Challenging Topics at GCSE Work Groups 2020 - 2021
Feedback from teachers and GCSE exam analysis indicates there are key areas of the curriculum that students continue to find challenging. This Work Group will explore effective ways of teaching some of these topics, both to address the immediate needs of the incoming KS4 students, 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. The approaches also contribute towards the development of a generic process which departments could use as a ‘toolkit’ to lead the improvement of teaching and learning in any identified area of the curriculum students find challenging.

Who is this for?
Secondary school maths teachers and heads of department. Participants in the 2019/20 Work Group are welcome to participate again.

What is involved?
Each Work Group will explore a single GCSE topic in depth. Participation will require attendance at four workshops spread across the year and include gap tasks. Any work produced will be shared across the hubs, giving access to a range of challenging topics.

Friday 22nd January 2021
Wednesday 24th February 2021
Wednesday 10th March 2021

Venue: George Spencer Academy/ Portland Spencer Academy TBC

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.

Expectations of participants and their schools
• 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 maths department, as appropriate, to develop the teaching of the challenging topic.
• Contribute to Work Group evaluation processes.

The Work Group is offered free to all state-funded secondary schools in England.

Thank you for expressing an interest in our programme. Please complete the information below to secure your place.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us at

COVID-19 Recovery
The ongoing impact of the corona virus outbreak and knock on effects on schools life remain uncertain. So, all Maths Hubs work will adapt to changing realities. There's likely to be more live online collaboration, for example. In addition Work Groups content will address both schools recovery from corona virus related disruption and the central maths subject matter of each project.

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Spencer Alliance for Leadership and Teaching (SALT) encompasses the following:
- George Spencer Academy SCITT
- George Spencer Academy Teaching School
- East Midlands West Maths Hub
- Derby Research School
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