This course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A & A* in future A Level Politics examinations. Led by experienced teacher, Nicola Barthorpe, the course is designed for all teachers of politics including those new to the profession and more experienced teachers who are looking to update their understanding of strategies to support their students.

The course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for key skills and strategies for the application of knowledge which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills. Using feedback from 2019, the course will outline what is expected of high ability students, ways that go beyond A Level and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of Grades A & A* and providing methods and techniques to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • Emphasis on teaching approaches which are most effective with able students
  • Focus on teaching approaches which stretch and challenge beyond A Level
  • A detailed look at the different demands and types of questions
  • Sample answers at Grades A & A* will be analysed
  • Materials will be provided that will allow teachers to cover the course in innovative and student-friendly ways that push the highest ability students
COURSE DATES Online | Tuesday 16 March 2021
Online | Tuesday 15 June 2021
  • Heads of Government & Politics
  • Teachers of AQA A Level Politics
  • Teachers considering moving to AQA A Level Politics
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
Grades A & A*: Key student behaviours

  • The structure of the specification and using it to plan for success for the top end students
  • AQA 2019 Feedback: what does it tell us about the standards set for the top learners? How can we teach to this effectively?
  • Grades A & A* in AQA A Level Politics: what are the differences between these?
  • Which skills are the very hardest for A-Level politics students?
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student their A grade?

11.00 – 11.15am: Discussion: coffee break

11.15 – 12.00pm
Getting it right – approaching the questions in AQA A level Politics

  • What are the examiners expecting to see?
  • Approaching the 9 mark questions
  • Building vocabulary; the use of appropriate terminology
  • Build confidence in recognising high quality responses

12.00 – 12.45pm
The 25 mark source questions

  • The key concepts needed for success in politics – analysis, knowledge and judgement
  • How to develop student’s ability to answer these questions
  • What examiners are expecting to see
  • Develop confidence in marking and recognising high quality responses

12.45 – 1.45pm: Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.30pm
The essays – Getting the best out of the long questions

  • What are the examiners expecting to see from these responses
  • Practical approaches to developing skills of analysis and evaluation.
  • Hints to ensure the response is led with coherent judgement throughout.
  • Achieving sophistication in essays; focus on the characteristics of A/A* responses.
  • Examples of good and less good responses

2.30 – 3.30pm
Exam Tactics for Reaching the Highest Grades

  • What are the biggest challenges of the linear course for the A/A* learner?
  • Varying commentary practice to stretch the most able.
  • Revision ideas to help students produce high grade essays.
  • Working to the standard: review of specimen scripts.
  • Using the right level of sources
  • Strategies for enriching students beyond the classroom

Nicola Barthorpe

As an experienced Politics and History teacher with 18 years in the sector, Nicola is currently Head of Humanities at an outstanding sixth form in the North West and has successfully guided her faculty through an Ofsted ‘deep dive’. Alongside her teaching role, she is an experienced examiner for two major exam awarding bodies, which gives her added insight into the requirements of the exams so her students can achieve the very highest grades