Getting Ready to Teach 2015 a level English Language Aims

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Getting Ready to Teach 2015 A level English Language


  • Develop an understanding of the structure of the new specification
  • Gain insight into the potential teaching and learning strategies applicable to the new specification
  • Understand the assessment implications of the new specification
  • Introduction to the support and resources from Edexcel

Changes to all A Levels

  • In the new GCE, the AS level will be a separate, linear qualification and the grade will not contribute to the overall A level grade.
  • The content of the AS can be a subset of the A level content to allow co-teachability with the A level.

Changes to subject criteria

  • Some updated technical vocabulary
  • Minor amendments to the subject content, to specify the study of historical, geographical, social and individual varieties of English, as well as aspects of language and identity
  • 20% coursework at A level – no AS coursework (common to all English specifications)
  • For Edexcel:
    • creative writing retained as coursework
    • investigation becomes an examined unit.

Changes to Assessment Objectives

  • % in GCE
  • AO1
  • Apply appropriate methods of language analysis, using associated terminology and coherent written expression
  • 20-30
  • AO2
  • Demonstrate critical understanding of concepts and issues relevant to language use
  • 20-30
  • AO3
  • Analyse and evaluate how contextual factors and language features are associated with the construction of meaning
  • 20-30
  • AO4
  • Explore connections across texts, informed by linguistic concepts and methods
  • 10-15
  • AO5
  • Demonstrate expertise and creativity in the use of English to communicate in different ways
  • Note: this Assessment Objective must be targeted with at least one of AO2, AO3 or AO4, either in the same task or in two or more linked tasks.
  • 10-15

Our specification

AS and A level at a glance

  • Component
  • Assessment Method
  • Weighting
  • A level
  • 1 – Language Variation
  • Examination
  • 35%
  • Examination
  • 20%
  • 3 – Investigating Language
  • Examination
  • 25%
  • 4 – Crafting Language
  • Coursework
  • 20%
  • AS level
  • 1 – Language: context and identity
  • Examination
  • 50%
  • 2 – Child Language
  • Examination
  • 50%

AS & A Level English Language Assessment

AS & A Level Component 1

AS Component 1

  • Paper
  • Overview of assessment
  • AS 1
  • Language: Context and Identity
  • Paper length: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Section A: Language and Context: one compulsory question on a small set of thematically linked unseen data
  • (AO1, AO3, AO4 assessed)
  • Section B: Language and Identity: one compulsory question on unseen 21st century data
  • (AO1, AO2, AO3 assessed)
  • 50% of AS - 50 marks
  • Section A
  • 25 marks
  • Section B
  • 25 marks

AS Level Component 1

  • Section A: Language and Context focuses on how contexts of production and reception affect language choices, causing language variation.
  • Section B: Language and Identity focuses on how language choices can reflect and create identities.
  • Understanding the effect of context on language use is intrinsic to students’ ability to explore and evaluate all data they meet during the course of an A level in English Language.
  • This aspect is specifically assessed at AS level to ensure that all students have a solid grounding in this important aspect of language study.

AS Component 1 Section A: Language & Context

  • Draws on written, spoken or multimodal data from 19th- 20th- and 21st-century sources.
  • Students will need to be familiar with how language varies depending on:
    • mode
    • field
    • function
    • audience.
  • Only section in AS where AO4 (connections) is assessed.
  • Focus on developing students’ ability to make purposeful connections across texts, exploring the effect of context on the language used in the data.

AS Component 1 Section A Exemplar

AS Component 1 Section A Exemplar

AS Component 1 Section A Exemplar

  • The candidate references several theories within their analysis such as Giles Accommodation Theory, Grice’s Maxims and Keith and Shuttleworth’s Gender Theory. The most successful analysis is Text C’s use of power within David Cameron’s speech. The candidate acknowledges the audience of the text is public and that the role of a politician invites criticism showing a need to maintain a positive face when speaking publicly. This is supported with accurate use of terminology- superlatives, inclusive and unifying pronouns and pre- modification. This demonstrates an understanding of the function of the text to garner support and gain power. This critical application of theory and the detail displayed here is indicative of the response, which achieved Level 5 (22/25)

AS Component 1 Section B: Language & Identity

  • Students explore how writers and speakers present themselves to their audiences, constructing identities through their language choices in spoken, written or multimodal 21st-century data.
  • Some aspects of an individual’s unique language choices (idiolect) that both reflect and construct their personal identity or identities (personas) include:
    • geographical factors (dialect)
    • social factors (sociolect), including gender, age and ethnicity.

