A Level

Studying English Language at A Level is very different to GCSE. You will learn about how and why we acquire and develop language from birth, how we use it in real life, maybe because of things such as who we are, our age, where we come from, our sexuality or ethnicity, and then you will explore how language keeps changing and where it might end up in the future.

The A level is based around key topics that are enriched by research and theory. It is like the science of language; it is a study into the relationship between language and society. Alongside this, you will develop critical language analysis skills involving new and sophisticated terminology that will help you analyse and evaluate writers, speakers, texters, bloggers, presidents and pop stars. You name it, we can look at any use of language on this course. All this, plus, for the non-examined element, you get to produce some of your own original writing, and you get the chance to pick any aspect of language, that you find fascinating, to investigate.

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Preparing for this course

There is a brilliant language blog that you can explore, specifically the 4 posts from September 2017 that give a really good, brief introduction to starting your A Level course, take a look here.

Alternatively there are lots of Ted Talks to watch for a flavour of what to expect - our top pick for now would be 'Txting is killing language. JK!!!' You can watch it here.

More about the course

What will I study

There has never been a better time to study the significance of language. Language can represent who we are and what we value. Our recent past and present tells us that language can be used in very powerful ways. We use it to create our identities, to include others or exclude them, to create unity or destroy it. From the sounds of our accents to the choices we make in sending Instagram messages, we cannot escape the hold that language has over us nor our involvement in the way it is being shaped for the future. This makes studying English Language at A Level completely different from GCSE.

The course is made up of three assessments: two examinations and a piece of coursework. For the first exam paper on the Individual and Society, you will be taught language levels of lexis, semantics, grammar and pragmatics to enable you to analyse and compare representations of topics across a range of different text types. In the second paper on Diversity and Change, you will learn about how age, region, gender, sexuality, occupation, social group and ethnicity can influence language. You will also study English as a global language and the ways in which language changes. The final aspect is a non-examined assessment that comprises a language investigation and a piece of original writing.

Why choose English Language at KGV

Studying English Language at KGV will give you the confidence to explore, analyse and evaluate the world around you. You will develop your knowledge and skills using leading research and the most up to date resources. What makes the KGV experience unique, is that you will have the opportunity to meet and learn from the people who are at the leading edge of the subject and who write the textbooks. In other areas of the course, you will meet linguists from all over the world who will explain their work on diverse topics such as New Zealand English, Scouse, Multicultural Urban British English and accent prejudice.

English Language A level is recognised by every university as an excellent step towards further study. Courses in Language or Linguistics are natural progressions, with potential career paths in Forensic Linguistics, Marketing, and Speech & Language Therapy. Many students have gone on to study a diverse range of subjects such as Journalism, Law, and Criminology at prestigious universities that include Oxford, Leeds and King’s College London.

Entry Requirements


5 GCSEs at grades 9 - 5 and or including, English Language and Maths at grade 4 or above.

Course specific

You will need a grade 6 or above in English Language .

You can study 3 a levels or a combination of 2 a levels and 1 btec subsidiary (a level equivalent).
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Career opportunities

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