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English Language (AS/A Level) at New College Swindon

Course description

This course is designed to provide a framework for the study of language and the practice of communication skills.

It will help you to understand the role language plays in your life, and to formulate answers to questions such as:

  • what can language do, and how can we use language most effectively?
  • how and why does language vary?
  • how do we acquire language skills and how do they develop and change?
  • what role does language play in our sense of identity and our relationships?
  • what attitudes do most people hold towards different kinds of language?
  • how does language communicate social values?

There is plenty of potential for applying what you learn to authentic situations and to topics that are relevant to your personal life, your interests and your educational or vocational aspirations.  You will put what you learn into practice!

Course content

For AS the exam topics will be:

  • Language and the Individual
  • Variety in Language

Before you explore these topics, you will be introduced to:

  • systematic frameworks for analysis which will equip you with a ‘tool-kit’ for describing what you observe in the course of your studies.
  • theories about language, which you will use throughout the course.

In addition to the AS focuses for the A level the following will be considered:

  • language acquisition and development (how children learn to talk; how our language skills continue to develop)
  • language change

Entry requirements

You will have at least a GCSE grade C (or equivalent) in both English Language and English Literature.  If you only studied English (or English Language) at GCSE, you will require a grade B.

You should be interested in how language works, and in the many varieties of English there are.

You should be a person who wants to develop your range of writing skills, likes discussions and research, and enjoys analytical tasks involving close attention to detail, as well as having an interest in people and how we interact.


AS English Language will be 100% examination, A level English Language will include 20% coursework.

Future opportunities

An A Level in English Language can lead to a Higher Education course in this or many other related subjects, or to any career which demands good, precise communication skills and an analytical understanding of English and language in general.

Examples of such careers might include speech therapy, management, teaching, law, journalism, media work or accountancy.

All employers will appreciate the ability to understand complex texts, to organise material and structure documents and thoughts, and will value employees who can express themselves fluently and with confidence, as well as write effectively.

A Level English Language will combine extremely well with almost all other subjects, though it cannot be combined with other English courses.

NB:  A few universities specify English Literature or English Language and Literature at A Level as an entry requirement for an English degree.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 28 April 2016

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