, our weekly bookclub ‘Quercus’ provides inspires and enthuses across the year groups, connecting young and old through the joy of reading.


In 2022, we were delighted that 85% of our students gained A*-A as their final grade.


Head of English: Mr N Kerr [email protected]

Instagram: @newhallenglish