Teaching A level biology for the first time can seem daunting for new teachers. This course will give you a clear overview of the expectations and ideas to address the areas that are challenging. We will investigate differentiation, stretch and challenge and exam technique with a view to developing successful, independent learners who will fully embrace the synoptic nature of biology. The day will be discussion based with many activities to illustrate the ideas discussed.


By the end of the course delegates will have:

  • Identified the challenges faced by teachers and students when starting A level
  • Recognised the sources of help and support that are most useful
  • Learned strategies to ensure students meet the expectations of A level
  • Developed a range of teaching strategies that enable students to develop synoptic thinking
  • Understand the range of question types and how to prepare students for them
  • Developed a clear understanding of essay requirements and methods of preparing students from the start of the course
  • Shared concerns and ideas with teachers in similar situations
DATE & LOCATION:  Online | Thursday 09 July 2020
  • New teachers of A-level Biology
  • Heads of Science Faculties
  • Heads of Biology
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues

10.00 – 10.30am
Being new to A level teaching

  • Breaking down the challenges teachers feel about teaching A level
  • Ensuring students hit the ground running in September
  • Recognising which areas will be most challenging for you and how to address these issues
  • Identifying your support network and making the most of it
  • Topic areas which create the foundation for success – incorporating them into every lesson

10.30 – 11.30am
Expectations at A level

  • What do successful A level students do?
  • Teaching a linear qualification
  • Investigating the language expectations for success in A level biology
  • Developing synoptic thinking from the start
  • Examiners feedback and why it is so useful

11.30 – 11.45am

11.45 – 12.45am
Embedding core concepts and developing synoptic thinking

  • Encouraging students to see the chemical to macrostructure nature of biology – examples of this and how they link with synoptic thinking
  • Differentiation strategies that support and extend learners appreciation of the links in biology
  • Developing independent thinking and learning skills through teaching strategies
  • From practical work to exam questions: encouraging students to see the connections and context of questions

12.45 – 1.45pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.45pm
Exam technique and question styles

  • Identifying the different types of question and how they are marked
  • Strategies to support students answering different types of question
  • Preparing students for the variety of contexts in exam questions
  • The mathematics of biology
  • Practical skills questions

2.45 – 3.00pm
Afternoon tea and discussion

3.00 – 3.45pm
The synoptic essay

  • Overview of the essay and marking
  • Introducing the essay and embedding preparation into your planning
  • Strategies and activities to reduce the fear of the essay
  • Ideas for preparing the more able through further reading

3.45 / 4.00pm

Michael Brown

Michael was an examiner for 18 years and has worked in post 16 education for 23 years, initially as an A-level Biology Tutor before progressing to Head of Department and finally STEM and Quality Initiatives Manager. He has had a positive effect on student’s aspirations and achievement; his Learner Voice results are always very positive and examination results have been consistently above benchmark for all KPI’s with excellent value added. As a Head of Department he completed an ‘Exceeding Expectations’ management training course and is a strong and effective leader. His Science provision was chosen as part of OFSTED’s Good practice survey: Improving Sciences in Colleges. Michael was then seconded to another campus to improve science results and turned around the department within 12 months. During this time his college also reached the finals of the National STEMNET Awards for three consecutive years.