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English Language A level at Shenfield High School

Course description

The English Language course provides students with the opportunity to explore language and its many uses. The course focuses on:

  • Exploring language in specific contexts
  • Writing in different styles, according to the needs of different purposes and readerships
  • Analysing the different varieties of English and how our language has changed over time
  • Exploring how children acquire language

Students will need to have a genuine interest in English and how language is used in specific contexts. Wider reading and private research is strongly encouraged and is a crucial aspect to the course.

Course content

This subject allows students to discover how language is used by individuals, within different groups, and within society as a whole. We look at the different ways in which language is used by (and about) men and women; how language can be used to control and persuade; how different types of English are used within this country and in other parts of the world; how children learn to talk, to read and to write; how language changes over time – and many other aspects of something we normally take for granted. We study the ways people talk and the ways they write – and the areas where talk and writing cross over, such as texting and instant messaging. Students will also be producing an independent investigation into any aspect of language which interests them, and at least one piece of creative writing.

Successful completion of the four units over two years will gain an A Level in English Language. Students will benefit from a range of skills such as the ability to explore language varieties; to appropriately use a range of linguistic terminology; to analyse language in detail; to examine language and its relationship to social contexts, as well as produce and evaluate their own writing in a range of differing forms.

Entry requirements

It is important that students gain a minimum of a grade B in English Language at GCSE.


  • Paper 1: Language, the individual and society (2 1/2 hour exam worth 40% of A level)
  • Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change (2 1/2 hour exam worth 40% of A level)
  • Non-exam Assessment: Language in Action (two pieces of coursework worth 20% of the A Level).

Future opportunities

Students, having completed their A Levels, may wish to progress to Higher Education to study for a degree. Alternatively, an A Level in English Language is highly respected in the workplace.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Shenfield High School directly.

Last updated date: 11 October 2016

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years