The AQA GCSE in English Language requires a substantial coverage of a range of skills to ensure Grades 7-9 are achieved. This English Language teacher course is designed for all experienced teachers of AQA English Language who are looking to ensure their high ability students achieve the top Grades of 7-9. This course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for AQA GCSE English Language course which will stretch and challenge the most able students and develop their higher level skills.

Using feedback from the 2019 examination sessions, this English language teacher course will explore what is expected of high ability students and outline ways to build your practical teaching practice around this.

Not all students who should achieve the top grades. This course will offer a range of strategies and methods to ensure they do. Key strategies will be explored to ensure students are extended in terms of their written responses and their creative and persuasive writing.


  • Discuss approaches to the strategic planning and delivery of the AQA GCSE English Language specification
  • Review feedback on the 2019 AQA examinations and how to use this to boost the skills of students aiming at Grades 8 to 9
  • Explore relevant English Language higher order skills which students need in order to access the top grades
  • Gain an understanding on how to teach comparison, context, writer’s purpose and personal interpretation and a range of other skills effectively.
  • Develop techniques for teaching the different styles of writing and to ensure writing with impact and originality and with high degrees of accuracy
  • Take away ideas and suggestions for teaching effectively a range of challenging non- fiction texts and literary texts from across the centuries.
COURSE DATE AND LOCATION Online | Tuesday 20 April 2021
Online | Wednesday 16 June 2021
  • This course would benefit all experienced teachers of AQA GCSE English Language including Heads of Department, teachers of English, and teachers of SEN students. Senior leaders responsible for whole school English, raising whole school English levels and senior leaders responsible for Teaching and Learning would also benefit from this course. Teachers attending this course will be fully equipped to teach this course effectively.
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • You will receive a specially prepared file electronically containing detailed notes, and teaching materials and resources which will be of immediate practical benefit in the classroom.
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


1.30 – 2.00 pm: Grades 7-9 what is needed to secure these levels

  • Feedback from 2018 AQA GCSE English Language: key areas where high level students did well and missed out on marks. What this feedback tells us about the standard required to achieve an 8 or 9.
  • Analysis of mark schemes and discussion on what examiners are looking for to achieve an 8 or 9.
  • Discussing the range of texts that need to be taught to the high ability student and resources available to teachers
  • Increase your understanding of the different forms of assessment to use in the classroom and how to use these effectively with high ability students.

2.00 – 2.45 pm: Teaching the unseen texts in GCSE to the 7/9 level 

  • Teaching an appropriate range of non-fiction and fiction texts from a range of centuries for the high ability student
  • Take away ideas and suggestions for teaching these texts effectively and to the highest level
  • Look at the short answer questions on both papers and how to teach these to high ability students.

2.45 -3.30 pm: The importance of Writer’s Technique, Comparison and Personal Interpretation 

  • Effectively teaching writer’s technique- language and structure
  • Comparison of non- fiction texts and the secrets of success
  • How to get your students to evaluate and interpret texts effectively
  • Examination of the key skills required for students to achieve Grades 7 to 9
  • Develop teaching methods for extending the higher order English Language skills including analysis, evaluation and synthesis
  • Sharing exemplar materials showing good practice

3.30 – 3.45 pm: Break and informal discussion

3.45 – 4.15 pm: Teaching the writing skills effectively to stretch and challenge high ability students aiming at 7/9                         

  • Teaching Creative and Descriptive writing effectively and with impact to achieve the top grades
  • Approaching persuasive and transactional writing in the classroom with impact and effect
  • The importance of ‘virtually error free’ SPaG and how to bring this into your teaching
  • What examiners are looking for in the writing tasks at the top level with exemplars
  • Maximising marks on paper 1 question 3 on ‘structure’ – examiner focus as an area where students struggle

4.15 – 4.45 pm: Ensuring high performance

  • Why top students should understand the Assessment Objectives?
  • Applying the Assessment Objectives and specification content to a range of answers marked within the ‘Level 4’ assessment criteria
  • Examining the differentiating factors in work between these Grades
  • Strategies for how to teach excellent exam technique for Grades 8 to 9 students
  • How to engage students of the highest ability levels whilst also ensuring that they are ‘exam ready’
  • Varying commentary practice to stretch the most able
  • Approaching the linear assessments with final Examiner Tips

4.45 -5 .00 pm: Plenary discussion and depart

Paul Dodd

Paul is an experienced English expert who has worked as a teacher for over 20 years and within a major exam board before becoming an independent educational consultant. He was a teacher of English, a Head of Department and a Director of Studies for over twenty years, teaching at schools in the United Kingdom and abroad. He then became Head of English at one of the leading exam boards and was involved in the development of the last two sets of English GCSEs and A Levels with Ofqual and the Department of Education.

As a consultant, he is widely involved in a range of activities, including the training of teachers and students in English specifications both in training courses and within individual schools. He has authored a whole series of teacher resources such as lesson plans and trial assessments at both GCSE and A Level.

He has authored several works on A Level English literary texts ranging from Romantic Poetry to Modern Drama and he examines for two UK exam boards and one international board in A Level English Literature. He is also a Principal Examiner for GCSE English Literature and the Chief Examiner for IB English Literature.