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English Language A-Level at Lancaster Girls' Grammar School

Course description

As Aldous Huxley once said, “Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes; and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the demons”. We all rely on the English Language to carry out our day to day lives, but most of us are not aware of how much we manipulate, invent, destroy and develop our mother tongue every time that we speak, read, write and listen. By trying to understand the nature of language we ask fundamental questions about our own species; how we judge people socially through the way they communicate, how we construct our own identity through the language we use and how every person has their own unique language patterns. The course is ideal for people who have a real interest in the way language works as well as those who have enjoyed the creative writing aspect of GCSE English Language.

The A level English Language course covers a variety of aspects of linguistic study and offers the opportunity for analysis of the language that we use in many different areas of life as well as possibilities for creative writing. As a student you will get the chance to explore the study of English Language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, pursuing lines of enquiry, debating different views, and working independently to research aspects of language in use.

What do I need to succeed at A level English Language?

  • An analytical mind and a real curiosity about our language
  • An interest in reading non-fiction texts as well as fiction
  • Creativity and imagination
  • A willingness to share your ideas in class discussion
  • The ability to write coherently and logically and structure your arguments carefully

Course content

The AQA course for 2015 involves two exams, both 2hours 30 minutes long and both worth 40% of the total qualification:

Paper 1: Language the Individual and Society. This covers questions on analysing and comparing texts from different eras and also a question on children’s language development

Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change. This paper covers issues such as regional, national, ethnic and global varieties of English. There is also a data based question about how a writer presents opinions and attitudes and a directed writing task.


Entry requirements

We do have a minimum requirement of five grade Bs or higher at GCSE. English Language (minimum Grade C) is also required. There are also entry requirements linked to most AS subjects (usually grade B or better). Admission to Year 13 is currently set at 3 grade Ds from your AS results.

Subject Specific

Grade C in English Language at GCSE.


Coursework makes up 20% of the overall qualification:

  • Language in Action.
  • A Language Investigation = 2000 words
  • Original writing and commentary = 1500 words

Future opportunities

Students of English Language are highly prized for their communications skills and analytical abilities. Because you are studying the thing that you will probably use the most whatever you do in life - your language - it easily complements any educational course that may follow and provides a new perspective on most professions. The most obvious career paths include working in the media (publishing, television, journalism), teaching and law, but the subject also enhances students’ job prospects in the leisure industries (travel, sports development, events management), sales and marketing, and many other areas of industry and education. Because of its scientific nature A level English Language can fit will with subjects such as Psychology and also some of the more traditional science subjects.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Lancaster Girls' Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 16 April 2015
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