Course Type: Full Time

AS/A Level English Language

  • Course Code CG60042
  • Start Date 6th September 2018
  • Duration 1 year
  • Campus Baltic Campus

Course title: AS/A Level English Language

Exam board detail: AQA

Type of qualification: to be studied in conjunction with two other A Level subjects

Delivery hours per week: 6 hours (1.5-hour lessons)


Section 1: Subject Overview

A-Level English Language is the study of everyday language in action. There are no set texts on this course: we do not read novels, plays or poems. Instead, we explore the ways in which we use language to communicate through both speech and writing.

You will have the opportunity to develop your subject expertise by engaging in close text analysis and critically apply both linguistic terminology and a wide range of theories. Using linguistic concepts and methods, you will analyse a vast range of non-fiction texts, as well as real examples of spoken language – including your own.

In addition, you will also develop skills as a producer and interpreter of language by creating texts yourself and critically reflecting on your own processes of production.


Section 2: Assessment Overview

In your first year of study, you will explore three key units: Linguistic Methods, Meanings and Representations and Language Diversity.

Linguistic Methods: in this section of the course, we take a close look at the various methods we can use in which to study both written and spoken language in analytical detail. This takes the form of the language levels, each of which we explore in turn and apply to a wide range of texts. You will learn how to analyse a text producers use of:

  • Lexis

  • Semantics

  • Phonology

  • Grammar

  • Graphology

  • Pragmatics

  • Discourse

    Meanings and Representations: within this examined unit, we explore the various ways in which text producers use the language levels in order to create meaning and representations with their texts, in order to fulfil specific purposes and address intended audiences. This raises a huge number of questions and the validity of what is written in the media and allows us to explore the ways in which we communicate online and the impact of this on our language. We focus on the following key areas:

  • Representation of the text producer

  • Representation of the text receiver

  • Representation of social groups

  • Representation of subject matter

    Language Diversity: this unit is an exploration into the varieties of the English Language we each use every day. We will question to what extent factors such as our gender, age, occupation and social class may impact upon both our own language and the language used to address us within wider society. Within this, we explore the following key areas and how each of them impacts upon language:

  • Gender

  • Power

  • Occupation

  • Region

Social Group


There will be two exams papers at the end of AS Level (first year)


In the second year of the course, 20% of the A-Level will be made up of your own coursework folder, entitled Language in Action, as well as studying two further units: Child Language Acquisition and Language Change.

Language in Action: this element of the course allows you to complete your own investigation into an area of your own interest. This is assessed through three pieces, firstly a 2000 word investigation into an area of language use that you are passionate about. This can range from Arctic Monkey song lyrics to the Geordie dialect and allows you to conduct and write up your own research. You will also then write your own 750 word piece of original writing, either to persuade, entertain or inform, alongside a commentary of the same length to justify the linguistic choices you made in your creative piece.

Child Language Acquisition: in this fascinating unit, you will explore the ways in which we all learn how to talk, read and write. We will explore a range of theories surrounding child development, as well as looking at the ways in which this is supported by caregivers, school, children’s books and even television. As you have all gone through this process yourself, it is interesting to look back and consider exactly how this may have happened.

Language Change: in a world of the internet and rapidly changing technology, this unit takes a very relevant and critical look at the way in which language changes over time and is still evolving. You will examine the origins of the English Language and the ways in which this has changed over time, studying the theories and reasons behind these changes.


There will be two exam papers at the end of A Level (second year) along with the submission of a piece of coursework (3500 words in total inc commentary).


Section 3: What do other students study alongside English Language at A Level?

Many of our students will opt to study Psychology, History, Government and Politics or Media Studies depending on their long-term destination.


Section 4: What are the possible career opportunities after successful completion of this course?

Students who follow the course will enhance their powers of critical analysis, encouraging them to be effective and persuasive communicators. The investigation element of the coursework matches the skills needed for university study and dissertation writing in any arts or humanities discipline. As a result, this subject is highly useful in preparing students for many careers including Journalism, Editing, Law, Business, the Media, Social Services, Marketing and Teaching. Indeed, with English ‘under your belt’, there is nothing you can’t do.


Section 5: How can I find out more if I have a question?


English Teacher – Kate.simpson@gateshead.ac.uk

Curriculum Operations Manager - sarah.latheron@gateshead.ac.uk




An interview is required.

How to apply

You can register your interest for this course online, call 0191 490 2246 or email start@gateshead.ac.uk.

Qualifications needed

Average grade 6 GCSE profile (Higher entry criteria is required for anyone looking to study Maths and/or Sciences at A Level). However, if you do not meet this profile please still come to an Open Event to discuss all options with a member of the A Level Team.

Required experience

We welcome applicants without prior experience.

This course is free to those aged 19 years and under.

Most people aged 19 years and over can qualify for free or reduced course fees. This depends on your individual circumstances.

If you already have a full level 3 qualification and are aged 19 or over you can apply for an Advanced Learning Loan or pay the fee in full upfront, minus a 10% discount.

You can get more information at our Enrolment Events, by calling 0191 490 2246 or email us at start@gateshead.ac.uk

Find out more about Finance & Funding