This course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A & A* in future A Level History examinations.  Led by experienced examiner and teacher, Denise Morris, the course is designed for experienced teachers of A Level History, regardless of examination board.

The course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for key skills and 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 materials 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 DATE Online | Tuesday 27 April 2021
Online | Friday 02 July 2021
  • Heads of Humanity
  • Heads of History Departments
  • Teachers of A Level History
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


START 1.30pm

Grades A & A*: Key student behaviours

  • The structure of the specification and using it to plan for success for the top end students
  • 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*: what are the differences between these?
  • Key attributes of Grade A & A* students in the classroom and how to identify these students
  • Helping students make the links throughout the whole specification and inspiring the A* Historian
  • Developing high end skills –
  • Which skills are the very hardest for A-Level historians?
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student their A grade?

Sources – the key challenges for A/A* students

  • Going beyond an assertion of value and providing an A/A* convincing argument of value.
  • Avoiding formula; when to analyse tone and emphasis.
  • Considering limitations and ensuring balance; effective interrogation.
  • The role of cross-referencing in high level responses
  • Strategies for achieving top grades in the exam


Interpretations – the key challenges for A/A* students

  • Consideration of sub arguments in relation to the key argument; demonstrating accurate synopsis at A/A*.
  • Potential advantages and pitfalls in the use of omission and how this can detract from a high-level response.
  • Promoting and supporting academic confidence in the effective evaluation of interpretations.
  • Achieving A and A* on Interpretations questions

Stretching and Challenge Able Students in High quality responses for essays

  • The importance of student awareness in appreciating the differing demands of breadth and depth questions, and how to embed this in classroom practice.
  • Hints to ensure the response is led with coherent judgement throughout.
  • Achieving sophistication in essays; focus on the characteristics of A/A* responses.
  • Handling historiography at a high level.
  • Building vocabulary and developing high end skills.


Finishing Touches: The NEA for Grade A/A* Students

  • The significance of setting a challenging question and the role of the student within this; promoting student driven ownership of the NEA and how this impacts on high-level performance.
  • What constitutes a fully analytical response for the A/A* candidate?
  • The prominence of effective selection and integration of sources and interpretations in producing a persuasive study.

Exam Tactics for Reaching the Highest Grades

  • What are the biggest challenges of the linear course for the A/A* learner?
  • Retention, recall and deployment. Hints for embedding chronology and coverage of key content.
  • 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.


Denise Morris

Denise has over 20 years teaching and examining experience. She is a former Head of Department and is currently a Senior Examiner with a major examination board. Furthermore, Denise also moderates and advises on A Level History coursework and has marked with multiple examination boards. She has acted as a Teacher Trainer since 2017.