This updated course focusses on meeting the demands of the higher level marking bands across the specification components. It will focus on exploring the characteristics of work produced by students working at the highest levels and will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills. Using feedback from the most recent results, the course will explore what is expected of high ability students and outliner ways to build your teaching practice around this.

Emphasis will also be on assessing with confidence for summer 2021, and will include practical examples, explorations, active discussions, to give all teachers valuable guidance and practical advice.


  • Find out the very latest on how the current situation will affect your teaching and assessment
  • Focussed on identifying the demands of Grades 7 – 9 students and providing materials to help teachers prepare students effectively.
  • Gain enhanced understanding of the specific assessment demands of the GCSE Art & Design for higher level students
  • Gain insight into what examiners are looking for at the highest grades
  • Explore exemplar materials to identify characteristics of outstanding work
COURSE DATE London | Tuesday 7 December 2021

London | Friday 14 January 2022

  • All teachers of GCSE Art & Design
  • Heads of GCSE Art and Design
  • Heads of Creative Arts Faculties
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 – 11.00am: Focus on Assessment demands for Grades 7 – 9 including feedback

  • Examine the assessment objective specific demands of both components. The use of assessment objectives as a framework for Pearson directed learning.
  • Consider the most successful national models for delivery of the course to ensure effective assessment practice across 2 years
  • Review characteristics of Grade 7-9 students in AQA GCSE Art & Design
  • Feedback on the most recent examination series based on National examination reports – what students need to do to ensure that they achieve the highest grades, providing feedback that makes positive change
  • How your students can use sources to inspire the development of ideas, drawing on:
    the work and approaches of artists, craftspeople or designers from contemporary and/or historical contexts, periods, societies and cultures, environments, situations or issues
  • Where, when and it what form students should demonstrate the ability to develop their ideas through investigations informed by selecting and critically analysing sources

11.00 – 11.15am: Discussion and coffee break

11.15 – 12.45 pm: Achieving Grades 7 – 9 in Component 1: Portfolio

  • What Grades 7-9 look like in Component 1 and what AQA moderators expect to see to award marks across the top 2 mark bands.
  • Exploring ways in which to encourage the higher ability students to use the assessment criteria to greatest effect.
  • Evidencing within your students’ work the different purposes, intentions and functions of art, craft and design in a variety of contexts which are relevant & appropriate.
  • Employing the above as a key strategy within the Component 1 Supporting Studies and Personal Responses

12.45 – 1.45pm: Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.45pm: Achieving Grades 7 – 9 in Component 2: Externally Set Assignment

  • Analysing a top grade Assignment: applying the mark scheme with confidence and using it with your students
  • Challenging and stretching high level students to reach the highest grades
  • How to develop creative, imaginative and intuitive capabilities when exploring and making images, artefacts and products throughout both components
  • How to ensure your students exploit drawing at the heart of art, craft and design – from initial sketches and detailed observations to wild mark-making and expressive lines
  • Workshop on how students can develop critical understanding through investigative, analytical, experimental, practical, technical and expressive skills

2.45 – 3.45pm: Stretching and challenging the most able

  • Teaching practical skills ensuring that high ability students improve performance across both components
  • Ideas and approaches to refine the final realisations in high ability students’ work
  • How to ensure students develop an awareness of the purposes, intentions and functions of art, craft and design in a variety of contexts and as appropriate to students’ own work
  • Practical methods to enable students to record their ideas, observations, insights and independent judgements, visually and through written annotation, using appropriate specialist vocabulary, as work progresses

Mark Coombe

Mark Coombe is an experienced Art & Design teacher of 25 years who has taught all areas of Art & Design.  He is renowned as a CPD leader, trainer and presenter across all disciplines of Art & Design.  He is a practising artist, in particular in animal portraiture – livestock & rare breeds – and his current portfolio is supplying The National Trust in Norfolk, Suffolk and other regions.