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English Language A-Level at The North Durham Academy

Course description

Course outline:

The aim of this course is to develop your knowledge and understanding of linguistic concepts and issues covering both spoken and written language, analysing and creating texts which focus on cultural, social and creative factors in language including the Dynamics of Speech, Speech & Children, Speech Varieties and Social Groups, Language & Identity and Language & Cultural Production.

The course places an emphasis on analysing social and creative factors related to language in use. You will study language through a range of printed, audio and video texts, in addition to conducting your own surveys and recording of spoken language interactions.


AS Level (Year 12)

At AS, you will learn to analyse children's language and the language of occupational and other social groups.

These skills will be further developed in your coursework, where you choose the texts you wish to analyse and then adapt one of these to create a new text for a specific audience.

The Dynamics of Speech.

The focus of this unit is the analysis of spoken and written English, scripted and unscripted, by children and among different groups such as friends, families, and national and local communities, leading to a greater understanding of language acquisition and social context.

Texts and Audiences

You will produce coursework on the themes of audience and purpose, and the cultural context in which texts are produced.

The unit provides you with the opportunity to undertake a sustained study of your own, looking at language use, context and effect across different modes.


A2 (Year 13)

Culture, Language and Identity.

This unit explores issues surrounding dialect, culture, power and identity and enables a deeper understanding of stylistic variation.

Media Language.

This unit gives you the opportunity to compare and analyse texts from three different modes - spoken, written and multimodal.

You will undertake a sustained study of language analysis and create their own writing.



AS Level (Year 12)

AS Unit 1: The Dynamics of Speech - 2 hour written exam (60% of total AS marks)

This unit will be assessed by an examination consisting of two essay questions from a choice of four. It will examine 'Speech of Children' and 'Speech Varieties and Social Groups' looking at factors like:

  •  How adults adapt their language when speaking to children
  •  How the media influences child audiences
  •  How children use language in different social contexts
  •  How language can be used to create a group identity
  •  How language is used in occupational groups

AS Unit 2: Texts and Audiences - coursework (40% of total AS marks)

This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated and focuses on:

  •  Analysis of written and multi-modal texts
  •  Adaptation of one text for different audience/purpose
  •  Commentary on how the text was adapted

A2 (Year 13)

A2 Unit 3: Culture, Language and Identity - 2 hour written exam + 15 mins reading time (30% of total A Level mark)

This unit will examine various topics:

  •  Developing understanding of speech, accents and dialects
  •  Understanding the attitudes to English in the present and the past
  •  Understanding the use of language in broadcast texts and in popular written texts
  •  Understanding implications of gender, clacherylss and status upon language
  •  The implications of profession and celebrity on language

A2 Unit 4: Media Language - coursework (20% of total A Level marks)

This unit is internally assessed and externally moderated, and focuses on:

  •  Comparative analysis of a spoken, written and a multi-modal text
  •  Production of an original text for a specific audience
  •  A commentary on the original text produced

Into the future:

The subject is acceptable in all higher education institutions and is particularly useful for higher education courses in English Language, Linguistics, Speech Therapy, English Literature, Media Studies, Film Studies, Journalism, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Communication, Modern Languages and other Humanities subjects. It is also a foundation for any career in which a knowledge of, and a sensitivity to, language is required.


How to apply:

To apply for a place at NDA16+ students should complete the application form available on our website.

Applications should be submitted as soon as possible. All applicants will be invited to discuss the course/courses applied for with a senior member of staff to ensure students are selecting the right course/courses. To help with the process we will also look at recent student reports and the attainment information provided by subject staff. Any offer of a place at North Durham Academy may well be dependant on students achieving specified GCSE grades.


Entry requirements

General Entry Criteria

The general criteria for entry to Year 12 of North Durham Academy’s 16+ courses are as follows:

  1. Most A Level and BTEC Level 3 courses: 5 separate GCSE subject passes at grades A* to C, including Maths and English.
  2. Meet the additional subject-specific requirements which are needed for some courses.
  3. For Maths, Science and Psychology courses, students will be required to complete a ‘Maths for Sixth Form’ course.
  4. Level 1/2 VRQ Courses: 4 GCSE grades at D or above preferably including Maths or English.
  5. Attend the Induction course in July and complete the Summer Bridging study packs relevant to the courses you want to study prior to enrolment.
  6. Agree to the conditions of the Sixth form Learning Agreement.

Any personal issues regarding entry criteria and extenuating circumstances can be raised and discussed at interview.

Entry Criteria:

 Grade C or above in English or English Literature.



How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The North Durham Academy directly.

Last updated date: 16 March 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years