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AQA A-Level Art & Design – Aiming for A/A*

Course Code:


This new course is focussed on how to ensure your students achieve the highest marks in all areas of the A Level Art & Design course. It will focus on exploring the characteristics of work produced by students working at the highest levels and explore a range of teaching materials that stretch and challenge your students to achieve A and A*grades.

Using feedback from the most recent examinations, the course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this.


  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work
  • Consider lessons learnt from previous examination series and how to apply these to your teaching
  • Take away key methods for ensuring students access the A/A* grades in each of the practical and written components.
  • Take away insight in what AQA moderators expect to see to award marks across the top 2 mark bands
  • Take away ideas and approaches to refine the final realisations in students’ work


Grades A and A* in AQA A Level Art & Design: What is Involved?

10.00 – 11.00am
  • Examine the assessment demands of both components
  • Understanding what moderators expect to see in the highest achieving students
  • Missing out on the A/A* grades: common mistakes and key issues: lessons learnt from previous examination series for Grade A and A* students
  • Review characteristics of an A and A* A Level student in the context of this specification
  • Delivering feedback using the vocabulary of the mark scheme to further the progress of your high achieving students.

The Key Challenges for A/A* Students in Component 1: The Personal Investigation

11.00 – 12.15pm
  • Choosing the right topic to unlock student potential
  • How to get students to excel in annotation
  • How to get A/A* students to develop an exceptional ability to effectively develop ideas through creative and purposeful investigations
  • What constitutes an outstanding A/A* Portfolio and how to build towards this
  • How to refine A/A* work by exploring ideas, selecting and experimenting with appropriate media, materials, techniques and processes
  • Practical strategies and approaches for creative risk taking which leads to high end results for A/A* students


12.15 – 1.15pm

Achieving A/A* in Component 2: The Externally Set Assignment

1.15 – 2.30pm
  • Time management support guides: High output in a short timescale
  • What Grades A/A* look like in the Externally Set Assignment and what AQA moderators expect to see
  • Strategies to help a very good A grade artist become an outstanding A* artist
  • Purpose and need VS technical mastery: Ideas and approaches to refine the final realisations in high ability students’ work
  • How to ensure A/A* students extended creative responses explicitly evidence their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skill and/or understanding

Afternoon tea

2.30 – 2.35pm

Stretching and Challenging A/A* Students

2.35 – 3.30pm
  • Effective use of questioning techniques to boost A/A* students thinking
  • Thought provoking examples to challenge A/A* learners’ understanding
  • Practical strategies to ensure your students provide evidence of drawing in both their portfolio submission and externally set assignment taking different forms depending on intentions
  • Demonstrating intellectual rigour through the essay: Structure and samples
  • Refining students’ extended creative responses to clearly evidence their ability to draw together different areas of knowledge, skills and/or understanding


London | Tuesday 20 June 2023
London | Friday 01 December 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Tuesday 20 June 2023
London | Friday 01 December 2023

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.


Dr Helen Jones was a Director of Teaching and Learning in Art with 12 years teaching experience. She now lectures at the University of Chester working with Art PGCE Students, and leading national CPD in the visual Arts. She has been an AQA A level and GCSE Art & Design moderator for the past 5 years.

Helen completed an MA in Art Education and then completed a Doctorate in the subject. She has been assessed as an outstanding teacher by OfSTED, achieved record residuals at both GCSE and A level and delivered at a number of Art Education conferences. She has taught art primarily in Secondary schools in the UK, but also in Finland, Italy and Spain.


  • All A Level Art & Design teachers
  • Heads of Art & Design
  • Heads of Creative Arts


  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full 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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