ABOUT THIS COURSE: OCR GCSE Classics: Aiming For Grades 7-9

Achieving the top grades in OCR GCSE Classics requires broad and deep knowledge.  Students then need to apply this knowledge confidently and consistently across a range of question types.  Top level GCSE Classical Civilisation will also be expected to construct a successful argument in the extended response questions.  Typically, bright students can often underestimate the precision necessary for a very high score.  The highest grades also involve a careful interpretation of questions in the examination.  We will look at keeping the brightest 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 ideas behind the topics to enable the pupils to gain a more complete understanding of the specification
  • Develop the ability to discern quickly and accurately what an examiner wants
  • Increase awareness of what we should aim to achieve with the most able pupils
  • Take away fresh ideas, approaches and methods that challenge Grades 8/9 students and support their further development
  • Develop greater understanding of the precision and detail that examiners are looking for in Grades 8/9 students
  • Find out more about the barriers to progress and ways to support highly able students to overcome them
COURSE DATE Online | Monday 08 February 2021
London | Monday 14 June 2021
  • Heads of Classics
  • Teachers of OCR GCSE Classical Civilisation
  • NQTs would also benefit from this course
  • Non-specialist teachers of Classical Civlisation
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


Grades 7-9: what do they involve?

  • Key attributes of Grade 7-9 students in the classroom – how do we identify which pupils are capable getting the top grades?
  • Key attributes of Grade 7-9 students in the examination – how do we ensure that they are approaching the subject in the most effective way?
  • Identifying the key aspects of the GCSE exam which will determine the highest grades and how to ensure that our pupils are prepared for these

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


Teaching Paper 1: Thematic Study: key challenges for Grade 8-9 students

  • Creative approaches to learning the content-heavy course and keeping Grade 8/9 students motivated to learn the specific detail necessary for the highest grades
  • Considering the sort of feedback we give to high ability pupils – how can we make best use of the written work which we set so that they make progress each time?
  • Exploring student responses, feedback, marking, analysis
  • Using modelling and scaffolding successfully with Grade 8/9 students in source work
  • Analysing extended response questions in the thematic study paper: where is an 8/9 achieved or lost?


Teaching Paper 2: Literature and Culture: stretching and challenging able students

  • Using creative approaches to learning the literature in the close detail required for full marks
  • Looking outside the prescription – how stretch and challenge activities can inform responses
  • Writing developed responses on literary style, how to build imagination and how to structure answers effectively
  • Focussing on the extended response questions and looking at the demands for the top levels of the marking grid


The Exams: tactics for achieving the highest grades

  • Interpreting the demands of the different question types quickly and effectively
  • Learning how to decode the question to ensure that the candidate produces the response which the examiner is requiring
  • Tactics and timings for different questions and question types
  • Ensuring that candidates produce coherent responses which include enough detail
  • Reviewing, marking and feeding back on specimen scripts from Grades 8/9 pupils – identifying the key elements of successful higher tariff answers
  • Revision tips to ensure top level students succeed in the exams


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 >