AS Component 1 Section B Exemplar

AS Component 1 Section B Exemplar

  • This response comments on some relevant features and focuses on presentation of self but the accuracy in their application is not consistent which is why this achieves a top Level 2 mark.

A Level Component 1

  • Paper
  • Overview of assessment
  • AL 1
  • Language Variation
  • Paper length: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Section A – Individual Variation: one compulsory question on two linked unseen texts
  • (AO1, AO2, AO3, AO4 assessed)
  • Section B – Variation over Time: one compulsory question on two thematically linked unseen texts, from two different periods
  • (AO1, AO2, AO3, AO4 assessed)
  • 35% of
  • A-Level
  • 60 marks
  • Section A
  • 30 marks
  • Section B
  • 30 marks

A Level Component 1 Language Variation

  • Section A: Individual Variation focuses on how language choices can reflect and create personal identities.
    • Combines aspects of AS Sections A and B, requiring contextual and comparative analysis of two unseen texts
  • Section B: Variation over Time focuses on language variation in English from c1550 (the beginnings of Early Modern English) to the present day.
    • Not part of AS so can be left to Year 2 if co-teaching.

A Level Component 1 Section A: Individual Variation

  • Analyse texts (which may include transcripts of speech) from a descriptive perspective, while recognising that issues of identity are often bound up with prescriptive judgements on the part of individuals themselves and others
  • Key concepts
    • Prestige and accommodation
    • Variation by geography, ethnicity and nationality
    • Variation by class, education and occupation
    • Variation by generation and age
    • Variation by gender identity

A Level Component 1 Section A Exemplar

  • “She addresses herself(using the proper noun ‘Ciretta’) in the third person (‘let’s leave Ciretta’) in order to convey more about how she is a ‘mysterious’ person and also to shed more light on her personality as she talks about herself in a different perspective. ...
  • In comparison, the age difference between the two writers is clear when we look at text B. This is because the writer mentions frequently about his ‘birth’ which was in a few days before the ‘outbreak of the second world war’. The writer of text B also uses more formal forms of address ‘Mother’ ‘Father’ and lexis which suggest old-fashioned objects such as ‘harness’ ‘air-raid shelter’ and ‘barrage balloon.’ The formality and standard form of the lexis presents the writer as older but creates a contrast with some of the more creative uses of language, which suggests that the writer has a dry sense of humour, and an eccentric persona, for example ‘Father was away, eyeball to eyeball with the Germans in North Africa.’”

A Level Component 1 Section A Exemplar

  • This student has produced a comprehensive, well-structured analysis which discusses various aspects of both writer’s identity and personality. The student effectively compares the awkward, mysterious self-deprecating writer of Text A with Text B’s more mature, traditional humorous writer. The response is confidently written, well supported with relevant examples. This scored in the top of level 4 but would have been awarded marks in level 5 if the student had included theories within their analysis.

A Level Component 1 Section B: Variation Over Time

  • Analysis of two unseen texts drawn from Early Modern English (EMnE), c1550 onwards
  • Explore examples of diachronic change across the language frameworks and levels:
    • Graphological and phonological change
    • Lexical and semantic change
    • Grammatical change
    • Change in discourse and style

A Level Unit 1 Section B Exemplar

  • “Text C provides an example of a piece on the cusp of early modern English (EME) as it is progressively morphing into modern English. The topic of theatre generally demonstrates the influences of the renaissance of enriching British culture.
  • Typically of EME, the addition of an ‘e’ on the end of the adjective ‘unknowne’ and the concrete noun ‘kingdome’ can be seen. Also, loose grammatical structure can be seen with the use of the comma and ellipsis together at the bottom of the text and the fact that the last sentence is very long and list-like in structure.
  • The Latin terms ‘status quo prius’ suggests influences from middle English where Latin was popular within the English language. Also, the archaic term ‘doe’ suggests influences of middle English where inflections such as ‘doth’ were common.”

A Level Component 1 Section B Exemplar

  • This response was placed mid Level 2. The student recalls and references a number of features that are relevant to an exploration of this data but tend to be the obvious similarities and differences and the use of specific terminology is often absent. However, the student does recall methods of analysis that show some understanding and their brief description of the language features selected shows some ability to describe construction of meaning.

