Join Annie, as she takes you through some hints and tips that will help your students maximise their grades in A level Sociology. The course will give insight into the subject content to highlight how this should be used to enable students to reach the highest grades. Additionally, there will be a focus on skills and techniques needed in assessment, you will look at what examiners are looking for in student answers and some of the common ways in which students lose marks. Throughout the course, we will be exploring how to address these issues in the context of a recovery curriculum, in response to time lost due to lockdown and any changes to the assessment process. The course will also give ideas and strategies for ways in which you can enable students to become excellent independent learners.


  • Increased awareness of key themes and topics in the specification at the top level
  • Insights into what success looks like in examinations
  • Strategies for using feedback to improve student performance
  • Exemplar A/A* materials
  • Strategies for enabling students to become stronger independent learners
COURSE DATES Online | Wednesday 17 November 2021

London | Wednesday 19 January 2022

  • Heads of Sociology
  • Aspiring/Newly appointed Heads of Sociology
  • Teachers with responsibility for Sociology
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


10.00 – 10.30am
Review of content: what are the key elements for gaining A/A*

  • Key themes across all topics, where are the challenges for high grade students
    • Family & households
    • Education
    • Theory, Methods and methods in context
    • Beliefs in Society
    • Crime and deviance

10.30 – 11.30am
Maximising exam performance: review where top marks are lost and how to avoid them

  • For each type of question examining skills and common mistakes. How to get full/top band marks for each type of question.
    • Short answers – guidance on how to fully explain
    • 10 mark questions – hitting the skills marks as well as the knowledge
    • Methods in context – ensuring application is fully developed to the issue
    • Essays – covering skills and developing debates.

11.30 – 11.45am: Discussion: coffee break

11.45 – 12.30pm
Student responses, how to give feedback to improve grades – focus on short questions

  • Candidate style answers and commentaries – what the examiner looks for in a full marks short answer
  • Feedback strategies to stretch students to maximise their potential – asking questions as feedback, no mark just feedback, amending answers using mark schemes
  • Peer marking and its role in improving skills – teaching students how an examiner recognises a full marks answer

12.30 – 1.15pm: Lunch and informal discussion

1.15 – 2.00pm
Student responses, how to give feedback to improve grades – focus on essays

  • What does an A/A* essay look like?
  • What an examiner looks for in a top band essay using exemplars
  • Going beyond a template, getting students to understand what a top grade essay looks like. Effective feedback strategies, to encourage better evaluation and conclusion writing skills.
  • Peer marking getting students to assess like an examiner

2.00 – 3.00pm
Encouraging independent learning for A/A* sociology students

  • Challenges of the present situation and lessons for getting the most from new technologies for independent learning.
  • Ideas to develop independent analysis of current issues to develop analysis and evaluation
  • Moving beyond the textbook, the use of wider resources to develop knowledge and skills and how to find them
  • Balancing exam technique and specification requirements whilst encouraging student engagement with sociology in the wider world and signposting to HE

3.00 – 3.30pm
Developing strategies to support success 

  • Reflecting on learning, how can wider skills be embedded in exam technique
  • Action planning, what can you do in your classroom
  • Further professional development (Organisations and societies?)
  • Resources and materials available

Annie Townend

Annie has 20 years teaching experience and is currently Head of Sociology in a large, sixth form college with 300 students in the department. She has a wealth of examining experience being a former Principal Examiner for a major examinations board and member of the specification development team for Sociology. Annie is also co-author of a leading textbook and has written a range of workbooks and online resources for sociology. She is an experienced trainer and has delivered a range of CPD for both new and experienced teachers.