Contexts and Criticism for A Level Literature

Why should you attend? 

Teachers and examiners often complain that contextual and critical materials are handled badly by students, yet both are crucial to developing a rich understanding of a text. This course will consider what we mean by context – at A Level and in literary studies more widely – and introduce practical strategies for ensuring that students make effective use of it in their writing. As well as offering effective activities for using critical and contextual material with students, we will provide resources for fuelling your own thinking and teaching.

What will the course cover?

  • What we mean by contexts and the examiners’ view.
  • Strategies for reading texts in context – to understand and enrich reading. 
  • Contexts in student writing – illuminating, not dominating, the text.
  • Using criticism in teaching and learning – opening up the text, pushing thinking further, as a model of critical writing.
  • Active, analytical and creative approaches to engaging with contexts and criticism.


It was a fabulous day! I loved it!

Vanessa Riotto, Hampton College, on ‘Dealing with Critical Material’.

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