This course is focussed on meeting the demands of the higher level marking bands across all three of the specification components. 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 students achieve A and A* in the AQA Drama and Theatre specification. Led by an extremely experienced trainer, who was involved in the development of the new specification, delegates will gain real insights into how to get their students the best grades.


  • Understand the assessment demands of the AQA A Level Drama and Theatre Studies specification
  • Develop practical strategies for meeting the requirements of the higher bands across all Components
  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work
  • Increase confidence in preparing candidates to achieve A and A*
  • Consider lessons learnt from the first examination series in 2018
COURSE DATES London | Tuesday 12 November 2019
  • All Teachers of AQA A-level Drama and Theatre
  • Heads of Drama Departments
  • 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 at A and A*

  • Examine the assessment demands of all components including the use of assessment objectives as a framework for assessment
  • Consider the most effective models for delivery of the course to ensure effective assessment practise across 2 years
  • Review characteristics of a successful A Level student in the context of this specification
  • Review lessons learnt from 2018 examination series for Grade A and A* students
  • Clarify requirements of the range of questions in the written exam Component 3

11.00 – 11.15am
Discussion: coffee break

11.15 – 12.40pm
Component 1 written paper: key challenges for A and A* students

  • Developing excellent understanding of the page to stage process
  • Examine A and A* exemplar responses to the focussed extract questions for Section B
  • Preparing students to respond as a performer, director and designer at the highest level
  • Teaching how to respond excellently in Section A – focussing on text in performance
  • Develop a toolkit for success in supporting A and A* students to effectively answer Section C
  • Analysing social, historical and cultural characteristics of a theatrical text for top marks
  • The demand for outstanding usage of theatrical language in the written paper

12.40 – 1.40pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.40 – 2.50pm
Achieving A and A* in Components 2 and 3 

  • Explore teaching approaches to stretch and challenge the A and A* performers
  • Examine exemplar working notebooks and develop understanding of the characteristics of the work of the most successful candidates
  • Consider the characteristics of the most effective student performance including analysis of vocal and physical skills
  • Outstanding reflective report writing, including top band links between theory and practice
  • A and A* analysis of the use of practitioners to create dynamic devised performance

2.50 – 3.00pm
Discussion & afternoon tea

3.00 – 3.45pm
Tactics for Achieving the Highest Grades in the Exam 

  • Develop an action plan for success for students aiming for top grades
  • Shorter questions: what are the potential pitfalls?
  • Focus on the 25-mark essays: what does a grade A/A* candidate need to do?
  • Revision ideas to help students produce high grade essays
  • Working to the standard: reviewing and marking specimen scripts
  • Plenary and Depart

Emma Hollis

Emma has wide ranging experience of teaching and learning, working in a range of secondary schools and post 16 institutions specialising in delivering curriculum solutions in English and the Performing Arts and leading high performing faculties to success. Since 2004, Emma has developed a career in initial teacher training, leadership and challenge, and inspection and advisory work supporting curriculum modeling and collaborative quality assurance. In Arts Education settings Emma worked as a Creative Agent, Researcher and Evaluator. Emma is a highly experienced trainer designing and delivering programmes on a range of areas of school improvement. Emma is also a senior examiner for the market leading A Level Theatre Studies specification, a trained assessor both for Arts Mark and Arts Award schemes and an Ofqual Subject Expert. In 2011 Emma established her own training and consultancy company delivering a range of contracts across public and private sectors. Emma is a badged Ofsted Inspector working on both schools and initial teacher training remits as well as a secondary school Governor and Charitable Trustee.

View all courses led by Emma Hollis-Brown >

AQA Drama