Achievement in GCSE Classical Civilisation requires students to overcome some key challenges in order to secure and maximise their potential.  Students need to recall detailed information from across a content-heavy course.  They must also learn how to interpret a wide variety of ancient sources.  Students then need to apply this knowledge confidently and consistently across a range of question types.  Classics students have a variety of strengths and weaknesses so a range of techniques are needed to ensure they can achieve the best possible mark.  The highest grades also involve a careful interpretation of questions in the examination.  We will look at keeping all students interested and motivated throughout the course.

This intensive course will demonstrate how to guide your students to maximise their potential in future OCR GCSE Classical Civilisation examinations.


  • Explore the key themes in each of the topics and how to best organise and structure the course
  • Develop the ability to discern quickly and accurately what an examiner wants
  • Increase awareness of how to prepare all students for the different question types: from gaining Knowledge and Understanding up to writing successful arguments in the Extended response questions
  • Take away fresh ideas, approaches and methods that keep students confident and motivated
  • Develop greater understanding of how to include the precision and detail that examiners are looking for
  • Find out more about the barriers to progress and ways to support all students in overcoming them
DATE & LOCATION Online | New Date Coming Soon
  • Heads of Classics
  • Teachers of OCR GCSE Classical Civilisation
  • NQTs would also benefit from this course
  • Non-specialist teachers of Classical Civilisation
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 – 10.45am
Getting to grips with the specification

  • Looking closely at examiner feedback and model answers provided by OCR – what does this tell us about what the examiners are looking for?
  • How can we incorporate these lessons into our teaching?
  • Considering the impact of remote learning on Year 10 pupils, how will it change the way we teach them ahead of the exam in 2021?
  • Considering the most effective way of structuring the course to build on the students’ learning and avoid simply adding topics

10.45 – 11.05am
The impact of school closures on GCSE Classical Civilisation pupils

  • Considering the impact of an extended period of remote learning
  • Looking at how to communicate content effectively with remotely accessed resources
  • Building confidence in the pupils’ ability to learn a lot of content quickly
  • Considering how to streamline the course and avoid repetition

11.05 – 11.20am
Discussion: coffee break

11.20 – 12.30pm
Specification essentials: Thematic Study

  • Looking in detail at the two different topics: Myth and Religion and Women in the Ancient World
  • Giving the pupils an effective framework to examine sources (both prescribed and unseen) – focusing on the AO1 information they will need in the Knowledge and Understanding questions
  • Looking closely at the different AO2 demands of significance, detailed-response and stimulus questions on prescribed sources
  • Teaching pupils how to build empathy with ancient societies and so to examine sources in their correct cultural context
  • Dealing with extended response questions comparing Greeks and Romans and looking at some sample answers

12.30 – 1.30pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.30 – 2.30pm
Specification essentials Literature and Culture

  • Looking in detail at the three different topics: The Homeric World, Roman City Life, War and Warfare
  • Giving the pupils an effective framework to learn the details of the stories, focusing on the AO1 information they will need in the Knowledge and Understanding questions
  • Learning how to respond to questions about literary style and encouraging pupils to give developed responses which access the higher levels of the mark scheme
  • Learning how to read the title of an extended response question so that the pupil answers the question set effectively
  • Considering how to plan an extended response question so that there is a consistent argument

2.30 – 3.30pm
Preparing for the examination

  • Revising effectively for the examination
  • Considering how to mark pupils’ work accurately and how to give the most effective feedback
  • Exam tips and timings to maximise all students’ opportunities for success

3.30: Depart

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 >