This unseen poetry AQA course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve the very top grades in future AQA Unseen Poetry English Literature examination tasks. Led by our highly respected and successful presenter Jo Fox the course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for both Section B and Section C of Paper 2 enabling you to support students and develop their higher level skills. Using feedback from prior exam series the course will explore what is expected of high quality responses to tasks and outline ways to build your teaching practice around this.


  • Focused on identifying the qualities of high level responses and providing materials to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • Detailed analysis of the demands of the questions in Section B and Section C
  • Mark schemes, examiners’ reports and sample answers will be analysed
  • Materials will be provided to help teachers to cover the content in innovative and student-friendly ways that push students to achieve higher marks
  • Gain an in depth understanding of Key Issues students struggle with when trying to obtain grades 7-9 in AQA unseen poetry tasks with advice from an experienced examiner.
  • Review feedback on the 2019 AQA examinations and how to use this to boost the skills of students aiming at Grades 8 to 9
  • Explore relevant English Language higher order skills which students need in order to access the top grades
  • Gain an understanding on how to teach comparison, context, writer’s purpose and personal interpretation and a range of other skills effectively.
  • Develop techniques for teaching the different styles of writing and to ensure writing with impact and originality and with high degrees of accuracy
  • Take away ideas and suggestions for teaching effectively a range of challenging non- fiction texts and literary texts from across the centuries.
COURSE DATE AND LOCATION Online | Tuesday 15 June 2021
  • All teachers of GCSE English Language and English Literature. Heads of English, English NQT and teachers of SEN students in English Literature.
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 – 11:15am: Key challenges: what are they for 2021?  How might this be different from a ‘typical’ year?

  • How might 2021 be different from any other year?
  • What can we do to mitigate these challenges
  • What lessons are relevant from previous examiner’s reports and what do top students struggle with when aiming for the very top grades

11:15 – 11:30am: Break

11:30 – 12.45pm: Engaging with the text: how can we encourage students to confidently express a view on an unseen text?

  • Lessons we can learn from English Language
  • What ‘engaging’ with a text look like in essay form at the top level
  • Unseen Poetry – dealing with pupil ‘anxiety’, practical strategies
  • Practical strategies to create opportunities to practise a response to unseen poetry
  • Effective comparisons of Unseen Poetry – Section C

12.45 – 1.45pm: Lunch

1.45 – 3:00pm: Using evidence effectively:  how can we ensure that students select appropriate textual references to support their thoughts and ideas?

  • How to use quotations effectively in a response to unseen poetry
  • Effective examples of high quality textual reference and analysis
  • Supporting students to achieve effective analysis at the highest levels
  • Reading unseen texts in nuanced ways – different approaches to discussing and writing about ‘style’
  • Activities to encourage personal responses to texts – provoking debates and how to structure an effective response
  • Practical effective strategies to prepare for an unseen text

3.00-3.10pm: Afternoon Break

3:10 – 3.45pm: Technical terminology:  the highs and lows of using terminology in analysis

  • Downsides of becoming fixated on language techniques rather than methods, what the exam board has identified as a major issue and what an experienced examiners advice is to deal with this issue
  • How to use terminology effectively to comment effectively on a central idea

3.45 – 4.00pm: Plenary and discussion

  • Working to the standard: reviewing specimen script discussion to secure learning


Jo Fox

Jo Fox is an English Teacher with 20 years’ experience teaching GCSE English Language and Literature. As a senior leader she has led on developing and improving the quality of teaching and learning in a range of schools, supporting staff to develop both subject knowledge and pedagogical approaches most likely to lead to improved outcomes. As a Team Leader for English Literature GCSE, she has 5 years’ experience leading a group of examiners through the marking process for papers focussing on Shakespeare and Poetry – specifically Unseen Poetry.