English Language (A Level)

Why should I study A Level English Language?

Do you think you sound different from the people on TOWIE? Do you know your ‘butters’ from your ‘Beychella’? Do you change your use of language when you use a keyboard? You will approach English from a completely new direction studying the English Language A Level course. You will investigate how we really communicate – the accents we use, the identities we choose, even the language rules we abuse and why we do so. You will study written, spoken and electronic language and you will discover where English came from, how it has spread across the globe and how it is continually changing.  

Studying English Language will help you develop your writing skills in a variety of analytical and creative ways and will provide you with a new perspective on how English influences how we see the world as well as how we can use language to influence the people around us.

Course Content

The two year course involves the study of a variety of language topics:

Language Diversity and Change

You will study how social groups, different occupations and genders use language and how English language has changed over time as well as how technologies like social media and digital communication have a dramatic effect on the words we use and how we express our ideas. You will learn about research undertaken by linguists and patterns of language use which affect us every day and which mould the views of society and examine how writers express opinions about language topics.

Child Language Acquisition

You will discover how children learn to speak, read and write – something we have all been through!

Non-Examined Assessment

This where you can really focus on a language topic that interests you by investigating your own data - anything from how adults talk to young children to how smoking has been advertised over the decades or how TV football commentaries differ from those online. You will also complete your own fiction or non-fiction writing and write about how you have chosen to use language to inform, entertain or persuade your audience.

Progression onto Year 2

Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.

Final Assessment at end of Year 2

Two written examination papers taken at the end of the second year and a piece of non-examined assessment. 

Paper 1: (40%) An analysis of language and representation and an essay on child language acquisition. 

Paper 2: (40%) An essay on an aspect of language variation or change, an analysis of texts written about a current language debate and your own opinion writing. 

Non-Examined Assessment: (20%) A focused analysis of examples of language chosen by you and a piece of original writing based on a style model of your choice.

Minimum Entry Criteria 

Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of: 




GCSE English Language






GCSE English Literature

We are an inclusive department and in some situations we will consider students who have achieved a good grade in only one GCSE English course.  

Some applicants may have a career plan for which taking both English Language and English Literature as two separate A Levels would be appropriate, giving them an increased chance of progressing to a highly competitive university, for example, to study journalism. As taking both subjects narrows a programme of study, it is strongly advised that such students take four subjects at A Level (see page 35 of the Prospectus for the grade profile required to study four A Levels).

What can I do after studying A Level English Language?

Studying English Language develops communication and analytical skills which are useful in any workplace and which are applicable to studying degrees in a wide range of subjects including linguistics, law, journalism, media, teaching, sociology and many others. 

Further Information

English Language lessons will provide you with the opportunity to study non-fiction, spoken and online language and access to a wide range of recent research and theory about how language works. Students will be provided with a variety of resources but must purchase the core unit workbooks. Financial assistance may be available where required.  

English students are offered a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities such as trips to the theatre, cinema, lecture days and support for those applying to study English at university. We run popular residential trips including Stratford-Upon-Avon and a creative writing retreat, and invite visiting speakers such poets, novelists, playwrights and journalists to talk to our students. We also participate in the Royal Shakespeare Company live streaming of their productions and offer Additional Studies in Creative Writing, College Magazine and Debating.