This updated course is for all teachers of A level Physics looking to develop new strategies for extending their very able students hoping to achieve A/A* and possibly go on to read Physics, or related disciplines at degree level.

The course will provide guidance on getting the best out of A/A* candidates and on preparing them for the examinations. Delegates will take way a range of ideas, approaches and tried and tested strategies for teaching top end students, the principles of which would also work across other A level sciences.


  • Develop your teaching approaches to extend your more able students
  • Challenge your students with problem solving and questioning to stretch students’ thinking processes
  • Find out how to reliably identify high attaining Physics students (not just those with 8 and 9 at GCSE)
  • Explore the common mistakes made by high attainers in Physics examinations
  • A-level Physics teachers
  • Heads of Physics
  • Heads of Science
  • Teachers preparing science students to read Physics at University
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 – 10.45am
Identifying and challenging able students in physics

  • Identifying the genuinely gifted physicists at A level
  • Characteristics of high attainers in physics
  • How to teach and challenge gifted students in mixed ability groups
  • Developing skills for independent learning
  • Topics which really differentiate between ability levels and what teachers should do as a result

10.45 – 11.00am
Discussion: coffee break

11.00 – 11.30am
Bridging the gap to an A*

  • What is the A* for? What is the national standard at A and A*?
  • Why are able students not achieving the A*?
  • What skills are needed to access the higher grades?
  • Ways to prepare your able students for all types of questions including those testing practical skills

11.30 – 12.45pm
Improving able students’ understanding of difficult physics concepts

  • Effective approaches to teaching the physics topics that able students miss marks on in exams
  • Using computer simulations to challenge and extend students’ understanding
  • Examples of experiments to stimulate thought and challenge ideas
  • Taking forward lessons from the 2018 examination
  • Feedback and taking forward lessons from the 2019 examination
  • What A and A* students’ work looked like in 2019 and what differentiated between them

12.45 – 1.45pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.30pm
Higher Order Questioning

  • Problem solving contexts
  • Approaches to improve lateral thinking
  • Modelling in Physics
  • Thought provoking examples to challenge learners’ understanding

2.30 – 3.00pm
Extending the A/A* Students

  • Classroom and laboratory activities that encourage higher order thinking
  • Olympiad and other physics competitions
  • How to support your students with Russell Group interviews

3.00 – 3.45pm
Maximising marks in the examinations 

  • Examples of mistakes often made by able students in physics examinations
  • Preparing for the exam papers in a logical and systematic way to maximise marks
  • A carefully planned revision campaign that leaves nothing to chance

Afternoon tea will be available during the afternoon sessions

Howard Dodd

Howard has worked as an A-level Physics Principal Examiner (writing exam papers and supervising marking) for over twenty years being employed by OCR, AQA and Edexcel.
He has taught A-level physics in a number of secondary schools, maintained and independent, and has extensive experience of leading very successful physics and science departments. Before becoming an educational consultant he lectured in Science and Physics Education for fifteen years at the University of Exeter.  He is a qualified Ofsted inspector and continues to train and assess ITT trainees on the School Direct QTS training programmes. He has a national reputation for providing high quality and helpful in-service training courses for secondary and post-16 teachers.

View all courses led by Howard Dodd >