English Language

A / AS Level
2 years

What is AS/A Level English Language?

English Language is a fascinating academic course of study which invites us to explore the many different ways in which language operates. If you are someone who has always enjoyed English and who finds themselves thinking about language then this could be the course for you. Have you ever wondered why or whether males and females speak differently? Why have “ wicked” and “sick” changed their meanings so drastically? Why are humans the only members of the animal kingdom to develop such a sophisticated communication structure? Why do we no longer talk the way Shakespeare did? All these questions and more will be answered.

Is English Language suitable for me?

English Language is suitable for a wide variety of students. It gives you the opportunity both to precisely analyse language and to use language creatively. Perhaps the most frequent comment we hear quite early on from new students is, “It’s nothing like English at GCSE.” This is because we study entirely new topics like language and gender, language and identity and child language acquisition. Students who enjoy language but are less interested in studying novels, plays and poetry often thrive with this subject.


How will I learn?

  • Highly experienced teachers deliver the course content.
  • All resources are posted on Moodle and there is a wide range of material freely available for extra study
  • Booklets designed exclusively by Alton College support your learning
  • You are important. Your ideas and opinions about language are always included and any examlpes of language which you find interesting are incorporated into lessions.
  • you will look at all aspects of how texts are created and then apply what you have learned to your own writing
  • language is never neutral so debate and argument are frequently a part of our lessons
  • you will be encouraged to challenge theories and carry out your own research

How will I be assessed?

Under the new guidelines coursework now forms 20% of your final A level grade. The coursework is completed in year 2.

Over all the total exam time is 5 hours, split over various exams which are all set in year 2.


There is potential for those wishing to pursue careers or further studies in journalism and education, as well as in many areas of business and management.

More and more universities are offering degree courses in English Language, on its own and combined with other subjects including Linguistics, European or American Studies, most modern languages, English Literature and creative writing.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 A level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.

A grade C in a modern language such as French or Spanish is desirable.

Course costs

All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery and calculators (where applicable). Any further costs are outlined below:

Essential: £10-20 for booklets and course materials.
Optional: £20 for tapes and trips.

Students are advised of a small number of useful texts to purchase but this is optional.

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.