Challenging Topics at GCSE

Secondary Challenging Topics at GCSE

Type: Work Group For: KS3 and KS4 teachers
Time: 4 half days Cost: Free of charge

Develop learner confidence to tackle a range of challenging topics

Feedback from examination boards and teachers indicates there are key areas of the GCSE maths curriculum that students continue to find challenging, which includes ratio, proofs and quadratics. Naturally, teachers need to address students’ immediate difficulties with regard to misconceptions, but there is growing recognition that these issues are often rooted in earlier learning. This group aims to consider how we can address the problems to improve and develop better understanding in pupils.

Challenging Topics focus

  • Through collaboration and shared experience, teachers work together to ‘unpick’ challenging topics and develop strategies to support learners.
  • Develop insight into the associated difficulties and misconceptions to support teaching in the short term but also consider the implications for longer term curriculum design.

Work group expectations

Participating in this group will give teachers and schools the opportunity to review and improve the quality of teaching and learning in a particular topic area, developing work from KS3 through to KS4 to improve outcomes at GCSE.

The Challenging Topics sessions aim to develop teachers’ depth of subject knowledge and classroom practice. The aim is for participants to disseminate learning to others in their department through lesson study.

Schools should aim to provide one or two teachers to attend training and work together within their department. 


What will the work groups achieve?

Professional learning

  • Develop a deeper insight into the maths that underpins learning in a challenging topic, through unpicking and analysing the topic.
  • Develop a deeper insight into the key issues and misconceptions behind the topic.
  • Deepen their own subject knowledge and awareness of connections within the curriculum.
  • Participants and their colleagues in school will consider appropriate pedagogies for the topic.

Practice development

  • Identify misconceptions and plan a series of lessons to support pupils in the topic area.
  • Use and evaluate appropriate pedagogies to teach the topic area.

Whole school/departmental policies and approaches

  • Participants will work with their departments to unpick and analyse topics to inform collaborative planning and development of schemes of work.
  • Subject knowledge and pedagogy across the department will improve.
  •  Through the modelling of best practice in improvement planning, subject leadership will be supported and impacted. 

Pupil outcomes

  • Pupils will gain a deeper understanding of the topic area and the underlying mathematics.
  • Pupils will develop a more connected understanding of the curriculum.
  • Pupil engagement and attitude in the topic area will improve.

If you would like to participate on this programme, please complete our Expression of Interest form.                   

Please contact if you have any further questions.