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AQA A-level Drama – Achieving Grades A/A*

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This course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A & A* in future AQA A Level Drama examinations. The course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for all components which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills. Using feedback from the 2022 examination, the course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this. There will be a practical element to this course, so delegates should wear clothes they feel comfortable to move in and water if necessary.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of Grades A & A* and providing materials to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • A detailed look at the different demands of questions across the written paper
  • Sample answers at Grades A & A* will be analysed
  • Take away an effective 2 year programme with A/A* grade focus at the centre
  • Find out more on what is takes to write successful at A Level
  • Develop practical strategies for meeting the requirements of the higher bands across all Components
  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work


Grades A and A* in AQA A Level Drama: What is Required

10.00 – 11.00am
  • Review characteristics of A and A* A Level students
  • Analysis of the mark schemes – which sections/questions differentiate candidates?
  • Explore an effective 2 year programme with A/A* grade focus at the centre
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student their A grade?



11.00 – 11.15am

Teaching Component 1: Key Challenges for Grade A/A* Students

11.15 – 12.30pm
  • Examine A and A* exemplar responses to the focussed extract questions for Section A and B
  • Preparing students to respond as a performer, director and designer at the highest level
  • Section B – planning decisions, questions, grade A/A* responses – creativity is everything!

Component 1 Section C: Tactics for achieving the highest grades

12.30 – 1.00pm
  • The demands of Section C
  • How to guide the top end students when first discussing a live production
  • What notes should candidates be taking in order to capture an in-depth understanding of the production as a whole?
  • Breaking down the question, how to write a killer introduction
  • Focus on the 25 mark essays, what does a grade A/A* candidate need to do?
  • Shorter questions, what are the common pitfalls?
  • Practical activities top tips for teachers



1.00 – 2.00pm

Components 2 & 3 The Practical Components

2.00 – 3.00pm

The Devising Unit  – Tactics for the very able

  • Strategies to help a very good performer become an outstanding performer
  • Why is verbatim an excellent approach to Devising?
  • Assessment criteria for performance of Grade A/A* calibre
  • The working notebook and Band 4 criteria for 16 – 20 marks

Component 3: Scripted! Making Theatre for A and A*

  • Outstanding texts and practitioners – examples
  • Exploring extracts: keeping the most able on track, so that they don’t miss marks
  • Developing high ability students’ ability to interpret key extracts – what do examiners expect?


Afternoon Tea

3.05 – 3.10pm

Practical Strategies to Really Stretch Top End Students

3.10 – 4.00pm
  • Differentiating for students in a mixed ability A Level Drama class
  • Sustaining engagement over two years both within and outside the classroom
  • Practical work using a practitioner to reveal nuance and depth.
  • Using physicality and the methods of animal study, to create bold, but wholly naturalistic performances.
  • Practically applying Verbatim Theatre, allowing the least able students to shine and take ownership for their work.





London | Friday 17 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Friday 17 November 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.


Matthew Rowlands-Roberts was a professional actor for the Peter Hall Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, and Blackeyed Theatre Company prior to becoming a qualified drama teacher in both mainstream and independent schools. He is an experienced Head of Drama  and was until very recently a Head of Drama at a leading independent school in central London. In the 2021 cohort Matthew attained 100% Level 9’s with his GCSE students and 100% A*-A grade with his A level students.


  • Teachers of AQA A-level Drama and Theatre
  • Heads of Drama Departments
  • Directors of Faculties of Performing Arts
  • Senior leaders with responsibility for the Arts


  • 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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