AS & A Level Component 2

Component 2: Child Language

  • The same core content is assessed at both AS and A-Level with variations in assessment type and depth that will be explored later.
  • Some key aspects that students should be familiar with are:
  • stages of language acquisition (eg holographic, two word, telegraphic)
  • overextension, underextension, overgeneralisation
  • substitution, deletion
  • child-directed speech (CDS), caretaker language, motherese
  • stages of writing.

AS Component 2

  • Paper
  • Overview of assessment
  • AS 2
  • Child Language
  • Paper length: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Section A: creative response to one short piece of unseen written data
  • (AO2, AO5 assessed)
  • Section B: extended response to one longer set of unseen spoken data
  • (AO1, AO2, AO3 assessed)
  • 50% of AS
  • 50 marks
  • Section A
  • 20 marks
  • Section B
  • 30 marks

Component 2: Child Language

  • Students should be introduced to relevant developmental, functional and structural theories associated with the development of language, including:
  • the earlier debates of behaviourism
  • innateness versus nativism,
  • cognitive and interactive theories
  • functional approaches
  • current methods of teaching literacy.

AS Component 2: Child Language

  • Question 1: Responding to written data
  • AS students will always explore the ‘written’ data in a ‘creative’ response.
  • As well as developing their understanding of concepts and issues related to children’s writing, students will develop their own ability to craft their writing for different forms, functions and audiences.
  • Some examples of forms, functions and audiences that students might explore are:
    • forms – articles, talks, reports
    • functions – to inform, to explain, to persuade
    • audiences – students, parents, non-linguists.

Georgia, (7), has been our guinea pig for our experiment exploring and analysing her spelling and development. Over the next 3 weeks we will be focussing on Georgia’s language development as a whole ranging from Choice of words to test her vocabulary etc….

  • Georgia, (7), has been our guinea pig for our experiment exploring and analysing her spelling and development. Over the next 3 weeks we will be focussing on Georgia’s language development as a whole ranging from Choice of words to test her vocabulary etc….
  • …Other examples of an overextension on Georgia’s behalf are the words ‘smily(smiley)’ and ‘blond(blonde)’. On both occasions, Georgia sounds out the morphemes to form the grapheme but when sounding out blond, it is unclear that there is a silent e on the end of the word that Georgia has ommitted – This can be seen as a virtuous error by Georgia’s but one that most children make and will be rectified with age. The word smiley with the variant may simply not be one Georgia recognises or has learnt yet.
  • AS Level Component 2 Section A Exemplar

AS Level Component 2 Section A Exemplar

  • This response is placed at the top of level 4. This student consistently applies an understanding of audience and function and presents the data in an engaging manner. The audience is involved with the use of pronouns and there are effective transitions between sections, but the student’s use of colloquialisms such as ‘mag’ for magazine are perhaps too informal. Understanding is consistently applied to the data and the student covers a number of spelling issues such as polysyllabic words, over extension of existing rules and skills that Georgia has acquired. The student would have benefited from some IPA to make the link to sound more detailed and more exploration of the reasons Georgia spells as she does (e.g. the phonics teaching method).

AS Component 2: Child Language

  • Question 2: Responding to spoken data
  • AS students will show their ability to analyse spoken data, and their understanding of key concepts and issues, in a formal extended-essay response.

A Level Component 2

  • Paper
  • Overview of assessment
  • AL 2
  • Child Language
  • Paper length: 1 hour
  • Students answer one compulsory question based on a set of unseen data – either spoken or written.
  • (AO1, AO2, AO3 assessed)
  • 20% of
  • A-Level
  • 45 marks

A Level Component 2 Child Language

  • Assessment is by a single extended essay (1 hour) based on a set of data which may be either spoken or written.

Child Language A Level Exemplar

Child Language A Level Exemplar

Child Language A Level Exemplar

  • This is an extract from a Level 5 response which was awarded 38/45. Considering the time allowed, the candidate produces a full response and shows a sustained application of selected language features and considers the effect of context. Examples are effectively and accurately integrated into the response and a wide range of theories are supported and refuted by the candidate in the course of the analysis. The terminology is generally accurate and the writing style is sophisticated and accessible.

