The brand new course offers guidance on how to help students achieve grades 4 and 5 in GCSE English Language and will enhance delegates’ understanding of the mark scheme from the perspective of an experienced examiner. Focusing on both paper 1 and paper 2, the day will provided refreshed approached to teaching the exam questions.

The course also focuses on detailed analysis of assessment materials and exemplar responses, offering a range of activities to develop understanding


  • Develop your understanding of the features grade 4/5 responses
  • Explore how ‘big ideas’ enrich responses to both reading and writing tasks
  • Take away refreshed teaching methods to help guide students to achieving the pass grade.
  • Broaden your perspective by reading a range of student responses
  • Share the experience and expertise of a senior examiner
  • Take away valuable written guidance on typical features and levels of comment
  • Teachers focusing on improving performance in GCSE English Language assessments
  • Teachers seeking insights into the examiner’s perspective
  • Subject leaders looking to develop their department approach to teaching GCSE English Language
DATE London | Tuesday 22 November 2021
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • You will receive a specially prepared file electronically containing detailed notes, and teaching materials and resources which will be of immediate practical benefit in the classroom.
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

10.00 – 11.00am: What makes Grades 4 and 5?

  • Welcome and introduction
  • Exploring features of Grades 4 and 5- what is the difference between these two grades?
  • What does ‘clear’ mean? Ways to assess if a response is “some attempt” or “clear”
  • Engaging with the vocabulary of the mark scheme


11.00am: Morning Break


Session 2: 11.15 – 12.00pm: Reading Strategies (AO1)

  • Activating prior knowledge: before, during, and after reading
  • Responding to lower tariff questions
  • Strategies to develop inferential skill with the students.
  • Apples and pears: selecting ‘like for like’


12.00 – 12.45pm: Language and Structure (AO2)

  • What is ‘language’?
  • Commenting on ‘effect’ as a key skill- remembering the why as a route into effect.
  • Time and place: exploring narrative dynamics
  • Structure in non-fiction texts- methods to engage with structure rather than language.


12.45 – 1.45pm: Lunch 


1.45 – 2.45pm:    Evaluation and Comparison (AO3/4)

  • Evaluation: framing the response
  • Don’t forget the writer: the importance of methods-Strategies to develop clear discussion of writer’s methods.
  • Identifying ideas and perspectives- methods to improve comments on writer’s intention.
  • The ‘coat-hanger’ effect: making effective comparisons


2.45 – 3.45pm: Clear Communication (AO5/6) 

  • What makes writing ‘clear’? Questions to ask when trying to place a mark and level.
  • Exploring features of narrative, descriptive and rhetorical writing-
  • Mood and structure in creative writing- methods to develop vocabulary.
  • Structuring a point of view – ‘because-but-so’
  • Making sentences work for variety and effect- remembering that writing should be built in layers.


3.45pm: Depart

Dr Lance Hanson

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.