Sixth Form Prospectus: Subject Information

Sixth Form Prospectus: Subject Information
English Language AS and A2
Course Description:
English Language at A Level provides you with a natural progression from your GCSE study of
English and encourages you to develop your interest in and appreciation of English, through
learning about its structures and its functions, its developments and its variations. The
course allows you to develop your ability to express yourself in speech and writing,
producing texts for different audiences, purposes and in different genres. At AS level the
course focuses on Language and the Individual and Language Varieties. There is also an
element of Original Writing which is tested in the exam. You will study language in a variety
of social contexts, in particular in relation to gender, occupation and consider how language
changes in different regions and social classes. You will begin to study child language
acquisition. A Level topics are Language, the Individual and Society which looks at language
change over time and children’s language development, and Language Diversity and
Change. There is a coursework element at A Level – Language in action – an investigation
into an area of language and a linked original writing piece.
Qualifications Required:
Minimum entry requirements apply. In addition, you should have grade B or better in both
GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature, or a grade B or better in GCSE English.
An ability to think analytically, to engage in discussions (especially about contentious issues)
and a curiosity about the different ways we use language are prerequisites for the course.
Aims of the Course:
The study of English Language encourages you to explore language and representation
through analytical and creative work. You will have the opportunity to develop your skills
through creative and transactional forms of writing, and you will extend your understanding
of how language creates meanings in written, spoken and electronic modes. English
Language examines the language development of children, and introduces ideas about the
importance of cultural sensitivity in language. You consider how the English language has
changed since 1600, and how it is changing today; you will examine global, regional and
social varieties of English and engage in cultural debates about the nature and significance
of language. In addition, you will carry out research on topics of your own choice.
Future Prospects:
English Language is a flexible and adaptable subject so future career opportunities are
extensive. The subject combines well with many others in both the Arts and Sciences, and is
particularly suited to Modern Foreign Language combinations, Sociology and Psychology.
University Admission Tutors and employers look favourably upon students who have
studied A Level English Language, knowing they will have good oral and written
communication ability and have developed useful skills of analysis and interpretation.
Careers which can be entered with an English A level/English degree are many and varied
and include management, research, consultancy, publishing, medicine, teaching, journalism,
law, media and advertising.
Sixth Form Prospectus: Subject Information
English Language AS and A2
Student Feedback:
‘Studying English Language at A Level has really made me aware of my own ways of
communicating, and of how other people communicate with me.’
‘I am interested in how different social groups interact with each other, and my study of
Psychology has linked so well with this course.’
‘There is such a political and sociological element to the course that I did not know about
before I started English Language A Level.’
‘English Language at A Level is so different from English at GCSE – there is a lot of theory to
learn and a whole new subject terminology to get used to!’
‘The ideas and concepts covered in the English Language course are things that will stay
with me and feed in to my future studies.’
Subject Teachers:
Mrs D Andrews, Miss C Bell, Mrs G Croucher and Ms A Vallance
Features of the Course:
 Exploration of spoken and written language in use
 Consideration of the way purposes, audiences and contexts impact upon language
production and reception
 Use of linguistic methods to analyse and investigate a variety of texts
 Analysis and grouping of data sets
 Consideration of cultural values and assumptions with a key focus on language and
gender, language and power and language and technology
 Opportunities to develop and reflect upon students’ own writing expertise
AS Level Units
A Level Units
Exam 1: Language and the Individual
Textual Variations and Representations
Students will answer questions on two texts in
this exam, which are linked by topic or theme.
Each text will be analysed and there is also a
question requiring students to compare
language use in the two texts.
Exam 1: Language, the Individual and Society
Section A: Textual Variations and
Section B: Children’s Language Development
Exam 2: Language Varieties
Section A: Language Diversity
A discursive essay on language diversity; choice
of two questions
Section B: Language Discourses
A directed writing task on attitudes to language
Exam 2: Language Diversity and Change
Section A: Diversity and Change
Section B: Language Discourses
Language in Action: Investigation and Original
Methods of Assessment:
AS exam 1: 1 hour 30 minutes written paper. 50% of AS marks.
AS exam 2: 1 hour 30 minutes written paper. 50% of AS marks.
A Level exam 1: 2 hours 30 minutes written paper. 40% of total A level marks.
A Level exam 2: 2 hours 30 minutes written paper. 40% of total A level marks.
A Level coursework: two assignments totalling 3500 words. 20% of total A Level marks.