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English Language A Level at Liskeard School and Community College

Course description

English Language is a challenging, but fascinating course. Over the two years we will examine the ways that children acquire language and analyse the ways that English, in its spoken and written form, adapts itself to suit different purposes and audiences. We will also study the diversity of English pronunciation and dialect, and look at the history of the English language, charting its changes over the centuries. You’ll conduct linguistic investigations and also practise writing in a variety of styles yourself.

Course content

AQA GCE English Language (Specification A)
This new course is divided into four Units, two for AS level and two for the A2.

AS Level Course

Unit One: Seeing Through Language

This unit is designed to introduce you to the study of the modes of language. It employs the core variation concepts of audience, purpose, field, genre and adds the idea of mode. You will study how language is used in written, spoken and electronic forms. You will also study a language issue: Language Development. You will explore how children learn language in order to express themselves.

Section A: Language and Mode
Students will be required to write an analysis of two texts for comparison.

Section B: Language Development

This section tests students’ ability to engage with some important issues about the use of written and spoken language by writing an essay on one of two topics: initial language acquisition or children’s writing.

Unit Two: Representation and Language Coursework

This coursework unit is designed to develop your ability to write for specific audiences and purposes and to explore the key ideas of representation and ideology (beliefs or ways of thinking). It draws on the key concepts of use-related variation and will develop your ability to use linguistic frameworks to analyse and interpret language in use. In this unit, you will produce creative and analytical work linked by the issues of how texts produce representations of people, institutions and events and help to produce, reproduce or challenge social values and attitudes.

Piece 1: Investigate representations - how texts might produce social values and how they might contribute to maintaining or changing values.

Piece 2: Produce representations - how to write in order to make a positive intervention to produce or challenge a particular representation of a social group, individual, event or institution.

A Level Course

Unit Three: Language Explorations

This unit is designed to introduce candidates to the wider study of language in society. You will study how and why language changes and varies due to historical, geographical, social and personal factors. You will gain an understanding of popular and academic explanations, attitudes and views concerning language variation and change.

Section A: Language Variation and Change
This section is designed to test students’ ability to evaluate ideas and issues about language variation and change by using their knowledge and study and two pieces of texts or data, either spoken or written.

Section B: Language Discourses
This section tests students’ ability to evaluate how language and language issues are debated and represented in society and will include two passages about a language topic. The texts will be about language aimed at a popular, non-linguistic audience, and may be from different times.

Unit Four: Language Investigations and Interventions Coursework

This unit is designed to develop your ability to investigate language independently. It will enable you to pursue areas of individual interest and to explore methodological issues concerning data collection and analysis. The unit is also designed to develop your writing skills by requiring you to communicate their linguistic insights and understanding to a non-specialist audience.

Piece 1: Language Investigation
For this unit students will carry out an original piece of language research to answer questions they have posed or to test an idea they have generated.

Piece 2: Language Intervention
This coursework task is designed to allow candidates to make an informed contribution to social debates about language by writing in a particular form for a non-specialist audience. Candidates study writing in different forms to inform, argue, instruct and persuade, for example: articles, editorials, letters to the editor and scripts.

Entry requirements

  • Essential: Grade C in GCSE English or GCSE English Language with Year  11 English target met or exceeded, and Year 11 Attendance being over 90% rising to 100% in Year 12
  • Preferable: Grade B or higher in GCSE English/Language
  • Recommended: Grade B or higher in GCSE English/Language, and a Grade C or higher in GCSE Literature and/or GCSE Media.


AS Level Course

Unit One: 
Seeing Through Language 2 hour exam (60% of AS or 30% of A Level).

Unit Two: 
Representation and Language Coursework (40% of AS or 20% of A Level)

A Level Course

Unit Three: 
Language Explorations 2.5 hour exam (30% of A Level)

Unit Four: 
Language Investigations and Interventions Coursework (20% of A Level)

Future opportunities

English Language A Level is an excellent training for any employment involving communication. In addition, it provides a very useful background to further study in English, Media Studies and Theatre, Journalism, Education, Speech Therapy, Law, Psychology or Sociology.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Liskeard School and Community College directly.

Last updated date: 20 February 2017

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