English Language

English Language is certainly a subject very well regarded by Higher Education institutions, and because you are studying the thing that you will probably use the most whatever you do in life – your language – it easily complements any educational course you might follow, and provides a new perspective on most conceivable professions.

At university, there is a considerable range of English–related courses available, that directly build on one or more aspects of your work at AS and A Level, from creative writing through to speech therapy.  However, outside the wider school of English, your knowledge and skills will share ground with the many subjects within the social sciences, and particularly with Psychology, Sociology, and law-related courses.  Even further afield it is not difficult to see the value of a sophisticated understanding of English in areas of design, business computer science – in almost anything you could imagine, really.

When you come to begin a career, you will find linguistic study will make you an attractive, skilled and flexible employee in most services and industries.  Whether it is the increased insight you can bring to analysing written or spoken language or your ability to control and shape your own communication, abilities of this nature will prove a real benefit to you.  Even some of the specific topics you will have studied may find their niche: maybe the language and technology work you have done at AS Level will give you an overview of the impact of technology as you start out as a software designer.  Or, perhaps the language acquisition topic will help you get to grips with work in childcare and with very young children.  You never know, you might even want to start teaching English yourself and passing your ideas on!

Students embarking on the course should have passed GCSE English Higher Tier at a Grade B or above

Paper 1: Language, the Individual and Society
Assessment topics

●      Textual variations and representations

●      Children’s language development (0-11 years)

●      Methods of language analysis are integrated into the activities


●      written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

●      100 marks

●      40% of A Level


Section A – Textual Variations and Representations

Two texts (one contemporary and one older text) linked by topic or theme.

●      A question requiring analysis of one text (25 marks)

●      A question requiring analysis of a second text (25 marks)

●      A question requiring comparison of the two texts (20 marks)

Section B – Children’s Language Development

A discursive essay on children’s language development, with a choice of two questions where the data provided will focus on spoken, written or multimodal language (30 marks)

Paper 2: Language Diversity and Change
●      Assessment topics

●      Language diversity and change

●      Language discourses

●      Writing skills

●      Methods of language analysis are integrated into the activities



●      written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes

●      100 marks

●      40% of A Level


Section A – Diversity and Change

One question from a choice of two:

Either: an evaluative essay on language diversity (30 marks)

Or: an evaluative essay on language change (30 marks)

Section B – Language Discourses

Two texts about a topic linked to the study of diversity and change.

●      A question requiring analysis of how the texts use language to present ideas, attitudes and opinions (40 marks)

●      A directed writing task linked to the same topic and the ideas in the texts (30 marks)

exam assessment: Language in Action
Assessment topics

●      Language Investigation

●      Original Writing

●      Methods of language analysis are integrated into the activities


●      Word count: 3,500

●      100 marks

●      20% of A Level

●      Assessed by teachers

●      Moderated by AQA


Students produce:

●      a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)

●      a piece of original writing and commentary (1,500 words total)