“Feedback has been extremely positive about last night’s training – ‘One colleague even described it as “life changing”.

Andy Backwell, Head of 6th Form, Malmesbury School

Some teachers find teaching A level intimidating. Some want to approach teaching A level like teaching students lower down the school. Others assume a level of ability in their students they simply have not yet developed. As has often been observed by teachers, there is little specific training to teach A Level. As a teacher writing in the TES commented:

“There is very little guidance given on teacher training courses for A Level teaching. This can result, understandably, in teachers playing it safe by keeping rigorously to the textbook and ensuring that all the content is covered.”

TES Article: Dan Kneller Subject lead for A-level history

Ofsted has regularly condemned the quality of teaching and learning in the 6th form. Numerous thematic and school inspections have criticised the quality of teaching for being “overly didactic” and “uninspiring”. Under the Ofsted 2019 Framework schools are given a separate judgement for their 6th forms. Moreover, with the content of new A level specifications being increased, it essential that lessons are effective and have impact. 

Should 6th Form be taught as Pupils or Students?

Most post-16 teachers believe that A level students should be treated more as adults than as traditional students. And adults, research such as Illeris’ Three Dimensions of Learning Model claims, are different from children when it comes to their motivations for learning.

“(Post-16 students) learn what they want to learn and what is meaningful for them to learn. (They) are not very inclined to learn something they are not interested in, or in which they cannot see the meaning or importance.”

Prof K. Illeris, University of Education, Copenhagen

Ofsted Inspections of 6th Form

To achieve Outstanding, inspectors will assess that the “impact of the taught curriculum is strong” in the 6th form. They will want to see that students “…acquire and develop high-quality skills and produce work of a consistently high standard.” In order to do this inspectors will consider, “…how leaders and teachers develop a curriculum that provides progression“. This means that the curriculum and how it is taught will be the key focus of any 6th form inspection.

  • But how do we achieve differentiation in an A level class, where ability can vary widely?
  • How do we ensure that strategies stretch students but also engage?
  • How do we ensure students have the skills required to achieve the highest grades?
  • How should assessment be effectively used as a teaching strategy?
  • What makes an A level lesson different from a lesson lower down the school?
  • How is it possible to use engaging strategies while ensuring all the content is being covered?
  • How do we prepare students for examinations?

Inset outcomes:

Delegates will be able to:

  • Apply a range of teaching strategies that can be used in the 6th form.
  • Consider the importance of assessment and types of feedback and how it can be effectively managed.
  • Ensure lessons are differentiated, to ensure progression of all students.
  • Review research into what students say makes an outstanding post 16 lesson.
  • Analyse the range of sources teachers need to use to improve the quality of their A Level teaching.
  • Consider the range of skills students will require to become successful at A level.

Clear Approaches and Strategies

This course is highly practical and interactive. Teachers will leave with a clear set of strategies and interventions which they can adopt in their teaching.

In this course we will explore how this can be achieved. This very practical course will allow participants to develop the key ingredients required to ensure that their students achieve their full potential at A Level. Effective generic teaching strategies will be demonstrated and the essential ingredients required to ensure that students achieve the best grades possible (such as differentiation in the 6th form, assessment and feedback, how to use data and tracking to inform the quality of teaching, creating a thinking classroom, etc); as well as the results of research into what students say makes an outstanding lesson.

INSET outline:

What makes an outstanding A level lesson?

  • What do students say? Consideration of research from a student perspective
  • What does Ofsted say?
  • What is effective?
  • How do I cover the larger content in the curriculum time?
  • Why are skills so important in the 6th form?
  • Creating a learning community? What is it and how is it achieved?

Effective strategies in the 6th Form

  • Consider some effective generic strategies to be used.
  • Seeing those strategies in practice?

Developing an independent learner

  • The key skills student will need support developing
  • The role of assessment and feedback
  • Assessment strategies
  • Being clear about expectations
  • Giving effective support

Improving 6th form performance

  • Considering school based approached to improving attainment in the 6th form

Preparing students for the exam

  • Why is this important?
  • Revision strategies to use and teach
  • How do we improve examination technique

This INSET training has directly resulted in schools significantly increasing their Average Point Score per student and per subject.

Thank you for sharing some great strategies and ideas for preparing students for the exams

Jacqui Nicholls, A level English Teacher, Cardinal Pole Catholic School

To register an interest or raise any questions about his course please use the registration form below or use our Enquiries page.

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