A Level Component 3

A Level Component 3

  • Component
  • Overview of assessment
  • Paper length: 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • Section A – one question on an unseen text related to their chosen sub-topic (AO1, AO2, AO3 assessed)
  • Section B – one question drawing upon the knowledge acquired from their own investigation (AO1, AO2, AO3, AO4 assessed)
  • 25% of A level
  • 45 marks
  • Section A
  • 15 marks
  • Section B
  • 30 marks

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • The component consists of the following investigation topics:
  • Global English
  • Language and Gender Identity
  • Language and Journalism
  • Language and Power
  • Regional Language Variation.
  • An investigative sub-topic will be pre-released in the January of the second year. The pre-released sub-topic will provide a steer for the students’ research and investigation to enable them to prepare for the external assessment.

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Students will:
  • select a research focus from one of the above five topic areas
  • develop their research and investigation skills
  • undertake a focused investigation
  • apply their knowledge of language levels and key language concepts developed throughout the whole course
  • develop their personal language specialism.

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Research and investigation
  • Students should carry out a small scale, focused investigation, ensuring that they have researched the following aspects of their chosen subtopic, as appropriate:
    • origins/development
    • main features
    • different varieties
    • changing attitudes
    • influence of social/historical/cultural factors.

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Research and investigation
  • Students will use their research, the observations made in their investigation and the data they gather to inform their response in the examination.
  • Students are not expected to memorise extensive data i.e. table of figures, data, graphical representations etc. Their observation/data should be referred to in support of their argument – outline, summarise, explain, exemplify, quantify, draw conclusions etc.
  • Students cannot take any of their research or investigation data gathered as part of the pre-release work into the examination.

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Before the subtopic is available
  • Students should gain a grounding in the theory and background to the main topic area chosen for study. They should be aware of:
    • the historical background to their main topic
    • important theories relating to this
    • the development of linguistic study in this area
    • current theories and ideas.
  • They should also carry out data collection and analysis to observe data in the light of theory. The question ‘Does the language always do what the theory suggests it will?’ is one that is always worth asking. Students should be encouraged to seek out and share their own data.

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • After the pre-release subtopic is available
  • After the subtopic is released, students should begin to ask focused questions about this subtopic, such as:
    • Where does this subtopic fit within the context of the overall topic?
    • Where might this language be used/observed?
    • What are the main features of this language? How is it different from/similar to language relating to other topics?
    • What is the function of this language?
    • Who uses it?
  • They should also consider the specific research guidance given in the pre-release material. Using this guidance, they can identify an area relating to the subtopic, devise a method of researching it, collect data, analyse it and draw conclusions from the analysis.
  • Students can report the progress of their research and present their data for analysis and discussion in small- and whole-group workshops.

Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Research skills
  • Students need to identify clear and concise answers to the following questions.
    • What do I want to find out?
    • What data do I need to collect?
    • Where can I find this data?
    • How should I collect it?
    • How should I analyse it to help me find an answer to my original question?
  • The answers to these questions will enable the students to devise research investigations. These could include hypothesis or question-based topics where the student wants to test a theory he or she has developed about the area of language being investigated, or a descriptive topic where the students is investigating an area of language for which there is little previous research.

A Level Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Section A: analytical response to unseen data
  • This is always directly related to the pre-release topic

Global English: Section A Exemplar

  • “English as a second language indicators in Text A2 include the fact that she omits some words in her speech which reflect that English is not her mother tongue. For example, when talking about her work in line 16 she omits a definite article ‘the’ and just says “in library”. Furthermore, in line 4 she omits the preposition ‘at the’ and instead says “weekend” after a micro pause. However, these alone do not fully detract meaning from what she is saying as it is still understandable.
  • Nonetheless, even though English is character A1’s first language, it is interesting how when he explains where he was born early on in the interview, he uses “Joburg”, a common colloquialism for Johannesburg in South African English, early on in the interview. This immediately goes to highlight that despite the formal language conformation encouraged by an interview, South African English influences are hard for him to hide and have become a fundamental part of his South African English.
  • Both characters speak English close to British influence which reflects the history of British colonialism in South Africa and the remnants of war, apartheid and trade. This is important as it illustrates that although the westernisation of culture has been apparent in the world due to globalisation; ‘British-isation’ has had a greater impact than ‘Americanisation’ in the language varieties of South African English based on Texts A1 and A2.”

