Tuesday 03 November 2020



This is Session 2 of a series of 2 webinars, Session 1 being Teaching Ancient Sources effectively.

This fast-paced webinar is designed to give teachers some different ideas to approaching the GCSE specification.  These techniques have been designed with both pupil engagement and the exam in mind.  We will look at the various genres of ancient literature from all Literature and Culture options (Homeric World, War and Warfare, Roman City Life).

This interactive webinar will focus on the most challenging areas of teaching ancient literature, including:

  • understanding how literature will be examined
  • encouraging the students to learn the required detail
  • encouraging the students to develop an individual and independent response to ancient literature
  • working out how to produce examiner-friendly answers

A handout containing the primary sources and model answers used will be provided ahead of the webinar.

The PowerPoint used in the webinar will be available after the session.


  • teaching with the exam in mind, modelling exam responses
  • pick up a variety of teaching strategies
  • a range of model answers will be provided – these answers can then be expanded on in lessons as each displays a specific technique
  • develop the students’ confidence in their knowledge of the detail of the literature
  • develop effective teaching materials
  • focus on achieving marks for both AO1 and AO2
  • developing our understanding of how the examiner will communicate the requirements of each question


4:15 Introduction and aims

4:20 Looking again at the different question types – from knowledge and understanding questions through to extended response

  • Employing examiner-style language with the pupils right from the start, both in the questions we set and the feedback we give
  • Identifying important examination skills – particularly the differences between AO1 and AO2 when writing about literature
  • Working out how to come up with our own exam-style questions and how to encourage the students to do the same

4:30 Enabling the pupils to remember and use the details of the texts effectively.

  • students will often underestimate the level of detail required in the exam – examiners prioritise knowledge and it comes into every question
  • the best answers are when students are expressing their own ideas – we will look at how to develop their confidence in putting across their own views.
  • making sure that they make effective use of sources which are given to them on the paper

4:40  Literary technique – particularly similes and other descriptive passages

  • Developing the students confidence in writing about style – literary style questions are avoided by the majority of students in the examination
  • Considering how to make the best use of technical terminology
  • Looking at particular words which examiners will use in questions on style
  • Looking at model examination answers

4:50 Identifying recurrent themes

  • Encouraging pupils to recognise, remember and respond to recurrent themes in ancient literature
  • Considering how these themes would have been viewed differently by an ancient audience
  • Looking at using ancient literature as a source (mostly specific to Roman City Life)
  • Looking at model examination answers

5:00 Final focus on literature essays

  • Understanding the differences between AO1 and AO2: what is the examiner looking for?
  • The importance of responding to the precise terms of a title – understanding what the examiner is expecting
  • Looking at model examination answers

5:10 Questions

5:15 Finish


Alistair 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”.

Pearson A level Drama