Course Outline


The AS and A Level English Syllabus at GEMS Wesgreen International School aims to develop learners who are: confident in working with information and ideas; responsible for their learning; reflective, innovative and equipped for new and future challenges; engaged intellectually and socially. We expect AS and A Level language learners at this advanced level to develop an understanding and enjoyment of a wide variety of different texts (both written and spoken). The syllabus is focused on helping these learners to gain pleasure and awareness of how language works in different ways, for different purposes and for different audiences. Learners are expected to show the ability to appreciate how different texts are shaped by their language and style. Furthermore, learners have chances to create their own imaginative and persuasive writing for different purposes and audiences as well as engage in researching, selecting and shaping information from different sources. A final component of the syllabus is that learners need to display the ability to analyse and compare written and spoken texts in close detail.

Learning Outcomes

The aims of all subjects state what a teacher may expect to teach and what a student may expect to experience and learn. These aims suggest how the student may be changed by the learning experience. The aims of the AS and A Level English Language Syllabus are to develop in students:

  • A critical and informed response to texts in a range of forms, styles, contexts and audiences.
  • The interdependent skills of reading, analysis, and research.
  • Effective, creative, accurate, and appropriate communication.
  • A firm foundation for further study of language and linguistics.
  • The ability to read with understanding and analyse texts in a variety of forms.
  • The ability to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of English language and its use in a variety of contexts.
  • The ability to write clearly, accurately, creatively, and effectively for different purposes/ audiences, using different forms.

Ongoing Objectives

There are objectives that are covered and built upon throughout each unit of work. These include:

  • Identifying distinguishing features of given texts, relate them to the function and context of the writing.
  • Organising information when writing.
  • Commenting on aspects such as vocabulary, figurative language (e.g. use of metaphor and simile), word ordering and sentence structure, formality/ informality of tone, and the communication of attitudes, bias or prejudice, structure.
  • Writing for a specific purpose and/ or audience using appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style.
  • Articulating and justifying answers, arguments, and opinions.
  • Explaining and discussing own understanding of read texts and other materials.
  • Considering and evaluating different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others.
  • Selecting and using appropriate registers for effective communication.
  • Participating in discussion about texts/ genres and other works.

Unit Overviews

Term 1

Unit 1– Introduction to AS/ A Level Course & Moving on from O Level/ IGCSE

Approximate length: 13 weeks

This unit is the introduction to the course and gives an overview of the skills needed to analyse texts, both written and spoken, and to write them. The unit re-visits skills, concepts, and interests developed at IGCSE. It introduces ideas of spoken language to add to the analysis of texts in a variety of written forms. The repertoire of writing for different purposes/audiences, using different forms, is extended through the study of a range of models and through structured practice. Classroom activities in this unit include a variety of individual/ pair/ group and whole-class tasks. Skills are taught and reinforced at a basic level; more challenging activities are outlined; and a range of print, multi-modal and online resources is recommended, both for teacher-led class use and for further learner research.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To read with understanding and analyse texts in a variety of forms.
  • To demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of English language (including, at A Level, spoken language) and its use in a variety of contexts.
  • To write clearly, accurately, creatively, and effectively for different purposes/ audiences, using different forms.

Week 1: Moving on from O Level/ IGCSE- The learners recollect as many as possible of the texts they have studied in the recent past (drawn from different subject areas – history, geography, science e.t.c). The focus would be features of any/all of these texts which learners found difficult. Revision of some features so language learners could be encouraged to consider how far they have tried to incorporate into their own writing aspects of style they have encountered in their reading.

Weeks 2 & 3: Types of written texts- Natural and scripted speech for analysis and as stimulus for personal writing using rhetorical devices such as emotive language, and patterning devices such as repetition, lists, questions, antithesis (use of opposites) and figurative language. Learners may need to be discouraged from thinking that natural/ spontaneous speech is just an inferior form of written language, or that planned speech is somehow ‘better’ because ‘mistakes’ are edited out (The ‘deficit-model’ approach).

Week 4 & 5: Purpose- Learners identify distinguishing features of texts and relate them to the function and context of the writing. Being aware of a writer’s purpose (why apparently s/he wrote what s/he did) will help learners to analyse and evaluate both what was written (the content) and how it was written (the style). The focus is on the individual learner’s writing skills and his/her own purposes in writing.

Week 6 & 7: Audience- Communication is two-way. Consider who is being communicated to by any given text. Consider primary and secondary audiences.

Week 8 & 9: Context- In what context, or surroundings, does the piece of text appear? Some aspects of context are verbal – they are to do with the other words and texts surrounding the text we are studying. Other aspects of context are more social – they are to do with the social relationships surrounding the situation in which the text has been produced and in which it is being understood.

Week 10 & 11: Form- The ways in which a text is presented - its layout on the printed page, the ways in which it is heard or displayed, its aural or visual format- give immediate clues to the kind of text it is, even before we come to ‘read’ it in detail. Learners will need to practise the basic skill of identifying significant features of form, then moving on to the more challenging task of evaluating the effects of these features, relating them to context, audience, and purpose.

Week 12 & 13: Style- Learners create a systematic checklist to refer to. Candidates are required to comment on aspects of: texts such as vocabulary, figurative language, word ordering, and sentence structure, formality and/or informality of tone, structure, and attitudes (bias or prejudice). There is comparison of the style and language of the candidate’s writing and with that of the original text. Learners need to feel comfortable considering how a text is constructed: the habit of ‘deconstruction’ needs to become a natural part of classroom activity and private reading. Similarly, it is helpful to encourage learners to write in conscious imitation of styles they have studied, making deliberate choices of form, structure, and language. They should be encouraged to read and comment constructively on each other’s work.

Term 2

Programme of Study 

Term 3

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To develop a broad understanding of the significance of (two of) the three topic areas. Topic A: Spoken language and social groups Topic B: English as a global language Topic C: Language acquisition by children and teenagers.
  • To portray wider reading, research abilities and the interdependent skills of: reading, analysis and research.
  • To comment on how writers communicate attitudes, bias or prejudice.To explore specific features of spoken language which are influenced by context; the use of language to include and exclude; group identity, power and status, slang, jargon and other non-standard features; idiolect/sociolect/dialect; speech sounds and accents; and theories and studies of social variation in language.
  • To show appreciation of the main functions of spoken language: Referential, Expressive, Transactional, Interactional and Phatic.
  • To explore issues arising from differing ideas of ‘world’/’global’/‘international’ English; Kachru’s Three Circles (inner circle, outer circle, expanding circle); the local status of English – as an ‘official’ (second) language; ‘Englishes’ (standard and nonstandard varieties); Cultural effects – especially from e.g. British v. American English; National government attitudes: language planning policies; and Language death.


Baseline Test: At the beginning of the academic year, the students write an internal and standardized baseline test, which is used to measure progress.

Formative: Throughout the units, the learners will complete quizzes, graded work and essays which allow the teacher to assess the learners’ attainment and inform their planning.

For each unit the students complete a pre and post write-up of the text type. This allows the teacher to assess progression across the units.

Summative: At the end of each term, learners complete internal and standardized tests which allow the teacher to measure the learners’ progress throughout the term and year. At the end of the academic year, the learners are expected to sit for the Cambridge International AS and A Level English Language Examination.

Action for blended learning

Due to Covid-19 safety measures, we are following a blended model of remote and face-to-face learning, which is technology-centred. In addition to the traditional copybook, we will use:

  • GEMS Phoenix classroom.
  • GCSE pods.
  • Microsoft Office.
  • Education websites and applications, such as Kahoot, Padlet, etc.

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