English Language A Level
We follow the AQA English Language specification which builds on GCSE and introduces new areas like sociolinguistics. The content and approach examine new, more varied aspects of the subject including accent and dialect, gender and World English. We also analyse a range of texts, identify language features in written and spoken text and explore various types of language, with consideration of audience, purpose and genre for different social groups.
In the second year of the course there is a focus on analysis of language on varied topics and we introduce psycholinguistics. There is exploration of how children acquire language and of how language changes over time according to region and context, along with attitudes to this change. Students also develop their own academic and analytical writing skills and complete an investigation of an aspect of language in which they have a personal interest, along with a piece of creative writing with commentary.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 5 or above.
What will I study?
Paper One: Language and the Individual
Assessing textual variations and representations and methods of language analysis.
Paper Two: Language Varieties
Assessing language diversity, writing skills and methods of language analysis.
Paper One: Language, the Individual and Society
Assessing textual variations and representations, children’s language development and methods of language analysis.
Paper Two: Language Diversity and Change
Assessing language diversity and change, language discourses, writing skills and methods of language analysis.
Language in Action
Non-examined assessment assessing a language investigation, original writing and methods of language analysis.
Method of delivery
You will follow the standard A Level model of delivery with three 90 minute lessons a week. Lessons will include activities such as taking notes, class and group discussion, reading and research, essay practice and a chance to improve your own, personal writing style.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is 100% terminal exam at the end of Year One (each paper is worth 50% of the total).
In Year Two there are two terminal exams worth 40% of the final mark each; the Non-examined assessment is worth 20% of the final mark.
Good course combinations
This course combines well with most A Levels, particularly Modern Languages; Sociology; Philosophy, Ethics & Religion; Politics; Psychology and History.
Your next steps
Degree level study in areas such as English, journalism, creative and media industries, public relations, museum work, civil service, law etc. It leads into linguistics degrees and is popular among students who are planning to become Primary Teachers. Past students have gone on to study English at Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham, Manchester and other top universities. A number of our students also move on to degree apprenticeships, particularly in journalism.
I chose English Language as I have always been interested in how we learn language and how different people from different backgrounds speak. For this reason, I particularly enjoyed learning about accent and dialect. I also loved how there was an emphasis placed on class and group discussion as I believe this is something that will be useful in the future.