This course is designed for AQA A level History centres that are seeking to ensure able students fulfil their potential through the successful application of higher order skills to attain top grades.

The course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A & A* in future AQA A Level History examinations.  It will focus on a detailed analysis of what is expected at the top levels across all three of the specification components and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this. The course will also provide guidance on effective revision strategies and examination techniques through which high achieving students can stand out and ensure that they succeed in the final examinations.

Led by experienced examiner and teacher, Denise Morris, the course is designed for expert teachers of AQA A  Level History.


  • 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 | Wednesday 21 April 2021
Online | Thursday 24 June 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

10.00 – 10.45 a.m. 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   -Assessing significance,  Source analysis and Evaluation of Interpretations
  • Which skills are the very hardest for A-Level historians?
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student their A grade?

10.45-  11.00am Morning Break

11.00 – 12.00pm: 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.
  • How to support students in giving a convincing argument of the value of a source in relation to the issue of the question
  • Substantiated judgement – presenting a full appropriate judgement
  • Considering limitations and ensuring balance; effective interrogation.
  • The role of cross-referencing in high level responses
  • Strategies for achieving top grades in the exam

12.00 – 1.00pm:   Interpretations – the key challenges for A/A* students

  • Consideration of sub arguments in relation to the key argument; demonstrating accurate synopsis at A/A*.
  • Ensuring your students have an understanding of breadth in context
  • 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

1:00– 2.00pm: Lunch

2.00 – 2.45pm:  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 sustained judgement throughout.
  • Achieving sophistication in essays; focus on the characteristics of A/A* responses.
  • Handling historiography at a high level.
  • Building vocabulary and strategies for developing high end skills.

2.45 – 2.50pm: Afternoon Tea

 2.50– 3.15 pm: 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.
  • The implications of the 4000 – 5000 word limit for potential A/A* students

3.15 – 3.45pm: Exam Tactics for Reaching the Highest Grades

  • What are the biggest challenges of the linear course for the A/A* learner?
  • Practical strategies for embedding chronology and coverage of key content to A/A* level
  • 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.

Dennis 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.