The Trouble with Fractions, Slough

The Work Group will focus on fractions, 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.

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.

Led by Dr. Fiona Curtis, from Reading University, the work group starts in January 2019 and is free of charge.

For more information and booking: The Problem with Fractions – Challenging Topics at GCSE

Representation Techniques at KS4 – booking now open!

Visual representation allows students to access, break down and understand complex GCSE word problems.  These techniques can also be used to develop an understanding of many areas of mathematics from number structures to solving equations and completing the square.  They are effective at all levels of secondary school in terms of developing an understanding of mathematics.

The aim of this work group is to:

  • train secondary teachers in the use of array and bar models to a standard so that representation devices can be used confidently in lessons
  • train secondary teachers in the use of array and bar models to a standard so that representation techniques can be shared with colleagues and disseminated through the department.

What is involved: The Work Group will comprise 2 sessions 9.30-3pm.  Delegates will receive supply cover funding of £200/ day to attend the sessions.

Work Group LeadRachel Walters

Funding: Our DfE grant, via the NCETM, allows BBO Maths Hub to provide this training free-of-charge to delegates.  In addition, delegates will receive supply cover funding of £200/ day to attend the sessions.

To book: Representation Techniques at KS4, Reading

KS4 Mathematical Thinking: Problem Solving & Reasoning

Now available to book!

What is involved?

  • 2 x 1-day and 2 x half-day workshops focused on developing reasoning and problem-solving skills in all lessons.
  • Gap tasks between the workshops will include Lesson Study, allowing wider department participation in the professional development.
  • There will be an evaluation process focusing on the impact of activities on pupils and the wider department.

Intended Outcomes

Participant teachers, and their departments:

  • will acquire a deeper understanding of the role of reasoning and problem solving in the mathematics curriculum, and how these skills are tested at GCSE
  • will broaden their repertoire of classroom approaches to support the development of pupil’s mathematical reasoning and problem-solving skills in all lessons
  • will understand how to plan for further improvement to embed and sustain progress in this area.
  • will begin to see pupils demonstrate increased confidence in reasoning and problem-solving while deepening their understanding of the mathematics content itself.

The wider context

Reasoning and problem-solving are still identified by Ofsted as areas of weakness both in teaching and schemes of learning. With the emphasis of the new curriculum on pupils becoming fluent, reasoning mathematically and solving problems, many departments will be considering how best to build these skills as pupils progress from the start of KS3. There will also be a need to support current KS4 pupils as they face the reasoning and problem-solving challenges of the new GCSE questions

To book: GCSE Mathematical Thinking: Problem Solving and Reasoning, Oxon


Teaching Assistant: Subject Knowledge Enhancement – now available to book!

There is more to subject knowledge than being able to do the maths yourself. The Teaching Assistant SKE project is designed to develop teaching assistants’ subject knowledge in maths so they can support children’s learning in the classroom and in small intervention groups.

Work Groups will explore maths in depth, making connections between topics and concepts. Participants will also work collaboratively, led by a local leader of maths education (LLME) to develop deep and secure subject knowledge and appropriate pedagogy so they are well-equipped to support pupils.

Who is this for?

Teaching assistants in primary schools who support children with their learning of mathematics.

What is involved?

  • 4 sessions 9am-1pm
  • Independent study and setting-based work including gap tasks and evaluation
  • Online discussion as part of a professional community

Intended Outcomes

As a result of this project, participants’ skills and confidence in the maths classroom will be increased. TAs will develop knowledge of the pedagogy of maths teaching and understand how children think and where their misconceptions stem from. A greater awareness of the three aims of the National Curriculum (fluency, reasoning and problem solving) will be developed, and teaching assistants will understand the role that certain representations, models and manipulatives can play in the development of pupils’ understanding of number and calculation, particularly place value and proficiency. Those involved will get better at working within classes and with small groups of pupils; they will gain knowledge of practical ways to apply the skills and understanding developed during the programme.

The wider context

Collectively, the network of Maths Hubs across England work on projects around national maths education priority areas. One of those priorities requires Maths Hubs to work in the areas of teacher training and improving subject knowledge of all adults in maths classrooms. Each Maths Hub participating in a national project runs a local Work Group, where teachers come together over a period of time to work on areas defined by the project. All Work Groups are subject to a common evaluation process, which collectively provides a body of evidence on the project’s outcomes. So, your participation in this Work Group will contribute to your own professional leaning, and that of your school colleagues, as well as making a contribution to the improvement of maths education at a national level. 

Expectations of participants and their settings

Participants are expected to be working in a classroom environment and/or involved with individual or small group support and intervention. All participants are expected to attend all the sessions and complete gap tasks in their schools between the sessions. They will also be asked to keep a learning log for their own use and contribute to the national evaluation process, probably through a short online survey after the Work Group has finished.


This Work Group is fully-funded and will be provided at no charge to delegates

Who is leading the Work Group?

Dawn Butler

MathsHUBS Solent