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English language

Course outline

The course provides students with the opportunity to engage creatively and critically with the world around them through their understanding of language. Students will study a wide range or texts and discourses, as well as reflecting critically on the process of their own text production. This A Level studies English as a medium of communication which acts as a creative tool for expression, social connection and individual cognition. The course promotes the exploration of language as a symbolic system used on an individual, social, national and global platform.

Course content

English  is considered the lingua franca: the common language of the world. With over 1.75 billion speakers worldwide, and as the internationally recognised language of business and technology, English language is vitally important in our everyday global society. As a diverse and wide ranging subject, students are encouraged to reflect on the way language surrounds them in society. The course insists on personal reflection of your own language use, from how you acquired language as a child, how you use everyday language to communicate with friends through to the language used to discuss gender, sexuality and ethnicity. Further study increases your wider understanding of how thousands of years of language development led to the ‘English’ that we are familiar with, as well as considering the potential for the future development of English language. Students will select an individual area of English language which engages them to continue to pursue for further research.

Within lessons there will be a mix of individual, paired and group work as well as seminar style lessons, which students will be expected to lead from time to time. Regular written assignments will be set to monitor progress and provide feedback, while speaking and listening tasks such as presentations and group discussions will also be central to lessons.
For each hour spent in lessons, students should be prepared to spend an additional hour of study time reading the assigned literature texts, extended wider reading, doing research and preparing presentations and seminar sessions to be delivered in lessons.

A vibrant interest in language and people as individuals is essential to flourish in English language study.

Entry requirements

GCSE English language grade 6

Career / higher education opportunities

A well rounded qualification which is accepted for entrance on undergraduate University qualifications. A Level English language supports academic studies such as English language and literature; history; politics; law; journalism; media; film; marketing; teaching and education; psychology; sociology; anthropology; theatre studies.

English language A Level also provides excellent preparation for careers in: speech and language therapy; forensics; publishing.

Course specification

Paper 1 (40%): Language, the individual and society – Textual variations: analysis of one contemporary text, one older text and a comparison; Child language development: study of child language acquisition from foetus to age 11 years.

Paper 2 (40%): Language diversity and change – Language diversity and change; Language discourses; Language and Gender; Language and Power; Language and Ethnicity; Language and Sexuality.

Non-exam assessment (20%): 2000 word language investigation and 1500 word original writing and reflective commentary.  

Student view

"This course helps you explore not only yourself, but everything around you."