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English Language A Level at Malbank School and Sixth form College

Course description

At Malbank, our experienced English department offers two options for English students, English Literature and English Language at A.S and A level. Many people ask what the difference is between the subjects and for the first time, unlike at GCSE, the difference is much bigger than you think.

English Language is very different to the course previously studied at GCSE level. It is a slightly more scientific study of the reasons behind why we choose certain words and the context that influences our spoken and written decisions. Do women talk more than men? Is it rude to swear? English is a challenging yet very rewarding subject and offers you the chance to broaden your horizons whilst achieving academic success. The English department have an excellent track record of success both at AS and A2 level, last year 80% of pupils achieved grade A*- C at A2 and 74% grade A*-C at AS level.

Course content

Introduction to the study of language

Unit 1

  • Examination ‘Categorising Texts' which is 60% of your AS level, There are two parts to this 2 hour written examination.
  • The Grouping Task -
 You will be asked to group the texts you are given in the materials pack into different categories based on their language features. You will be marked on how well you group and the explanations for your choices.
  • Context Based Question - 
You will be focussing on two specific social contexts: Language and Power and Language and Gender.

Unit 2

  • Coursework- "Creating Texts" which is 40% of your AS level. You will produce two pieces of personal writing of your own choice. You will then write a commentary on your own work and the reasons for the decisions you made. 
(2500-3500 words).

 AQA AS English Language - taught from September 2015

  • At AS Level, you will explore the fundamental structures, genres, audiences and purposes of writing, speech and multimodal texts and how language functions in different contexts.
  • The AS course introduces you to language levels as well as to the linguistic concepts and theories which underpin all language study.
  • The AS course also develops your skills in writing for different purposes, audiences and genres as well as your ability to respond perceptively to the different varieties of English that you hear and read.
  • The AS course is assessed by two written examinations.
  • If you continue to A Level the content of the AS examinations is examined within the A level written examinations and coursework.

Entry requirements

We expect pupils to achieve a grade B in the relevant subject, i.e. a grade B in GCSE English Language in order to study AS Language. We will consider lower grades, but in all truth the demands and difficulty of the course mean we advise those not achieving a B at GCSE to rethink their choices.


Paper 1: Language and the Individual
Assessment Objectives: AO1, AO3, AO4

You will be asked to analyse and compare how two texts, linked by topic or theme, use language to create meanings and representations. The texts will be very varied, written or spoken, and could include multimodal texts. 
The main focus will be on how language is used in the texts to inform, persuade, entertain, instruct, etc. and on how the writers or speakers have used language to convey their ideas, attitudes, thoughts, opinions, etc. 
This means you will learn a range of language levels to use as a toolkit to explore:
• How identity is constructed
• How audiences are addressed and positioned
• The functions of texts
• The structure and organisation of texts
• How representations are produced.

Paper 2: Language Varieties
Assessment Objectives: AO1, AO2, AO5

The aim of this unit is to allow you to explore language variety. This involves looking beyond the parameters of Paper 1, where you look at language in the context of the individual, to explore language in its wider social and geographical contexts. 
This unit includes the study of varieties of English within the British Isles and you will explore social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity.

This means you will study a range of examples of language in use and research data to inform your study of:

• The Language of Sociolects including social and occupational groups and gender.
• The Language of Dialects including regional and national varieties of English within the British Isles.
• How texts use language to construct representations of different groups.
• How identity is constructed.

Future opportunities

Naturally, English Language will give pupils a sound footing in skills and knowledge to go into any job or course reliant on close study, analysis or reading. Many of our pupils go on to study Journalism at University, particularly those who have polished those skills in English Language. We also see the development of many budding teachers and writers .We are proud of the fact that many of our pupils choose to carry on their love of either English by choosing to study it at University, proof we believe that students find the courses and delivery rewarding and inspiring.

Further information

What Extra Opportunities are available?

The English department are always eager to supplement learning with extra-curricular events and trips. We run visits to see specialists in the key exam topics for essential help and advice for English Language. As is always the case with the English department, we also pride ourselves in our close relationships with and support of pupils, meaning that in the run up to exams, we offer a dedicated and thorough set of exam revision classes to help pupils achieve all they can.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Malbank School and Sixth form College directly.

Last updated date: 16 August 2016

Key information