Component 3: Section A Exemplar

  • This response has a strong opening focusing on the cultural factors that affect the language of both speakers. The student performs a direct comparison choosing interesting lexis and grammar to identify features of English as a First and Second Language. The student further develops their answer by discussing the contextual factors of the speakers commenting on spoken language and the effects of talking in an interview situation. They demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of the historical development of the South African varieties linking them confidently with language features.
  • Their analysis is well structured, concise and covers a wide range of language levels which allows them to achieve the top of level 4. Their analysis on phonology discusses the intonation of the speaker and links it well with context but it is brief. In phonology they do not mention the distinct accent features of the speakers which are prominent within the data. This limits the response to level 4. If the student had commented on one or two key features of the accent using IPA symbols this would have been criteria to award them with a level 5 mark.

A Level Component 3 Investigating Language

  • Section B: response to a given perspective
  • Always directly related to the pre-release topic.
  • Drawing upon own research and/or investigation in support of their argument.

Component 3 Investigation Case Studies

  • Case Study 1: South African English
  • Example investigation focus
  • An investigation was carried out to identify the historical development of SA English in the 20th–21st centuries and to identify the main features of the language. The student realised that past examples of South African English were not easily available, so he identified the struggle against apartheid and analysed speeches of Nelson Mandela during the fight against apartheid (eg 1964 closing courtroom speech) and the speeches of Nelson Mandela between his release from prison in 1990 and 2004 (eg 1990 Cape Town rally speech, 1994 inaugural address, 2004 retirement speech) . He identified that Mandela’s English was close to Standard British English in lexis and syntax, but very different at the phonological level. Interestingly, he identified more differences at the level of syntax in Mandela’s late speeches.

Component 3 Investigation Case Studies

  • “The language situation in SA is very complex. English is the first language of about 3.5 million people in a population of over 40 million. English and Afrikaans were the main language of education during apartheid, and English is an important second language and a lingua franca. Kirkpatrick says there are four broad categories of English in SA: White SA English, Indian South African English, Coloured or Mixed Race SA English and Black South African English. BSAE is not usually a first language and it varies depending on the speakers first language and competence in English. Does this mean it is a second language only, or is it a distinct variety?
  • For my investigation, I researched the language of the political speeches of Nelson Mandela from the 1960s to the present day. Nelson Mandela was an educated man who qualified as a lawyer. His first language was the African language Xhosa. His English, in all the recorded speeches I analysed, was very close to Standard English in lexis and syntax, but with a very different pronunciation. This made me wonder if there was such a thing as South African English. As well as Mandela’s speeches, I read SA English newspapers and listened to SA radio. In every case, I was not able to find major differences from UK English, apart from the pronunciation.“

Component 3 Investigation Case Studies

  • Summary of the student’s conclusions
  • The student goes on to discuss the main features he observed in Mandela’s speeches, using comparisons with current South African politicians to demonstrate that in official/formal situations there were very few differences in lexis and syntax between BSAE and SE. The discussion was supported by examples from key language frameworks, particularly phonology. He concludes that, given the historical, social and political background, BSAE has as much a claim to be a distinct variety as American English.

Component 3 Investigation Case Studies

  • Case study 2: Language and Journalism: opinion articles
  • Example investigation focus
  • This student decided to investigate the representation of gay men in opinion articles over time and looked at editorials in the London Evening News about the Oscar Wilde trials, 1980s editorials about Aids in the UK, and editorials about the changes in the law to allow gay marriage. This topic opened up a series of sub-questions relating to the different stances of particular publications and online sites, and ways in which negative views can be camouflaged via presupposition and implicature.

Component 3 Investigation Case Studies

  • “For my investigation, I looked at opinion articles reporting on gays and homosexuality. I chose this topic because attitudes to gay people have changed a lot in the past 100 years and I wanted to see if opinion articles had changed. I chose to look at reports of the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895, opinion articles during the first AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and reports about the change in the law to allow gay marriage.
  • I expected to find that opinion articles were less prejudiced against gays but I found that a lot of prejudice still exists. In the Oscar Wilde reports, homosexual sex was still a crime and the reports are very hostile. It was no longer a crime by the 1980s but the reports are still hostile. There is less hostility in the 2013 reports, but my argument is that opinion articles in some cases are too opinionated and offensive but they can hide their offensiveness by pretending to make reasonable points. I plan to look at some findings I made using a language corpus to analyse the article and also to look at implicature and pre-supposition in the recent articles to support the statement ‘Journalism today is becoming too opinionated and offensive.’”

