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Challenging topics at GCSE: NCETM work group

Work Groups in this project will focus on participant teachers working together to ‘unpick’ (i.e. analyse, deconstruct and trace through the curriculum) a challenging topic from GCSE Mathematics.

Participants will 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.

Who can take part?

Participants should be secondary school teachers of GCSE Maths.

Ideally, two teachers will attend from each participating school.

Teachers who have previously participated in Work Groups in this project are welcome to take part again in 2020/21.

What is involved?

Each Work Group will follow a ‘workshop – school-based task’ cycle, consisting of several workshops followed in each case by a specific school-based task. Workshops will provide opportunities for teachers to identify and analyse a key challenging topic area, to work collaboratively to develop pedagogical approaches to it and to evaluate and discuss after teaching. There will be school-based tasks for participants to engage with between each meeting.

Time allocation for workshops will be the equivalent of three full days, but hubs will be able to arrange provision to suit local needs.

What will you learn?

Participants and their schools will:

  • 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
  • identify misconceptions and plan a series of lessons to support students in the topic area
  • use and evaluate appropriate pedagogies to teach the topic area
  • work with their departments to unpick and analyse topics to inform collaborative planning and development of schemes of work.
What is the cost?

The Challenging Topics at GCSE project is fully funded by the Maths Hubs Programme so is free to participating schools.

Get involved

The West Yorkshire Maths Hub's website can be accessed here. You can register your interest in this work group by emailing