Date: Tuesday 12 January 2021 – 4:30pm

Code: 8229


Achieving outstanding grades in A-level Dance is extremely challenging; particularly given the varied students who join the course with mixed practical dance backgrounds, and limited to no experience in written dance theory. Minimum expected grades are generally higher than other a-level subjects, and both component 1 and 2 pose many challenges; not only due to the sheer volume of content required to be covered on the specification and the complex range of optional elements to teach from, but the high level and variety of skills required of students to do well.

The aim of this course is to give both Heads of Dance and Teachers of Dance not only guidance in successful planning and teaching approaches, but an understanding of the exam board assessment requirements at the highest level of the mark schemes for both component 1 and 2. You will gain practical teaching approaches to build students confidence, knowledge and skillset, and explore models of teaching which provide opportunity to holistically develop students through the 2-year course. The sessions are split between raising attainment in Component 1: Performance and Choreography, and raising attainment in Component 2: Critical Engagement.


  • Heads of Dance
  • Teachers of AQA A-level Dance
  • NQTs would also benefit from this course


  • Understand the requirements of the specification, particularly at the highest end of the assessment criteria
  • Explore how the optional elements of both component 1 and 2 can be used to your advantage to maximise the success of all students
  • Find out more about the different approaches to support students to gain an A*-B success; both in timetabled lessons and beyond set timetable hours


4.30 – 5:00pm: Maximising Potential in Component 1: Solo, Quartet and Group Choreography

  • Guided overview of structuring the practical elements over two years
  • Importance of live marking and peer feedback to build student understanding of the assessment criteria as part of a lesson
  • Group Choreography paper: Initial teaching approaches, exploring music choices and strategies to ensure the choreography stays on question
  • Utilising strengths within the practical questions
  • Practical lessons post-exam to further understand the theoretical components

5:00 – 5:30pm: Understanding Exam Technique and Marking in Component 2

  • Understanding AQA exam board assessment objectives and weightings across component 2
  • Overview of different types of smaller mark questions, including how to approach different command words, length of student responses and common student pitfalls
  • Progressive teaching practice methods to teach the 25mark essay response
  • Understanding mark schemes and how to accurately assess student responses
  • Using examiner reports and e-AQA data to understand nationally recognised strengths and weaknesses of current teaching, and plan for change

5:30 – 5:45pm: Picking the right optional elements to facilitate student success

  • Basic concepts of building a 2-year scheme of work to ensure maximum success of student outcomes, and building skills and concepts in a logical and linear manner
  • Guiding students to maximise marks in the practical through groupings and practitioner/question selection
  • Concepts on how to choose the optional named practitioners and optional works that you cover to maximise student success in Section A of the paper
  • What is the right area of study choice for Section B? How to pick wisely, and ensure optional choices complement success in both units

5:45 – 6:00pm: Student and staff support strategies to maximise A*-A rates

  • Creating appropriate assessment strategies for accurate tracking and outcome success
  • Successful intervention and support strategies, including how to build an extra-curricular provision to boost your cohorts A*-A rate
  • Resources to help both teacher planning and student independent study
  • Challenges of both small and large cohort sizes



Toni Knight 

Toni Knight has been teaching at a highly successful 6th Form College for 7 years, covering A-level Dance, BTEC Dance, A-level PE and BTEC Sport. For 4years, she has held the position of Head of PE, Sport and Dance, and led the department to gaining ‘National Teaching Team of the Year’ in Oct. 2019 at the Pearson National Teaching Awards hosted on the BBC. On taking on the leadership of the Dance provision, it has not only grown in size with the cohort being one of the largest in the country for A-level, but most notably the course attainment has drastically improved under her leadership; highlighted in 2019 by a 100% A*-B rate and a high ALPs grade 2 on A-level Dance with students from very mixed background. Toni has experience of examining in both Dance and PE, and has worked with several exam boards over the years.