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English Language AS & A Level at St Brendan's Sixth Form College

Course description

The English Language course is designed to appeal to students who enjoy the study of language and are seeking to explore the nature and functions of language, how its key constituent parts have developed under the influence of a variety of contextual factors and how these changes may be analysed and evaluated creatively. This specification will enable candidates to explore the fundamental structures and functions of writing, speech and conversation and how language functions in different social contexts.

Course content

Paper 1: Language, the Individual and Society

Section A – Textual Variations and Representations

  • Candidates will be given two texts, linked by topic or theme, one of which will be a historical text.
  • Candidates will demonstrate their ability to analyse and compare the texts, using appropriate frameworks and terminology.

Section B – Children’s Language Development (0-11 years)

  • Candidates will be asked to write a discursive essay on children’s language development.
  • They will be provided with data which will focus on spoken, written or multimodal language.
  • Candidates will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the functions of children’s language; the phonological, pragmatic, lexical, semantic and grammatical development of children; and show their engagement with theories and research about language development.

Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change

 Section A – Diversity and Change

  • Candidates will write one evaluative essay on language change or language diversity.
  • They will be examined on their ability to identify and describe features of language diversity and change.
  • Candidates will analyse how texts present ideas about language using appropriate frameworks and with reference to relevant research.

Section B – Language Discourses

  • Candidates will be presented with two texts on the topic of language diversity and change.
  • They will demonstrate their understanding of how the texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions.
  • Candidates will also produce a directed writing task linked to the same topic and the ideas in the exam texts.

Coursework - Language in Action

  • Candidates will produce a 2,000 word language investigation on an area of their choice.
  • They will produce a 750 word piece of original writing with an accompanying 750 word commentary.
  • Candidates will be assessed on their ability to produce an independent piece of work, demonstrating their analytical and creative writing skills.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSE’s at Grades A*-C or at point 4-9 (including English Language). Level 2 vocational qualifications (e.g. BTEC/OCR) must be a merit grade or above and will count as 1 GCSE equivalent.
  • GCSE English Language should be a 5(C) and will ideally this will be a 6 (B).


There are two exams based on your study of units on Textual Variations and Representations, Children’s Language Development, Language Diversity and Change and Language Discourses.  The exams are worth 80% of the qualification and each exam is 2.5 hours long. The coursework examines your ability to analyse language and create texts, and is worth 20% of the qualification.

Financial information

There are no specific course charges, but you could expect to spend up to £50 per year on stationery, equipment and educational visits.

Future opportunities

English Language combines well with a wide range of other subjects.  Through it you are offering evidence of high quality communication skills and an ability to be creative and analytical.  These skills are widely transferable and make you marketable for higher education and employment.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Brendan's Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 24 October 2016

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