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A-Level Biology: Improving Engagement and Achievement in Large Mixed Ability Classes

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This is a new, bespoke course formulated to tackle the demands and challenges of large class sizes of mixed-ability students at A-level, which, given the educational climate are becoming the norm. The course is relevant for both new and experienced teachers and will introduce you to strategies to identify the strengths and weaknesses your learners, as well as practical suggestions on how to best address these.

The course will cover ideas on assessment regimes to identify learners who require additional support and the types of support that would be most effective, as well as approaches to skills development such as independent-flipped learning, extended writing e.g., strategies for successfully tackling the essay on Paper 3 and how to effectively incorporate practical skills into teaching. You will have the opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues and; you will leave with a wide range of ideas that have proven successful on A-level Biology programmes, all whilst considering the workload constraints prevalent in modern teaching.


  • Raising attainment for learners in A-level Biology at all boundaries A*/B, A*-C and A*-E
  • Take away strategies of how to promote metacognition and independent learning skills in students.
  • Developing a VLE, which effectively supports outcomes.
  • Build into your teaching, strategies with proven success to tackle the skills requirements of the A-level Biology syllabus.
  • Take away a range of innovative approaches to tackle the extended writing component of the course.
  • Foster positive relationships with students and promote self-reflection.
  • Address the marking demands of larger groups.


Assessment in A-Level Biology

10.00 – 10.45am
  • Embedding assessment into a programme of study: strategies for integrating assessment methods seamlessly into the curriculum
  • Structure of assessments: the formats and types of assessments used in A-Level Biology
  • Effective ways to provide feedback to students and how they can use it for improvement
  • Methods for tracking and monitoring student progress throughout the course

Morning Break

10.45 – 11.05am

Types of Support for Different Learners

11.05 – 11.50am
  • Strategies to reinforce and consolidate learning
  • Effective use of targeted sessions to provide extra help to struggling students
  • Independent study with supervision
  • Group sessions to address common challenges and topics
  • Creating exam question packs to prepare students for exams

Types of Support for Different Learners

11.05 – 11.50pm
  • The most common student misconceptions of the paper 1 topics and how to challenge and eradicate these
  • Using the AQA guidance provided in the Paper 1 examiner reports to improve students’ performance
  • Recommended teaching and learning strategies for the trickiest topics in Paper 1
  • Resources and assessment methods that have been found to improve students’ understanding and performance in answering questions on the Paper 1 topics

Flipped Learning and Metacognition

11.50 – 12.30pm
  • Setting the scene: introduction to flipped learning and its benefits
  • Encouraging students to self-assess and evaluate their understanding
  • Utilising virtual learning environments for flipped learning


12.30 – 1.30pm

Skills Development including Essay Skills

1.30 – 2.30pm
  • Embedding skills in the curriculum: incorporating essential skills such as mathematics and extended writing using appropriate resources
  • Use of VLE resources for skill development and to enhance students’ skill sets
  • Integrating skill practice within assessments
  • Effective strategies to tackle the essay on paper 3: techniques for excelling in the essay component of the course

Afternoon Break

2.30 – 2.45pm

Practical Skills in the Curriculum

2.45 – 3.30pm
  • Understanding the compulsory practical components of the course
  • Exploring additional practical activities to enhance learning
  • Using past papers to prepare students for practical assessments


London | Friday 15 March 2024

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Nicola Manning has 33 years’ experience of teaching A-level Biology and has attained a Silver Pearson’s National Teaching award to recognise her successes. She currently teaches 6 A-level Biology classes, with an average class size of 22. Her cohorts regularly attain above the national averages on all benchmarks, her advice is supported by real-life outcomes. She has attained ALPS grade 2 for 5 consecutive years and been mentioned in ALPS reports. She has completed a research project for the Ipswich Opportunity Fund on the positive impacts of Flipped Learning on developing students’ independence and life-long learning skills and is committed to raising the attainment of all learners.


  • New & Experienced Teachers of A-Level Biology
  • ECTs in Biology
  • Heads of Science


  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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