Updated for 2022, this is a fully interactive student conference, providing students with practical, engaging and motivating revision for the AQA GCSE English Language Paper 1 exam. Students will explore quality exam responses and learn new techniques and strategies to help them become confident grade 4-5 candidates. Students will gain an understanding of how to improve their grade through a comprehensive breakdown of the different questions that feature in AQA English Language Paper 1.



  • Broaden your perspective with enriching and stimulating sessions from leading experts
  • Gain first hand advice and examples for improving your grade, direct from an examiner
  • Understand more about how to improve your responses
  • Explore and discuss the demands of the questions in relation to the 4/5 threshold.
  • Look in detail at the skills assessed in Paper 1 and how to demonstrate them “clearly”
  • Receive a student-friendly workbook to complete on the day and full conference presentations/follow on materials as electronic resources post-conference
  • Take away a comprehensive set of notes which can be used as part of your revision
  • Enjoy a memorable, varied, informative learning experience

10.30 – 11.00am: Welcome and Introduction – succeeding with Q1

  • Understanding the mark scheme and identifying the key skills
  • What does ‘clear’ mean?- avoiding the mistakes that keep responses in Level 2
  • Reading approaches: before, during and after reading the text
  • Strategies for Q1: simple, focused and explicit

11.00 – 11.45am: Writing about language – securing skills for Q2

  • What is the ‘effect’ of language?-how to write a response which comments clearly.
  • Key skills in the mark scheme
  • Making comments ‘clear’- answering using the ‘how’ and ‘why’
  • Exemplar responses
  • Revision activity: writing clearly about language

Morning Break: 11.45 – 12.00pm

12.00 – 12.45pm: Writing about structure – developing skills for Q3

  • Identifying structure- examiners advice to ensure techniques commented on are structural.
  • A visual approach to identifying structural features
  • Using the prompts: beginning, middle, end of the text
  • Exemplar responses- features of ‘clear’ in practice.
  • Revision activity: writing clearly about structure

Lunch: 12.45 – 1.15pm

GCSE Question Box: 1.15 – 1.30pm

1.30 – 2.15pm: Evaluating texts – combining skills for Q4

  • What is evaluation? Advice about what the examiner is really looking for.
  • Key skills in the mark scheme- how to use the mark scheme as a checklist
  • Spotting the writer at work- strategies to identify the writer’s intention.
  • Selecting appropriate quotations with methods- ways to ensure you can evaluate what has been selected.
  • Exemplar responses
  • Revision activity: evaluating texts clearly

2.15 – 3.15pm: Creative writing – expanding skills for Q5

  • Exploring the typical features of ‘clear’ writing
  • How to structure descriptions and narratives
  • Making sentences work for you- remembering that variety is key
  • Exemplar responses
  • Revision activity: communicating clearly and creatively

3.15pm END

Helen Backhouse is a teacher, trainer and examiner, who has been involved in English education and assessment for 25 years. She is a senior examiner for GCSE English Language, writing exam papers and training thousands of examiners. She has authored a number of textbooks, supporting students’ progress in English Language and Literature at KS3 and KS4.

Lance Hanson is an experienced teacher of English, school leader, teacher trainer and blogger. He currently works as the strategic lead for teaching, learning and curriculum for a multi-academy Trust. He has also examined GCSE English Language for almost two decades, written materials for exam board training, and has recently completed his PhD.

Students £25+VAT

One free teacher place for every 10 student places
Additional teachers £35+VAT
Individual teachers £80+VAT