English Language


If you are interested in the English language as it is used, by real people, in the world around us, then this should be the A Level course for you. It’s a fascinating subject area that is very different from what is studied at GCSE. 


What will you be learning?

You will study the English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right. You will secure a deep knowledge of how English language works and understand the language system. You will have the opportunity to pursue your own lines of enquiry on topics that interest you – analysing texts produced by others and debating different views on language use. You will be expected to engage creatively with topical issues relevant to language in use and to develop your own areas of interest and enjoyment of English.


Year 12

Exploring Language: Component 1


‘Language under the microscope’

This topic introduces students to the basic ‘toolkit’ of language study: exploring textual variety through a range of methods of language analysis and considering the effect of lexical choices and grammatical features through short written texts.  You will learn how to apply your understanding of language levels to a range of texts through close evaluation and analysis, taking in to account the contextual factors on the way language is produced, received and understood.


‘Writing about a topical issue’

This topic gives you the opportunity to engage with ideas and attitudes around language and its use, critically evaluating and responding to topics. You will present your ideas through short pieces of original writing, emulating the language features and contexts you have spent time analysing ‘under the microscope’. 


‘Comparing and Contrasting texts’

With a focus on linguistic connections and concepts, this topic enables you to add to your ‘toolkit’ of language levels and to explore the effects of language variation and different modes of communication. You will analyse spontaneous and crafted speech; compare spoken and written communication; and explore the individual and social varieties of English, and British dialects.


Theory elements of Component 2 will also be delivered across Year 12 in preparation for Year 13. These will include:

·      Language and power

·      Language and gender

·      Language and technology



Year 13


Dimensions of Linguistic Variation: Component 2

‘Child Language Acquisition’

The scope of study broadens to include children’s language development (spoken language and literacy development), exploring how children learn to speak, read and write, and how they are able to understand and express themselves through language.


‘Language in the Media’

In this aspect, focus will be on multi-modal media texts, requiring you to apply your language concepts and theories to your analysis of linguistic and graphological features. This topic is synoptic and will require you to draw together your understanding of contextual aspects of media texts alongside different language concepts and ideas. In particular, you will apply your knowledge of:

·      Language and power

·      Language and gender

·      Language and technology


‘Language Change’

The focus of this topic is the analysis of the historical variations in English from c. 1700 to present day. You will understand how English language has developed and changed over time, including methodologies for the study of language change. You will study a range of texts and genres and be expected to compare significant features and patterns from two different times, exploring their effects and the contextual factors at work.


Independent Language Research: Component 3

‘An independent investigation of language’

This element of the course is assessed as coursework and allows students to explore and analyse language data independently and to develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise. You will conduct your own individual research into a language topic of your choice, as well as producing a piece of your own original writing.  This is a great opportunity to be creative with a wide range of text types and to demonstrate your knowledge in areas of individual interest.

The word count for this part is 2000-2500 words, excluding raw data and appendices.

30 marks are available for this assessment


‘The academic poster’

The academic poster is a way to communicate the complex ideas and findings of your independent language research in an accessible, concise and visual way. Poster presentation is a recognised academic discipline and provides you with the opportunity to distil the detail of your research into core features and findings.

The word count for this part is 750-100 words.

10 marks are available for this assessment


How is the course assessed?

Linear A Level – all assessment completed at the end of Year 13.

External Examinations:

·      Exploring Language (Component 1) : 40%

·      Dimensions of Linguistic variation (Component 2): 40%

Non-examination Assessment:

Independent Language Research and Academic poster (Component 3): 20%


Entry Requirements

Minimum grade ‘5’ in GCSE English Language & GCSE English Literature