Studying English Language at A Level is very different from GCSE; in fact, the course is predominantly a study of linguistics and it is classed as a Social Science. Whilst it builds on many of the analytical skills learned at GCSE, it introduces learners to a range of new terms - the “frameworks”, which underpin the study of language. We have selected to use the Edexcel course, which includes a popular creative writing element which students enjoy.
This course develops highly transferable skills and it is an excellent springboard for those wishing to go on to study traditional subjects such as Medicine, Education or Law. It is also a gateway into more diverse and modern pathways such as Journalism, Health and Social Care, Sociology, Psychology, Media or the creative arts. Furthermore, for those who don’t wish to pursue a degree, you will be equipped with a highly marketable qualification that is widely recognised by employers across many sectors.
In Year 12, after an introduction to the frameworks, you will then move on to study Language Variation, exploring how language choices reflect the identity of the user (individual variation) and how language has changed over time (variation over time).
You will also begin to explore a range of genres for your creative writing coursework portfolio.
In Year 13, you will continue to build on the skills from Year 12 and be introduced to Child Language, studying how children learn to read and write; examining key theories of language acquisition and applying these to actual data.
The final component of your A Level is the Individual Research project, where you study an area of language that is of interest to you from one of five broad areas: Global English; Language and Gender Identity; Language and Journalism; Language and Power or Regional Language Variation. The skills developed in this component include: the ability to ask questions about language; to find appropriate data to answer the question; to analyse the data and to draw conclusions. Feedback from universities shows that investigation and research skills are vital for any students wishing to study at undergraduate level, in any discipline.
Autumn Term 1: Frameworks of Language/ Language & Identity, Coursework: short stories
Autumn Term 2: Language Variation – regional and social differences (accent, dialect, gender, class), Coursework: journalistic interview
Spring Term 1: Language Variation over time: the history of English, Coursework: Travel writing & Monologues
Spring Term 2: Language variation – global English, Coursework: Commentary writing
Summer Term 1: Revision and exam preparation, Coursework portfolio review
Summer Term 2: Second piece of coursework from best genre. Revision. Year 12 mock exams.
Autumn Term 1: Child Language, Research skills
Autumn Term 2: Introduction to the Language Research topics. First draft of completed coursework (2 pieces plus commentary from same genre).
Spring Term 1: Individual research projects completed. Revision of Year 12 topics.
Spring Term 2: Revision of Year13 topics. Practice questions for component 3 exam. Final draft of coursework ready for submission.
Summer Term 1: Revision and practice questions.
Summer Term 2: A-level assessment
Component 1 Language Variation
Paper 1: 2 hours 15 mins
Paper 2: 1 hour 15 mins
Component 2 Child language
Paper 3: 1 hour 45 mins
Non -examination assessment: 2 creative writing assignments, 1500-2000 words and 1000 words. All students will complete a piece of writing in each genre during Year 12 for which they will receive feedback and make improvements. Then, in Year 13, they will liaise with the teacher regarding which genre is their strongest for which they are to write a second piece for a different audience or purpose.