Skip to content ↓

English Language

Advanced Level English Language

Students follow the AQA specification (2015 onwards). All work in Year 12 and 13 forms part of A Level assessment. The qualification is composed of 80% examination and 20% coursework.

Year 12

The first year of English Language focuses on the language that surrounds us in our daily lives and seeks to unpick how our communications operate.  The course examines spoken, written and electronic modes of communication.  Students learn the core principles which underpin linguistic study. They apply these to the exploration and analysis of modern, everyday texts, from handwritten notes to advertising, from food packaging to legal interactions. Students then progress to explore how these language systems form part of a wider critical debate, in both academic and non-specialist terms.

At the root of this course lie the skills of systematic analysis and the ability to write accurately and effectively for both specialists and a wider audience.

In the first year of the course, students study:

  • Spoken, written, electronic and multi-modal texts
  • Language and gender
  • Language and power
  • Language and occupation
  • Accent and dialect
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Comparison skills
  • Use of corpora, tables, graphs and statistics
  • Journalistic skills
  • Creative writing
  • Discursive essay writing


Paper 1: Language and the Individual (1 hour and 30 minutes)

Paper 2: Language varieties (1 hour and 30 minutes)

Summer of Year 12 and Year 13

The second year of the course moves on to more challenging topics which demand that the students tackle extreme and often unfamiliar forms of English.

We study the history of language change from Anglo-Saxon roots to modern and potential future usages of English: for example, exploring the spread of English as a global language. We also explore the diverse range of Englishes, from traditional British dialects to pidgins and creoles.

Students also learn about the theories of Child Language Development, both written and spoken, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of various critical approaches, both for this topic area and the others studied in both years of the course.

Students study the following, in addition to revising all Year 12 work:

  • Child Language Development
  • Language change
  • Global Englishes
  • Evaluative essay writing
  • Wider critical linguistic debate from a range of sources

A Level examinations (80%)

Paper 1: Language, the individual and society (2 hours and 30 minutes)

Paper 2: Language diversity and change (2 hours and 30 minutes)

Coursework (20%)

A 3500 word coursework folder, composed of:

  1. Language investigation (10%)
  2. Original writing and commentary (10%)

‚ÄčLanguage investigation

An independent research investigation which is the culmination of all that the students have learnt and which prepares the way for Higher Education study. Students select a linguistic topic of choice and develop a research question. They collect and analyse their own data, presenting their findings in an academic report.

Past research topics include:

  • Do males adjust their speech when a female is present?
  • Do different sports have different language styles?
  • How does the linguistic development of a bilingual child differ to a monolingual child?
  • Is it true that electronic communication such as texting and social networking negatively impacts literacy levels

Original writing and commentary

With the guidance of their teacher, students produce a 750 word piece of original writing (such as a journalistic interview or a dramatic monologue), and a 750 word accompanying commentary.

In preparation for the writing, students will study a range of style models before selecting and analysing one style model in detail. Students will select their own style model in consultation with their supervising teacher. Students will then use this research to inform their own piece of original writing. The commentary will allow the student to consider and evaluate the style model, the writing process and the effectiveness of the final piece of writing.