Tuesday 13 October 2020 – 4.15pm



This is Session 1 of a series of 2 webinars, Session 2 being Teaching Ancient Literature 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 various types of material culture sources (sculpture, vases architecture etc.) from both Thematic Studies (Women in the Ancient World and Myth and Religion) and 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 sources, including:

  • understanding how the sources will be examined
  • enabling the students to remember detailed information
  • working out how to produce examiner-friendly answers
  • providing scaffolding for source analysis

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
  • develop effective teaching materials
  • focus on achieving maximum 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
  • Working out how to come up with our own exam-style questions and how to encourage the students to do the same

4:40 Building confidence in using ancient literature as a source: particularly when responding to the detailed response questions.

  • Often students will miss obvious points
  • Developing consistent approaches which can be used every time and when under pressure
  • Avoiding the temptation to over-teach the literature when we are only using it as a source for information. This is particularly relevant when the students are using poetry as a source of historical information.
  • Seeing how this approach works in model, examiner-friendly answers

4:50 Material culture: how to get more points out of each source.  We will look specifically at approaches to sculpture, architecture, vases and metalwork

  • Analysing ancient material culture can be very unfamiliar to students
  • Developing frameworks which can be used for both prescribed and unseen sources
  • Linking AO1 and AO2 each time so that longer examination answers are always well-balanced
  • Seeing how this approach works in model, examiner-friendly 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