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English Language AS and A Level at Harton Technology College

Course description

It’s all around us! Language defines us: We use language – written, spoken and electronic – all of the time, but do we stop to consider HOW language is used and question it? Is the English Language sexist? How do we use language to exert power? How do children learn to speak?

Effective study of language requires curiosity, a keen eye and ear, a questioning approach and awareness of key concepts. The AS and A2 units will provide you with the opportunity to explore contemporary language, branching out from your own language use to wider social implications. You will learn to become a linguistic detective, taking a forensic approach – looking out for the smallest clues in a text as to its purpose and meaning and, like a detective, you will be stepping back from the individual words to assess the wider context.

You will learn to read as writers and to write as readers, developing an enquiring and open mind. Language will never be the same again!

Course content

AS Level:

AS Version of C1 exam (1h 30)

Section A:

  • Asks one question on one text. ‘Identify/Analyse’..

Section B:

  • Asks one question ’compare and contrast’ two texts.


AS version of C2 exam  (1h 30m)

Section A:

  • Exploring Contexts.
  • Writing about a topical language issue for a specialist audience in response to a contentious statement.

Section B:

  • Exploring Language in Context. Students answer one question from a choice of two on one text (power/gender).


A Level:

There are three components that make up the A-Level course (to be studied over two years):

  • C1: Exploring Language
  • C2: Dimensions of linguistic variation
  • C3: Independent Language Research


C1 Exploring Language (Exam at the end of Y13 2h 30m)

Section A is Language under the microscope:

  • Students read one text (modern non-fiction) and answer two ‘identify/analyse’ questions focusing on named levels of language.
  • This allows students to show off their linguistic knowledge and ability to analyse which builds on GCSE skills.

Section B is writing about a topical issue:

  • Students complete a 500 word editorial based on a contentious statement related to language e.g. Technology is spoiling the English Language.
  • This is an opportunity for students to take a biased opinion towards an issue and write imaginatively in the editorial format.

Section C is Comparing and Contrasting:

  • Students answer one question 
  • Analyse the way language is used… in two texts.
  • This will include spoken and written texts, both modern.


C2 Dimensions of Linguistic Variation

Section A is Child Language Acquisition:

  • Students answer one question on spoken data (of a child or children aged 0-7 years) with specified language levels to consider.

Section B is Language in the Media:

  • Students answer one question on how language and context influence meaning.
  • Focused on modern texts and considering well studied areas of sociolinguistics such as the effect of power or gender on language use.

Section C is Language Change:

  • Students answer one question which simply asks how two texts show language change across 400 years of English language development.


C3 Independent Language Research

  • Students select their own area of interest and design and investigation into the language of this area. It is both the most interesting and challenging part of the course but one which never fails to pique the interest of staff and students. 2000-2500 words
  • Additionally, there is an ‘Academic Poster’ Task which offers students the chance to represent their investigation findings in a more succinct and interesting form. 750-1000 words

Entry requirements

Minimum GCSE grade B in English Language.


The subject is divided into three components all of which are assessed at the end of Y13. However, two of the units, in a simplified form, are examined at AS-Level at the end of Y12 (this is a standalone qualification which counts for 40% UCAS points).


Future opportunities

English Language is a well regarded, traditional A level which is accepted for most degree courses and valued by a number of institutions such as banks, industries and retailers. It is, however, especially suited to those who wish to pursue careers in journalism, law, education, public relations, and advertising.

Further information

Which other subjects compliment this subject?

  • History, Media Studies, English Literature, Modern Foreign Languages, Psychology, Sociology.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 08 December 2016

Key information


  • More information
    • A core part of Harton Sixth Form from the early planning stages has been to develop an interesting, varied and worthwhile enrichment programme. This will be timetabled on a Wednesday afternoon for all students and will mean that student’s can develop very important life skills through a varied set of activities and experiences. In an ever competitive University and employment market it will really help ensure that Harton Sixth Form student’s have the edge and have plenty to say about themselves when it comes to applying to progress in the future.