By offering a rich and varied diet within English, we aim to enrich our student’s lives by teaching them to widen their ability to read, comprehend and react to a wide range of types of literary texts, to understand the ways in which writers achieve their effects, and to gain the skills required for literary study. We also would like them to acquire an understanding of social, historical and cultural contexts and influences in the study of literature as well as the capacity to construct and express meaning through speech and writing, matching style to audience and purpose. Besides this, more than anything else, we strive to open doors to them and help them fly away to imaginary lands, be the characters they love and think and act like them.

Staff and Resources


The English department has 7 dedicated classrooms.  The faculty is staffed by 11 full time teachers who between them have teaching experience of over 85 years.  The department has a consistent record in achieving high exam results in GCSE, AS and A2. The 2014 summer results were touted as the best ever for the department.

Key Stage 3 - Year 7-9 English

What do we learn about in Key Stage 3 English?


Studying English at Key Stage 3 gives students the opportunity to develop an academic approach to literature and the ways in which authors use language.  They will learn about the techniques and devices used by authors and consider the reasons for the specific language chosen.  Students will also enjoy developing a range of creative writing techniques while exploring the way that they use language to express themselves. 

At Key Stage 3 the English Department aims to provide students with a rich and diverse variety of texts as well as ensuring that our students have an excellent base for their GCSE studies. 

Year 7:


 During Year 7 students will cover the following topics and skills:


  • Autobiography and autobiographical writing

  • Grammar, sentence construction and spelling

  • Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’

  • Descriptive writing skills

  • Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

  • A collection of modern poems from non-British cultures

  • Non-fiction reading and writing skills

Year 8:


During Year 8 students will cover the following topics and skills:


  • World War One poetry

  • Modern drama or prose (Journey’s End, Animal Farm or a collection of modern short stories)

  • Argumentative and persuasive writing skills

  • Shakespeare (Henry V, As You Like It or Twelfth Night)

  • The detective fiction of Arthur Conan Doyle

Year 9:


During Year 9 students will cover the following topics and skills:


  • A combination of modern and pre1914 poetry

  • Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet or Much Ado About Nothing)

  • Modern drama or prose (The Crucible, Of Mice and Men, The Woman in Black or To Kill a Mockingbird

  • A pre1914 short story (The Yellow Wallpaper, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde or The Red Room)

Key Stage 4 - GCSE English

GCSE Course Overview: AQA


With the specification up for change in September 2015, these are indeed extremely exciting times for the Department.  Controlled Assessment is no longer the order of the day, and in its place are many exciting opportunities provided so our students can continue to excel and thrive within the subject. They will be studying for 2 GCSEs within the subject - Language as well as Literature.


GCSE English Literature


The Literature unit will comprise of two examinations as follows:

Paper 1:  Written examination: 1 hour, 45 minutes-64 marks (40% of Lit GCSE)

Section A.  Students will answer a question on the play they have been taught.  They will be asked to write in detail about the extract as well as the play on the whole. (34 marks)

Section B:  19th Century Novel. Students will answer a question on the Novel they have been taught.  They will be asked to write in detail about the extract as well as the Novel on the whole (30 marks)

Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry

Written examination:  2 hours, 15 minutes- 96 marks (60% of Lit GCSE)

Section A:  Modern Texts: Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on a chosen Modern Prose or Drama text. (30+4 marks)

Section B:  Poetry : Students will answer one comparative question on one named poem and one of their choice from the chosen anthology cluster. (30 marks)

Section C:  Unseen Poetry: Students will:

1. Answer one question on an unseen poem (24 marks)

2. And then compare that poem with another unseen poem (8 marks)


GCSE English Language


 The English Language exam will also comprise of two units as follows:

Paper 1- Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

Examination: 1 hour, 45 minutes- 80 marks (50% of Language GCSE)

Section  A:  Reading- one single literary fiction text (from the 20th or 21st century) in order to consider how established writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest of readers.  (40 marks). Questions will focus on how established writers use narrative and descriptive techniques to capture the interest of readers.

Writing:  One extended writing task (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy). This will be inspired by the topic students have responded to in Section A. They will need to demonstrate their narrative and descriptive skill in response to a written prompt, scenario or visual image.  


Paper 2- Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

Examination: 1 hour, 45 minutes- 80 marks (50% of Language GCSE)

Section A: Reading: Two texts (2 linked sources from different time periods and genres in order to consider how each presents a perspective or viewpoint to influence the reader). Choice of genre will include high quality journalism, articles, reports, essays, travel writing, accounts, sketches, letters, diaries, autobiography and biographical passages or other appropriate non-fiction and literary non-fiction forms (40 marks)

Writing:  One extended writing task). to a specified audience, purpose and form in which they give their own perspective on the theme that has been introduced to them in Section A. (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy. 


Non-examination Assessment


Spoken Language.  (0% of GCSE)

The aim of the assessment is to allow students to demonstrate their speaking and listening skills by:

  • Giving a presentation in a formal context.
  • Responding appropriately to questions and to feedback, asking questions themselves to elicit .Clarification.
  • Using spoken Standard English.

This will be:

  • Set by the teacher throughout the course.
  • Marked by the teacher.
  • Will be a separate endorsement.

Key Stage 5 - A Level English Literature


English Literature at Key Stage 5


A Level English Literature at Townley is both challenging and rewarding.  Our students learn how to be analytical, enquiring and cogent in their analysis of texts. English Literature at A Level enables students to explore critically a wealth of literature, from Shakespeare to modern Drama, The Supernatural genre to Women in Society in fiction and poetry published both before and after 1900. In the English Department, we aim to foster independent thinking skills and the courage to make profound, insightful interpretations.


How will the course be structured?


There are four components to this course:

Component One

Students study one Shakespeare play and one other drama from either tragedy or comedy – both texts may be selected from one or both of these categories. Overview of assessment: Written examination, lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes. (60 marks)

Component Two

Students study two prose texts from a chosen theme. At least one of the prose texts must be pre-1900. Overview of assessment: Written examination, lasting 1 hour.

Component Three

Students study poetic form, meaning and language from a selection of poetry from a post-2000 collection and a range of poetry from either a literary period or a named poet from within a literary period. Overview of Assessment: Written examination, lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Component Four

Coursework: Students have a free choice of two texts to study. The chosen texts: must be different from those studied in Components 1, 2 and 3, must be complete texts and may be linked by theme, movement, author or period, and may be selected from poetry, drama, prose or literary non-fiction. Overview of Assessment: One extended comparative essay referring to two texts with an advisory total word count of 2500–3000 words.


How will English Literature help me in the future?


English Literature is one of the most highly regarded A Levels, from the perspective of Russell Group universities. This is because, as an academically rigorous subject, it demonstrates students’ ability to think critically, develop intellectual curiosity and gain deep insight into why writers are driven to create literary works.  Furthermore, if you are interested in studying English Literature at university, the English Department will support you with writing your personal statement and give you a mock interview, with feedback, to ensure that you are fully prepared.


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