This updated course based on the 2019 results is focussed on meeting the demands of the higher level marking bands across all three of the specification components. It will focus on exploring the characteristics of work produced by students working at the highest levels and explore a range of teaching materials designed to secure the best possible outcomes.


  • Understand the specific assessment demands of the Edexcel GCSE Drama and Theatre Studies specification for higher level students
  • Develop practical strategies for meeting the requirements of the higher bands across all components
  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work
  • Increase confidence in preparing candidates to achieve the highest outcomes
  • Consider lessons learnt about top grade work from the examination series in 2019
COURSE DATES London | Monday 27 April 2020
London | Wednesday 17 June 2020
* Please note, this course will be held online on the designated date if it’s not possible to run in venues.
  • All teachers of Edexcel GCSE Drama
  • Heads of Drama Department
  • Directors of Faculties of Performing Arts
  • Senior leaders with responsibility for the Arts
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
Focus on assessment demands for Grades 7-9, including feedback

  • Examine the assessment demands of all components including the use of assessment objectives as a framework for assessment
  • Consider the most effective models for delivery of the course to ensure effective assessment practice across 2 years
  • Review characteristics of Grade 7-9 GCSE students in the Pearson Edexcel GCSE
  • Lessons learnt from the 2019 examination series – what students need to do to ensure that they achieve the highest grades
  • Key areas of strength and weakness in top level performance: marginal gains areas that made a real difference

11.00 -11.15am
Coffee break and informal discussion

Achieving top grades in Component 1

  • Review example Component 1 NEA at Grades 7-9: what top level students do
  • Characteristics of the most successful candidates in the devised component
  •  Consider the characteristics of highly effective student performance
  • Understand the structure of an effective devising process for students aiming for the highest grades
  • Ensuring your students achieve Grades 7-9 in the written and the performance elements – the crucial role of consistency for top grades

12.00 – 1.00pm
Outstanding performance in Component 2

  • What is excellent ‘performance from text’?
  • Teaching techniques that challenge and push the most able
  • What the best Component 2 work looked like in 2019 and making your students stand out in 2020

1.00 – 2.00pm
Lunch and informal discussion

Obtaining Grades 7-9 on the Component 3 written paper

  • Developing the strongest understanding of the page to stage process
  • Examine strong exemplar responses to the focussed extract questions for Section A – prepare students to respond as a performer and designer
  • Outstanding answers to unseen extract questions – teaching the skills
  • What examiners are looking for in effective evaluation of live theatre performance questions for Section B
  • Top level utilisation of theatre evaluation notes in the exams
  • What moves a student from Grade 7 to Grades 8 and 9 on the exam

3.15 – 3.30pm
Afternoon tea and informal discussion

Working at Grades 7-9 throughout

Matthew Nichols

Matthew is an experienced Chief Examiner for Drama, having written exam board specifications, question papers and delivered a broad variety of teacher and student support courses over the last 15 years.  He is Head of Drama at a leading school in Manchester. He has worked with theatre companies such as the Royal Exchange Theatre and Contact Theatre in Manchester and is currently writing ‘The Drama Teacher’s Survival Guide’ which will be published by Bloomsbury in 2020.