Component 3 Investigation Case Studies

  • Summary of the student’s conclusions
  • The student goes on to identify aspects of language – particularly the lexis: naming, use of adjectives, choice of verb – used to slant the articles in a particular direction. He also looks at pragmatic aspects of the language used, particularly presupposition and implicature. He uses a corpus tool to analyse word choice and collocation in his selected data and uses these findings to comment on general trends in his data (‘An analysis of the data using a corpus tool found that negative words and phrases preceded the words for homosexual men, and that the word “gay” collocated with more negative terms in the newspapers of the 1980s than in the late 19th century or in 2014.’)
  • He expected to find more hostility to homosexuals in earlier articles and less in the most recent. Interestingly, his conclusions were that modern comment articles were more dangerously opinionated and offensive because they concealed their offensiveness behind word choice, presupposition and implicature, rather than give an overt expression of their views.

A Level Component 4

A Level Component 4

  • Component
  • Overview of assessment
  • 4
  • Crafting language
  • Coursework
  • TWO pieces of original writing from the same genre, differentiated by function and/or audience (AO5 assessed)
  • ONE commentary, reflecting on the two pieces they have produced (AO1, AO2, AO3, AO4 assessed)
  • Advisory word count is 1500–2000 words for the original writing and 1000 words for the commentary
  • 20% of A Level
  • 50 marks
  • Assignment 1
  • 30 marks
  • Assignment 2
  • 20 marks

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Study the distinctive features of a variety of genres (for example feature articles, journalist interviews, speeches, scripted presentations, dramatic monologues, short stories and travel writing).
  • Identify and examine texts (style models) that exemplify key features of their chosen genre and investigate the effects of different language choices and discourse strategies for different contexts.
  • Complete two assignments:
    • two pieces of writing in the chosen genre differentiated by function and/or audience (advisory total word count 1500–2000 words)
    • a commentary (1000 words) in which they reflect on their language choices in both pieces of writing.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Example 1: travel writing
  • Students should begin by researching travel journalism in a range of journals and periodicals. They should identify different audiences and make notes on how their language choices and discourse strategies are influenced by contextual factors.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Students could then consider the Guardian newspaper’s 2013 Travel Writing competition. This competition offered the following categories for entries:
    • A Big Adventure
    • A Journey
    • Historic Site
    • Culture
    • Wildlife
    • UK Holiday
    • Family.
  • These categories from the competition could be used as a starting point for writing a piece or pieces of travel journalism.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Differentiation by audience
  • Some possible audiences for travel writing are:
    • 18–25 year olds
    • young couples
    • retired singles
    • families.
  • Students could choose an audience from the list above (or suggest others) and research their requirements.
    • Piece 1: young people 18–25 years. A travel piece based on ‘An Encounter’ aimed at young backpackers planning an itinerary for a gap year.
    • Piece 2: retired people. A travel piece aimed at retired couples and singles under the heading ‘Culture’ or ‘Historic site’ focusing on a particular historical or cultural location.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Differentiation by purpose
  • As above, students study various forms of travel writing where the primary purpose is to inform readers who may be considering travelling to the areas being covered.
  • They should also look at examples of travel writing where the primary purpose is to entertain rather than to inform potential visitors.
    • Piece 1: writing primarily to inform. A travel piece for a specific audience chosen from the list above, informing them about the positive and negative aspects of travelling to a particular part of the world.
    • Piece 2: writing primarily to entertain. An account of a place in which the objective is to interest and amuse a general audience rather than to outline the facilities on offer to tourists. The place described may not necessarily be an exotic destination but could be a little-known place which the writer is able to present in an interesting and engaging way.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Example 2: narrative fiction
  • Students should read a wide range of short fiction aimed at different audiences using a variety of styles and techniques.
  • Differentiation by audience and purpose
    • Piece 1: writing to entertain adults. A short story with a strong element of suspense and tension, featuring some element of the supernatural and aimed predominantly at adult readers.
    • Piece 2: writing to amuse children/young adults. An amusing ‘spooky’ story for children aged 9–14 featuring some elements of the supernatural and the ghostly.
  • Possible style models
    • Adult supernatural: Edgar Alan Poe, Stephen King, Roald Dahl.
    • General: William Trevor, Alice Monro, Lydia Davies.
    • Children: Paul Jennings, Roald Dahl, Philip Pullman
    • Podcasts:
      • (National Short Story Award)

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Genre
  • Audience
  • Function
  • Text Description
  • Travel Writing
  • Gap year students
  • Inform
  • A magazine feature on top travel destinations for your gap year.
  • Pensioners
  • Persuade
  • A magazine article to encourage pensioners to explore the world.
  • Students can use a grid like those in the specification to help plan their pieces and ensure differentiation of audience and/or function.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Genre
  • Audience
  • Function
  • Text Description
  • Choose a genre or two and suggest possible tasks a student could do.

