This new course is focussed 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 | Monday 30 March 2020
London | Tuesday 16 June 2020

* Please note, this course will be held online on the designated date if it’s not possible to run in venues.
  • 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 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 – 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

Coffee break and informal discussion

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

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

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

Matthew Nichols

Matthew is an experienced Chief Examiner for Drama, having written exam board specifications, question papers and delivered a broad variety of teacher and student support courses over the last 15 years.  He is Head of Drama at a leading school in Manchester. He has worked with theatre companies such as the Royal Exchange Theatre and Contact Theatre in Manchester and is currently writing ‘The Drama Teacher’s Survival Guide’ which will be published by Bloomsbury in 2020.