A Level English Language
Student outcomes and value-added in A-Level English Language are consistently among the highest in the school. There are two courses: English Language & English Literature. It is possible to take both simultaneously.

Unlike many other A-Levels, a great deal of the material for A-Level English Language is drawn from your own day-to-day experience and a lot of the resources and topics under discussion will be already familiar. Coverage of language in the media, language and gender, language and power, language and technology, how meaning is created (for instance in humour), language change and language acquisition are all key parts of the specification. The A Level English Language curriculum also involves a considerable degree of flexibility in terms of student choice, particularly relating to non-examined assessment.

This course provides a natural progression from GCSE English Language. It encourages students to:

  • Develop their interest in and appreciation of English;
  • Learn about the structures and functions of English;
  • Explore the developments and variations in English language;
  • Develop their ability to express themselves in speech and writing;
  • Develop their ability to apply knowledge to data.

Why study this subject at A-Level?

English Language A-Level is particularly versatile. The qualities which it seeks to develop are essential in a rapidly evolving world where articulacy and depth of understanding are highly valued, in the professions and elsewhere. Anyone considering a career in law, journalism, marketing, advertising, the media, education or business would be likely to benefit from the course and it is increasingly well thought of at University level and beyond. Accordingly, increasing numbers of pupils taking Science or Mathematics include English Language in their choices and find it an interesting complement to their other subjects, adopting as it does, an almost scientific approach to language study. Equally, it can be sensibly taken with History, Geography, Business Studies, Economics, French, German and English Literature.

Summary of the course

This OCR specification offers the opportunity for students to develop their subject expertise by engaging creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses. The specification explores the study of English Language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right. There is an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, debate different views, and work independently to research aspects of language in use. In this specification, language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition. The study of language as a symbolic system used to assert power in society is also fundamental to the scope of this specification.

There are 3 components to this A Level course:

Component 1: A-level Paper 1: Exploring Language – comprising

  • A study of the effect of lexical choices and grammatical features in a short written text.
  • How to write short pieces about a topical language issue in an engaging and original style.
  • Linguistic connections between different modes of communication.

Component 2: A-level Paper 2: Dimensions of Linguistic Variation – comprising

  • Child Language Acquisition: The focus of this section is on children’s acquisition of spoken language. The age range to be explored is 0–7 years old.
  • Language in the Media: This section focuses on discourse in a multi-modal media text and requires learners to apply language concepts and theories to their analysis of linguistic and graphological features.
  • Language Change: The focus of this section is on the analysis of historical varieties of English. The analysis will be based on drawing connections and comparisons between two texts from different times.

Component 3: A-level non-exam assessment: Independent language Research – comprising

  • A language investigation (up to 2,500 words excluding data)
  • The design and production of an academic poster based on the research topic of the language investigation.

How is the qualification assessed?

  • Component 1 – Exam 2hrs 30 mins 40% of total A Level
  • Component 2 – Exam 2hrs 30 mins 40% of total A Level
  • Component 3 – Non-examined Unit 20% of total A Level
English Language A Level

Entry Requirements

Applicants will require at least a Grade 6 in GCSE English Language or Literature.


OCR English Language H470

Component 1 (40%)

2 hours 30 minutes

Component 2 (40%)

2 hours 30 minutes

Component 3 (20%)


English Language A Level