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AQA GCSE Drama: a complete guide for new teachers

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This course offers an introduction and overview of AQA GCSE Drama, providing essential skills and tips in how to effectively deliver the specification, ensuring maximum student engagement and maximum attainment. It is suitable for anyone just starting to teach Drama, in their first few years of teaching or lacking confidence in teaching AQA GCSE Drama. Whilst the focus of the day will be on the AQA course, many of the ideas will be applicable to all Drama lessons.


  • Provide teachers of GCSE Drama the material and confidence to teach effectively to all ability ranges.
  • Obtain an exceptional understanding of the key challenges in GCSE Drama and how to teach them.
  • Learn how to take a Level 4 student and help them attain a Level 9.
  • Gain insight into the content of the course, the exam structure and how the exams are marked.
  • Leave with resources ready to use.
  • Understand how to scaffold lower ability students and stretch higher ability students.


Overview of the AQA GCSE Course

10.00 – 10.40am
  • Explanation of the content of the course, looking at key pressure points and how they can be overcome.
  • Two different ways to structure your course according to student ability. When to introduce devising theatre and when to introduce the set text?
  • Creating a positive group dynamic that allows students to support each other, using ensemble work and physical theatre in term 1.
  • Planning your set text for the students you have, planning your range of devised stimuli, planning your scripted pieces.
  • Motivating lower ability students.


Discussion: coffee break

10.40 – 11.00am

Component one: the complexities and challenges

11.00 – 12.00pm
  • Exploring set texts practically to boost student engagement and attainment, plus exploring written answers practically to ensure total clarity
  • Using games to help understanding in Section A of the exam.
  • Understanding the use of props, set and costume in a scene.
  • Methods of how to excel in the written exam, using strict timings, sentence starters, key terminology and linking physical and vocal techniques.
  • Looking at the best plays to watch live and ways to use online resources for section C of the written exam.

Component two

12.00 – 1.00pm
  • ·We will look at stimuli that have been successful in the past
  • Understanding how to give feedback without directing and how to create devising exercises which allow students to create innovative work.
  • Learning how to create a working diary of key moments when devising.
  • Adapting to possible issues with Covid and performances, using the latest guidance from AQA.
  • Using the exactitudes of the assessment criteria, alongside key vocabulary to ensure top marks in a devising log.
  • We also discuss the best approach to the statement of dramatic intentions prior to performance.


Lunch and informal discussion

1.00 – 2.00pm

How to teach Component 3 effectively

2.00 – 3.00pm
  • Examining what the current Covid changes are within AQA’s specification and how to adapt to this in your rehearsals.
  • We will discuss play texts which allow students to display a range of emotion and how to create a bank of resources.
  • We will discuss using a combination of basic Stanislavski techniques, plus ‘Actioning’, and the ideas of Katie Mitchell to enhance your rehearsals.
  • We will discuss how to overcome problems regarding attendance, apathy and lack of engagement.

Achieving unbelievable results

3.00 – 3.30pm
  • What does it take to go from a Level 4 to a Level 9
  • How can you plan to overcome barriers?
  • How can you use structure in the written examination to ensure the highest marks
  • How to gain full marks in the longer essay questions.
  • Analyse exemplar work to gain top marks.





London | Friday 24 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Friday 24 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 was until very recently 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.


  • NQT’s in Drama
  • Teacher’s entering their second year of teaching GCSE Drama
  • Teachers wanting to build up their skills set in effective Drama teaching.
  • Teacher lacking confidence in the AQA GCSE Drama specification.


  • 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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