Sixth Form: English Language

Subject Overview

There are two separate A Levels offered by the English Department: English Language and English Literature.

There are many transferable and desirable skills taught as part of the A Level English A Level course. The specification explores the study of English Language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, debate different views, and work independently to research aspects of language in use. Language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition which means that there is also scope for students to pursue their own independent lines of enquiry and topics for writing, with support from their teachers, in the non-exam assessment.

Entry Requirements

  • Grade 5 or higher in English Language


English Language Course Units

The A level consists of two exams and two pieces of coursework.

Paper 1

  • Exploring Language  2hours 30 minutes  80 marks  40%
  • Section A: Language under the Microscope:20 marks, 2 questions, both to be answered.  Unseen written text analysis. 40 minutes
  • Section B: Writing about a topical language issue, 24 marks, issue based and original writing for real-world audience, no more than 500 words. 45 minutes
  • Section C: Comparing and contrasting texts, 36 marks, two unseen texts (one spoken), compare modes of texts.  15 minutes to read and prepare texts and 50 minutes to write response.

Paper 2

  • Dimensions of Linguistic Variation  2hours 30 minutes  80 marks  40%
  • Section A: Child language acquisition, 20 marks, analyse spoken language transcription of a child 0 – 7 age range.  40 minutes
  • Section B: Language in the media, 24 marks, multi-modal text, they may consider language and power, language and gender and language and technology. 45 minutes
  • Section C: Language change, 36 marks, comparing two different texts from different times (1600s to present day) 1 hour 5 minutes

Non-examined Assessment

  • Section A: Independent Investigation – we MUST submit all task titles to OCR, 2000-2500 words, excluding data/appendices. 30 marks
  • Section B:Academic Poster – same topic as investigation, for display at an undergraduate conference on English. 750-1000 words 10 marks
  • Moderated by OCR

Activities and Trips

There will be opportunities to take part in Study Workshops at local Universities.

Expected Costs

English Language students are encouraged to purchase their own core text book, so that they can be annotated for examination preparation.

Complementary Subject Combinations and Enrichment Activities

English Language A Level is often studied in conjunction with other Arts-based subjects or Social Sciences. Popular combinations include: Sociology, Psychology, Media, English Literature, and History.

English Language can be studied at degree level and can lead to careers in journalism, the media and law.

Subject Resources

OCR website

Other information

This course would appeal to you if:

  • You enjoy reading a wide range of spoken and written texts.
  • You relish debate, discussion and analysis.
  • You would like to pursue a career in communication.
  • You are creative and would like the opportunity to enhance your creative writing.
  • You are inquisitive about how children acquire language, how language has evolved or how gender might affect the way we communicate.