English Language - Year 12


With a range of interesting and interrelated topics, the combination of exams and coursework and the good preparation it offers to those going on to university this course is very useful for those considering writing, journalism or linguistics, but also provides a useful grounding for any career. In fact, the attention to linguistic detail and analysis that the course encourages will be a valuable tool for any degree. We follow the AQA specification.


Course Content

Year 12 Subject Content

  • Language and Representation
  • Original Writing 1
  • Original Writing 2
  • Accent and Dialect
  • Language and Power
  • Language and Gender
  • Language and Occupation
  • Global English
  • Child Language Acquisition

The course is delivered by two teachers in two “halves”.

In one half of the course students study accents and dialects, language and power, language and gender and language and occupation; a sound way to introduce technical terminology and a technical linguistic way of thinking about the whole range of language use. The focus is on spoken language. We then cover the exponential spread of English around the globe. We look at examples of Global English varieties and consider attitudes to them and their impact on other languages and cultures. We also explore what might be come of English now it has become the property of the world, not just our islands. Finally, we start to look at puzzling question of just how children acquire language so effectively without ever being deliberately “taught”.

In the other half, students study Language and Representations, which focuses on very close readings of a range of texts. This part of the course develops students’ analytical skills, linguistic knowledge and inferential reading skills. The focus is on written texts. There is a focus at the start on representations of gender and then more broadly on the ideas of “positioning”. Finally, we start to look at representation over time and how changing social attitudes and changing language are closely linked. During the year, we will also do some pieces of original writing, building on our analyses of writers’ techniques to create texts for our coursework.


Independent work is set by staff each week. 


Formative assessment is ongoing throughout the year. Summative assessment is conducted at least half termly on each unit.

Recommended Reading

“The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language” by Steven Pinker, Harper perennial, 2007

“Now You're Talking: Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence” by Trevor Cox

“Child Language” (Language Workbooks) by Jean Stilwell Peccei, Routledge, 2007

“Language and Gender” by Penelope Eckert, Cambridge University Press, 2013

“Text Analysis and Representation” (Cambridge Topics in English Language) by Ian Cushing, Cambridge University Press, 2018

“Language Change: Progress or Decay?” (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics) by Jean Aitchison, Cambridge University Press, 2013

“How Language Works: How Babies Babble, Words Change Meaning and Languages Live or Die” by David Crystal, Avery/Penguin, 2007

Useful Links and Information