IB English (HL and SL)

IB English Literature (HL and SL)

Course description


English A1 is a broad, literature-based course with a core of foundational English literature texts and, significantly, it encourages a real diversity of authors, including gender parity. Choices include Shakespeare, modern drama, poetry, fiction, graphic novels, song lyrics and non-fiction writing. There is also a significant element of World Literature – texts written in languages other than English and studied in translation.

IB English is challenging and thought provoking; as well as written tasks there is a fundamental emphasis on group discussion and pupil-led presentations. The courses mesh well with other IB language courses and many pupils choose to write their Extended Essay based on a literary topic. English in the 6th Form is highly stimulating and suits intellectually curious individuals who have a passion for the words that have shaped both themselves and the worlds around them.

Each IB class will read a different combination of works: 9 for SL and 13 for HL. While exploring these works, students cultivate skills and strategies needed for each examination: unseen analysis for Paper 1; a comparative essay on two texts of the pupils’ choice for Paper 2; an oral examination on a global issue in two extracts from texts of the pupils’ choice; and, for HL, a coursework essay. None of the texts are ‘set’ for a specific examination as such – students work with teachers in deciding options that would suit their particular strengths and interests across the two years.

IB English Literature and Performance (SL only)

This course is suitable for pupils who either enjoy dramatic performance or would like to build more confidence in expressing themselves through performance. Those with LAMDA or Drama training do particularly well, but we welcome pupils with no experience of the stage!

The first part of this course concentrates on the study of a range of literary texts (for example: a collection of short stories and/or poems; a novel; a play – which can be Shakespeare). Students develop critical skills and explore viable interpretations both orally and in writing.

The second part of the course explores texts for their performance potential and students are encouraged to generate ideas for the transformation of prose and poetry texts into dramatic form. They will collaborate and perform to an audience as part of their oral assessment and they will analyse and evaluate performance through both speech and writing.


To follow English A1 Literature at Higher level, pupils should have at least a 7 at GCSE/IGCSE (English Language or Literature). You should like reading and writing and be interested in finding out what both you – and great writers – have to say about the ‘big issues’ of life: love, death, the individual and society, culture (including beyond national boundaries), the struggle for personal significance and the power of the imagination. You should be motivated, enthusiastic and willing to participate.

Potential careers

The study of literature is great for developing the critical faculties, encouraging people to think for themselves, and be analytical in their responses to texts. It requires close reading, summary and evaluative skills. It also requires an empathetic approach to human relationships and dilemmas. As such, it is invaluable in any career requiring analytical thought and an ability to communicate clearly and succinctly, both in writing and in person.

Contact for further information

Ms Estella Gutulan: eg@wellingtoncollege.org.uk

Ms Denise Brown, deb@wellingtoncollege.org.uk (for Literature and Performance)