Students at Sheffield Girls’ ‘book’ the trend for English Literature A Levels

As the Association of School and College Leaders Union warn this week that urgent action is needed to ‘stop the spiral of decline’ in the popularity of English Literature A Levels, students at Sheffield Girls’ have proved that passion for the subject is alive and well.

14% of this year’s Y13 cohort at the School chose English Literature as one of their A Level subjects and pupils, parents and staff alike are celebrating this week as the same pupils have achieved outstanding grades in such unprecedented times.

Katherine Wilkinson, Amy Simpson, Alex Lam and Ella Ducker (pictured below with her family), were amongst the students who achieved the top A* grades in English Literature and will be continuing with the subject at degree level. Katherine will be staying in Sheffield to study English and Philosophy at The University, whilst Amy and Ella – one of the School’s bursary students – head to Durham and Cambridge respectively. Alex Lam will be studying BA Hons English and History at Bristol.

Thinking about what continues to excite her about the subject, Alex enthused: “I can’t wait to start English Literature and History at Bristol. I’m so looking forward to having the flexibility to choose what period of time I want to study and reading new texts. I’m excited to start something new.”

The number of entries for English Literature A Level in England has fallen 15% over the last four years. Sheffield Girls’ Head, Nina Gunson said: “It is a worrying trend to see the decline in students continuing their study of English Literature beyond GCSE. English Literature is such an important subject that not only develops important skills such as creativity and critical thinking, but also ensures the prosperity of cultural capital. I am delighted that, inspired by their brilliant teachers, our students show such a love and appreciation of classic and contemporary literature and, each year, we continue to see students choosing the subject for study both in the Sixth Form and beyond. ”

Sheffield Girls’ is a top-ranked independent school in the South Yorkshire region. This year 100% of pupils at Sheffield Girls’ achieved grades A* – C, with 79% of grades at A* or A. Ofqual advised that results nationally will be lower this year than 2021 due to the recognised grade inflation associated with Teacher Assessed Grades, but higher than 2019 when the last external exams were sat, and the School is delighted that, despite this incredibly challenging climate, they have in fact achieved the highest grades yet.

Reflecting on the achievement of all of the School’s A Level students, Head, Nina Gunson said:

“These students completed their GCSEs and embarked on their A Level studies during COVID and had spells of Guided Home Learning during lockdown in Year 12. They relied on self-motivation, resilience and the innovation and support of their teachers, both when they were in school and when they were out of school, and we are all incredibly proud of this stunning set of results.”

Click here for more inspiring stories from Sixth Form students at Sheffield Girls’.