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English Language AS/A Level at Brockenhurst College

Course description

If you enjoy learning about language, then the English language specification will stretch and challenge you by providing valuable insights into children’s language development, how we use language to represent ourselves and how it is used by others, particularly the media, to represent individuals, groups, ideas, organisations or events.

It will also help you to develop your skills in communicating knowledge about language to non-specialist audiences and in using primary and secondary research data to produce an independent study.

Then, you’ll move on to learn how children develop their spoken and written language. Children are born with the ability to cry. How do they move from crying to being able to say full words and understand how to organise words into sentence? How do they go from making squiggles on paper to actual writing? You’ll explore these processes and how it all happens.

Later, you will discover how the English language has changed since 1600 and how it continues to change. You will investigate how English varies globally, regionally and socially, looking at different accents and dialects and how they came to be. You will also examine cultural debates and controversies (is the language being ruined? are children becoming less literate?) and undertake a major piece of independent coursework on a language topic of your own choice.

Course content

Unit 1 Language, the Individual and Society (exam)
The aim of this part of the subject content is to introduce students to language study, exploring different varieties of texts, including spoken transcripts, and children’s language development.
This area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode and representation. It also introduces students to the study of children’s language development, exploring how children learn language and how they are able to understand and express themselves through language.

Unit 2 Language Diversity and Change (exam)
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore language diversity and change over time.
Students will study the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre and mode and will explore language in its wider social, geographical and temporal contexts. They will explore processes of language change. This part of the subject content also requires students to study social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity and change.

Unit 3 Language in Action (coursework)
The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore and analyse language data independently and develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise.
It requires students to carry out two different kinds of individual research:

  • A language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)
  • A piece of original writing and commentary (750 words each).

You may also take a stand alone AS in this subject, which takes some of the components from the A level course but does not include coursework.

Entry requirements

The basic requirement is five GCSEs at grade C with a grade B Higher GCSE for English Language and English Literature (Higher Level).

An interest in grammar and analysis is also essential. A minimum C grade in GCSE Science is recommended.


Your achievement in this subject is dependent upon excellent attendance, punctuality and effort. You will learn in a friendly atmosphere, using a variety of assessment methods:

  1.  You will be assessed regularly on written essay work that is conducted either as homework or under timed conditions in class and given feedback on your progress. You also will be assessed regularly on linguistic terminology.
  2. Discussions and presentations are a vital part of our assessment process and you will be expected to contribute to those and reading exercises.
  3. You will review your own performance in 1:1 sessions with your tutor.
  4. You will undertake mock examinations on each unit in advance of your final exams.
  5. You will be formally examined on each unit that you study. The examinations are traditional and essay-based, and are sat at the end of the second year, although mock exams will be administered at the end of the first year to ensure progress. Coursework in the second year is compulsory.

Financial information

As with many A level subjects, you may be expected to purchase some of the texts that you will study.

Future opportunities

A qualification in English Language is highly valued by many universities and employers alike. English Language is also an excellent subject to complement many courses, such as English literature, psychology, sociology, any media-related course, communication and education. Some university courses also require an A Level in English literature.

Further information

We encourage all students to read widely and conduct their own research into language, especially those who wish to study language or linguistics at degree level. We will offer opportunities for you to conduct independent field research.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Brockenhurst College directly.

Last updated date: 18 February 2016

Key information