Component 4: Crafting Language

  • Commentary guidance
  • Write a single commentary of a maximum of 1000 words reflecting on the two pieces of writing they have submitted.
  • Successful commentaries will:
    • include critical application of linguistic analysis using linguistic terminology where appropriate and using good written expression and effective organisation
    • show that the student is able to apply a range of linguistic concepts and issues to their own texts and to the stimulus materials
    • comment effectively on contextual factors which contribute to the organisation of texts, such as purpose, genre and audience
    • discuss connections between their own work and the stimulus texts and between their own individual pieces.

AS & A Level English Language Course Planning


  • Example of content for the delivery of a co-taught AS and A level cohort
  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Language and Context
  • Language and Identity
  • Child Language Acquisition
  • Historical Variation
  • Research and investigation skills
  • Crafting Language coursework
  • Teachers may wish to begin preparation for the coursework with A level 2-year students towards the end of year 1, whilst the AS students prepare for their AS examinations.

Planning for delivery

  • Some example course plans, which are also available on the website, have been provided for you to give you some starting points for considering the options.
  • What advantages and disadvantages of different ways of ordering and organising delivery have you identified?

Supporting you through the changes

Supporting you through the changes

  • Planning and delivery
  • Teaching and learning
  • Understanding the standard
  • Personal support
  • Tracking progress
  • Training from Pearson

Planning and delivery

  • We will provide you with the best support You already have:
    • a range of course planners, outlining different delivery approaches
    • editable schemes of work, with a range of accompanying lesson plans, to save you time
    • a Getting Started guide, with exemplars and detailed guidance.
  • We will be providing further resources including:
    • support packs for new topic areas.

Teaching and learning

  • Language Transition Unit
  • A scheme of work, with lesson plans and resources, that can be used as an introduction to the study of English Language, bridging the gap from GCSE to GCE and introducing students to key linguistic terminology.
  • Produced by Prof Urszula Clark, Aston University.

Understanding the standard

  • We will provide you with information and support to help you understand the standard:
  • example student work with examiner commentaries, prior to first teaching
  • clear mark schemes that have been developed following research and trialling.

Endorsed resources

  • We are committed to helping teachers deliver our Edexcel
  • qualifications and students to achieve their full potential.
  • To do this, we aim for our qualifications to be supported by a wide range of high-quality resources, produced by a range of publishers, including ourselves.
  • However, it is not necessary to purchase endorsed resources to deliver our qualifications.
  • A list of all endorsed resources will be available on

Personal support

  • Subject Advisors – Clare Haviland and her team will help keep you up to date about:
    • training events and support materials
    • news and government announcements affecting our qualifications
    • key dates and entry deadlines
    • new qualifications and resources.
  • Curriculum and centre support
    • Curriculum Development Managers are curriculum experts who provide information and guidance to senior management.
    • Curriculum Support Consultants provide invaluable support to our existing heads of department.

Tracking progress

  • Our new qualification will be accompanied by an additional set of papers prior to first teaching, for you to use as a mock exam or earlier in the course.
  • ResultsPlus provides the most detailed analysis available of your students’ exam performance. It can help you to identify topics and skills where students could benefit from further learning.
  • Mock Analysis provides analysis of past exam papers which can be set as mock exams.

Tracking progress

  • ExamWizard – help track progress
  • allows you to create your own tests online using FREE past paper questions.
    • Contains a huge bank of past Edexcel exam questions and support materials to help you create your own mock exams, topic tests, homework or revision activities.
    • Helps you search for past papers, mark schemes and examiners’ reports.

Training from Pearson

  • Events in a timely manner to help you prepare to teach the new specification:
  • Professional development events with a focus on developing expertise to support good teaching and learning.

Contact information

  • Subject Advisor email:
  • Subject Advisor telephone number: 0844 372 2188
  • Subject page link:

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