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GCSE Classical Civilisation: How to help pupils to get grades 7-9

Course Code:


This course, designed for all teachers of Classical Civilisation is focused on meeting the demands of the higher-level marking bands across both specification components. It will focus on exploring the characteristics of work produced by students working at the highest levels and examine a range of teaching materials designed to secure the best possible outcomes. The course will cover what is expected of high ability students and outline ways in order to successfully build on your own teaching practice and embed new methods of working. Using examples of pupils’ work and model answers throughout, the course will look at the common features of top level work across all units (Myth and Religion, Women in the Ancient World, The Homeric World, Roman City Life, War and Warfare). The course will also demonstrate teaching approaches to ancient literature and material culture, leading up to preparing pupils for the examinations.


  • Develop an understanding of the level descriptors and how pupils should apply them
  • Discuss sample answers at grade 7 – 9 to identify key characteristics, and the approach of the examiner
  • Increase awareness of why top students underachieve
  • Provide and discuss different ways of teaching a content-heavy course
  • Develop an understanding of the potential hazards students face when studying GCSE Classical Civilisation


Focus on assessment demands for Grades 7-9, including feedback

10.00 – 11.00am
  • Examine the assessment demands of all components including the use of assessment objectives as a framework for assessment
  • Consider the most effective models for delivery of the course to ensure effective assessment practice across 2 years and in both components
  • Review characteristics of Grade 7-9 GCSE students in the GCSE
  • Lessons learnt from the 2022 examination series – what students need to do to ensure that they achieve the highest grades in 2023



11.00 – 11.15am

Achieving top grades in Component 1: Thematic Study

11.15 – 12.30pm
  • Review example Component 1 essays at Grades 7-9: what top level students do
  • Exploring the aspect of this component that will particularly fire the imagination of very able students
  • Differentiated teaching approaches for this component which stretch and challenge the very able students
  • Characteristics of the most successful candidates in the this component
  • Approaches to the Extended Response questions – ways to develop the essay skills required
  • What examiners are looking for in questions on Component 1
  • Examples of outstanding answers
  • What moves a student on from a grade 7 – to grades 8 and 9 on the exam


Lunch and informal discussion

12.30 – 1.30pm

Paper 2: Literature and Culture -The Homeric World, Roman City Life, War and Warfare

1.30 – 2.30pm
  • Teaching to the key characteristics demonstrated by able students which examiners look for
  • Identifying and understanding question types in this section
  • Examining strong exemplar responses to the focussed extract questions for this section
  • What examiners are looking for in ………
  • What moves a student from Grade 7 to Grades 8 and 9 on the exam
  • How to support students in developing a personal response


Afternoon break and informal discussion

2.30 – 2.40pm

Exams: Tactics for achieving the highest grades

2.40 – 3.15pm
  • What are the most common errors made by higher ability pupils?
  • Revision ideas to help pupils achieve the highest grades.
  • How to maximise the available time in the examination
  • Reviewing, marking and feeding back on specimen scripts
  • Giving good quality, specific feedback to students

Extension ideas for the most able GCSE Classicists

3.15 – 3.30pm
  • Achieving Grades 7 – 9 on the Extension
  • Different ideas to keep the pupils interested
  • Stretch and challenge without intimidation
  • Beyond the classroom and the curriculum: educational visits and trips
  • Looking ahead to Classics A Level


Plenary and depart

3.30 – 3.45pm


London | Monday 13 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

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.


Alastair Thorley is a Teacher of Classics at Stockport Grammar School. Classical Civilisation is strong in the school, with over 30 pupils studying the subject at GCSE and 20 at AS/A-Level, with 76% of pupils achieving A*/ A. He is a senior Classical Civilisation examiner for a major awarding body.  Alastair developed the Love and Relationships specification at A Level and contributed to the A Level textbooks for Love and Relationships and Invention of the Barbarian.  He has also been involved in creating resources for GCSE Classical Civilisation for the Classical Association.


  • Teachers of GCSE Classical Civilisation
  • Heads of Classics Departments
  • 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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