This course has been designed to help maximise the performance of your students in the GCSE Classical Civilisation GCSE exam. It will first explore the Feedback from the results of the 2019 new spec exam, the challenges this has highlighted and move on to providing strategies and approaches in the light of the 2019 exam to prepare students for the 2020 exams.

The course will draw upon Alistair’s expertise as an examiner and Head of one of the largest Classical Civilisation departments in schools in the county, to identify potential pitfalls in the new examinations and focus on exactly what will be required, and ways to structure teaching to maximise student learning and grade achievement.


  • Explore in detail  the feedback from the 2019 first set of exams
  • Take away specific guidance on how to embed key strategies and approaches into your teaching ready for the 2020 exams
  • Develop strategies to help students achieve levels 7-9
  • Develop strategies to help the lower attaining students understand key points
  • Take away approaches to help all students success with each of the different questions
COURSE DATES London Friday 15 November 2019
  • Heads of Classics
  • Teachers of GCSE Classical Civilisation
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
The key message from the June 2019 examination

  • Feedback from 2019 – what key issues did examiners raise?
  • What should Classical Civilisation teaching focus on?
  • How can students improve on performance?
  • What do we take forward to the 2020 exams?

11.00 – 11.15am
Coffee break and informal discussion

11.15 – 12.30pm
Improving Performance in the Thematic Study paper

  • Addressing questions and question types on Myth and Religion and Women in the Ancient World
  • Identifying the skills necessary for producing effective examination responses
  • Teaching the students to engage with and analyse ancient sources effectively
  • How to use feedback to improve your students extended essay writing
  • Dealing with questions comparing Greeks and Romans

12.30 – 1.30pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.30 – 2.45pm
Improving Performance in the Literature and Culture paper

  • Looking in detail at the three different topics: The Homeric World, Roman City Life, War and Warfare
  • Strategies to help students form a personal connection with the literature
  • Identify the skills necessary for producing effective examination responses
  • Communicating the plot, themes and characterisation in literature effectively
  • Responding effectively to stylistic analysis questions

2:45 – 3.30pm
Examination Techniques and Tactics.

  • Addressing questions and question types – why do students write such mediocre essays, and how can we help them to improve?
  • How to use feedback to improve your students 15 mark essay questions
  • Marking exercise on student essays.


Alastair Thorley

Alastair is the Head of Classics at Stockport Grammar School. The school has a department of four full-time Classics teachers. He teaches Latin and Classical Civilisation at all levels of the school. After its introduction 14 years ago, Classical Civilisation remains strong at the school with around 100 pupils studying the subject at GCSE and 40 continuing to AS/A Level. Alastair has taught GCSE Classical Civilisation for 17 years. In the last three years 76% of his pupils have achieved either A* or A.

He currently marks the Epic and Myth paper for OCR and AS Classical Civilisation for AQA. Alistair contributed to two of the Bloomsbury/OCR A Level Classical Civilisation text books: “Invention of the Barbarian” and “Love and Relationships”.

View all courses led by Alastair Thorley >