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English Language


If you are interested in the English language itself – how we use language for different purposes, how speech differs from writing, and whether gender makes a difference to language use, then this will be the right course for you. Using a variety of spoken, written multi-modal forms, you will explore the ways in which language-use is adapted according to different contexts and analyse how a range of writers and speakers use English for their own specific purposes. From adverts, to social media exchanges to articles, we focus on how and why language cannot be separated from the society in which we live.

You will also explore a diverse range of topics, including how we shape our identities according to gender, dialect, ethnicity/diversity & power, occupation and class, while developing the skills of analysis, grammar and writing. Students also learn about how the English language has evolved over the last 450 years and the ways in which children acquire speech and literacy.

During the course, you will have the opportunity to produce a variety of creative writing coursework from short stories, to monologues, reviews and memoir, worth 20% of the final grade. In the second year of the course, you also collect your own data to undertake an Investigation unit, based on a specific linguistic area.

English Language involves analysis and the course offers so much help and guidance that fairly soon it becomes second nature. When I first started, essay writing and analysis were not my strongest skills, but my tutor advised and encouraged me into challenging myself and extending my knowledge. I have loved this course as it has allowed me to be imaginative and the lessons are very interactive. I cannot imagine another subject that would have given me so much confidence and enjoyment throughout my two years at Varndean.
Maisie Redfern, ex Steyning Grammar School

Course Essentials

Courses Available
A Level
Entry Requirements
How The Course is Assessed
80% exam, 20% coursework
Career Pathways
English Language students go on to take a variety of degree courses, including English Language and Linguistics, Journalism, Education and Creative Writing. This subject can lead to working in journalism, PR, teaching, law, speech therapy and any other career where the ability to communicate and use language effectively is valued. Other options available include: Digital Copywriter, Editorial Assistant, Primary School Teacher, English as a Foreign Language Teacher and Web Content Manager, Librarian, Advertising Account Executive, Arts Administrator, Information Officer, Public Relations Officer etc.
Transferable Skills
Written competence and accuracy; speaking and communication skills; the ability to structure and organise arguments; widened vocabulary; improved use and grasp of grammar; analysis of texts; drafting and editing; IT skills.
Other Information
Our popular Creative Writing enrichment class meets weekly and has produced prize-winning and published writers. It is open to anyone interested in creative work. Course trips have involved taster days at local universities and visits to the British Library and Dr Johnson’s house for language change.
Enquiries To
Tess McGivney: tem@varndean.ac.uk