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English Language A level at Esher College

Course description

This is an ideal course for anyone wishing to learn more about the English language in terms of both its structures and its many uses and varieties. 

In English Language we study the full range of ways that language is used to communicate out there in the ‘real world’. Unlike in English Literature, everything can be considered a ‘text’ worth studying, and spoken language is as important as written language.

In a typical week in English Language you might find yourself confronted with texts like websites, recipes, problem pages, letters of complaint, birth certificates, a scene from The Only Way is Essex, a political speech, a stand-up comedy routine, transcripts of people gossiping in the pub, football match reports, text messages, romantic novels, adverts from the 1930s, the back of train tickets, instructions on how to use a vacuum cleaner... almost anything! It is this variety and unpredictability that makes English Language such a fascinating subject to study.

Course content

In the first year you will study how children learn to speak and read, how texts are shaped by context, how speakers use language to represent themselves to the world and the differences between speech and writing.

In the second year you will study the history of English since 1550, an in-depth investigation into an area of language such as World English and creative writing in different genres

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement for study at Esher College is 5 GCSEs at A* - C (or 9 – 4 in Maths and English).  We encourage students to aim significantly higher than this to ensure that study programmes are successfully completed.

Aside from the general entry criteria that the College requires, you will also need to achieve at least a Grade 4 in GCSE English Literature and GCSE English Language.

If you do not have a grade 4 in either GCSE English Language or Maths and you qualify to follow a study programme at the College, you will be required to retake one or both of these subjects in your first year.  A lack of GCSE English Language at grade 4 will significantly restrict study programme options.


Assessment is 80% by examination and 20% by coursework, which is written in the second year.

Future opportunities

By the end of the course English Language students will have developed an impressive array of transferable skills including critical analysis, structuring arguments, selecting evidence, debating theories and of course a thorough understanding of linguistic terminology and theories.

This subject is considered a competitive one in terms of university entrance. It attracts a lot of applicants for university as it combines the academic, creative and analytical skills which are so valued in many careers. The skills are transferable to a range of disciplines and careers, including Publishing, Journalism, Psychology, Law, Advertising and Marketing.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 October 2016
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