Classical Civilisation A level attracts students of all ability levels, many of whom have not studied the subject at GCSE and who do not have a detailed prior understanding of the Ancient World. Many are underprepared for the challenge of mastering literary texts whilst grappling with Greek and Roman history, ideas and beliefs and interpreting visual and material culture.

This course aims to benefit all teachers of Classical Civilisation.  The course will address the challenges of teaching lower ability students of Classical Civilisation and suggest practical strategies to improve student performance without disadvantaging the higher attaining students.


  • Explore techniques to help lower ability students thrive
  • Consider strategies to raise overall attainment levels
  • Identify key essay elements to impress the examiner
  • Take away markers of a successful examination approach
  • Reinvigorate and motivate your practice in the A Level classroom

DATE & LOCATION:  Online | Thursday 11 November 2021

London | Wednesday 19 January 2022

  • Heads of Classics
  • A Level Classical Civilisation teachers
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


Effective techniques to facilitate lower ability students accessing the course


  • Explore activities and approaches for the early days in A Level Classical Civilisation, when hearts and minds are won (and lost).
  • Ways to enable students to access the Ancient World through their own frames of reference, which is at the heart of the challenge: we will consider what makes a good starting point and how we can enliven the subject by motivating students with engaging introductory lesson activities.
  • The session will also seek to establish a framework for support and monitoring of student attainment, to identify and drive ongoing progress.

Effective strategies to develop lower ability students’ learning

2.00 – 3.00pm

  • Making ancient culture and literature accessible and intelligible for students of all abilities
  • Exploring routes into the course which help our lower ability students to get stuck into Classical Civilisation.
  • How best to organise your component selections and schemes of work to support and nurture your whole cohort, with multiple options to consider
  • A major obstacle in the way of success for lower ability students is the interpretation of literary sources. This session explores techniques for delivery and revision of texts to ensure understanding and familiarity with the key elements.
  • Strategies to achieve strong information retention for visual and material culture elements of the course, so that students deploy their knowledge effectively to satisfy examiners’ demands

Helping Lower Ability Students Tackle The 30 Mark Essay

3.15 – 4.00 pm

  • This short session looks at one key element of A Level success and answers four key questions to empower delegates to improve students’ essay technique:
  • What are the key dos and don’ts in examiners’ eyes for the 30 mark essays?
  • How do we ensure all our learners avoid traps and pitfalls?
  • How can lower ability students effectively fulfil the demands for use of modern scholarship?
  • What structure best characterises a good Classical Civilisation essay (as opposed to other A Levels)?

Exam techniques and strategies for lower ability students to enhance performance on the day


  • This session explains what the examiners are looking for in each type of A Level question: what structures are expected, and the necessary level of detail, analysis, and engagement with primary sources.
  • Delegates will then be able to better explain to their charges how to jump through the examiners’ hoops and maximise their outcomes.
  • Take away the key examiners’ tips for breaking down the examination on the day.

How to keep students progressing through the two year linear course

4.30 – 5.00pm

  • Maximising motivation – how to keep students progressing through the two years of the course by setting realistic, meaningful, timely targets which are then tracked rigorously to allow staff to know when and how to intervene.
  • We will consider what meaningful independent learning can be undertaken by the lower ability student, and what role technology can play in their progress.
  • We will identify what makes for effective feedback, particularly for lower ability students to enhance their progress without overwhelming them.
  • We will explore strategies to improve confidence with, and mastery of tricky topics which evolve with learners over the duration of the A Level course, helping them to level up and step through the course.

Ben Tanner

Ben is Head of Humanities at RGS Worcester, with ten years experience as Head of Classics. He has significant experience of teaching both OCR and AQA Classical Civilisation specifications, in a range of educational contexts, and has recently been an AQA A Level examiner.