The AQA GCSE in English Language requires a substantial coverage of a range of skills to ensure a Grade 4 OR 5 is achieved. This course will look at the most challenging aspects of the specifications for students working at that level and how they can be taught effectively in the classroom with a series of practical examples to achieve these grades.

Join Paul as he discusses new approaches to teaching the specification to get the best results and to support the student looking to achieve a Grade 4 or 5.


  • Take away resources and strategies for improving the levels of Grade 4-5 students
  • Gain new approaches and methods on how to teach comparison, context, writer’s purpose and personal interpretation and a range of other skills more effectively.
  • Develop techniques to support lower ability students in the different styles of writing and to ensure writing with impact and originality and with reasonable degrees of accuracy
  • Increase your understanding of the different forms of assessment available in the classroom for the lower ability student and how to reinforce these skills
  • Take away ideas and suggestions for teaching effectively a range of non-fiction texts and literary texts from across the centuries
  • Teachers of AQA GCSE English Language
  • Heads of Department
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues

10.00 – 10.30 am
The challenges of AQA GCSE English Language for Grade 4/5 students

  • Understanding the content of the AQA GCSE English Language
  • Looking over the 2019 exam sessions: what were the key strengths of Grade 4 and 5 students
  • What areas of the examinations are particularly challenging to the lower ability students?
  • Different forms of assessment and how these can be used with the lower ability student
  • Example answers: what differentiates a Grade 3, 4 and 5 student?

10.30 –11.15 am
Teaching the unseen texts in Paper 1 and 2 for Grades 4 and 5

  • Challenges for the lower ability student on Papers 1 and 2
  • Effectively teaching non-fiction and fiction texts from a range of centuries
  • Explore the short answer questions on both papers: how to integrate these into your teaching to maintain pace and motivation

11.15- 11.30am
Discussion & coffee break

11.30-12.45 pm
The importance of Writer’s Technique, Comparison and Personal Interpretation across the two Language papers

  • How to teach these effectively to lower ability students
  • Effectively teaching writer’s technique – language and structure for Grades 4 and 5
  • Comparison of non-fiction texts
  • The secrets of success in terms of structure and content for the lower ability student
  • Question 4: How to get your lower ability students to evaluate and interpret texts effectively
  • Analysing exemplar materials showing good practice

12.45pm –1.45pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 pm – 3.00pm
Teaching the writing skills effectively for Grade 4/5 students

  • New techniques for teaching Creative and Descriptive writing to mid-range students
  • Approaching persuasive and transactional writing in the classroom. How to support lower ability students in preparation for these tasks
  • The importance of SPaG; bringing this into your teaching in an interesting and stimulating way
  • What examiners are looking for in the writing tasks, to achieve a Grade 4 or 5with exemplars

3.00pm –3.15pm
Discussion and afternoon tea

Structuring the GCSE English Language course to achieve a Grade 4 or 5

  • How to build a skills foundation at KS3 in English to support a mid-ability student
  • Approaching the linear assessments to achieve the Grade 4 or 5 with Examiner Tips

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.

English subject library