This NEW course will explore the key areas of literary study: analysing the methods writers use to shape meaning and the critical role of context in influencing and inspiring writers. Led by our highly respected presenter Judith Dixon, the course will demonstrate how to open up pupils’ understanding of literary texts.  With a specific focus on the teaching of Shakespeare’s plays, there will be ideas for uncovering the ways in which writers, influenced by their own time and culture, express their ideas through language, form and structure.


  • There will be ideas for delivering English Literature lessons that encourage consideration of the themes and ideas that the writer wanted to express.
  • The course will provide new ideas about focusing on the methods writers have used to express their ideas to enable students to write more meaningfully about literary texts.
  • The course will explore the AQA GCSE Literature mark scheme in detail.
  • Teachers of Key Stage 4 English Literature
  • Heads of English
  • English Key Stage 4 Curriculum Managers
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
The crucial significance of context

  • Discussion: Why did Shakespeare write Romeo and Juliet?
  • Teaching the big ideas through examination of the nitty gritty:

Case study:  Romeo and Juliet – How does Shakespeare express his ideas through Juliet’s soliloquy?

11.00 – 11.20am
Coffee break and informal discussion

11.20am– 12.20pm
Making Literature exciting

  • Sample units to engage and enthuse your class about Shakespeare’s world.
  • Ideas to help students link contextual knowledge firmly to the text.

12.20 – 1.20pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.20 – 2.20pm
Writing a successful Literature essay

  • Approaching an unfamiliar extract.
  • Beyond PEE; exploring language to show clear understanding of the writer’s ideas.
  • Structuring an essay.

2.20 – 2.25pm
Informal discussion and tea

2.25 – 3.20pm
What are the examiners looking for at Level 5?

  • Explore sample materials to see how examiners assess a response.
  • Discussion: ‘To beguile the time, look like the time’. (‘Macbeth’ Act 1 scene 5)

Do modernised versions of the plays help or hinder pupils in understanding Shakespeare’s meanings?

3.20 – 3.30 p.m. Plenary discussion and depart

Judith Dixon

Judith Dixon has been Head of English at The Lakes School, Cumbria for seven years and prior to that, she led Key Stage 3 English at Cockermouth School. She is an examiner for a leading exam board for GCSE English Literature and A Level English Literature. She has experience of preparing students for GCSE English and English Literature as well as A Level English Literature, English Language, Media Studies and the Extended Project Qualification. She has delivered CPD on Progression in the English Classroom, Extended Writing Across the Curriculum, Planning and Modelling for Extended Writing and Oracy across the Curriculum.

English subject library