English Language A-Level | Surbiton High School
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English Language A-Level

Examination Board: Edexcel

How do babies learn to speak? Is swearing offensive? Do men and women speak differently?

The Edexcel A-level course seeks to answer these questions and more by taking you on an exciting journey of language through time, space and social contexts. It will start by giving you the tools for the job: the language levels. These methods of analysis (ranging from phonetics to grammar) will make you an expert at analysing the different aspects of language. No more will you fear the ‘bogey monsters’ of grammar, complex sentences and the passive voice! You will become familiar enough with these concepts to debate with your peers the finer points of language choices that writers and speakers make. In this respect, the analysis you undertake will build upon your GCSEs, but also delve much deeper by addressing language in all its rich diversity.

This course will appeal to students who have an interest in different times, places and people. You will learn to understand how a text’s context (social, cultural and historical) has had an effect on its creation and the ways in which it can be received; you will be provoked to debate and discuss the meaning of newly created words and how they enter the public consciousness; you will appreciate why and how particular forms of language are chosen for particular purposes; you will become alert to all forms of communication – written, spoken, unspoken, all around you – and never see language in the same way again!

Assessment is conducted via examination: component one focuses on language variation and component two on child language acquisition. In addition, you will be able to select an area of expertise for an investigative study, the materials for which are pre-released. Your ability to craft language and write creatively for different audiences is also tested via coursework.

This course is rigorous, exciting and highly regarded and would suit those considering careers in the media, public relations, law, psychology and teaching, to name just a few.


Component 1: Language Variation

■ Externally assessed: 2 hours and 15-minute exam worth 35% of the overall grade.
■ Section A: Individual Variation – you will answer one question on two unseen 21st century linked texts/data and produce an extended comparative response.
■ Section B: Variation over Time – one question on two thematically linked unseen texts/data from two different periods. Students produce an extended comparative response.

Component 2: Child Language

■ Externally assessed: 1 hour and 15-minute exam worth 20% of the overall grade.
■ One question based on a set of unseen data – either spoken or written. Students produce an extended response.

Component 3: Investigating Language

■ Externally assessed: 1 hour and 45-minute exam worth 25% of the total grade.
■ Research based – students choose a subtopic and use the pre-released material to develop their understanding.
■ Section A: one question on unseen data.
■ Section B: one evaluative question.

NEA: Crafting Language

■ Internally assessed and externally moderated coursework: 20% of the total grade.
■ Assignment 1: two pieces of original writing.
■ Assignment 2: one commentary.

Former Pupil to Row at Olympics 2024



Lola Anderson