Welcome, incoming Year 12 students!

Here is your pre-course task for Year 12 English:


Choose a novel from the A-level reading list below that you haven’t already read. Read it over the summer and prepare a short presentation to give to the rest of your class in the first week of your English course. Your presentation should include:

  • An explanation of why you chose to read this novel
  • A description of some of the main characters
  • An outline of key themes and ideas explored in the novel
  • Information about any other novels written by the same author, or any novels written by other authors in a similar genre or style, or exploring similar themes

You must have finished your novel and be ready to give your presentation by the beginning of September.

If you have any questions about this task, or about any of the novels on the reading list, please contact Mr Dooley at the following email address: sdooley@netherhallschool.org

We look forward to meeting you in September!

The Oakes College English Department

A-level reading list

No reading list can possibly capture the wide variety and richness of books just waiting for you to read them. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started, based on some of the books we have enjoyed reading!

We hope that you will enjoy exploring the school library and bookshops (as they become available) and that you will then be able to recommend lots of other titles to your teachers as well as to other students.

Reading List

Girl, Woman, Other Bernadine Evaristo

Case Histories Kate Atkinson

Handmaid’s Tale & The Testaments  Margaret Atwood        

Regeneration Pat Barker

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres

Wild Swans Jung Chang

Birdsong Sebastian Faulkes

The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  Stieg Larsson

Small Island  Andrea Levy

Mister Pip  Lloyd Jones

Beyond Black Hilary Mantel

Angela’s Ashes Frank McCourt

On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan

Beloved  Toni Morrison

The Tenderness of Wolves Stef Penney

The Shipping News  E Annie Proulx

The God of Small Things  Arundhati Roy

White Teeth Zadie Smith

The Road Home Rose Tremain

Fingersmith Sarah Waters

Dissolution C. J. Sansom   

Circe Madeleine Miller

Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

The Bloody Chamber Angela Carter

Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Reluctant Fundamentalist Moshin Hamid

The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath

Pride and Prejudice                                          Jane Austen

Wuthering Heights                                          Emily Bronte

Heart of Darkness                                           Joseph Conrad

David Copperfield                                            Charles Dickens

The Mill on the Floss                                      George Eliot

The Mayor of Casterbridge                           Thomas Hardy

The Turn of the Screw                                    Henry James

Frankenstein                                                    Mary Shelley

To the Lighthouse                                            Virginia Woolf

A Room With a View                                        E. M. Forster


Everything on the list in blue was written fairly recently, but it’s a good idea to read some ‘classics’ too (in green). Don’t’ be put off by names of writers or works that you’ve heard and assume to be boring! Give them a try, so you can make up your own mind.

Watching Theatre online

You can access plays by The National Theatre for free (currently until July). Log in at https://www.dramaonlinelibrary.com

Then use the “access” username:  5Bt%9Cq(p# Password:  0X734Ey)yf  

Digital Theatre also offers a wide range of plays to watch on-demand (including from the Royal Shakespeare Company). Although this is a subscription site, some of their plays are available on their YouTube site. They are also currently offering a 30-day free trial. https://www.youtube.com/user/digitaltheatre https://www.digitaltheatre.com/consumer/productions

Shakespeare’s Globe also has a wide range of plays which can be rented or bought at https://globeplayer.tv/all

There is also a range of discussions, interviews and dramatic explorations of plays on the following websites (all are freely accessible):

  1. National Theatre YouTube channel http://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJgBmjHpqgs7citDojiasj-nMABL_DXku

  2. National Theatre podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/nt-talks/id486761654?mt=2

  3. Young Vic https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqth0oZ0oHJJYftVHd2ZHwaKQ_shhRGhf

  4. Shakespeare’s Globe https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjz6LNDQOWaCkQegAHxyo2g

  5. RSC https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjz6LNDQOWaCkQegAHxyo2g

A series of plays from the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Royal Opera House are also available on BBC iPlayer, named “Culture in Quarantine”. Click the image below to explore.