Challenging Topics at GCSE

04/12/2018 to 04/12/2018 12.30pm - 4.00 pm

In many respects, the GCSE, first taught in autumn 2015 and examined in summer 2017, still feels new, and throws up new challenges for teachers and pupils alike. In 2017-2018 there was a Maths Hubs pilot project which explored ways of teaching those GCSE maths topics teachers found challenging to teach, and students found challenging to learn.  In 2018-2019, this work will continue. Work Groups will explore effective ways of teaching some of these topics, both to address the immediate needs of the incoming KS4 pupils, but also, crucially, taking a longer-term view by considering development in KS3.  The aim will be to get to grips with all the underpinning content of a topic, exploring misconceptions and effective pedagogical approaches for each element.

Each Work Group will explore a single GCSE topic in depth, establishing what the issues are and what the common misconceptions are, how these might be addressed through activities and questioning which promote deeper thinking and how teaching in KS3 might be modified or utilised to improve understanding for this topic in KS4.

The programme will run across 4 half days:

4th December 2018 / 7th February 2019 / 27th March 2019 / 17th June 2019.

All 12.30pm – 4pm at The Clarion Hotel (formally Quality Hotel) Boldon Business Park, NE35 9PE.


The programme is available at no cost to schools.

Participating schools can claim a £350 grant following completion of the programme.


Who is this for?

Secondary school maths teachers and heads of department.

Participants in the 2017-2018 Work Group are welcome to participate again.

Ideally two teachers from each participating school. At least one of the pair should be an established specialist teacher with experience of teaching both KS3 and KS4 pupils.  The other could be similar or could be a non-specialist or one with less experience.

What is involved?

  • 3 x full day workshops spread across Academic Year 2018-19
  • Independent study and setting-based work including gap tasks and evaluation
  • Online discussion as part of a professional community

Intended Outcomes

  • Teachers will hone their ability to analyse what it is about certain topics that makes them more challenging and be able to apply these analytical skills more widely in the curriculum.
  • Through detailed study of one topic, teachers will develop a sharper understanding of what it means for teaching to be ‘effective’ and how this might be evaluated in class and through assessment in all its forms.
  • Pupils in the participant teachers’ classes will become more confident in their own skills and abilities, developing a deeper and more connected understanding of prior content thus enabling them to better tackle the challenging topics.

Expectations of participants and their settings

  • Attend the Work Group sessions and carry out a series of follow up tasks within their own classrooms related to teaching the challenging topic being explored.
  • Work with other members of their mathematics department, as appropriate to develop the teaching of the challenging topic.

Download the programme information leaflet 18-15 Challenging topics at GCSE Info Sheet

Click HERE to book to attend

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