English Language - Year 13


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 13 Subject Content

  • Child Language Acquisition
  • Literacy
  • Language Change
  • Original Writing 3
  • Language and Social Class
  • Language Investigation
  • Attitudes to Language
  • Revision and practice

The first half of the course begins the Upper Sixth by completing our study of child language acquisition and then looking at literacy; how children learn to read and to write and to think about stories. In January, we will do the Language Investigation, with each student selecting their own topic. After that, it is time to revise earlier topics and to prepare for the summer exams.

In the other half of the course, we begin by looking in detail at language change; where English came from, how it came to be what it is and where it might go in the future. We develop our understanding of different attitudes to language and how these portrayed, and create our own lively and engaging articles on a range of related ideas. We do some more original writing and then start to review earlier topics and prepare for the summer exams.


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.

Terminal Assessment

Paper 1 

  • Language, the individual and society (2 hours 30 minutes) 100 marks 40% of final grade

Paper 2

  • Language, diversity and change (2 hours 30 minutes) 100 marks 40% of final grade

Non-examined Assessment (Coursework)

This counts for 20% of your final grade and consists of two parts.

  • An investigation on a topic of your choice. You collect your own data and plan your own framework for analysis. 50 marks 10% of final grade.
  • Original Writing and Commentary. You submit you best piece of original writing alongside an annotated copy of your style model and write a commentary analysing your own linguistic choices. 50 marks, 10% of final grade.

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