Challenging topics at GCSE

  • Use exam board analysis to identify topics which students nationally found challenging at GCSE.
  • Get to grips with the underpinning content of a challenging GCSE topic (chosen collectively by the work group).
  • Explore misconceptions and pedagogical approaches for each element.
  • Create and trial resources and teaching approaches to improve your students’ understanding of the topic.
  • Develop a more generic process for analysing difficult topics which can be used to improve teaching and learning in any area of the maths curriculum.

Who is this for?

Secondary maths teachers, particularly those teaching GCSE groups, and heads of department.

Participants are strongly encouraged to attend with at least one other colleague from their department. Previous participants have found attending in pairs to be invaluable, and reported much greater impact in their schools.

Participants in the 2018/19 work group are welcome to participate again.

What is involved?

∙4 after school workshops spread over three terms.

∙Gap tasks between the workshops, including trialling new teaching approaches.

∙An evaluation process, focussing on the impact of the Work Group.

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.

∙They will deepen their understanding and classroom practice in relation to teaching and learning styles most appropriate to effective learning in the particular topic area.

∙Departments will have a model for improving the teaching and learning and curriculum provision for any area of the curriculum their students find challenging.

∙Students 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.

Venue 1: Castle Manor Academy, Haverhill

Dates: 31st October, 23rd January, 5th March, 2nd July

Venue 2: Chesterton Community College, Cambridge

Dates: 18th November, 13th January, 16th March, 11th May

Venue 3: Downham Market Academy, Downham Market

Dates: 20th November, 14th January, 17th March, 12th May