This course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A/A* in the Pearson Edexcel A-Level French examinations. The course will discuss teaching and learning ideas for both language and literature options to stretch and challenge able students and to develop their higher-level skills. Using feedback from examinations, the course will examine what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build teaching and learning to meet these challenges. Whilst the examples will be drawn from Pearson’s assessment materials, the general principles and strategies of much of the course would be valuable to teachers using any exam board.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of Grades A/A*
  • A detailed look at the different demands of questions across the papers
  • Mark schemes will be analysed to identify and clarify the requirements of the highest levels
  • Sample answers at Grades A/A* will be discussed and marked
  • Identify and share materials to help teachers prepare students effectively and which enable teachers to cover the content effectively in ways that push the highest ability students
COURSE DATE Online | Thursday 29 April 2021
Online | Friday 25 June 2021
  • All Teachers of A Level French
  • Heads of Department for French
  • Heads of Faculty for Languages
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • 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

10.00 – 10.30am: Catching up – strategies and resources to close the “Covid Gap”

  •  Explore, discuss and share strategies and resources to help students “close the gap” arising from lockdown

 10.30 – 11.15am:  Grades A/A*: what do they involve?

  • Structure of the PEARSON EDEXCEL A-Level French exams and what they require of the best students
  • Feedback and grading analysis of previous examinations: the standards that top students are expected to meet
  • Analysis of mark schemes – what are the examiners looking for?
  • Identifying the Grade A/A* French students in the classroom
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student an A/A* grade?
  • Offering appropriate challenges to A/A* students

11:15 – 11.30 am: Break

 11.30 – 12.00pm: Speaking skills at A/A* [Paper 3]

 The key challenges for high attaining students in achieving A/A* in Speaking

  • Teaching approaches and tasks that stretch students throughout the course
  • Answering questions in the exams: discussing the themes
  • Questioning techniques to extend the most able
  • Working to the standard: reviewing and marking specimen scripts

 12.00 – 12.15 Break

12.15 – 13.00 pm:  Tackling the Independent Research Project for A/A* Grades [Paper 3]

  • Feedback from previous exams on the key skills demonstrated by high ability students
  • Choosing the topic – the opportunity for A/A* students to shine
  • Guiding your students: teaching approaches which facilitate effective research
  • Monitoring: the importance of deadlines and timescales
  • Preparing students to deliver authentic and developed responses to access the top mark bands

1.00 – 1.45pm: Lunch and informal discussion / networking

 1.45 – 2.20pm: Teaching literature and film: stretching and challenging able students [Paper 2]

  •  Introducing literature: how to make able students into independent readers
  • Appreciation of film as an art form: learning to talk about cinematographic techniques
  • Using wider reading to prepare for and complement the set works
  • Examination of context – using who? / what? /when? / why? questions
  • Different approaches to discussing and writing about style or technique
  • How to develop writing skills to produce an analytical and critical response
  • Using complex language and grammar to raise the quality of essay writing

2.20 – 2.35 pm: Break

 2.35 – 3.00pm: Networking breakout sessions to share ideas and contacts

 3.00 – 3.30pm:    Key challenges for Grade A/A* students in Listening, Reading and Translation [Paper 1]

  •  Practising listening skills with high-achieving students
  • Reading and responding to a variety of text types on different topics
  • The demands of the summary task in listening and reading
  • Building vocabulary and developing excellent grammatical skills
  • Approaches for the unexpected: preparing for different question styles
  • Coping with the toughest sentences: developing the skills needed to unpick difficult French
  • Tackling translation: stretching top students with a variety of unseen passages and translation questions
  • Using grammatical analysis to stretch able students
  • Revision tips for top level students

 3.30 – 3.45pm:   Final questions and departure

Tim Guilford

Tim Guilford is an experienced education professional who held the role of Deputy Head of a London School for a number of years until recently. He is currently working as a consultant and trainer providing professional development in teaching and learning for Modern Languages as well as leadership and management, coaching and mentoring, and revision skills workshops to students. Tim has significant experience as a senior examiner and as an Ofqual consultant for A Level, and is co-authoring a new IGCSE textbook.