Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

A Level English Language looks at the social science of language, its differing use by groups in society, attitudes towards these, and the detailed terminology through which we describe English's structure and grammar.  Written responses will be predominately analytical in their nature.

Course Content

English Lanuguage is an exciting, analytical subject in which students will learn the tools and terminology of linguistic description to respond to texts. 

Year 1:

  • Child Language Acquisition - Students will study the patterns of children’s development of language.  Students will learn theories about the wider process of acquisition and apply these to texts. There will also be a focus on how interaction using modern technology could influence acquisition.
  • Language Analysis - Students will be introduced to the skills of textual analysis – writing systematically about the language used in texts. Students will be required to use accurate terminology to describe specific features of language, in order to guide comparisons of how texts create meanings and representations. The exam will invite students to compare 2 texts on similar topics but from different time periods (potentially back to 1600) and places.
  • Original Writing (non-exam assessment) - Students will produce their own piece of original writing. There is a great deal of choice of what this could be: it will draw on analytical studies of a range of genres. In the commentary element, students will write about their own drafting process and how stylistic choices contributed to the intended purposes and meanings.

Year 2:

  • Language Diversity - Students will learn how language use is affected by an individual’s gender, occupational, social, regional and ethnic background.  This will involve looking at previous case studies, conducting some wider research and using data to evaluate ideas.  
  • Language Change - Students will learn how the English Language has evolved historically and the factors that have led to modern English being as it is.  Students will also study how English continues to change in modern times in the British Isles, in addition to its developments in other places around the 
  • Language Discourses - Students will engage with the varied attitudes that exist in society to language use, related to topics such as those being covered in Language Diversity and Language Change.  The exam will require students to compare opinions expressed in texts about a course topic. This will then lead to the task of writing a piece of opinion journalism on this topic for a stated audience.
  • Language Investigation (non-exam assessment) - This involves students undertaking a linguistic investigation (2000 words)  into an area of personal language interest. The task will involve aim setting, data collection, linguistic analysis and evaluation.

Methods of Teaching

Teaching methods include use of ILT (interactive whiteboard, use of subject's Google site, Kahoot, Google Classroom), class discussion, audio/visual clips and completing notes in course packs. 

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

Students will be assessed on the content and skills at the end of the 2 years through two 2½ hour summer exams (80%) and the non-exam assessment (20%) for the award of the A Level. 

Where Could It Take Me?

Studying English Language  is excellent preparation for higher education courses in the English Language/Linguistics field, as well as a range of other Arts, Humanities and Social Science subjects. Students will have access to a wide range of professions including education, journalism, speech therapy, publishing, law and management.

Financial Implications

There is a £5 initial cost at the start of the course for resource packs that will be used to accompany the teaching of units.   Additional costs could be incurred for optional trips to lectures, conferences or visits. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Mathematics and English.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 5 9 34 24 10 4 0 86
Percentage 5.8 10.5 39.5 27.9 11.6 4.7 0.0