A-Level English Language Course at Varndean College



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.

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A Level


Standard advanced course requirements including a Grade 5 in English Language GCSE.


80% exam, 20% coursework


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 journalism, PR, teaching, law, speech therapy and any other career where the ability to communicate and use language effectively is valued.


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.


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.


Tess McGivney tem@varndean.ac.uk

““I chose English Language as it investigated the language used in a variety of different scenarios, which have a big impact on today’s society. This is important in my chosen career path of International Development. I have enjoyed looking in more depth at the way people use their language to represent themselves in a certain way and how the words that are used and the way a person talks can influence others and have power.””
Natasha Larwood, ex Patcham High School