The English and Film Studies Department understand how important it is for young people to be able to understand, engage with, and challenge the world around them. Studying English enables us to unpick and consider both fiction and non-fiction, political speeches and film scripts, advertising and poetry. It is English that opens up the route into all other subjects and that enables us to be confident and articulate citizens.
We aim for English students to be:
Staff and Resources
The English and Film Studies Department consists of twelve teachers with a combined teaching experience of over 100 years. The Head of Department has taught at Townley Grammar for five years and is supported by Key Stage 5 and Key Stage 3 Co-ordinators. All members of the Department have a background in English and work collaboratively in order to provide the best possible standard of teaching for students. We also benefit from the advice and expertise of those members of the Department who are GCSE and A Level examiners.
The English and Film Studies Department currently occupies eight dedicated classrooms situated in the main building of the school. The Department uses a wealth of resources, developed internally and tailored to meet the individual needs of our high achieving students. These include university style lectures for A Level students, during which the Department speak passionately about texts they love.
Last year we were extremely pleased to announce our best GCSE results yet, with 73% of students achieving grades 9 to 7 in English Language and 88% of students achieving grades 9 to 7 in English Literature. 56% of our A Level students achieved either an A or A* and we are pleased to note that this is significantly above the national average.
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. The Key Stage 3 curriculum has been designed to prepare students for the GCSE examinations whilst also ensuring that it is exciting and challenging.
During Year 7 students will cover the following topics and skills:
Either: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens or Frankenstein play, Philip Pullman or The Ruby in the Smoke, Philip Pullman
An anthology of famous Shakespearian speeches
Non-fiction texts debating Shakespeare
A collection of poetry from other cultures and traditions
Unseen poetry skills
During Year 8 students will cover the following topics and skills:
World War 1 poetry and non-fiction texts
Either: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness or Animal Farm, George Orwell or The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
Descriptive writing skills
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare and accompanying non-fiction texts
During Year 9 students will cover the following topics and skills:
A narratology unit aimed at discussing structure within texts
The Tempest, William Shakespeare and accompanying non-fiction texts
Either: Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck or The Crucible, Arthur Miller or Anita and Me, Meera Syal
Key Stage 4 - GCSE English
GCSE Course Overview: AQA
All students will be studying both English Language and English Literature GCSEs. The Key Stage 4 curriculum has been tailored to ensure that all students are aiming for grades 7 to 9 and feel able to exceed their target grades. Across the two year course we embed stretch and challenge for all but also ensure that students feel supported and well prepared.
GCSE English Literature
The Literature unit will comprise of two examinations as follows:
Paper 1: Written examination: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Section A. Students will answer a question on Macbeth. They will be asked to write in detail about the extract as well as the play as a whole. (34 marks)
Section B: Students will answer a question on The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. They will be asked to write in detail about the extract as well as the novel as a whole (30 marks)
Paper 2: Modern Texts and Poetry
Written examination: 2 hours, 15 minutes
Section A: Modern Texts: Students will answer one essay question from a choice of two on a chosen Modern Prose or Drama text. (34 marks)
Section B: Poetry : Students will answer one comparative question on one named poem and one of their choice from the Relationships Anthology cluster. (30 marks)
Section C: Unseen Poetry: one question on an unseen poem (24 marks) and one comparative question (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
Section A: Students will read a 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 skills in response to a written prompt, scenario or visual image.
Paper 2- Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives
Examination: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Section A: Students will read two 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 (24 marks for content, 16 marks for technical accuracy) 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.
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 and responding appropriately to questions. This is a separate endorsement and conducted during lesson time, it does not contribute to either of the English GCSE grades.
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 a wealth of literature from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams, Bronte to Woolf 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, Tragedy Unit: 2 hours and 15 minutes (60 marks)
Students study Othello and A Streetcar Named Desire.
Component Two, Prose: 1 hour (40 marks)
Students study Wuthering Heights and Mrs Dalloway.
Component Three, Poetry: 2 hours and 15 minutes (60 marks)
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.
Component Four, Coursework (65 marks)
One extended comparative essay referring to two texts with an advisory total word count of 2500–3000 words. Students study The Color Purple and have free choice for their second text.
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. 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.
In Film Studies, students are expected to critically analyse film form, engage in cultural debates and apply theoretical thinking to a set of challenging texts. It is a particularly engaging and academically rigorous course and students who study it characteristically bring a high level of enthusiasm for this innovative and culturally significant art from. During the course students will encounter a rich variety of film in all forms including mainstream, short, documentary and experimental alongside mainstream American, contemporary British, American independent and global films. A study of film will also allow students to consider ideological viewpoints offered through the moving image and consider key historical events on a global scale which, in turn, influence representations and thematic concerns.
Paper 1: Varieties of film and filmmaking
Section A: Hollywood 1930-1990 Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942) and Bonnie and Clyde (Penn, 1967)
Section B: American film since 2005 La La Land (Chazelle, 2016) and Frances Ha! (Baumbach, 2012)
Section C: British film since 1995 Trainspotting (Boyle, 1996) and This is England (Meadows, 2006)
Paper 2: Global filmmaking perspectives
Section A: Global film Pan's Labyrinth (Del Toro, Spain, 2006) and City of God (Mereilles, Brazil, 2002)
Section B: Documentary film Amy (Kapadia, UK, 2015)
Section C: Film movements
One of the following:
Section D: Film Movements Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, US, 1994)
Coursework: Production and Evaluation
Production (40 marks)
Option 1: Film and edit a short film (4-5 minutes)
Option 2: Write a screenplay for a short film (1600-1800 words)
Evaluation: (20 marks)
Written evaluation of product (1600-1800 words)
The English Department are passionate about experiencing English outside of the classroom and provide students with a range of opportunities across the school year.
These include but are not limited to:
For students who are interested in reading English, Media or Film Studies at University the department offers the chance to discuss texts and interview questions with staff. We also offer preparation for the Oxford and Cambridge ELAT assessments.