This new course is focused on how to ensure your students achieve the highest marks in Pearson Edexcel A level Drama and Theatre Studies. It will focus on exploring the characteristics of work produced by students working at the highest levels and explore a range of teaching materials designed to ensure that students achieve the top grades of A and A*.


  • Obtain teaching ideas and approaches that challenge and develop A and A* students
  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work
  • Consider lessons learnt from the examination series in 2019 and how to apply these to your teaching
  • Take away key methods for ensuring students get A and A* in each of the three components
COURSE DATES London | Friday 21 January 2022

London | Friday 24 June 2022

  • Teachers of Pearson Edexcel A level Drama and Theatre
  • Heads of Drama Department
  • Directors of Faculties of Performing Arts
  • Senior leaders with responsibility for the Arts
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 – 11.00am: Focus on assessment demands for A and A* students

  • Examine the assessment demands of all components for the highest grades
  • Consider the most effective models for delivery of the course to ensure effective assessment practise across 2 years
  • Review characteristics of A and A* A Level students
  • Consider feedback and lessons learnt from 2019 examination series for Grade A and A* students
  • The range of questions in the written exam and how and what the most able students do with them

11.00-11.15am: Coffee break and informal discussion

11.15-12.15pm: Achieving A and A* in Component 1

  • A toolkit for teaching success for A and A* students
  • What A and A* looks like for each of AO1, AO2 and AO4 in Component 1
  • Examine exemplar portfolios and develop understanding of the characteristics of the work of the most successful candidates
  • What the moderators are looking for in top level A and A* performances
  • Teaching approaches that create high level thinking in Devising throughout the 2 year course

12.15 – 1.00pm: A and A* performance in Component 2

  • Review examples of A and A* work on Text in Performance: what differentiated the highest level students
  • Teaching techniques to strengthen top level students on the Group performance/design realisation task
  • Monologue or duologue/design realisation: approaches to support and challenge the most able
  • Developing and extending A and A* skills on Text in Performance across the two years

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch and informal discussion

1.45-3.15pm: Achieving A and A* in the Component 3 written paper    

  • Answering the 20, 24 and 36 mark questions: what does a grade A/A* candidate need to do?
  • Examine strong exemplar responses to the focussed extract questions for Section B – prepare students to respond as a performer and designer to A and A* level
  • Understanding effective production concepts for Section C – how to support students to write as a director to an excellent standard
  • Evaluating live theatre performance excellently for Section A
  • Teaching the highest demands of outstanding use of theatrical language – what examiners expect to see from A and A* students

3.15-3.45pm: Extending the most able beyond the curriculum

  • Planning with and designing support for students aiming for top grades
  • Practising exam technique for the most able
  • Extra-curricular ideas that help get A and A* grades

Emma Hollis

Emma is a well-respected arts education expert with over two decades of experience in teaching, school leadership, inspection, and advisory work. Emma is a senior examiner and has been an assessor for both the Arts Mark and Arts Award qualifications. She is also an Ofqual Subject Expert and was recently commissioned to scrutinise and credit the full range of reformed A Level specifications. Emma has worked with school-based colleagues on a range of arts, media and design projects as an auditor, consultant and evaluator. Emma is a highly experienced trainer designing and leading programmes on a range of themes and across specifications. She has led training for teachers and leaders in a range of settings all over the world. She is an experienced researcher and has authored several market-leading textbooks for Drama teachers, and published book reviews and articles in peer reviewed journals. Her research specialisms include practitioner identity and the impact of social class on the social and educational experiences of teenagers. She is the chair of governors in an outstanding secondary academy and Charitable Trustee of the Leicester YMCA.