The GCSE Classical Civilisation course offers a varied overview of the ancient world.  Teaching the course includes a number of challenges – covering the material in the required depth, making links across the topics and texts and, finally, understanding what is required in the examinations.  This course will help both new and experienced teachers who want to discuss different ways of teaching the course or to understand better the examiner’s perspective.



  • Find out how to launch the subject
  • Explore the best ways to structure and organise the content-heavy course.
  • Ideas for creating engaging and effective resources
  • Develop ways to help all students learn the course in the requisite detail
  • Discover how to give effective formative feedback
  • Develop confidence in teaching this specification
  • Take away fresh ideas, approaches and methods that keep students confident and motivated
DATE & LOCATION Online | Monday 29 November 2021
  • Heads of department
  • Teachers of GCSE Classical Civilisation
  • Teachers new to the subject or non-specialists
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 – 10.30am:  Overview: What do the examiners say?

  • Key messages from examiners
  • Looking closely at examiner feedback
  • Ways to incorporate the feedback into our teaching

10.30 – 11.00am: Ways to get off to a good start to the course for examination success

  • Addressing ways to quickly engage students with the ancient world
  • Identifying the type of background content students require before they can successfully move on to the set OCR modules.
  • Learning how to diagnose student starting points on the course.
  • Ensuring induction periods are more inclusive, including finding ways to take a more global approach to the ancient world and how to raise student awareness of inherent biases within the field.

11.00 – 11.20am: Discussion: coffee break


11.20 – 12.00pm:  Effective Ways to Plan and Structure the GCSE Level Classical Civilisation Course.

  • Effective ways to plan and structure the course with the end examination in mind
  • Sequencing content over the course span of two years to allow opportunities to re-visit material and embed deeper knowledge with retrieval practice techniques.
  • Producing resources that are accessible and support the learning of all students.

12.00 – 1.00pm: Preparing Pupils for the Thematic Study Examination

  • Considering how best to structure the course to develop a learning narrative
  • Looking in detail at the two different topics: Myth and Religion and Women in the Ancient World
  • Identifying the skills necessary for producing effective examination responses
  • Teaching approaches to the literature sources and the material culture
  • Dealing with questions comparing Greeks and Romans
  • Identifying the skills necessary for producing effective examination responses

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 3.00pm Preparing Pupils for the Literature and Culture Examination

  • Looking in detail at the three different topics: The Homeric World, Roman City Life, War and Warfare
  • Identifying the skills necessary for producing effective examination responses – with a particular focus on discussing literary style, as this is a common problem in the examinations
  • Teaching ancient literature effectively and thoroughly
  • Questions and question types

3.00 – 3.05pm: Afternoon Tea

3.05 – 3.45pm: Preparing for the examination

  • Responding effectively to the different question types – with a particular focus on the extended response questions as candidates often do not answer the question in the examination.
  • Revising effectively for the examination
  • Understanding and responding to the Assessment Objectives for each question so as not to waste time
  • Looking at scripts and discussing how to apply the level descriptors
  • Considering how to mark effectively so that the pupils make progress on key skills such as: including detail, answering the question and structuring an argument

3.45pm: 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 >